:"Not to be confused with
Wigtownin Scotland, nor Wigston in Leicestershire, England."infobox UK place
country = England
population = 5,360
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Penrith and The Border
postcode_district = CA7
Wigton is a small
market townon the edge of the Lake District, the county of Cumbriain England. It is the bustling and thriving centre of the Solway Plain, situated between the Caldbeck Fells and the Solway coast. It is served by Wigton railway stationon the Cumbrian Coast Line, and the A596 roadto Workingtonand (via the A595 road) to Carlisle.
Nestling on the Wiza and Wampool becks (dialect word meaning "brook" or "stream" - from the Old Norse "bekkr"), the Market town of Wigton is an ancient settlement and evolved from a pre-medieval street plan, which can still be traced today.
The Romans had a cavalry station, Maglona, known locally as "Old Carlisle", just to the south of the town with a large Vicus (civilian settlement) associated with it. Wigton was in existence by 1100AD when it became a Norman barony gaining its market charter in 1262. Although the town's layout is generally medieval, its architectural style is Georgian which remains largely intact.
In the middle of Wigton's market place is the George Moore Memorial Fountain built in 1872, of particular interest are the four bronzes around the fountain, the work of the pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner. St. Mary's Church dates from 1788, but there was a church on this site from the 12th century.
The appearance of the church owes much to the vision of Rev. John Ford (father of the broadcaster Anna Ford) in the 1950s when he had gravestones laid flat and the interior painted in the present colours. A novelty not to be missed is Highmoor Bell tower - built during the Industrial revolution and completed in 1887 - it played tunes three times daily.
Wigton today is a thriving market town, with livestock auctions being held regularly at Hopes Auction Company. The main employer is
The town has its own
secondary school, called The Nelson Thomlinson School, which is a well-performing comprehensive with close links to the Innovia factory.
In 2004 the town was the first settlement in the
United Kingdomto enforce a curfewon teenagers under the age of 16. It was in place for two weeks, and its aim was to reduce the amount of vandalism in the town centre. It followed nightly vandalism campaigns, which included smashed shop fronts, as well as intimidation of elderly members of the community. The curfew attracted national attention, with the local secondary school receiving visits from agencies such as Sky News. It had some effect, with less vandalism taking place ever since.
Wigton's principal employer is the Innovia factory (locally known as Innovia), in the centre of the town.
In 1936 the British New Wrap Co Ltd was formed in Wigton, Cumbria and production of cellulose film began at the site which had previously been a jam-making facility, and then set up to produce "artificial silk" or
Rayon. In 1936 the company changed its name to British Rayophane Ltd.
The factory slowly expanded under the ownership of British Rayophane and then British Sidac, and as a wholly owned subsidiary of the UCB Group. In 1987 an investment program started to raise OPP capacity from 10,000 to 35,000 tonnes pa, and in 1988 an additional bubble line was commissioned, together with a new coater in 1990.
In the 1990s, around €135m had been invested in the plant, including a second £10m coater plant in 1997, while a third was added in 2001 with a new bubble line to bring capacity to 15,000 tonnes pa. The production facilities at Wigton now employ 1500 people, and include:
* 11 BOPP blown fibre
* 5 Cellophane casting lines
* 3 coaters
* A pilot line
Plus testing facilities and equipment for film finishing, slitting and packing. In 2004, USB Group SA sold its films business to a consortium, which subsequently renamed the group Innovia Films; also
Prime Minister Tony Blairopened a new R&D centre on the site.
The company's main products are:
* Labels & Graphics
* Cellophane and Propafilm - bubble-produced BOPP film
* Substrates for plastic banknotes - currently used for all Australian, New Zealand and Romanian currencies
* Plastic labels - replacing paper labels due to their resistance to tearing, scuffing and water damage. Clear labels are especially popular as they give the 'upmarket' appearance of graphics printed directly onto a bottle or container
* UV-resistant films - for promotional and POS/POP graphics
* Robert Smirke the famous painter was born in Wigton
Melvyn Braggthe writer and broadcaster was born and lived his early life in the town and, when raised to the peerage, took "Lord Bragg of Wigton" as his title
Charles Dickensvisited the town, and it was subsequently mentioned in "The Two Idle Apprentices"
Anna Fordthe TV personality was brought up in Wigton
Daniel Berkeleyfamous medical doctor lives in Wigton
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