Press Release: Planned demolition of the former Derwent Athletics Club

The former Derwent Athletics Club Building was originally a temporary classroom, built after the war to accommodate more pupils in the original All Saints School, Cockermouth. So historically part of what is now the Kirkgate Centre.

The building was never designed to have lasted so long, and with asbestos in its fabric and the condition deteriorating over the years it is time to say farewell!

We have employed the skills of a local asbestos removal and demolition firm to complete the clearance of the site. Their first stage is to safely remove all the asbestos containing building materials, which will begin on the 1st May, and then clear the interior. We are anticipating this work to take approximately one week. As soon as we have received the go ahead from building control (as we are waiting for our planning application to be approved) and ensuring that all necessary surveys have been completed, they will begin work on the demolition, which will take around a week. The contractors are keeping disruption of the car park to an absolute minimum, with only a few bays being kept clear for the work to be completed. We are in contact with the council to make sure the site is safe and that work is completed swiftly.

The building was purchased by an anonymous donor and passed on to Kirkgate Arts with a long-term aim in mind. We hope to be able to enrich and increase the heritage side of our activities with a purpose-built centre on the footprint of the former classroom. We are working on a funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for money to cover stage one of the redevelopment. This would include a feasibility study of what we could develop in terms of income generation on that site alongside the heritage offer, consultation with the community on what they would what from a heritage collection and how they would want to interact with it and final the development of a plan for the building that we would be aiming to put on that site.

We want to encourage everyone to join us on this journey, as this resource would be for the town as a whole. A place not just to look at artefacts, but for young and old, locals and visitors alike to understand and engage with Cockermouth’s, and the surrounding area’s, past as well as produce and maintain the heritage collection of the future.

ENDS …..



Kirkgate is a charity based in Cockermouth, Cumbria.  It operates an arts and heritage centre as well as working with towns and villages in West Cumbria to encourage a diverse programme of arts, culture and entertainment.  Its vision is to ensure that creative talent is valued, developed and supported with opportunities for all to engage actively with, and enjoy, the arts, local heritage and community life.

The Kirkgate Centre brings the best cultural, theatrical and entertainment events to Cumbria. From the best feature and documentary films to live streaming of top London shows, to local talent, heritage exhibitions, music, theatre, comedy and more, there is something for everyone.

In the historic Kirkgate Quarter of the Gem Town of Cockermouth, sitting on the edge of the Lake District National Park, the Kirkgate Centre is the perfect venue for special occasions, conferences, meetings, courses, exhibitions or private film screenings.

Kirkgate manages Arts Out West which stages performances in community venues from Furness to the Solway, ranging from nationally-recognised theatre companies to international musicians with events that are as much a social occasion as a performance.  It is a member of the National Rural Touring Forum supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation.

Follow @kirkgatearts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

For more information:

Emma Heys 01900 829966

The Kirkgate Centre, Kirkgate, Cockermouth, CA13 9PJ