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Old Customs House

Published on 31 January 2020 12:12 PM

Today we say goodbye to Old Customs House, our premises on West Strand in Whitehaven.

We began operating out of the building back in 1978, when we rented the ground floor from Copeland Borough Council. We used this space to deliver our popular luncheon club and art classes. By 1985 we were delivering art classes to over 2890 older people and providing around 5400 lunches annually.

As our organisation developed and grew, so did our relationship with building and in 1988 Age Concern Copeland (as we were formerly known) raised enough money to purchase Old Customs House from the council, giving us full use of all three floors.

It was then that Old Customs House became our Head Offices and central to our work across Copeland and Allerdale.  Over the years the building has housed our extensive range of services, providing a home-from-home for our staff, volunteers and service users.

In 2019, after forty-one years of use, we made the difficult decision to say goodbye to Old Customs House. The age of the building meant the property was no longer fit for purpose, and we felt it was time to move forward as an organisation. The Grade II listed building has been purchased by a local business owner who plans to develop the property.

From Monday 3rd of February 2020, our Whitehaven team will be based in the Senhouse Centre at 3 Senhouse Street, Whitehaven (CA28 7ES). This will provide a temporary home of our Equipment Service, Information & Advice Service, Footcare Service and weekly Coffee Morning. Our bi-weekly art class will now be held at The Beacon, providing a more creative space for our members. Our Head Offices are now located in The Bradbury Independent Living Centre in Workington.

Looking to the future - we are in discussions with both Copeland Borough Council and BEC regarding a permanent Community Hub presence in Whitehaven and have plans for a new retail unit in the town.

If you would like more information about the move, or any of the services we offer across Copeland and Allerdale, please contact us.


Finally, in order to commemorate our time at Old Customs House we’re encouraging members of the public to share their photographs and memories of the building.
We would like to begin by sharing a project pack and newspaper article from the building’s refurbishment by BNFL Apprentices in 1985. These can be downloaded by clicking the links below.



The pack contains photographs of the refurbishment, the BNFL Apprentices who worked on the project, and Age Concern Copeland staff, volunteers and service users from the mid-eighties.

Thank you to the member of the public who kindly posted the documents to us.

If you would like to share your stories or photographs, please contact us on:

01900 844670 or