Sir John Lowther (1642–1706) significantly developed the coal industry and the trade with Ireland.
Even by 1835 Whitehaven was still the fifth placed port, with 443 ships registered, but by the end of the 19th century only 68 vessels were registered.
During the 19th century the port of Whitehaven was overtaken by Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow, as they had better deep water dock facilities, and were closer to large centres of population and industry.
Whitehaven was a township within the "Preston Quarter" of the parish of St Bees.
The modern growth of Whitehaven started with the purchase by Sir Christopher Lowther of the Whitehaven estate in 1630 and the subsequent development of the port and the mines.
Whitehaven's growing prosperity was also based on tobacco.
By 1685, there were ships regularly bringing tobacco from the British colonies of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania in America, and by the early 18th century about 10% of England's tobacco imports passed through Whitehaven.
The huge development of a national railway network had also reduced Whitehaven's 18th century competitive advantage of having coal extracted very close to a harbour for shipment by sea.
The earliest reference to coal mining in the Whitehaven area is in the time of Prior Langton (1256–82) of St Bees Priory, concerning the coal mines at Arrowthwaite.
They have of late fallen into some merchandising also, occasioned by the strange great number of their shipping, and there are now some considerable merchants; but the town is yet but young in trade".
To replace the tobacco trade Whitehaven turned to importing sugar from Barbados, cotton wool from Antigua and coffee and cocoa from St Lucia.
Whitehaven is a town and port on the west coast of Cumbria, near the Lake District National Park in England.