Maryport has two lighthouses, the South Pier lighthouse is still operational.
The town of Maryport was dedicated to Mary, wife of a local landowner, Humphrey Senhouse who built the harbour and docks in the 18th century.
The railway opened in the 1840s, improving the transportation of coal used for the iron and steel industry. By 1927 trade had declined following the opening of a new deepwater lock in Workington. The docks at Maryport closed to cargo ships in the 1960s.
More recently the harbour has been redeveloped.
The first record of a lighthouse at Maryport was in 1796. With the construction of the new dock in 1833, a new pier and lighthouse were built. The lighthouse was established in 1846 and is reported to be the oldest cast-iron lighthouse in the UK.
The Old Lighthouse is no longer operational. It was restored and painted in 2017 as part of the refurbishment of the area.
In 1852 the south pier was extended and a new lighthouse was added at the extension of the pier. It worked as a tidal light, displaying a light when there was sufficient water within the harbour. By day a red spherical daymark was used indicated the same.
In 1858 a small fourth-order optic was installed. By 1946 the lighthouse was using acetylene gas.
Trinity House took over control of the lighthouse in 1961, and in 1996 they produced a new aluminium tower at the end of the pier extension.
In 2010 responsibility for the new lighthouse was transferred to the Maryport Harbour Authority.
Maryport Maritime Museum is near the harbour, alongside the River Ellen.