The Parish of Thurnham, Lancashire, is situated on the south side of the river Lune estuary approximately three miles from the city of Lancaster. Thurnham contains the areas of Ashton with Stodday, Conder Green, Glasson Dock, Lower Thurnham and Upper Thurnham and is surrounded by the parishes of Aldcliffe, Cockerham, Ellel and Scotforth. The Parish has a population of approximately 651 (2011 Census).
The canal gives access to the sea via the Lune Estuary. The main road through the parish is the A588. It was formerly served by the London and North Western Railway which had three stations in the parish: one at Conder Green, a private halt at Ashton Hall with the terminus at Glasson Dock.
Thurnham has many public footpaths including the canal towpath and riverside walk which are used by local, ramblers and cyclists. It is also a favourite location for birdwatchers. Within Glasson Dock you will find the Dalton Arms, The Lock-Keepers Rest, The Lantern Cafe and The Shop at Glasson all serving the community and the frequent visitors. The Smokehouse on West Quay at Glasson Dock is also worth a visit. At Conder Green, The Stork is a traditional old world hotel and in Thurnham, The Mill provides modern facilities in a canal-side setting.
Glasson Dock is a small working port which deals with the import and export of grain, sugar beet, etc and also container traffic. The port is linked to the canal by lock gates which provide entry to the canal network and Glasson Marina.
In 1780 the Lancaster Port Commission bought land from the Dalton family of Thurnham Hall in order to build a pier for the unloading of larger vessels which could not reach Lancaster Quays.
The only buildings in this area at that time were the small farming / fishing communities of Old Glasson and Brows-Saltcote, so a handful of cottages were built (some of which are now the Dalton Arms and Pier Hotel which later became the Caribou, and is now converted into apartments).
Little real building was undertaken until the Glasson Arm of the canal opened in 1826. At this time the first ‘Canal Terrace’ was constructed (now Tithebarn Hill), closely followed by Lock Keeper’s Cottage and Canal Cottage.
In 1834 the first shipyard was opened, shortly followed by the building of the Customs House, and in 1836 the Watch House was built at a cost of £19/3/0d. Further house building took place for the shipyard workers, and by 1841 the Dry Dock was in use. Although shipbuilding did take place at Glasson, it was never profitable, and it was ship repairing that kept the ship yard in operation until 1968, the dry dock being filled in a year later.