Name of Morecambe
The first use of the name Morecambe in modern times was by Whitaker in his History of Manchester (1771), when he refers to the æstury of Moricambe. It next appears four years later in 'Antiquities of Furness' where the bay is described as 'the Bay of Morecambe'.
That name is derived from the Roman name shown on maps prepared for them by Claudius Ptolemœus (Ptolemy) from his original Greek maps. At this distance in time it is impossible to say if the name was originally derived from an earlier language (e.g. Celtic language) or from Greek. The Latin version describes the fourth inlet north from Wales on the west coast of England as Moriancabris Æsturis. Translated, this gives a more accurate description than the present name of Morecambe Bay as the Latin refers to multiple estuaries on a curved sea, not a bay, as then the word sinus or gulf would have been used.
The name next crops up as early as March 1862 (before the town took the name officially) on a steam locomotive built for the South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway. Strangely, this was one of four locomotives in the class, and the others were each named after existing towns; No. 162 Saltburn, 163 Morecambe, 164 Belfast and 165 Keswick, which could indicate the name was already in unofficial use for the area.
It was not until 1889 that the necessary legislation was passed to officially name the area as Morecambe, comprising the hamlets of Poulton, Bare and Torrisholme (a township for the purposes of the Census of 1841 but shown as separate townships in the previous
Census of 1831). In 1894 the Urban District Council was formed, thus freeing Morecambe completely from its governance by the Borough of Lancaster until 1974 when Lancaster again took charge.
Before the creation of Morecambe, Poulton acquired two suffixes, 'le Sands' and briefly 'on Sands' shown on at least one map. The reason for these additions stems from the dearth of names of townships in earlier times with the same name recurring over again. In the days before free movement of people, this was not so important. As travel became easier through first the turnpikes and later the railways, it became necessary to differentiate between the various towns with the same name, hence the additions.
On 3 August 1928 the name changed again when the Corporation of Morecambe amalgamated with Heysham Urban District Council to form the Municipal Borough of Morecambe and Heysham.