Looking back at 2020

2020 was the 35th anniversary year of the society. The year started well with the AGM and Neil Honeyman gave a fascinating talk about the lives of the Bronte family. Everyone enjoyed the talk and his photographs gave the audience an understanding of how the landscape around Haworth inspired the writing of the Bronte sisters.
The guest speaker in February was Geoff Holme, whose illustrated talk traced the history of the trams and buses in Barrow. His unique collection of photographs showed the earliest steam trams right through to the familiar blue and white buses of Barrow Corporation, giving an insight into a century of public transport in the town.
The Covid restrictions in March then impacted on life for everyone and all the meetings for the rest of the year were cancelled. It has been a difficult twelve months and many organisations like ours will wait until it is safe to meet up again.

During the past year Signal Film and Media has been continuing with its “Seeing the North with Sankey” project. In 2018 National Lottery Heritage funding was secured for the project which aims to explore and share the photographic work of father and son, Edward and Raymond Sankey. Their business was based in Barrow and the photographic archive consists of over 15,000 images, taken between 1895 and 1965.
Since January 2020, local people have attended workshops to learn how to describe, catalogue and research the archive.
There are several online exhibitions of photographs from the Sankey Collection, which can be viewed by going to https://signalfilmandmedia.com

November 2019 Review

Barrow Civic and Local History Society welcomed Colin Smith, Chairman of Ulverston Canal Regeneration Group to speak at the last meeting of its 2019 programme.   Ulverston Canal was sold by Glaxo 7 years ago and is now owned by a private company who specialise in cleaning up industrial sites. Colin Smith explained that the Regeneration Group was founded shortly afterwards, as the canal footpath was becoming overgrown, with weeds and litter being a big problem.  Improvements to the footpath have been made with extra benches and litter bins in place. The clearance of the weeds has allowed wildflowers to flourish …

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October 2019 Review

Barrow Civic and Local History Society welcomed guest speaker Mike Cumming, Chairman of Barrow RNLI to the October monthly meeting.  He began by explaining that the organisation was founded in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, who had witnessed the tragic loss of many lives at sea off the coast of the Isle of Man. The invention of cork lifejackets in 1854 provided lifeboats crews with better protection during rescues and lifejackets have become a vital part of the equipment ever since. Barrow’s links with the sea meant that establishing a lifeboat here was only a matter of time. Prominent members …

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September 2019 Review

Life in Wartime Furness was the subject of a talk given recently by Bill Myers to Barrow Civic and Local History Society. September marked the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 2 and Bill’s talk looked at the role of women during the war. Preparations for war had been made during the late 1930’s, when local families were provided with gas masks. Anderson shelters were being installed in some local homes and voluntary organisations were recruiting and training volunteers in preparation for emergencies. At the outbreak of war, ration books and identity cards became part of everyday life. …

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April 2019 Review

The guest speaker at the April meeting of Barrow Civic and Local History Society was Paul Littlewood from the Woodland Trust. “Standing up for trees” was the title of his talk, which he began by explaining his involvement in the charity. He has worked as a volunteer for the Trust since 1998 and was very involved in the planting of How Tun Woods at Hawcoat, part of a nationwide project to celebrate the Millennium. The wood has become well established and provides a 15 acre habitat for a range of wildlife.  Paul continues to look after the wood, which benefits …

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March 2019 Review

The Sound of Musicals: more than 100 Years of Amateur Operatics In Barrow The guest speaker at the March meeting was Graham Whalan, whose talk was called“The History of Amateur Operatics in Barrow.” He has written several books and many people from local amateur groups attended his talk. Since the end of the 19 th century amateur operatics, or musical theatre, have proved to be a major part of Barrow’s social history. At the present time, including both junior and senior groups, there are at least 8 active amateur societies which, for a town the size of Barrow, is quite …

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February 2019 Review

The story of the 150th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Borough in 1867 was the subject of a talk given recently to Barrow Civic and Local History Society. The society held its February meeting at Barrow Archives Office to hear Susan Benson, the archivist, present her talk “Barrow 150.” Early maps of Barrow village show fields, cottages and iron ore jetties, but the coming of the Furness Railway in 1846 brought about the beginning of change. Investors saw great opportunities and people from far and wide flocked to the town in search of work. By 1867 the population of …

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January 2019 Review

Barrow Civic and Local History Society held its AGM on January 25th at the Trinity Church Centre in Abbey Road. At the meeting there was an open discussion to consider how best to plan for the society’s future and several options were discussed. It was a useful chance for members to share their thoughts and suggest how the society might continue in its present form.  The Committee was elected after the discussion. Walter Johnston and Geoff Holme had given notice before the AGM that they wished to stand down from the Committee. They were each thanked for their invaluable support …

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