Barrow's Main Man........
B.A.E. Systems, or Vickers as everyone knows it, was Barrow's main employer. It started life asThe Barrow Ship Building Company in 1871 and was bought by Vickers Armstrong in 1897 and in later years went through a series of owners, ending currently with BAESystems.
The first boat to be launched from the yard was the steam yacht Aries, in 1873. Over the next ten years more than a hundred ships were built, including passenger liners and warships.
In the 60's the first nuclear subs were built, Dreadnought and Polaris, followed in the 90's by four Trident nuclear subs, the newest of new in nuclear technology. These were built in Devonshire Dock Hall, a massive building dominating the shipyard today. It is the largest marine ship-building shed in Europe.
The past decade has seen a steady fall in the workforce, orders going abroad, not the demand etc. etc. Currently, only around 4,000 remain employed at the Barrow yard. The company has to remain optimistic to enable it to survive.
Rows of terraced houses sit dwarfed amongst BAE's gigantic buildings. To me, this is Barrow's gloomier side but people have lived alongside these monsters in total harmony for years, never living any differently. I dare say you see the" real "side of Barrow here.
Much of the history of Barrow's ship-building can be found in Barrow Dock Museum.
When we first moved to Barrow, in 1983, somewhere in the region of 15,000 worked at Vickers. You made sure you weren't in the vicinity of the shipyard at either lunchtime or end of shift kick-out. Thousands would pour out of the various sheds and
leap on their bikes and pour out onto Barrow's roads, not a care for the ordinary person. It was an awesome sight and not a situation to be caught up in!!!
Show me the way to go home.
"The past is a foreign country."
They say that some smokers go on craving cigarettes years after they have given up, I’m the same with Marshes Sass.
I walked into a newsagent on Pedder Street in Morecambe last year and there was a crate of Marshes Sass on the floor by the counter. I asked the guy if it was for sale and he sort of looked at me blankly, I said I’ll take the lot but then it hit me………… I said “hang on, this is a dream init?” and he said “yes mate, it’s a dream, sorry”
Some call it a cul de sac........
"......but I call it 'home'"
Well this is it. This is the place where I live, work and play sometimes.
Barrow-in-Furness is a moderate town as I mentioned in my homepage with the total population being 71980. The recently modernised town centre has become pedestrianised and a new shopping area created providing new jobs and, opportunities to attract out of town customers and tourists.
"Things to see"
Barrow-in-Furness has lots to offer everyone and is an ideal location. Close to surrounding beaches. The best beaches are Ernse Bay, Roanhead, Bardsea and Aldingham, but if you follow any part of the coast line then you will always find a nice spot in the middle of no-where. I prefer Aldingham as it is nestled amongst trees and is fairly secluded. Ideal for thinking time! The beaches are clean and there are plenty of rock pools at these beaches for children to explore.
Furness Abbey is a short distance away from the town centre. Buses are frequent and taxis are plentiful and cheap. Furness Abbey dates back to 1123 and was the second largest Cistercian monastery in England. A lot of the gargoyles and other pieces are still in tact and there is also a museum area.
If you are wanting a gentle walk with plentiful panormaic views, then Birkrigg, just on the outskirts would be ideal. It is a gentle walk, with breathtaking views over Barrow-in-Furness, Morecambe Bay, Ulverston and the Lakeland Fells, andis home to a small stone circle, but you would need transport to get there.
Another place for peace, quiet and excellent views is Piel Island. A small boat ride away from Roa Island. There is a small boat that operates more frequently in the tourist season, which takes people from Roa Island to Piel Island. Its a nice little trip over to see the castle ruins and of course to have a few beers in the pub!! This is a unique little place as it has its own king, a ruined castle and a pub....oh and a few little cottages. There is a chair in the pub and it is said that if you sit on this chair, then you are obliged to buy all persons in the pub a drink. I know it goes something like that. So if you want to remain rich, then don't sit in it.
On the outskirts of Barrow there are lots of other places of interest such as,
Gleaston Water Mill
Colony Candle Shop
Dalton Castle & George Romneys' Grave
Of course, there are lots of things for familys to do too. Hollywood Park, Barrow-in-Furness is a complex which is home to a cinema, Bowling Alley, Bingo, Gym, and fast food outlets. There is also a Lazerzone a little down the road and a leisure centre with swimming baths, climbing wall and roller skating.
Nightlife in Barrow-in-Furness offers variety. There are plenty of pubs, restaurants serving various cuisines and plenty of nightclubs for you to dance your socks off to until the early hours. There are some take-aways which operate after the clubs have closed.
A lake paradise
As usual, I have been remiss in not writing immediately on getting back from a trip. Anyway, I visited Barrow in Furness in October 2002. The sheer beauty of this place astounds me. It is, without doubt, the prettiest part of England that I have seen.
The heart of the Lake District is well situated to cater to the thousands of tourists that it attracts every year. Barrow in Furness is named after the Furness Harbour, which is where the UK government produces its nuclear submarines.