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Barrow-in-Furness

[bar-oh]

Barrow-in-Furness is an industrial town and seaport in Cumbria, England. Often known simply as Barrow, the town is situated at the tip of the Furness peninsula bordered only by Morecambe Bay and the Irish Sea. It forms about half the territory of the wider Borough of Barrow-in-Furness. Barrow is located just over north-west of London and south of the Scottish border.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Barrow was a small fishing village before the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century. The building of the Furness Railway allowed iron ore to be transported to the area; the village's location made it ideal for smelting and then exporting steel. The natural harbour the booming town possessed allowed the locally produced steel to be put to another use: shipbuilding.

The shipyard became a significant producer of naval vessels and from the 1960s increasingly specialised in the construction of nuclear-powered submarines. The original iron- and steel- making enterprises closed down after World War II, leaving boat building the area's main industry and employer. All of Britain's Vanguard class submarines, which carry the Trident nuclear deterrent, were manufactured at the facility. With the end of the Cold War and subsequent decrease in military spending the town suffered high unemployment. In September 2008, Barrow was named as the most working class location in the UK, ironically in the 1870's Barrow had more aristocrats per head than anywhere else in the country.

Toponymy

The name was originally that of an island- the name 'Barrai' can be traced back to 1190. This was later renamed 'Old Barrow', recorded as Oldebarrey in 1537, and Old Barrow Insula and Barrohead in 1577. The island was then joined to the mainland and the town took its name. The name itself seems to mean 'island with promontory', combining British barro- and Old Norse ey, but it is more likely that Scandinavian settlers simply accepted barro- as a meaningless name, and so added an explanatory Old Norse second element.

History

In the Middle Ages the Furness peninsula was controlled by the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of St Mary of Furness, known as Furness Abbey. This was located in the 'Vale of Nightshade', now on the outskirts of the modern town. Originally founded for the Savigniac order, it was built on the orders of Stephen of Blois in 1123. Soon after the abbey's foundation the monks discovered iron ore deposits, later to prove the basis for Furness' economy. These thin layers, close to the surface, were extracted through open cast workings, which were then smelted by the monks in small bloomeries (early furnaces). The proceeds from mining, along with agriculture and fisheries, meant that by the 15th century the abbey had become the second richest and most powerful Cistercian abbey in England, after Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. However, Barrow itself was an hamlet in the parish of Dalton-in-Furness on the Furness peninsula reliant on the land and sea for survival. Small quantities of iron and ore were exported from jetties which were constructed into the channel separating the then-village and Walney Island. Amongst the oldest buildings in Barrow, are several cottages and farm houses in Newbarns (now a ward of the town) which date back to the early 1600s. Even as late as 1843 there were still only 32 dwellings including two pubs.

In 1839 Henry Schneider arrived as a young speculator and dealer in iron, and he finally discovered large deposits of haematite in 1850. He and other investors founded the Furness Railway, the first section of which opened in 1846 to transport the ore from the slate quarries at Kirkby-in-Furness and haematite mines at Lindal-in-Furness to a deep water harbour near Roa Island. The docks built between 1867 and 1881 in the more sheltered channel between the mainland and Barrow Island replaced the port at Roa Island. The increasing quantities of iron ore mined in Furness were then brought to Barrow to be transported by sea.

The investors in the burgeoning mining and railway industries decided greater profits could be made by smelting the iron ore into steel, and then exporting the finished product. Schneider and James Ramsden, the railway's general manager, erected blast furnaces at Barrow that by 1876 formed the largest steelworks in the world at the time. Its success was a result of the availability of local iron ore, coal from the Cumberland mines and easy rail and sea transport. The Furness Railway, who counted local aristocrats The Duke of Devonshire and the Duke of Buccleugh as investors, kick-started the Industrial Revolution on the peninsula. The railway brought mined ore to the town, where the steelworks produced large quantities of steel. It was used for shipbuilding or derived products such as rails were exported from the newly built docks. This caused Barrow's population, originally 700 in 1851, to reach 10,000 by 1864 and 47,000 by 1881, forty years after the railway was built.

The sheltered straight between Barrow and Walney Island was an ideal location for the shipyard. The first ship to be built was the 'Jane Roper', launched in 1852; the first steamship, a 3,000 ton liner named Duke of Devonshire, in 1873. Shipbuilding activity increased, and on 18 February 1871 the Barrow Shipbuilding Company was incorporated. Barrow's relative isolation from the United Kingdom's industrial heartlands meant the newly formed company included several capabilities that would usually be subcontracted to other establishments. In particular, a large engineering works was constructed including a foundry and pattern shop, a forge, and an engine shop. In addition, the shipyard had a joiners' shop, a boat-building shed and a sailmaking and rigging loft.

During these boom years, Ramsden, who was also superintendent of the Furness Railway, proposed a planned town to accommodate the large workforce which had arrived. There are few planned towns in the United Kingdom, and Barrow is one of the oldest. Its centre contains a grid of well-built terraced houses, with long tree-lined roads leading away from central squares. Later knighted, he later became the first mayor of Barrow, which was given municipal borough status in 1867, and later county borough status in 1889. The imposing red sandstone Town Hall, designed by W.H. Lynn, was built in a neo-gothic style in 1887. Prior to this, the borough council had met at the railway headquarters, the railway company's control of industry extended to the administration of the town itself.

The Barrow Shipbuilding Company was taken over by the Sheffield steel firm of Vickers in 1897, by which time the shipyard had surpassed the railway and steelworks as the largest employer and landowner in Barrow. The company constructed Vickerstown, modelled on George Cadbury's Bournville, on the adjacent Walney Island in the early twentieth century to house its employees. It also commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to design Abbey House as a guest house and residence for its managing director at the time, Commander Craven.

By the 1890s the shipyard was heavily engaged in the construction of warships for the Royal Navy and also for export. The Navy's first submarine, Holland 1, was built in 1901, and by 1914 the UK had the most advanced submarine fleet in the world, with 94% of it constructed by Vickers. Vickers was also famous for the construction of airships (airship hangar) during the early 1900s. Well-known ships built in Barrow include the Mikasa, Japanese flagship during the Russo-Japanese War, the liner SS Oriana and the aircraft carriers HMS Invincible and HMAS Melbourne.

During World War II Barrow was a target for the German airforce, the Luftwaffe, looking to disable the town's shipbuilding capabilities (see Barrow Blitz). The town suffered the most in a short period between April and May 1941. During the war, a local housewife, Nella Last was selected to write a diary of her everyday experiences on the home front for the Mass-Observation project. Her memoirs were later adapted for television. The difficulty in targeting bombs meant that the shipyards and steelworks were often missed, at the expense of the residential areas. Ultimately, 83 people were killed and 11,000 houses in the area were left damaged. To escape the heaviest bombardments, many people in the central areas left the town to sleep in hedgerows with some being permanently evacuated. Barrow's industry continued to supply the war effort, with Winston Churchill visiting the town on one occasion to launch the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable.

The end of the war saw the beginning of a long decline of ore mining and steel-making as a result of overseas competition and dwindling resources. The Barrow ironworks closed in 1963, three years after the last Furness mine shut. The then small steelworks followed suit in 1983 leaving Barrow's shipyard as the town's principal industry. From the 1960s onwards it concentrated its efforts in submarine manufacture, and the UK's first nuclear-powered submarine, HMS Dreadnought was constructed in 1960. HMS Resolution, the Swiftsure-class, Trafalgar-class and Vanguard-class submarines all followed.

The end of the Cold War in 1991 marked a reduction in the demand for military ships and submarines, and the town entered a period of decline. The shipyard's dependency on military contracts at the expense of civilian and commercial engineering and shipbuilding meant it was particularly hard hit as government defence spending was reduced dramatically. As a result, the workforce shrank from 14,500 in 1990 to 5,800 in February 1995, with overall unemployment in the town over that period rising from 4.6% to 10%. The rejection by the VSEL management of detailed plans for Barrow's industrial renewal in the mid-to-late 1980s remains a point of contention. This has led to renewed academic attention in recent years to the possibilities of converting military-industrial production in declining shipbuilding areas to those in the offshore renewable energy sector.

In August 2002 Barrow suffered the UK's worst ever outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease. There were 172 people reported to have caught the disease, of which seven ultimately died. This made it the 4th worst outbreak in the world in terms of number of cases and 6th worst in terms of deaths (see list of Legionnaires' disease outbreaks). The source of the virus was later found to be from steam coming out of a badly maintained air conditioning unit. The system was located in the council-run arts centre Forum 28, with the vent emitting the disease over a busy alleyway in the town centre.

The coroner for Furness and South Cumbria criticised the council for its failings with regard to health and safety at the conclusion of an inquest into the seven deaths. In 2006, council employee Gillian Beckingham and employer Barrow Borough Council were cleared of seven charges of manslaughter, but both admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. Beckingham, the council senior architect ultimately responsible for health and safety at the centre, was fined £15,000 and the authority £125,000. The borough council was the first public body in the country to have faced corporate manslaughter charges.

Regeneration

The Waterfront

Many areas of the town have seen regeneration in the 1990s, and on 28 September 2007 Barrow's £200 million Dockland regeneration project began. Due to be completed by 2020, the project includes a new 'Barrow Marina Village' which will incorporate a £8 million 400 berth marina, 600 homes, restaurants, shops, hotels and a new state of the art bridge across Cavendish Dock. A large watersports centre is also being built, with the possibility of a cruise ship terminal.

Shipyard

The shipyard has been given planning permission to construct a new tall assembly hall. Dubbed 'Son of DDH' in a reference to the existing Devonshire Dock Hall shipbuilding facility, the building will be used initially for the construction of aircraft carrier sections. Following a decline in employment levels at the shipyard over the last 20 years, BAE recently announced that the current workforce of 3,835 could soon grow to 5,000, although this is still only a third of the 14,000 employed in the 1980s.

Bridges

For many years there have been discussions whether or not to construct bridges across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary, leading to the Build Duddon and Morecambe Bridges party contesting national elections in the borough of Barrow and Furness, receiving 409 (1.1%) votes in the 2005 general election.

Morecambe Bay Bridge
This project has recently received more coverage. Construction of the structure would create Europe's longest bridge, and the 7th longest in the world. Connecting Heysham in Lancashire to Rampside, the bridge would also produce 200MW of renewable energy from a tidal stream system, enough to power over 400,000 homes. The bridge would have a major economic impact on the area through increased employment and tourism, and would cut journeys to Manchester from Barrow from two hours down to under one, which would put Barrow within commuting range of a major city. The project's backer, Bridge Across the Bay Ltd., intend to seek planning permission in 2010. Subject to approval and the provision of finance, construction could begin around 2011, and the company estimates the bridge could be completed in 2015. The bridge is becoming ever more likely, as a second bridge to Walney Island from mainland Barrow is planned to relieve congestion, the Morecambe Bay bridge proposal is also being discussed by local councils

Duddon Estuary Bridge
A smaller bridge crossing the Duddon Estuary linking Askam and Millom, would definitely help improve transport links to the area. There has also been talk of building a road and rail tunnel under the Duddon instead of a bridge.

Governance

Barrow is the largest town in the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness and the largest settlement in the peninsula of Furness. The borough is the direct inheritor of the municipal and county borough charters given to the town in the late 1800s. Historically it is part of the Hundred of Lonsdale 'north of the sands' in the historic county boundaries of Lancashire. Since the local government reforms enacted in England in 1974 the town has been within the administrative shire and ceremonial county of Cumbria. It still forms a part of the official UK government administered Duchy of Lancaster. The Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council forms the 'lower' tier of local government under Cumbria County Council. The town, along with Walney Island, is unparished and forms the bulk of the wards which make the entire borough's area. They can be seen in the box below.

Wards/ Areas of Barrow-in-Furness
Barrow Island | Central | Hawcoat | Hindpool | Newbarns | Ormsgill | Parkside | Risedale | Roosecote | Walney North | Walney South

Geography

Barrow-in-Furness is situated at the tip of the Furness peninsula on the north-western edge of Morecambe Bay. The town centre and major industrial areas sit on a fairly flat coastal shelf, with a gentle incline leading away from the coast. Ten miles (16 km) to the north-east is the southern boundary of the English Lake District.

Islands

The town is sheltered from the Irish Sea by Walney Island, a 10 mile (20 km) long island connected to the mainland by the Bascule type Jubilee bridge. About 13,000 live on the isle's various settlements, mostly in Vickerstown, which was build to house workers in the rapidly expanding shipyard. Another significant island which lay in the Walney channel is Barrow Island, but following the filling of the channel to create land for the yard is now directly connected to the town. Other islands which lie close to Barrow are Piel Island, whose castle protected the harbour from marauding Scots, Sheep Island, Roa Island and Foulney Island.

Climate

Demographics

Population
Total
71,980
of which:
Male 35,092
Female 36,888
by age:
0-15 16-74 75+
14,993 51,228 5,759

Population
Barrow changed from a having a population in the low thousands in the early 1800s to a fully fledged town of 60,000 in less than twenty years. Since the start of the 20th century the population of the town has gradually diminished to just under 60,000. The Barrow council district, which includes the surrounding area, has a population of 71,980 according to the most recent census, placing it 326th out of the 376 local authorities in England and Wales (however a population density of Barrow ranks 147th out of 376). Barrow-in-Furness can be regarded as the largest town in Cumbria, Carlisle in the north of the county having city status. People from Barrow are known as Barrovians.

Population in the 19th century
Year 1801 1811 1831 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population 1,958 2,078 2,702 4,684 22,513 40,343 58,172 62,694

Population in the 20th century
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991
Population 67,354 72,360 73,394 74,447 75,509 76,619 75,902 72,192 72,645 73,704
Age
The life female life expectancy at birth is 80.40 years, and male life expectancy is 74.80 (The respective figures for England are 81.14 and 76.92).

Ethnicity
2008 estimates state 94.3% of Barrow's population as indigenous White British, and ethnic minority populations in Barrow stand at 5.7%, the breakdown of which is shown in the table below. Scandinavians were the first to settle in the area, and it is likely that a significant percentage of the town's population is of Scandinavian descent. Barrow has the eighth fastest growing white other community of any town or city in the country, at 15.9% growth between 2004 and 2005, only Exeter, Lancaster, Colchester, Hull, Durham, Leeds and Bristol were faster growing. Barrow has also seen a huge increase with other ethnic minority groups, and the growth rate for most groups is around 2 times faster than national average. To summarise, 1 in 10 people are not indigenous to the immediate area (i.e. England).

Ethnic Group % of Overall Barrow Population % of Ethnic Minority Population Population Notes
White British 94.30% N/A 67,802 Around 89.90% White English, 2.8% White Scottish, 0.6% White Welsh
Other White 1.90% 34.54% 1,366 Largely Canadians, Germans, Polish, Kosovars, Yugoslavs, Americans
South Asian 1.00% 18.18% 719 0.4% Indian, 0.3% Pakistani, 0.2% Other South Asian, 0.1% Bangladeshi
White Irish 1.00% 18.18% 719 0.6% Northern Irish, 0.4% Irish
East Asian 0.60% 10.90% 431 0.2% Chinese, 0.2% Filipinos, 0.2% Thais and other
Mixed Race 0.60% 10.90% 431 Mixed White and Black, Mixed White and Asian and Other Mixed
Black 0.40% 6.89% 288 0.20% African, 0.20% Caribbean
Other 0.20% 3.64% 144 Largely Latin Americans

Country of birth
The 2001 UK census states that 93.56% (67,345) of the borough's population was born in England, 2.86% (2,061) in Scotland, 0.63% (451) in Wales, 0.68% (486) in Northern Ireland, 0.32% (231) in the Republic of Ireland and 0.06% (43) in the Channel Islands. 0.61% (441) of the town's 2001 population were born in the rest of Europe, the five largest sub-groups being Germans, Former Yugoslavs, Spaniards, Italians and Poles, although the current numbers are likely to be much higher (especially with the Polish born numbers). The Asian born population represented 0.50% (363) of Barrow's population, the five largest sub-groups being Indians, Chinese (mostly from Hong Kong), Filipinos, - Cypriots (included as Middle-Easterners) - Singaporeans and Pakistanis. 0.35% (253) of people were born in North America, with Canadians, Americans and Jamaicans constituting for the majority of these. 0.23% (177) of people were born in Africa, with the three largest sub-groups being South Africans, Zimbabweans and Nigerians. 0.12% (83) of people were born in Oceania namely Australia and New Zealand.0.04% (27) of Barrovians were born in Latin America, and 0.02% (11) of people were born in some other place.

Religion
In the 2001 census 58,322 Barrovians stated themselves as being Christian. People stating no religion or chose not to state numbered 13,234 combined. The second largest religion in Barrow is Islam with a population of 182 Muslims. Other religious populations are as follows: 72 Buddhists, (nearby Conishead Priory, the first Kadampa Buddhist centre in the west, is home to around 100 Buddhists) 46 Hindus, 25 Jews and 96 with another religion.

Other
Out of the 56,987 age 16 or over in 2001, 43.81% were married, 26.26% single, 9.57% widowed, 9.36% divorced, 8.98% re-married and 2.01% separated (but still legally married). The Total Fertility Rate of Barrow is 1.54, lower than North West England's rate (1.66) and England's (1.65). 162 Barrovians were working in the Armed Forces in 2001 Barrow has one of the highest percentages of people on benefits in the entire United Kingdom, at 23% of the working age, it is almost double England's average of 14%.

Economy

Barrow has one of the largest shipyards in Britain which is currently owned and operated by BAE Systems. It was expanded by construction of a new covered assembly facility, the Devonshire Dock Hall (DDH), completed by Alfred McAlpine in 1986 on land that was created by infilling part of the Devonshire Dock with 2.4 million tonnes of sand pumped from nearby Roosecote Sands. DDH is the tallest building in Cumbria and has dominated the Barrow skyline for over 20 years. With a length of 268 m (879 ft), width of 51 m (167 ft) and an area of it is the largest shipbuilding construction complex of its kind in Europe. However, BAE Systems has recently obtained planning permission from Barrow Borough Council for an even taller 54.2 m (178 ft) building; the new Central Assembly Shop dubbed 'Son of DDH' will provide over 700 new jobs, initially in construction of a large section of the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

The DDH provides a controlled environment for ship and submarine assembly, and avoids the difficulties caused by building on the slope of traditional slipways. Outside the hall, a 24,300 tonne capacity shiplift allows completed vessels to be lowered into the water independently of the tide. Vessels can also be lifted out of the water and transferred to the hall. The first use of the DDH was for construction of the Vanguard-class submarines, and later vessels of the Trafalgar-class submarines were also built there The shipyard does not build submarines exclusively: recent years have seen the fitting out and commissioning of helicopter carrier HMS Ocean (although the ship was built by Kværner in Govan, Glasgow), and construction of Wave Class tanker Wave Knight and Albion Class amphibious assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark.

The shipyard is currently constructing the Astute-class submarines the first of which was launched on 8 June 2007. With firm orders for submarine pressure domes for the Spanish Navy and a large section (hull lower block 3) of the new aircraft carriers, as well as eventual replacement of the Trident missile system for which the British House of Commons voted in 2007, the future of Barrow's shipyard seems assured.

Associated British Ports Holdings owns and operates the port of Barrow which can berth vessels up to long and with a draught of . Principal traffic includes the export of condensate by-product from the production of gas at the Rampside Gas Terminal, wood pulp, and locally quarried limestone which is exported to Scandinavia for use in the paper industry. The port, which has deep water access, also handles the shipment of nuclear fuels and waste for BNFL's nearby Sellafield plant.

In 1985, gas was discovered in Morecambe Bay, with the products processed onshore at the gas terminal in Rampside, south of the town. A new 30 turbine wind-farm which has recently been built in the Irish Sea off the coast of Walney Island, although the electricity generated is sent by undersea cable to Heysham.

James Fisher and Sons Public Limited Company, a service provider in all sectors of the marine industry and a specialist supplier of engineering services to the nuclear industry in the UK and abroad, was founded in Barrow in 1847 and is the largest company to have its headquarters situated in Cumbria. Annual revenue stood at almost £90 million in 2007 (up 55% from £57 million in 2006), as well as staff numbers standing at over 1,000 worldwide, with 120 of those in the Barrow headquarters.

Other major employers include the NHS, through Furness General Hospital, which employs 1,800 staff and the Kimberly Clark paper mill which has 400 employees.

Employment

Below is a list of how many people were employed by each sector (2001 UK Census), the percentage in brackets is that of the total working population of Barrow. The + or - signs at the end indicate whether the percentge employed in that sector is slightly higher +, much higher ++, slightly lower- or much lower-- than England's average .

Tourism

Being only around 20 minutes from the Lake District, Barrow has been referred to as a 'gateway to the lakes', a status which could be enhanced by the new marina complex and planned cruise ship terminal. Barrow itself has several tourist attractions, including the Dock Museum. The museum tells the history of Barrow's shipbuilding, as well as offering gallery space to local artists and schoolchildren. It is built upon and around the old graving dock. Barrow also has a popular indoor market, which features a food hall as well as stalls selling clothes and other goods. Barrow has been described as the Lake District's premier shopping town, with big name shops mingling in with small local ones, and being home to Portland Walk Shopping Centre. The town also features Hollywood Park - a leisure facility with restaurants, shops and Cumbria's largest cinema. The town also features several other retail parks. The Park Leisure Centre is a fitness suite with a pool, set in the Barrow Park.

Transport

See: Transport in Barrow-in-Furness

Barrow's principal road link is the A590, linking it to Ulverston, the Lake District and to the M6 motorway. Just north of Barrow is the southern terminus of the A595, linking the town to Whitehaven, Workington and eventually Carlisle. The possibility of a bridge link over Morecambe Bay is occasionally raised, with feasibility studies currently underway.

Bus services within the town are operated by Stagecoach North West. There is no specifically designated bus station, although many buses start and terminate their routes near the Town Hall. The original bus depot was known for its role in a 1970s television commercial for Chewits sweets before its demolition. Other services link Barrow with outlying villages as well as longer distance routes to Dalton-in-Furness, Ulverston and Kendal.

Barrow-in-Furness railway station provides connections to Whitehaven, Workington and Carlisle to the north, via the Cumbrian Coast Line, and to Ulverston, Grange-over-Sands and Lancaster to the east, via the Furness Line. It handles 503,800 passengers annually. Barrow has a second railway station, called Roose railway station, which serves the suburb of Roose.

Other means of transport in and out of Barrow include air, with the town being home to a regional airfield (Barrow/Walney Island Airfield), owned and operated by BAE Systems (IATA airport code: BWF, ICAO: EGNL). It is one of two airports in the county, the other being Carlisle Airport. The nearest international airport is Blackpool International Airport, although most people from Barrow use the larger Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester Airports. Despite being one of the UK's leading shipbuilding centres, Barrow is only a minor port. Although there are no ferry links to Barrow, there are proposals to create a cruise ship terminal.

Sport

Barrow A.F.C

Barrow A.F.C. next year 2008-09 will play in the Conference National division of English football. The team, founded in 1901, are nicknamed "the Bluebirds" and play their home games at the Holker Street stadium. The side were members of the Football League until they were demoted in 1972. In 1990, they won the FA Trophy beating Leek Town 3-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium, London. Football players born in Barrow include England internationals Emlyn Hughes and Gary Stevens, as well as Harry Hadley, and Vic Metcalfe. Of current professional footballers, Wayne Curtis, Morecambe striker, and Iran Under-20 and Hibernian winger Shana Haji both hail from the town.

Holker Old Boys F.C.

Holker Old Boys, based at Rakesmoor Lane, are the town's second most successful football team, and they play in the North West Counties Football League Division One.

Barrow Raiders

Rugby league is a well-established sport and the town is considered as one of the game's traditional heartlands at professional and amateur levels. The professional team, Barrow Raiders, whose home games are at Craven Park, play in National League Two. In the 1950s the side played in three Challenge Cup finals, winning the last of these against Workington Town. In the 1997 reorganisation of the sport the original Barrow RLFC team merged with Carlisle Border Raiders to form Barrow Border Raiders, with the word "border" later dropped. Players who were born in the town and played at a professional level include brothers Ade and Mat Gardner and Willie Horne. The latter captained Barrow to their Challenge Cup victory and represented Great Britain at an international level. He was inducted in to the "Barrow Hall of Fame" along with former Barrow players Phil Jackson and Jimmy Lewthwaite.

Motor Racing

Barrow in Furness has staged speedway racing at three venues since the pioneer days in the late 1920s. The first track was at Holker Street. This venue had a revival for a short spell in the early to mid 1970s. In 1930 the sport moved to Little Park but this a somewhat hazy venue. The sport had a revival in 1978 at Park Avenue Industrial Estate but this was relatively short lived.

Golf

Barrow is home to two large golf clubs. Barrow Golf Club, founded in 1922, is situated in Hawcoat and covers some with 18 holes. Furness Golf Club, possibly the more famous of the two, is located on Walney Island, just from the Irish Sea. It also offers an 18-hole course, a shop and other facilities.

Culture

Radio

Barrow is served by two commercial radio stations. The Bay is broadcast from Lancaster and serves the area around Morecambe Bay. Abbey FM begun broadcasting from Barrow after being awarded a commercial radio license by Ofcom in 2005. The station, whose target remit is 25 to 64 year-olds living in Barrow and the Furness peninsula, is owned by The Radio Business Ltd, CN Group and The Local Radio Company Ltd. The BBC's local radio service is BBC Radio Cumbria, who have studio facilities in the town.

Newspapers

There is one paid-for evening daily paper - the North West Evening Mail. There is also a weekly freesheet called the Advertiser, which is delivered to most households in the Furness area. Both are owned by independent publisher the CN group, formerly Cumbrian Newspapers.

Television

Barrow lies in the Granada TV/ North West England region with the main signal coming from the Winter Hill transmitter near Bolton. There is also a relay transmitter at Millom whose signal can be received in the northern end of the town. The signal from Millom is generally of inferior quality, with most households receiving BBC 1 and 2 and ITV at adequate quality, with low quality reception of Channel 4 programs.

Various television personalities were born in the district. Dave Myers was a biker born in Barrow, before he found fame as one half of television cookery duo The Hairy Bikers. Karen Taylor is a TV comedienne best known for her BBC Three sketch show 'Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor'. Steve Dixon is a newsreader for Sky News, while Nigel Kneale was a well-known film and television scriptwriter.

Wartime diarist and local housewife Nella Last's memoirs were adapted for television, with parts of the town used in filming. The resulting programme, Housewife, 49, starring comedienne Victoria Wood, was broadcast by ITV in 2006. It won two BAFTA awards - one for Best Single Drama, the other for Best Actress (Victoria Wood). CITV children's show The Treacle People had two villains named Barrow and Furness respectively. *

Music

Barrow has produced several musical performers of note. They include Thomas Round, a singer and actor in D'Oyly Carte productions of Savoy Opera as well as Glenn Cornick, the original bass guitarist in the rock band, Jethro Tull. The father of Simply Red's Mick Hucknall was born in Barrow before moving to Manchester. More recently, hip-hop DJ and record producer Aim has had considerable commercial success.

Expressive arts

Several people of note in the world of Art and Literature have come from Barrow. Artist Keith Tyson, who won the Turner Prize in 2002, was born in nearby Ulverston and attended the Barrow-in-Furness College of Engineering as well as working at then VSEL shipyard. Constance Spry, the author and florist who revolutionised interior design in the U.K in the 1930s and 40's, moved to the town with her son Anthony during World War I to work as welfare supervisor. Peter Purves, later a Blue Peter presenter, began his acting career with 2 years as a member of the Renaissance Theatre Company at the town's Her Majesty's Theatre. The Canteen Media & Arts Centre - known simply as "The Canteen" - and Forum Twenty Eight are the main venues for theatre.

Literature

In fictional works, Barrow and Vickerstown on Walney Island featured in children's show The Railway Series, which developed into Thomas the Tank Engine, as the point where the fictional Island of Sodor connected to mainland Britain and the national rail network.

The great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa dedicated a poem to Barrow-in-Furness. His "heteronym" Álvaro de Campos lived in Barrow when he was studying ship engineering. The poem, divided in to five other poems, is called "Barrow-On-Furness". Near the river, Alvaro de Campos dreams of Lisbon and Tejo river: [...]Sonho, histérico oculto, um vão recanto.../O rio Furness, que é o que aqui banha,/Só ironicamente me acompanha,/Que estou parado e ele correndo tanto...

Architecture

Barrow is one of Britain's few planned towns and has many fine buildings to show for it. There are many old and distinctive buildings in the town centre, mostly from the Victorian era, such as the Town hall, Old Fire station, The 'Nan Tait' Centre, Salvation Army Building and Public Library. There is also an increasing number of modern office buildings as well as the shipyard's cranes and construction halls which dominate much of Barrow's skyline. Barrow has 8 Grade I listed buildings, 15 Grade II* and 249 Grade II buildings.

Education

Nursery Schools 13
Infant Schools 5
Junior Schools 5
Primary Schools 15
Secondary Schools 5
Private Schools 1
Colleges 2
Universities 1*
* University of Cumbria partly sited in Barrow

Education in the state sector is provided by the local education authority, Cumbria County Council. There are fifteen primary schools, five infant schools, five junior schools and many nurseries. The are five secondary schools, they are Parkview School, St. Bernard's Catholic High School, Walney School, Thorncliffe School and Alfred Barrow School. In the further education sector there are two colleges. Barrow-in-Furness Sixth Form College concentrates on teaching A-level subjects, while Furness College specialises in vocational courses. In addition to publicly funded education, the town has one private school, Chetwynde, which has fee-paying pupils from nursery to sixth form level.

The town's main library is the Central Library in Ramsden Square, situated near the town centre. The library was established in 1882 in a room near the Town Hall, and moved to its current premises in 1922. A branch of the County Archive Service, opened in 1979 and containing many of the town's archives, is located within adjoining premises, whilst until 1991 the library also housed the Furness Museum, a forerunner of the Dock Museum. Smaller branch libraries are currently provided at Walney, Roose, Ormsgill, and Barrow Island.

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