|Businesses in Barrow-In-Furness||Towns and Villages of Cumbria|
Barrow-In-Furness, the largest town in southern Cumbria, is a safe and sheltered harbour sitting on the tip of the Furness and Cartmel peninsula. Nearby Walney Island protects it from the sea.
Prehistoric finds-flints, pottery, stone axes, hearths, and a Viking or Roman engraved gaming board-give evidence that man inhabited this area long ago. Furness once belonged to Scotland´s Kingdom of Strathclyde. Then the Earls of Northumbria took over, after which the area became part of William I´s empire.
In 1845, Barrow was still only a small and remote farming village of a few thousand souls; then the railway arrived in 1846, bringing rapid expansion. Iron ore extracted from the Furness mines was transported to the harbour and shipped through the port. By 1870 the largest ironworks in the world and a shipbuilding industry had transformed this Furness village into a major industrial town and port, a real Victorian boom town. The population grew to over 8000 by 1864, and, by 1881, 47,000 people resided in Barrow.
The town with its wide tree-lined streets was a well planned one, the creation of two men, Henry Schneider and Sir James Ramsden, superintendent of the railway and first mayor of Barrow. They were helped along by the money of the 7th Duke of Devonshire. In 1839 H.W. Schneider arrived on the scene, took over the Whiteriggs iron mine, other ore deposits, built Barrow´s blast furnaces, and exported iron ore. Schneider and Ramsden founded the Barrow Haematite Iron and Steel Company. Ramsden built docks and started the Barrow Shipbuilding Company (later known as Vickers), covering some 184 acres of Barrow Island. The first steamship, Aries, was built in 1870. Merchant ships and submarines followed. In the intervening years battleships, oil tankers, and passenger liners were built.
Monuments to the two men stand in the town. Many of the Victorian buildings in Barrow are built of sandstone from the Ormsgill Quarry. The 1882 town hall is typical, constructed in Victorian Gothic style. Inside walls are oak panelled and the Queen´s Hall contains stained glass windows. Altogether Barrow has 283 listed buildings.
The Dock Museum, built over a Victorian graving dock (dry dock), presents an AV story of Barrow´s history, including the details of its maritime heritage and industrial growth. A special gallery houses changing exhibitions.
Barrow-In-Furness lies on several walking paths: the Red Man´s Way, the Walney Greenway, the Cumbria Coastal Way and the Cistercian Way. It also plays host to the Cumbria Cycleway.
Northwest of Barrow, the Duddon Sands, the second largest estuary in Cumbria and an important wildlife site for breeding and migratory birds, offer views across the Lakeland hills and over Walney Island. A bridge leads from Barrow Docks to Walney Island, 10 miles long. The area´s two nature reserves, North and South Walney, have a variety of habitats including sand dunes, heath, saltmarsh, beach, shingle, and scrub that contain important flora and fauna. Both migrating and nesting birds enjoy the reserves. An observation building is provided for viewing the birds.
North Walney is a habitat for the Natterjack Toad, Britain´s rarest amphibian. The reserve is one of only 40 places in Britain where they are found. The Walney geranium, wild pansies, burnet rose, and ladies´ bedstraw add colour to the sand dunes in the spring. The marsh supports sea aster, sea lavender, and thrift, while local ponds are home to several species of orchid. More than 130 species of birds were recorded in North Walney.
South Walney is home to more than 60,000 birds and is a nesting ground for herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls. Kestrels, barn owls, tufted duck, swans, and grebes delight the eye. Other breeding species include common tern, little tern, oystercatcher, ringed plover, shelduck, mallard and moorhen.
On Haws Point past the South Walney Nature Reserve is a 70-foot high, stone lighthouse built in 1790. It was originally lit with a paraffin lamp, then gaslight. Now modernized, it is not open to the public.
Walking trails, bird sanctuaries, nature reserves, sandy beaches, wide, tree-lined streets, an interesting museum, and shopping opportunities are all part of the Barrow-In-Furness experience.
Barrow Tourist Information Centre
Tel. 01229 894784
Barrow is located at the end of the A590. Direct trains from Manchester Airport Connecting service from West Coast Main Line trains National Express Bus.
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