But Barrow was a transport town long before the submarines. In the mid-nineteenth century, Barrow became a centre for steel-making, as iron ore mined in the nearby Lake District was brought to the town by rail.
This device, a prototype Bessemer converter, was made at the Barrow Haematite Ironworks in 1865, and is on show at the Science Museum. Large-scale converters that followed enabled steel to be made in vast quantities.
This plentiful local steel supply, coupled with Barrow’s sheltered waterside, made the town an ideal place to build ships, and Barrow yards churned out countless vessels before turning towards submarines in 1900.
The railway line that transported the iron ore which enabled this whole industry to thrive was a significant network in its own right.
…paintings in the art collection…
…and delightful archive items.
Today, parts of the Furness Railway are still used by the national rail network, including the line to Barrow. It’s an area with a long and enduring history.