Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Welcome to a town that’s proud of a great past

BARROW borough’s proud heritage was on display at an open weekend.

The Heritage Open Days gave members of the public a chance to see behind-the-scenes inside notable buildings.

Events were held at Barrow Town Hall, Abbey House Hotel and Cumbria Record Office and Local Studies Library in Barrow, as well as Dalton Castle and Crown Court House in Dalton.

North-West Evening Mail librarian Heather Horner held an exhibition spanning over 100 years of the paper’s history in the banqueting hall at Barrow Town Hall.

The exhibition included old photographs, laminated bound files from 1903, 1928 and 1942 and a chance to view the Evening Mail’s CDs of nostalgia pictures.

Other items include old cameras, a glass negative and a compositor’s stick from hot metal days.

Former Ulverston reporter Terry Horne contributed his memories from his time as a compositor.

Mrs Horner said: “I think the exhibition went really well and people seemed really interested in the displays, taking photos of the bound files and asking lots of questions.”

Barrow Transport Group also showed a collection of pictures and a slide presentation in the drawing room at the town hall.

Barrow Borough Council town centre and festivals manager Ann Taylforth said: “We had several hundred visitors who really enjoyed the grandeur of the town hall and the exhibitions.”

Members of the public enjoyed guided tours around the Cumbria Record Office and Local Studies Library.

The archive, which is situated inside Barrow Library, holds some of South Cumbria’s most important documents.

Participants were shown a variety of different extracts, some of which were hundreds of years old.

Important documents held in the library include the lease for Mireside Hall in Cark, which dates back to 1601 and comes complete with Queen Elizabeth I’s royal stamps, and some of Barrow artist George Romney’s original sketchbooks.

The most precious document is arguably the Ulverston Town Charter, which was created in 1285.

The tour was given the chance to see the documents up close and ask questions on the library and its services.

Dalton Castle was the oldest building on show over the weekend, which was held from September 8 to 11.

The National Trust castle is a 14th century tower, formerly the manorial courthouse of the Abbot of Furness Abbey.

Friends of Dalton Castle hosted the event, which attracted over 100 visitors, and local actress Julie Lloyd appeared as a ‘medieval prisoner’ who escaped from the dungeon.

She told visitors about why she was thrown into the dungeon and the kind of treatment that prisoners could expect to receive in the cold, dark, damp chamber at the base of Dalton Castle.

Gruesome medieval punishment included the stocks, the pillory the whipping post or even a trip to the gallows in Gallows Land (now Crooklands).

The Barrow-born actress said: “We were pleased with the number of visitors, and both children and adults enjoyed the performances. Everyone was very interested.

“Hopefully it will generate even more interest in the castle.”

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