Willie Horne

April 1, 2008 at 14:15 | Posted in Barrow, rugby league, sport, statuary | 3 Comments

As a Victorian town, Barrow has its statues of long-dead local worthies.  A berobed Ramsden the Railway Baron gazes up his ceremonial avenue of Abbey Road, while similarly berobed Schneider the Ironmaster glares at him from the top of Duke Street.

Barrow’s real hero, though, is Willie Horne, and he can be seen at the unfashionable end of Duke Street skipping impishly, in heavy studded and laced boots caked in mud, towards that great touchdown in the sky.  Barrow’s rugby league team is now a modest affair, playing National League 2 games at their ramshackle Craven Park stadium, but once they were a power in the land, appearing in five Challenge Cup finals and winning it once, in 1955 when they beat Workington Town 21-12 at Wembley, with Willie Horne receiving the cup as captain.  He also captained Great Britain, and some – mostly diehard Barrovians I suspect – regard him as the greatest rugby league player there ever was.

That was Barrow’s finest hour, and one often feels that the town tries doggedly to cling to it, for in some ways in Barrow it is forever 1955.


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  1. There’s no shame in fond memories of winning the league (as long as it doesn’t get in the way of winning it again!)

  2. […] bronze sculpture The Spirit of Barrow. It’s another piece by Chris Kelly, who gave us the Willie Horne (qv) […]

  3. […] Rugby League supremacy.) I was playing bridge tonight with my good friend and esteemed widow of a Barrow Local Hero, Bessie Horne. We came top! Didn’t we do […]

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