Legionnaire’s Alley

May 27, 2008 at 15:27 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Legionnaire's Alley

I don’t know that this unglamorous little cut actually has a formal name. It connects Duke Street, by the Town Hall and main bus stops, with the main shopping area of Portland Walk and Dalton Road and passes by the service entrance of the Forum 28 arts centre on the way. Legionnaire’s Alley will do nicely, though the Borough Council would probably not agree.

In 2002 Barrow, not normally accustomed to national attention, hit the headlines when an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease killed seven local people. All of them had been walking down here, and the infection was traced to the outlet from Forum 28’s air-conditioning system, which sprayed a mist of contaminated water droplets from filthy tanks on to the hapless passers by. Enquiries were held, scapegoats found, wrists slapped, and the real corner-cutting guilty parties allowed to get away with it, more or less.

It is no longer thought to take a deep breath and run through as quickly as possible with a handkerchief pressed to one’s face. Furthermore, late in the evening it’s quite a good place late in the evening to chat to the road crews of the acts appearing on the Forum 28 Stage (some of them more than respectable names I might add, if from a bygone age.)



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  1. I certainly remember the headlines and with prosecutions and things the whole thing seemed to drag on. To outsiders it did indeed sound as if there were scapecoats made.

  2. I thought some hapless woman in charge of something or other was made to take the blame, as if she had any idea such a risk could occur.

    The only water from air conditioning systems is condensation on the cooling vanes. I don’t remain convinced that this was the source of the illness.

    There would have to be scientific and forensic evidence able to withstand the most scrutiny before I would start pointing fingers.

    A great photograph non the less which echoes this one.

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