What’s missing from this picture?

June 13, 2011 at 20:36 | Posted in Barrow, Barrow Island, Docks | 4 Comments

Buccleuch Dock

Can you guess what it is yet?

After a year and a half we have a bit of catching up to do. Last year the big crane beside the Buccleuch Dock, the last of the big hammerhead cranes that once graced the Barrow skyline, was dismantled. This was very much to the dismay of many Barrovians including myself, who felt that it was the last remaining monument to the great days of Barrow shipbuilding even if this dockside crane was separate from the mighty beasts that dominated the Walney Channel side of Barrow Island. But it had been neglected for many years, and apparently had become unsafe according to BAE Systems whose bottom line would be affected by repairs, and “an eyesore” according to the then leader of Barrow Borough Council Jack Richardson, Conservative member for the Hawcoat ward. The posh people of Hawcoat, apparently, couldn’t bear to wake up in the morning and be reminded that down below their leafy hill the lower orders were doing heavy work.

Old followers of this blog will know that I was very fond of that crane. It reminded me of my granddad, Joe Storey, who was a crane driver. That particular crane was also built, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, to replace one destroyed in the Barrow Blitz of 1941. Barrow Docks played a key role in maintaining supplies during the war as well as building ships, so the fast replacement of the crane was critical to the war effort.

The marketing people promoting Barrow stress the Town Hall and Furness Abbey, but pay no attention to the town’s industrial heritage. This is a mistake in my view. Without iron and steel, and later shipbuilding, Barrow would be a tiny fishing village remote from most of the country. The town that Barrovians are rightly proud of launched legendary ships and had the biggest steelworks in the world once, and it shouldn’t be ashamed of that now.

Here’s a wee reminder of what it looked like:

The big crane

A New Beginning

June 13, 2011 at 16:36 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

I think it’s time we blew the cobwebs off this site, don’t you?
One of the amazing things about this internet of hours is that dear old Pie and Mushies continues to get a regular stream of hits eighteen months after I last posted to it. So somebody must think it provides a service. So there’s no good reason not to pick it up again.
The reason it ground to a halt in November 2009 is that my little Nikon digital camera turned up its little toes that month after three-and-a-half years service and, in this throwaway world of ours, nobody was much interested in fixing it. My other workhorse, the Nikon FG, is still going strong after thirty years but is now confined to black-and-white work. But I have a new little digital camera now and so there’s no more excuse.
Former followers will note that the title of the blog has reverted to what it was unofficially known as anyway. When I started it, it was part of the City Daily Photo Project and they didn’t like my choice of title so they made me change it. But I no longer feel any connection with that, so I can go my own way again, and not confine myself to photos of the town either.
Expect some pithy comment to come then. And don’t expect our civic representatives (or anybody else) to escape unscathed!

The most poignant war memorial of all?

November 11, 2009 at 21:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

War Memorial at Barrow Railway Station

I think I may have done this once before, but what the hell.

It’s Remembrance Day, and as it happens I travelled to Lancaster today to stock up on coffee and tea at my favourite coffee shop (this one, since you ask. They do mail order but the shop itself is a little wonder in this day and age).

So I passed twice through the station ticket hall, and was once again reminded of this plaque to the men of the Furness Railway who fell in the Great War. It was displayed in the Barrow Central Station until the station was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in WW2. The bomb-damaged plaque is now in the new station.

Low tide

November 9, 2009 at 17:14 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


Fossilised remains of the Common Supermarket Trolley (Carrus tescoides) exposed by the retreating tide on the mud of Walney Channel. These specimens have clearly been there for some time, judging by the marine life which has colonised the skeletons.

Rainbow (double)

November 8, 2009 at 00:43 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


It was a showery, blustery kind of morning when I went into town today. When a low sun peeped through I just knew there should be a fine rainbow to the north-west. And there it was, hanging over Dalton Road. Look closely and you can see the second rainbow, with the colours reversed, outside the main one.

Autumn by the Dockside, with Sjælland

October 26, 2009 at 12:59 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Autumn by the dockside

Twenty-five years ago the land where Morrisons stands was derelict. I know this because I came up to Barrow on a bus with the combined St Neots and Bedford CND groups to join the CND autumn demonstration that year, and this was where the buses were parked. When the driver asked when we wanted to leave, there was a loud chorus of “NOW!”

(My American friend and I made our way over to Walney for a pint or three of Hartleys in the Ferry, which was a reasonably good pub in those days)


September 30, 2009 at 11:16 | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Have you missed me? The bowls season is over now and things are less fraught.


Here’s that potent icon of Barrow the great shipbuilding centre, set against a dramatic evening sky.

Rolling down to Rio

June 27, 2009 at 22:13 | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments


It’s Barrow Carnival day, and the streets are, well, not quite thronged but pretty busy all the same. Unlike the last two years, it didn’t rain although after a glorious week when I was much too busy enjoying the sunshine to take many pictures it was overcast and a tad muggy. Still, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of these local drag queens.

Ok, It ain’t Rio and it ain’t Notting Hill, but at least you can breathe.

A Variation on an Old Theme

June 21, 2009 at 22:51 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


It’s deeply ingrained in the local culture, this business of public banners to mark birthdays. The Walney end of the bridge and the Coffee House roundabout on Barrow Island are common sites because they can’t be missed. But this is the first time \I’ve seen one on a boat in the channel.

Abbey Road in the sunshine

June 16, 2009 at 20:52 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


There are days when one could almost believe that Jimmy Ramsden’s plan for an elegant boulevard leading all the way from Dalton to the centre of Barrow has managed to survive into a third century.

Long may the sunshine continue, by the way. We haven’t seen its like for three years now.

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