Barrow-in-Furness  Civic and Local History Society
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Our AGM was held on Friday 27th January. After the short business meeting, members enjoyed listening to guest speaker, Rod White. His talk was based on his extensive research into the lives of the people whose WW2 memorials can be found in Barrow Cemetery. His “Stories behind the Stones” talk gave a thought provoking insight into the lives of the servicemen and civilians who lost their lives during the war. The meeting was well attended and the vote of thanks was given by Derek Lyon.

The guest speaker at our February meeting was Dr. Mike Winstanley, retired senior lecturer in Social and Regional History at Lancaster University. His talk, “For Tortola: Lonsdale Merchants, Quakers and the West Indies”, explored some of the trading, personal and religious connections between the Morecambe Bay area and the Caribbean Virgin Islands. It was the first time that Dr. Winstanley had spoken to the society and everyone enjoyed his talk. Eddie Payne gave the vote of thanks.      

The guest speaker at the end of March was Maurice Steele. His lecture had the intriguing title of “It should have been stopped”. It traced the history of the Lake District from its origins right up to modern times, looking at the impact of manmade changes on the landscape. The lecture had all the usual ingredients of amazing photography and a wonderful narrative, together with some good natured humour. It was a thought provoking way of looking at progress made over the centuries. In her vote of thanks, Joan Hodkin remarked on the exceptional photography, which everyone had particularly enjoyed.   

The guest speaker at the April meeting was Peter Burt. His talk traced the history of the mines at Roanhead and Askam. Three generations of his own family had been involved in working the mines and he mentioned that his great-grandfather had walked daily from Soutergate at Kirkby to the mines at Askam. The photographs of the miners in the cramped, candle-lit conditions gave an idea of the dangers they faced, which included the chance of fire and gas fumes. Huge pit props, made from Columbian pitch pine, were kept wet in Devonshire Dock so that they were readily available at any time. It was interesting to learn how the growth of Askam was linked to the prosperity of the mines and to hear the story of the people involved .The meeting was very well attended and the vote of thanks was given by Walter Johnston.