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The Trip to Barrow Maritime Museum

The trip was envisioned early in the year as there was a chance we could go on on board a Royal Navy support vessel as a member of our club had a friend on board and could possibly arrange a visit. This was not to be as the ship was called out for duty elsewhere in the world so the trip was confined to the museum visit. 4 members indicated they would like to go so Richard volunteered to do the driving and with it being a sunny morning we set off, rejoicing in the fact that it was the south of England experiencing bad weather and not Lancashire! The rugby world cup final had just started and with the news that England was trailing we turned the radio down and continued up the motorway discussing everything motorcycle related including the cost of the latest electric motorcycles, we thought £38,000 seemed a bit steep to for us all to save the planet so we moved on to discussing the practicality of buying and using an electric car for the same money. Perhaps they are a good solution to the short distance commuter but most of them wouldn’t even go round one of our ride out routes without needing a re-charge. Subject closed.

The ride was uneventful with light traffic and we arrived at the museum just before 12:00 and went straight in to have a refreshment break before touring the exhibits. It was very interesting to see the history of Barrow from its Stone age and Viking past through to its rise as a steel town, shipbuilding town and a jute manufacturer with the docks being central to its development. In studying the photos of the Men Who Made Barrow we spotted what must be Dave A’s Great Grandad, (see picture) have you got roots in Furness Dave?

There are some superb models in the museum of ships built here from the mid 1800’s up to the latest submarines. The models vary from heavy warships to ocean liners of the 1950’s. The models are superbly prepared with even the gears on the winches accurately machined looking like they could be operated. On the lower level there was a display of the photographic work of local artists throughout the last century showing the people, the working conditions, the housing and the countryside as Barrow developed. It was interesting to see the pictures of the model shop where the skilled model makers were making these models up until recent times. And the plans for the social housing needed to accommodation for a population that swelled from 450 to 48,000 as the town grew.

The lowest floor was closed off but looking over the railings there was what appeared to be a wooden racing yacht in position so perhaps there is another exhibition floor being prepared for a future date. At round 3pm we retired to the excellent cafe for a variety of lunch offerings and drinks before stepping outside to find a light rain was falling for our trip back. This rain continued in varying amounts throughout the journey back but of course it was fine on the Fylde coast when we arrived back. Alan invited us home to his place to inspect his sheds and house renovation and to have a drink before concluding the trip. Another set of sheds to be jealous of. Must get mine tidied up! At this point dusk was falling so we departed and set off for our respective homes after a very pleasant and interesting day out.

Richard