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The Dock Museum,
North Road,
LA14 2PW
Tel: 01229 876400

© Barrow Museum Service

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1897 Town Council forms its first museum committee, with a view to establishing a
collection and finding an appropriate building for 'Barrow Museum'
1900 Having made little progress, the Committee appoints a new Chairman - the local antiquarian and archaeologist, Harper Gaythorpe. With a reputation for "obtaining specimens", he acquires the first of many donations for the collection - two "Zulu" spears
1905 Still without a building, the Committee begin to purchase display cases for the growing collection - the first one costs £29 and 15 shillings

1907Two years later the display cases are installed in the Town Hall as a temporary measure - and stay there until 1930!
1911 Looking to the future, the Committee start to fill gaps in the collection - their first move in this direction is a scheme to collect specimens of every type of bird found on Walney Island
1914 First record of visits by "groups of scholars" and loans of objects to local schools
1928 Alderman Bram Longstaffe takes charge of the search for a permanent home for the Museum and appeals to the local community for more objects because "the things which they have in the secrets of their homes would be cherished all the more by being in the Museum".
Whilst the search goes on, the Museum finds a new home on the first floor of Barrow Library as another temporary measure - this time it lasts until 1991! The displays become known as the Furness Museum and, for the first time, are supported by Barrow's main industry - the Shipyard. Charles Craven, General Manager of Vickers, gives the Museum its first collection of ship models
1940-45 The Museum is allocated its first proper store in the Library basement on condition that it is used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War
and shipbuilding ephemera and is invited to open the new displays. He comments that "the Museum Committee apparently would not be satisfied until they got the whole Shipyard" - the same thing has been said many times since then!
1942-71 Fred Barnes becomes Museum Curator and adds a scholarly emphasis to its work for the first time - he eventually writes Barrow and District (1968), the first modern account of the history of the local area
Having waited over ninety years, the Museum is finally moved to a permanent home at the Dock Museum and attracts 50,000 visitors in its first year
1972-74 The Museum is revamped in an attempt to tell the full story of Barrow for the first time. Visitor figures peak at 20,000 per year
2001 Further additions are made including the web-site, Resource Centre (consisting of studio, library,stores and workroom), café, art gallery and Shipbuilders to the World exhibition. Visitor figures reach 120,000 per year
1996 New additions are made to the building and site including a large temporary exhibitions gallery, Reflections in the Dock film-show, playground and outdoor performance area. Visitor figures reach 80,000 per year
2001 BAE Systems (current owners of Barrow Shipyard) give their collection of ship models and photographs to the Museum. This material is recognised as being of national importance - a far cry from the "Zulu" spears donated a century earlier!

Visiting the museum