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Thread: Backbarrow ironworks/hydroelectric plant, October 2011

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    SAt's Avatar
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    Default Backbarrow ironworks/hydroelectric plant, October 2011

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Went for a Saturday afternoon wander been as its such a nice day..

    A bit of history... (http://www.cumbriaslevenvalley.co.uk/64.html)

    The iron furnace at Backbarrow was built in 1711 and was state of the art in its day. Other locations for a furnace in the area were Low Wood, Nibthwaite, Marton, Duddon, Thwaite Flat, and Dalton.

    The main production of the Iron Industry at Backbarrow was cannon, gun carriages and cannon ball.

    Before 1790 Isaac Wilkinson the father of John Wilkinson had an Iron furnace on the site at Lowwood. The Wilkinson's were local Iron Masters and here Haverthwaite and Backbarrow has a significant historical connection with the Midlands as John Wilkinson was the famous Iron Master who built the first iron Ship and the famous iron bridge at Iron Bridge. The furnace at Backbarrow is we understand the only survivor of its type and is protected as an ancient monument.

    The furnace at Backbarrow was supplied from 1711 with iron ore from low Furness which would have arrived at the quays in Haverthwaite and been transported to Backbarrow by horse and cart. The Wilkinsons and their partners who included some prominent Quakers built quite a thriving business and unusually the Quaker part of the business did not object to the manufacture of armaments.

    The Backbarrow company ventured into mining for a while but these ventures did not last over long and were closed down.

    Records show that in 1715 the Backbarrow furnace produced 1719 tons of pig iron , half of this was sent to the Company's other forges located at Backbarrow, Coniston, Cunsey, and Rusland, where the forges produced some 648 tons of iron bar.

    Turns out this site is on the uk industry heritage most at risk list.

    On with the pictures-

    Dates that part of the cranes were replaced, dated 1962 and 1965..


    Stores area..

    Dodgy floor ..


    Obligatory peeling paint..

    Green machine..


    Spare parts and grease gun..

    Stairway to heaven!..

    Big black pipe into the river..

    Top of the stairway to heaven (the stairs in the back go up to the top floor and to the right are stairs to the lower floor)..

    These run all around the upper floor, i think they were for holding power cables..

    Hand tools only..

    I found this old manual on the floor, the outside looked worn but inside was as good as new..


    External of the building..

    I liked this..

    Blast furnace tower..

    All the metal in the tower is crystally..



    Made in Brum..

    Pipe room..

    Where underneath the floor was, a moped..

    and some nice looking rusty bricks..

    I have many more pictures but ive reached the 30 limit so ill leave it at that for now..
    Ill upload the rest if people are interested in these.

    Thanks for looking, comments appreciated

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Backbarrow ironworks/hydroelectric plant, October 2011

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    These are supporting the bottom of the blast furnace tower, it looks to be in a pretty bad way and there will be a lot of weight on these-

    This is taken from inside the tower, round the back of the furnace-


    The outfall of the new hydroelectric plant that has been built next door using the old race from the original building, note the window obscured by the trees on the left is in the room with the dodgy stairs for some idea of the layout-

    Water is running through the wall in the lower level, presumabely a leak from the mill race which is above the lower floor-

    Hefty fuseboard with rear access door, the floor is pretty spongy round here so its not brilliantly focused-

    Circuit breaker box-

    Half the site was being developed into offices and residential use but the developers went bankrupt so thyve just been left half finished-

    I had a look around a couple-

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