Askam to host Furness history conference

4 September 2017 6:53PM

A group which represents the interests of history enthusiasts around the county is holding a conference in Askam.

The annual meeting and convention of the Cumbria Local History Federation is being held on October 14 at the Askam Band Hall in Sandy Lane, Askam.

It is called Aspects of Furness History and includes everything from Furness Abbey and Swarthmoor Hall to the development of the Furness iron industry.

Hosting the event is Askam and Ireleth and Kirkby History Groups and there will be a range of displays at the hall. Dan Elsworth, of Ulverston-based Greenlane Archaeology, starts the day with a look at some of the pioneers of historical and archeological research in the district with a talk called Antiquarians of Furness.

The Reverend David Jackson will explore the history and characters associated with one of the oldest and most prominent family homes in South Cumbria with a talk called Swarthmore Hall and its People. Swarthmoor Hall, near Ulverston, is closely associated with the formation of the Society of Friends, or Quakers.

He will explore the lives of people like Judge Fell, George Fox and Mitford Abrams.

Peter Burt will describe the search for iron ore and its uses for the making of iron and steel in a talk called The Furness Iron and Steel Company.

Mr Burt has spent years researching Askam's ironworks, its processes and raw materials and the lives of the people who worked in the iron industry.

Furness Abbey dominates the afternoon with two talks on aspects of its long history.

Dr Christopher Donaldson looks at the abbey's scenic ruins after the Dissolution of the Monasteries on the orders of King Henry VIII.

His talk is called The Romance of the Ruins.

Dr Donaldson lectures in the history department at Lancaster University and takes a particular interest in the growth of Furness Abbey as a tourist attraction.

Dr Fiona Edmonds, director of the Regional Heritage Centre at Lancaster University, looks at Furness Abbey and the Irish Sea region in the medieval period.

Her talk will explore Furness Abbey in its earliest days and its impact on the society and economy of Furness.

Admission is £12, including a buffet lunch and last year's event at Shap was a sell-out.

You can find out more on the federation's website at or write for details to Liz Kerrey, membership secretary CLHF, 6 Marshall Terrace, Shap, Penrith CA10 3NX.

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