Chance for history groups to meet up at Furness conference

10 October 2017 5:13PM

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

To mark the event, we have a selection of historic pictures of the adjoining community of Ireleth.

Before mid-Victorian housing and industrial development created Askam, the land was known as Ireleth Marsh.

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

A spokesperson for the federation said: "This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in Cumbria's local history, to meet others with the same interest and browse displays from some of the Cumbria Local History Federation's local member groups."

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.

Now called Swarthmoor Hall, near Ulverston, it 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 atLancaster 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 itsimpact on the society and economy of Furness.

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

To ensure a seat, advance booking is essential.

Find out more by sending an email to, visit the federation's website at, or write for details to Liz Kerrey, membership secretary CLHF, 6 Marshall Terrace, Shap, Penrith CA10 3NX.

The Federation's new, well-illustrated website has details of the organisation's workand its member groups.

There is an archive of its bulletins, a directory of speakers, walk guides and researchers and a guide to other organisations which have a major county-wide role in local history.

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