Roasted ox and a steam engine star in 1967 celebrations for Barrow's centenary

12 June 2017 5:04PM

BARROW held all manner of events in 1967 to celebrate its 100th birthday as a borough.

There was a Centenary Ball and fashion show, parades and concerts, sporting events and exhibitions.

One of the key events was a five-day Centenary Pageant held at Craven Park.

An estimated 1,000 local people took roles in the event.

Jack Davidson played Henry Schneider and Edward Burns was railway king and the first Barrow mayor, James Ramsden to show the town’s early days.

A programme for the event noted that, in 1867, Barrow had a population of just 20,000.

It recorded: “Its growing industries were dominated by the Haematite Iron and Steel Company and the Furness Railway Company.

“But the town was still officially part of Dalton and it was not until 1867 that a petition to Queen Victoria gave Barrow the liberty to manage its own affairs.

“On June 13th, 1867, the town became a borough with its own council and local government officers.

“Later the same year, the celebrations continued with the opening of the Devonshire Dock, first in a chain intended to make Barrow into another Liverpool.”

The story went through the growing pains of the 1870s when new homes, churches and schools emerged.

It also saw the growth of shipbuilding in the town by the Barrow Iron Shipbuilding Company.

The pageant also featured the 1911 Mayfly airship and the First World War.

Groups taking part included the Elizabethan Players, Barrow Amateur Operatic Society and Abbey Musical Society.

Top price tickets in the Craven Park grandstand were five shillings (25p)

The Vickers Centenary Gala was held at Hawcoat Park, Barrow, on June 10 in 1967.

Joseph Barran, the ox-roaster hired for the day, brought enough buns, serviettes and pats of butter to fill 5,000 hungry mouths.

The roasting also needed almost 1,000lb of coal, 650lb of coke, 1,000lb of wood and 1,000 bricks.

The ox butties were on sale at 1/6d (7p).

Gala activities were officially started by Mr W Opher, joint managing director of Vickers.

Also there was Coronation Street pair Peter Adamson, who played Len Fairclough, and Graham Haberfield, who played Gerry Booth.

They were on the judging panel for the Miss Vickers personality girl contest.

Music for the day was provided by the Barrow Shipyard Band with musical director Herbert Sutcliffe and Ulverston Town Band led by Grenville Hickerby.

There was a wide variety of sporting events, including pancake and egg-and-spoon races for mothers and a race for toddlers.

There was a firkin of ale on offer for the team of four which put up the best performance on greasy pole.

There was a women’s soccer match between the engineers and the shipbuilders where all gentlemen were asked to: “please refrain from running on to the pitch to congratulate the goalscorers.”

Also on offer was a tug-of-war and gymnastics.

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