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Saturday, 12 July 2014

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A unique town gift to tube station memorial

MANY readers will be familiar with the Barrow station wall memorial to men of the Furness Railway Company who were killed in the First World War – complete with shrapnel damage from an air raid in the second world conflict.

Dozens of stations up and down the country have similar tributes in stone or brass to railway workers who died in military service – but only one appears to have a Barrow product associated closely with it.

The impressive memorial is at the Baker Street station on the London Underground – a street in the City of Westminster famously associated with the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

Next to the large wall tablet recording 138 railway worker names is a large artillery shell with a 12inch diameter which was made in the munitions shops at Vickers in Barrow.

It was donated by the shipyard company at the end of the war and was converted into a collecting box.

Millions of similar artillery shells, plus field guns and naval gun mountings were produced at Barrow by a shipyard workforce which had swelled to around 32,000 during the First World War.

Most of the extra workers were former mill girls from the towns of industrial Lancashire.

The tube station memorial was officially unveiled on November 11 in 1920 by Sir Clarendon G Hyde.

It was designed by Charles Clark and built by Joseph Whitehead and Sons.

The main inscription reads: “The men from the service of The Metropolitan Railway Company whose names are inscribed below were among those who, at the call of King and Country left all that was dear to them endured hardness faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.

“Let those that come after see to it that their names are not forgotten.”

  • So far as we know, this is the only Barrow artillery shell used as part of a memorial – unless you know of another?

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