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Have your say on Barrow's flat cap image

BARROW is filled with chip shops, bookies, working men’s clubs and trade union offices.

That’s according to a survey released yesterday which put Barrow forward as the most working class place in the the UK.

The research carried out by Locallife.co.uk claims Barrow has more typically working class features than anywhere else in Britain per capita. It says there’s a fish and chip shop, working men’s club, bookmakers, greyhound track or trade union office for every 2,917 people.

It may be true we but does playing polo really make for a better lifestyle?

Hopefully the researchers won’t come to town expecting to enjoy a flutter at the dogs as we don’t have any tracks anymore.

Barrow Borough Council regeneration officer Val Holden found an excerpt from Mr Punch, 1867, on the occasion of the opening of Barrow Docks when the big names of the day came flooding into the town.

It read: “Barrow has an ironworks with two Dukes among its board to say nothing of Lord knows who in the way of Lords and Lord knows how many millionaires.

“Never did Barrow on furnace make such a blaze as Barrow-in-Furness the other day when its docks were opened by Dukes, Lords, Honourables and Right Honourables, MPs, JPs, Mayors, Magnates local and municipal – in short by such an assemblage of big and little wigs as it was a triumph to have got together in the dead season!!!!(sic)”

She said: “Yes Barrow is a true Riches to Rags story. In the 1870s there were more aristocrats in Barrow-in-Furness than anywhere else in the country. How ironic.

“The large numbers of institutions provided for the people of Barrow reflects the number of philanthropists that were involved in the town. Dukes of Devonshire and Buccleuch, the Cavendishes, Ramsden and Schneider.

“What a business opportunity, we could be flogging Barrow as a ‘living museum’ of working class life!

“Well it is true that our pies and fish and chips are legendary. I am always asked to take meat and tattie pies when I visit posh relations down south. We could be sitting sipping our juice and nibbling on our salads watching Westminster toffs stuff our gorgeous Hairy Bikerific pies (half the Hairy Bikers being Barrovian!).

“As for the comparison with Westminster lifestyle – only one yacht club? I think we have four. Plus a private school that topped the exam results charts (knocking Eton into second place), two golf clubs, two riding schools. Nobody plays polo but windsurfing, kite surfing, fell walking, rock-climbing, sailing, fishing and running seem to be tops here. We have the Lake District too of course.

“I spent Monday’s lunch hour paddling on one of our miles of ‘Golden Banana’ beaches. Working class life? Aye, it’ll do.”

Managing director of the Canteen media and arts centre, Gary Robinson, says it’s a title the town can be proud of.

He said: “I would say being working class is something to be proud of. I have always seen myself as working class and always will. If Barrow is seen as the capital of the working classes then fantastic. As for images of the working men’s clubs and fish and chip shops and the rest, then the town is transforming itself at the moment.

“We are trying our best to put on the type of events that you would be likely to see in the cities. I suppose we’re the antithesis of the working mens club but we are filled with working class people, of which I am one.”

Barrow’s mayor Dave Roberts wasn’t so sure about the town’s newest title.

He said: “I wouldn’t have thought so. We are going through a transition in Barrow from a very industrial based town to a more tourism based place, with the development of the marina and such.

“ It is fair to say that we will always have our working class roots but like many other places we are changing in the 21st century.

“We are very much going through a transition period and the developments taking place are fantastic.”

Pole Tadek Buczek is the manager of Matties fish and chip shop, and moved to Barrow in 2006. He said: “People are very friendly.

“I used to live in Huddersfield. I can tell that it is the most quiet and peaceful town compared to the towns that I have lived in before.”

Barrow AFC chairman Brian Keen said: “My own thoughts are that it is a wonderfully mixed community.

“We have got beautiful parks and the wide road coming into Barrow, its coastline, hotels and eateries.

“We have a working class area but so has every town. I wouldn’t knock Barrow.”

We might have to wait a little while before everyone in Barrow is being chauffeur-driven to the health spa on their days off but the town is proud of its heritage and its sparkling future.

Have your say

Unfortunately, the 'Working Class' values of Barrow are struggling under the non-values of the growing underclass; the lazy, leeching plebs, whose closest proximity to work occurs when they pass the sculpture of past Barrovians, at the top of Portland Walk.
It is also unfortunate that the Councillors of Barrow have delusions of grandeur, seeing themselves as the local aristocracy, (without the philanthropy, of course), charging exhorbitant business rents and burning money on foolish schemes.

Posted by Bruce on 17 September 2010 at 08:50

obesity is a slf generated problem,excepting
those who have a weight problem because of illness.
Most of todays couch potatoes,fill themselves up on junk food,sit either in front of a TV or PC for hour on end,with no
determination to get out of the chair,and to make a contribution to their own welfare.
If you eat the right food and burn of more calories than you take in,it would be very hard to be obese.
Many of todays society go to work by car,
work sitting down,go home and sit in front of the box,till they go to bed,burning off no callories,as many children go to school by car,they are in the same mold.
The blame for todays way of life,has to be
the fault of those,who have indoctranted themselves into believing,that an unhealthy eating and couch potato life.
Is always the fault of somebody else.
Eat less,excercise more and you will lose weight.

Posted by r dawson on 15 October 2008 at 19:33

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