THE spotlight falls on some of Barrow shipyard's biggest and most important products in a special day of talks.

Maritime History North is bringing its autumn conference to the Studio of Barrow's Forum on Saturday, September 28.

There will be a series of presentations by leading experts on the town's warships, liners, submarines and the ill-fated Mayfly airship.

The conference has been supported by a number of naval and engineering groups, including the Barrow and District Association of Engineers and Professional Engineers South Cumbria.

Attendance at the conference costs £17.50 and you can find booking details by calling 01229 820000, or on the website at

The morning session looks at many of the Barrow-built ships which gave their names to streets on Walney and particularly in Vickerstown - which was created as a late Victorian industrial community for Vickers workers.

The speakers will be introduced by conference chairman Captain Bob Eddleston.

Dr Scott Lingren will look at the evolution of the British first class cruiser - including Barrow vessels such as Powerful, Amphitrite, Niobe, Euryalus, Hogue, King Alfred and Natal.

He will be followed by regular Barrow visitor Professor Eric Grove on the topic of Barrow's battleships, light cruisers and torpedo craft.

His survey will include Barrow ships such as Vengeance, Dominion, Mikasa, Latona, Melampus, Niger, Avon, Dartmouth and Liverpool.

The final session before lunch sees Prof Grove look at the construction and service of some of Barrow's ocean liners.

He will look at the likes of Oriana, Orsova, Oronsay, Orion, Orontes, Himalaya, Strathmore, Strathnaver and Strathaird.

One of the most unusual street names with a maritime connection is Mikasa Street - in celebration of the battleship launched at Barrow in 1900 for the Japanese.

The Mikasa Street signs feature in the background of many pictures taken by Japanese tourists and the street has been filmed by several Japanese TV crews over the years.

Mikasa served in battle against the Russian fleet in 1905 and took part in the First World War.

It was preserved and opened to the public as a national memorial ship in 1961 at Yokosuka.

Following lunch, Captain Iain Moffat describes the role of Barrow shipyard in the building of early submarines.

Commander David Hobbs will then describe the birth of naval aviation at Barrow in the considerable shape of His Majesty's Airship Number 1 - also known as the Mayfly.

His focus will be on the wider context of its disastrous first outing in September 1911.

Work had started on the 512ft scouting airship for the Royal Navy in 1909 at Cavendish Dock but a gust of wind blew it in two before it could take to the skies.

The final session at the conference will look at the long career of a Barrow aircraft carrier.

Cmdr Hobbs and Prof Grove will look at the building and role of HMS Hermes - later INS Viraat - which served served from 1944 to 2017.