IF you look back through the decades of industrial activity in South Cumbria there isn't much which hasn't be produced by the mines, factories, shipyards and engineering workshops at places such as Barrow, Ulverston, Dalton and Millom.

The growth of production in mid-Victorian Furness drew in workers from all over the British Isles to build ships and submarines, produce iron and steel, or make everything from paper and leather to chemicals and electrical goods.

To keep alive this record of achievement, The Cumbria Industrial  History Society hosts visits, talks and study days around the county and is holding its autumn conference on Saturday, October 12.

It is being held at Whitehaven Golf Club, off Red Lonning, and the theme for the four talks is Industries in and Around Whitehaven.

Celia Mackenzie, chief executive of the Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, will describe the Renaissance of Whitehaven and Brian Quayle will speak on the chemical industry in Memories of Marchon.

Jenni Lister's talk has the title of New Houses and Old Problems and looks at housing the workers in West Cumbria; while Peter Holmes will speak on Lowca Works and its Railway Products.

The society also has a winter talk at Greenodd village hall from 7.30pm on Tuesday, November 19.

David Ellwood will be the speaker on his family's ropemaking business in Kendal.

Barrow's early growth was built on iron ore, particularly the major discovery made by Henry Schneider's workers at Park, near Askam, in 1850.

What became the Burlington Pit proved to be the richest in Furness and was worked until 1921.

More ore was found on both sides of the Duddon estuary at Millom, Askam, Dalton and Lindal.

By the 1860s the iron ore was being put to use in iron and steelworks at Barrow and provided employment for more than 100 years.

Among other firms to use the iron ore was The North Lonsdale Iron and Steel Company at Ulverston, which was formed on October 16 in 1873.

Iron production ended in 1938 but the foundry continued through the Second World War.

The ironworks site was sold for £24,000 in 1947 ready for construction work to start on the Glaxo laboratories, where production started in 1948 for penicillin and then streptomycin.

It was noted in 1967 that the Ulverston Glaxo plant used more than two million gallons of water per day, used 100,000lbs of steam per hour and needed enough electricity for a small town.

Ulverston also had the Low Mill Tannery of Randall and Porter, which was formed in June 1888 and made use of a redundant cotton mill.

It closed in 1972 and the site was cleared in the 1990s to make way for an industrial estate.

Other Ulverston firms included subsea specialists Tronic which was founded in 1979 by former Vickers Oceanics staff, Ashley Accessories  and Oxley.

At Barrow you could have worked at places such as wrapping firm British Cellophane and the Lister’s textile spinning mill, off Flass Lane, near Roose.