CLOSURE proposals could see 106 jobs go this summer with the end of manufacturing at the McBride washing products factory in Barrow so we taking a look back to happier times almost 20 years ago.

The company had just completed a major investment in 2000 at the Park Road site – with more to come.

The Mail, on Monday, June 19, noted: “A Barrow soap powder factory opened a £9m new high-tech production plant - and announced it was investing another £4m in the site.

“The new Project 21 extension, which is creating 25 jobs, was opened by Robert McBride Group at its Park Road factory on Friday.

“It is expected to double production of own-label washing powder and tablets made for leading superstores in Britain, in what is the biggest operation of its kind in Europe.

“Furness MP John Hutton unveiled a plaque.”

He said: “This is a good day for the company, a good day for the workforce and a good day for the local economy.”

The article noted: “The government gave a £600,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant towards the extension, which has machinery which can switch quickly from making one type of washing powder or tablet to another.

“It also had self-cleaning features and highly advanced controls.

“Barrow Council and Cumbria County Council also gave grants towards anew access road to the site.

“Now another £4m is being spent installing two new tablet-making lines, one for clothes washing tablets and one for dish-washer tablets.”

Mike Handley, chief executive of the Beaconsfield-based group, said: "This powder plant is of a standard and quality of engineering proficiency that will stand comparison with any plant in Europe, the Far East or North America.”

Barrow had been chosen for the investment ahead of a rival plant in France.

It had taken 3,000 lorry loads to deliver the 54,000 tons of stone needed for the new building’s foundations. In 2000, the McBride site at Barrow employed 460 people directly and another 40 on contract.