There was excitement in the air in 2000 as Barrow Borough Council was planning to restore the town’s park to its former glory of 100 years before. The borough was preparing to spend more than £2 million to spruce up the well-loved Barrow Park. In November 2000 The Mail stated that the park was bought for £16,000 in 1901 as the town was riding the crest of a shipbuilding wave. But in the 1920s the iron mills were struggling to keep operating and the decline was mirrored by the park as maintenance money was cut back. For the next 80 years the park’s fortunes followed those of the town – when Barrow was wealthy it blossomed, when the town was poor it suffered. Back in 1902, said the Mail, Barrow was enjoying a boom as iron was transported to the industrial Midlands and ships set sail for all corners of the globe. In 1901 the council bought 45.5 acres of farmland from the Slater family to create a public park. Included in the sale was the Slater’s family home, Piel View Farmhouse. Until 1908 the land was rented as grazing. Then well-known landscape architect T W Mawson was contracted to design and oversee the project. It was unveiled in its final form in the late 1920s. Flower beds were set out, a bandstand built, shady paths laid, huge greenhouses built, trees planted and the first of two lakes dug. Over the years bowling greens, tennis courts and the war memorial were added but the park’s glory was fading. That decline accelerated in the 1950s and by the early 80s things hit rock bottom. But in around 1998 the council put forward an ambitious £2,220,000 plan to restore the park. The Mail reported it would include restoring the park’s two entrances, boundary wall and gates, while bridges, footpaths and the lake would be returned to how they looked at the turn of the century. The war memorial would be cleaned and a paved area laid, new drainage put in and £30,000 spent on flowers, trees and shrubs. Also planned was a new pavilion, benches and a new bandstand.