LETTING the general public see its skills, latest equipment and technology has long been part of the wider role of firefighters in Furness, as our selection of archive pictures from The Mail will demonstrate.

On June 21 in 1993 The Mail reported on an open day held at the former fire brigade base in Abbey Road.

This action-packed event featured rescue drills and raised more than £1,000 for the Mail's appeal for children's charity the NSPCC, the Fire Service Benevolent Fund and to combat cystic fibrosis.

The article noted: "Six-year-old Hayley Albery, from Barrow, was just one of hundreds to take advantage of Barrow fire station's open day.

"Hayley got the full treatment and the chance to dress up as a junior firefighter.

"Other kids splattered firefighters with wet sponges and bounced on inflatable castles as the Abbey Road station opened its doors."

We have become familiar with the new fire brigade base on Walney Road, near Asda, but the campaign to build it stretched back more than 25 years.

The need for a new base was accepted but budget restraints saw the project drift in and out of county spending plans.

The Mail on July 7 in 1990 noted rather optimistically: "Barrow fire station could have a £1m new state-of-the-art headquarters on the Project Furness site by early 1992.

"The old station and divisional headquarters on Abbey Road is too small and took a battering in gales earlier this year.

"It is proposed that the new Barrow station will have six bays and a larger yard.

"Cumbria County Council has put a planning application before Barrow Council for the new station."

By September it was announced that the county didn't have the money to build it.

The growing town of Barrow had a fire brigade to call on in times of emergency from 1865.

It started life in a cramped corner of the old covered market and two converted shops in Hindpool Road .

One of its biggest early duties was tackling a huge blaze which badly damaged the Barrow Jute Works in 1892.