'Barrow Town Hall is one of the most outstanding public buildings in Britain', wrote Arthur Evans in a special feature in The Mail about the landmark building in 1993.

The feature continued: 'It is quite magnificent, dominating much of the town centre. It is built in best Victorian Gothic of warm-coloured red-brown local sandstone.'

It was built close by an earlier town hall, only 90ft long, but when the new building was completed, this became a public hall with seating for 800.

The building was used for concerts, dances, lectures and other pubic occasions.

In a sense, the building of the new town hall was a celebration of Victorian prosperity, wrote Arthur Evans.

It was brought to the town principally by the Furness Railway and furthered by the mushrooming growth of many industries such as the steel and ironworks and the docks, harbour and the shipyard which eventually dominated the town's economy.

However, after the town hall was finally opened in 1887, Barrow's growth slowed down.

Though the town prospered, it never quite repeated the tremendous boom time which had gone before. Within half a century the population had grown from less than 40 to well over 40,000, an increase which gave Barrow the title of the 'English Chicago'!

The town hall building was designed by W H Lynn, a Belfast architect, and the sandstone used came from Hawcoat Quarry.

Stone was easily transported by rail almost directly on to the site.

The cost of the building itself was £67,875.

Opening day was deliberately chosen as part of national celebrations of the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, and the Marquis of Hartington, whose family gave their name to one of the town's principal residential streets, performed the opening ceremony.

Mr Evans wrote that the general plan was of a building with a 240ft frontage on Duke Street, with a central tower with a height of 196ft from street level to the top of the flagstaff.

There are 258 steps leading up to the top of the tower housing the clock.