The latest facility at Ulverston’s 1.3 million outdoor leisure complex in Priory Road in 1990 was a new bowling green.

The occasion was marked with a game between Barrow Police Club (for whom this would be their home green) and Walney Park.

One person who had helped bring the complex into being was leisure and tourism officer Graham Tyrer, who led a fact-finding mission to the Continent in the early 1980s.

“We were impressed by West Germany’s sporting facilities and when we came back to Cumbria we decided to create similar features in Ulverston.

“And I am very pleased with what has been achieved at the Priory Road complex. It’s marvelous. There isn’t another like it in the north of England.”

Uppermost in planners’ minds was the expected growth in the middle-aged population with more leisure time on their hands and the need for an all-weather multi-purpose complex.

With the backing of the Sports Council and other bodies, work began in 1987 and by November 1988 much of the complex was ready.

It was opened by South Lakeland Council chairman Eric Proctor in June 1989 with Sports Council regional director Dacre Dunlop in attendance.

Facilities included an athletics sprints track 100 metres long, five tennis courts (two with artificial grass and three with synthetic courts), a multi-games area, rugby league and junior soccer pitches and a large showfield for farming or equestrian events.

About 80,000 people were expected to use it each year. The adjoining swimming pool had also been used by about 70,000 people the previous year.

Sports already played at the complex included soccer, hockey and tennis. Ulverston Club and athletes from Hoad Harriers and Park Vale Striders trained there.

In 1995, loyal early-morning swimmers were treated to special gifts when they turned up for their regular dawn-chorus dip on Ulverston pool’s 21st birthday.

Around 120 children and two dozen adults turned out to take advantage of swimming charges at 1974 prices for one day only.

Birthday cake was also served and a special display showed the community’s involvement in building the swimming pool 21 years previously.