Backbarrow Ironworks by Richard Sanderson – Feb 2019

Richard Sanderson gave a talk to a packed Cartmel village hall on the history and future of Backbarrow Ironworks.  Richard talked about the long history of iron production in the area, using bloomeries. He then explained the important history of Backbarrow ironworks, described by Historic England as “…the best illustration nationally of iron-smelting technology development from the early 18thto the 20thcentury.” John Wilkinson’s father, Isaac, moved to Backbarrow in the 1720s and pioneered new metallurgical processes and John will have learned from him.

At most, 18 people worked there and the last blast was in 1964. The metal was taken away for scrap and the trustees are now attempting to preserve and conserve the site for the future. Richard illustrated his talk with photographs of the site when it was in use and the remnants that are spread around the site.

The trustees are working with many bodies, including Historic England, and would like further support from industries and local history societies.  They would like to hear from anyone who has memories of the ironworks and hope to provide conducted tours of the site in the near future.

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