Barrow-in-Furness (commonly known as Barrow) is an industrial town and seaport which forms about half the territory of the wider Barrow-in-Furness (borough) in the county of Cumbria, England. It lies north of Liverpool and southwest from the county town of Carlisle, Cumbria. The town is situated at the tip of the Furness bordered by Morecambe Bay, the Duddon Estuary and the Irish Sea. Barrow is located some 360 km (just over 220 miles) north-west of London and 60 miles south of the Scottish border. It has a population of 59,182, whilst the wider borough is home to 71,981 people.Based on the population of the Borough of Barrow-in-Furnes in the 2001 UK Census, excluding the two wards of Dalton-in-Furness .
In the Middle Ages, Barrow was a small hamlet within the parish of Dalton-in-Furness. Furness Abbey, on the outskirts of the modern day town, controlled the local economy before its Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537. Even as late as 1843 there were still only 32 dwellings including two pubs. The iron prospector Henry Schneider arrived in Furness in 1839 and, with other investors, opened the Furness Railway in 1846 to transport iron ore and slate from local mines to the coast. Further hematite deposits were discovered in 1850, of sufficient size to develop factories for smelting and exporting of steel. By the late late 19th century, Barrow was home to the largest steelworks on earth. The natural harbour the booming town possessed allowed the locally produced steel to be put to another use: shipbuilding. Barrow Museum Mission Statement, The Dock Museum Website. URL accessed 11 December 2006. and its population had reached 47,000 by 1881.
Barrow's location and the availability of steel made allowed the town to develop into a significant producer of naval vessels, a shift that was accelerated during World War One and the local yard's specialisation in submarines. The original iron- and steel- making enterprises closed down after World War II, leaving Vickers boat building factory as Barrow's main industry and employer. All of Britain's Vanguard class submarines, which carry UK Trident program nuclear weapons, were manufactured at the facility. From the 1960s the shipyard increasingly specialised in the construction of nuclear-powered submarines. However with the end of the Cold War and subsequent peace dividend the town suffered high unemployment through lack of contracts, despite this the shipyard remains operational and the only submarine production facility in the UK.