outside Ulverston there's a sleepy group of buildings that look
like the perfect quiet country retreat. All's peaceful today apart
from the lazy drone of the nearby A590, but 200 years ago this was
your original 24-7 community.
just to the east of the town, was an industrial hamlet with a blast
furnace, a watermill and timber yards, bustling with business at
all hours of the day and night. Horses and carts dragged in charcoal
to feed the furnace, tradesmen came with provisions and the finished
iron was carted off to Barrowhead, which later became Barrow in
Furness to be shipped away.
up the blast furnace to the charging hole.
Newland Blast Furnace was built in 1747 and was one of eight charcoal
powered furnaces in Cumbria.
became the home of the Harrison Ainslie company, an important entrepreneurial
business which eventually owned all of the iron furnaces in what
became known as the Furness area. Newland was the industrial heart
of the region.
produced 28 tonnes of iron per week, and to do that it required
56 tonnes of charcoal each week, which meant a huge volume of timber.
Seven or eight men worked there, tough, unrelenting hard graft until
the last production run finished in 1893.
then the blast furnace has been slowly crumbling away. A giant beam
collapsed, slates and firebricks have become loose and crashed to
the ground and it was even used a tip for rubbish and old cars.
of the people involved in restoring the blast furnace
the decay has stopped now thanks to a group of local people who
want to see this slice of Cumbria's industrial history preserved
for future generations. They first started work back in the late
1980s and since then they've formed the Newland Furnace Trust and
have signed a 999 year lease with the site's owners giving them
responsibility for ensuring that the building stays intact.
also just published a conservation plan looking to the furnace's
future so hopefully this part of Cumbria's rich industrial heritage
should never be forgotten.