BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage
Junior Football
Message Board
Video Nation
Enjoy Cumbria
In Pictures
Diverse Cumbria
Digital Lives
Comic Relief
BBC Local Radio
Site contents 

Contact Us

Voices: Turning words into action
The street through Biggar Village

Walney Memories

Frances Cooney has lived on Walney all her life and knows everything there is to know about Biggar.

Biggar Village
Frances as she is today!
Frances Cooney as she looks today!

When the BBC Bus visited Walney, Frances brought her collection of historical documents, projects and photos to show Suzanne.

Many generation of Frances' family have lived on Walney Island. Before the development of Vickerstown, Biggar and North Scale were the only settlements. Frances knows everything there is to know about Biggar!

Black and white photo of Frances with her son as a toddler and his friends

Left: Frances pictured in Biggar with her son Gordon and his friends Stuart Lauderdale (at the back) and Elsie Lynn.

Right: A schedule for the Walney pool's gala. The pool was demolished.

Click here for a larger version of this image

Walney Open Air Pool Gala schedule

Two girls on horseback outside Frances' house

Left: Outside Frances' house in Biggar Village.

If you look closely, you can just see her mother cleaning the front step!

Grassy sand banks with old track

Left: One of the old fords from Walney to Barrow. This one used to connect Biggar with the mainland at low tide.

Click here for a hand-drawn map of all the fords between Walney & Barrow before 1847

Frances' grandparents outside a cottage

Left: Frances' maternal grandparents, Agnes Anne Woodburn and Samuel Gilliland. Agnes was born in 1878 and Samuel in 1863.

Right: Receipt written by the 'Grave' for Biggar who collected money owed by the villagers under the feudal system.

Click here for full size version.


Right: Frances' parents, Annie May and Thomas Watkinson. Annie was born in 1905 and Thomas in 1904.

Two photos in sepia tones showing Frances' parents

BBC Radio Cumbria recorded Frances and her friend Ronnie talking about life on Walney Island. You can listen online - click here.


Came to live in Carr lane aged two.Grew up on Walney. Attended Ocean Road School. Later worked in The Queen's Arms Hotel Biggar Village, also on a farm. During the war1 940 aged 20 years was called up to work in Barrrow Steel Works. Later worked in West shop Vickers-Armstrong as milling-machinist making bomb-door brackets and pivot bolts for Wellington bombers. Parents were bombed-out of their new council house in Barrow Blitz 1941, then came back to Walney

Katie Percy

Have your say
Use this form to ask a question, send us a comment or request more information.
Your Name    
Your Email    
The BBC will use the information you provide, including that collected via ‘cookies’ (which tell us which of our web pages you visit and how you move around them) to run and improve this service/site. We will not use your details for any other purpose.


Voices logo Voices logo Voices logo
Walney Voices
Introducing the BBC's newest venture in Cumbria.
Find out more.
More from Voices
More from Voices
What is Voices?
Capturing the stories, concerns and aspirations of those unheard voices across the UK.
Find out more here.


BBC Cumbria website, Annetwell Street, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 8BB
phone: 01228 592444 | e-mail:

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy