More exciting football and pub memories from The North. From Wednesday I’ll be legally able to visit Barrow as long as A) I’m back before midnight and B) I don’t need the loo or any food while I’m there, I think I’ll visit Somersham instead.


Only two trips to Barrow in my lifetime, the most recent on my birthday (22 December, make a note).

The drizzle back in 2018 wasn’t helping, but Barrow looked very much the Hartlepool of the West that I remembered from exactly 20 years ago; big civic buildings, crumbling streets.  I’ve seen worse.


61 years ago the town was already at the start of a long period of industrial decline, the mines and ironworks about to close, but the visit of Billy Wright’s Wolves and Pathe News for a 3rd Round Cup Tie brought out the glory hunters (See also : Hereford, Burton, Inverness Caley Thistle).

3 times champions in 5 years
Frank rails against the glory hunters

The fine folk of Furness had beer from (Jimmy) Case and the the earliest Chinese restaurant I’ve spotted in a football programme to cheer them up after a 4-2 loss.


See if you can spot the authentic sounding “Central Chinese Restaurant” in this video from that very year.


Barrow lost their League place to Hereford in 1972, the vote swayed by the superiority of the meat pies at Edgar Street.

But they were top of the National League this season when Lockdown struck, and 99% of football fans outside Stevenage will be hoping “H & A PPG” will elevate them back in the League when football resumes next season (2022/23).


Apart from proper football, why should you go to Barrow for your next winter holiday ?

(Almost) Flat roof keg pubs

They’ll never trouble the GBG, but Dave’s record (see @NorthIrishSea) of basic Barrow boozers is essential viewing.

Photo : @NorthIrishSea

The Furness Railway, the ultimate Spoons


Not much talk about the Irish backstop here.

“I’ve had eight sambucas”

“It’s ok, Barrow is an island”

The Duke of Edinburgh, as smart as Barrow gets.

A bit of Lancashire in the Lakes

It’s Black Eye Friday and standing room only as the lads from the factories offices don Christmas jumpers and prepare for 12 hours of leering and laughter, most of it 10 miles up the road.


Simon liked this place, turning up outside Black-Eyed Friday, and found a nice chap called Riggy to colour in his GBG.

Nice marking, Sir

Let’s be honest, you didn’t expect anyone wearing a pullover in a Barrow blog, did you ?

31 thoughts on “BARROW – BACK IN THE BIG TIME

  1. I think we put up a tree every year for your birthday. Wanderers is my favorite sports teams name. Untoppable. Not gonna strike fear into an opponent, but so whimsical.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve noticed how many people mark my birthday with a tree, a symbol of my journey to GBG completion.

      Incidentally, you’ll be delighted to know ” the (Wanderers) club played its first match under the name Wanderers Football Club, against No Names Club of Kilburn.” “The club beat the Royal Engineers 1–0 to become the first ever winners of the cup, the winning goal being scored by Morton Betts, who was playing under the pseudonym “A. H. Chequer”.


      1. I was surprised to see there are three teams called Wanderers. The only No Names I had heard of was a US steak company.


      2. Proper formations in those days, too.
        Good old 2 3 5
        None of this namby pamby 4 1 3 1 1 etc


  2. That “Lasses” photo has all the makings of another Angry Babe pic, but sadly none of them turned to glare at the camera (or should I say, the CAMRA?)

    I do recall that BRAPA blogpost that featured Riggy, though I’ll be damned if I can remember any of the details. Surely there was something unbelievably odd about the guy, otherwise it wouldn’t be a proper Simon pub visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That “A MAN’S DRINK / CASE’S BEER / NEVER VARIES” advert on the back of a January 1959 programme was towards the end of a brewery that was founded in Ulverston in 1860, moved to Barrow in 1865, was acquired with 60 tied houses by Hammond’s United Breweries of Bradford in 1959 and closed in 1972.


    1. There are a couple of interesting stories about Case’s brewery in Anthony Avis’ book, which I blogged about last year.

      When Hammond’s took them over, they were puzzled as to why the plant seemed unusually efficient, only to discover that the walls of the fermenting vessels were so thin that they bulged, meaning that they were actually brewing more beer than they were declaring to the exciseman.

      Their company secretary, Tudwal Roberts, had sadly become a hopeless alcoholic, and Avis describes a meeting with him during which, without a word, he got up, opened a drawer in a filing cabinet, took out an open bottle of red wine, poured a glass full, downed it in one, and then returned to his desk as though nothing had happened.


      1. Is that a reference to a town in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire about 23 miles south of Lincoln ?


  4. Public toilets were specifically listed as premises that should stay open in the government’s original lockdown instructions. Whether they have or not I’m in no position to say. The toilets in motorway service areas will surely be open, though.


    1. The locals in Devon and Cornwall are complaining on MumsNet (like Discourse, but worse) about Brummies driving down for the day, finding car parks, toilets and cafes closed, and defecating on their grass.

      Motorway service stations are open but my bladder doesn’t tend to be in synchronisation with their spacing.


      1. “Motorway service stations are open but my bladder doesn’t tend to be in synchronisation with their spacing”.
        They were originally built at about thirty mile intervals so that suggests you never leave ‘the slow lane’.


      2. And of course, if you want to use the other toilet staple for the long-distance traveller, i.e. supermarkets, you’ll have to queue up!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Indeed. It’s a long while before I go back in a large supermarket with all that queueing.

        My toilet staple tended to be the McDonalds on the A1, which are entirely out of the question.


      1. It is normally. But was always going to be only one relegation spot this season as the EFL a club short after Bury’s expulsion. NL Champions to take that vacant spot; play-off winners to replace bottom club. A minor disruption to the season (some virus, maybe? – surprised it’s not been in the news) has seen the EFL heavily hinting there will be no relegation this term should the league not finish. Reluctant as they’ve been to concede it, there’s no chance that L1 and L2 will complete IMO.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Cracking video, that, Martin.

    I love the way that the high street was, literally, pedestrianised too, and the guy hailing the bus from the middle of the road.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. T’other Mudgie,
        Yes, including my great grandfather who died in May1946 after being knocked down by a private motor car.


      2. I find it almost unbelievable, but I read that in 1945, even with so few vehicles compared to today, there were forty-seven thousand deaths on UK roads – more than in the Blitz.

        But then, with no seat belts, nor MOTs, people blithely walking all over the roads, and the Blackout…


      3. Etu,
        I’m not sure about seatbelts – as all they’ve done is make drivers feel safer so that they drive faster – so I blame the blitz.


      4. You remind me Paul, that my uncle – whom I never knew – was knocked off his cycle and killed as a boy around that time too. In the avenue where I grew up, of about sixty houses, three young motorcyclists also perished during the 1950s and 60s.

        Modern road safety is quite some achievement really.


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