Furness Railway 175

On Saturday 17th July 2021 Barrow celebrates its annual Festival of Transport – this year also marks the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Furness Railway. 

'Barrow Hospital Parade'. September 11th 1909. © Sankey Photography Family Collection
317, Old Coppernob at Central Station, Barrow.

To celebrate this exciting event we have partnered with Cumbria Community Rail and Cumbria Railways Association (CRA) to share Sankey Images of the Furness Railway.

The pictures you will see in this exhibition were captured by Edward Sankey in the early 20th century. Edward Sankey founded his photographic business in Barrow-in-Furness in the early 1900’s and by 1904 was appointed as the official Furness Railway Photographer, a job he held until 1923. During this time period, Edward took hundreds of images of the Railways across Cumbria and Lancashire and for this exhibition we have selected a few of the ones he took in his hometown of Barrow.  

Over the last few weeks we have shared these images with members of the CRA and the Sankey Volunteers, all of whom have been researching the stories behind the photographs.

We hope you enjoy the pieces of writing they created to accompany each photograph. Just scroll down to find out more!  

'2249, Coupling Competition, Furness Railway'. Early 20th Century. © Sankey Photography Family Collection

Coupling Competition

Peter Laird

'3688a, Interior Of Barrow Central Station'. Post 1900 © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Interior Of Barrow Central Station

Don Jary

3218, Furness Railway 4-4-0-No-124.Barrow Island, Barrow-in-Furness. Early 20th Century© Sankey Family Photograph Collection.

Furness Railway 4-4-0 No 124. Barrow Island.

Peter Naylor

'2281, Furness Railway Horse'. Early 20th Century. Quite possibly 1909 © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Furness Railway Horse

Martin Bates

'6990, Piel Station and Roa Island Hotel, Roa Island'. Early 20th Century. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Piel Station and Roa Island Hotel

Don Jary

'7707, Balfours Private Owners Coal Wagon'. Early 20th Century.© Sankey Family Photography Collection

Balfours Private Owners Coal Wagon

Dave Richardson

7577, Furness Railway General Manger Mr Aslett. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Furness Railway General Manager Mr Aslett

Don Jary

'3696, Barrow Station Interior'. Circa 1910. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Barrow Station Interior

Jean McSorley

'7527. Loco FR 21 Crew'. Between 1918 and 1923. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Loco FR 21 Crew

Geoff Holme

'RS2. 0-6-2T and train at Ramsden Dock'. 1904-c1920. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

0-6-2T and train at Ramsden Dock

Neil Smith

'317, Old Coppernob, Central Station. Barrow.' Before 1938. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Old Coppernob, Central Station. Barrow.

3916, Signal Box Interior, Barrow Island. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Signal Box Interior, Barrow Island

David Stubbins

'7525, Barrow Central North Signal Box Exterior'. Early 20th Century. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Barrow Central North Signal Box Exterior

David Stubbins

'7547, FR 0-6-0 No. 27 with oil train'. Early 20th Century. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

FR 0-6-0. No.27 OIL TRAIN

Neil Smith

3919, Ticket Barriers Barrow Central © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Ticket Barrier


'7547, FR 0-6-0 No. 27 with oil train'. Early 20th Century. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Barrow shed cleaner


'2145, Askam Station'. Early 20th Century © Sankey Family Photography Collection

Askam Station

Don Jary

'The Furness Railway, A photographic Recollection' book complied by Raymond Sankey (Edward's Son) and Ken Norman in 1977.
3219, First Class Coach Stewards, Location Unknown. Early 20th Century. © Sankey Family Photography Collection

The Festival of Transport in Barrow

To find out more about the Festival of Transport and to see how you can get involved on Saturday 17th July, visit the Festival of Transport Website. Cumbria Railways Association will be holding a special archive display in the Dock Museum which will also include a collection of Sankey photographs. 

Special thanks

Special thanks go to Don Jary, David Stubbins and from the Cumbria Railway Association (CRA) for inviting their members to get involved with the project. We also thank Dave Richardson and Les Gilpin, CRA members for responding to an image. 

Thanks goes to Sankey Volunteers who have dedicated so much time and effort into the Sankey project. We give special thanks to Geoff Holme, Jean McSorley, Martin Bates, Peter Naylor and Peter Laird who have taken part in this exhibition. 

We also thank BBC Radio Presenter Neil Smith who has responded to two Sankey Railway Images. 

Thank you to Kerstin Esbjornsson from Community Railway Cumbria who has helped support connect us all to make this exhibition possible. 

Thanks to our funders