NATAL ROAD - Walney Island

See also: Vickerstown

 

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Takes it's name from HMS Natal a Warrior class Cruiser, built by the local shipyard. She was launched in November 1905, and moved to the Devonshire Dock to be fitted out. Completed in March 1907 she served with the 5th, and 2nd Cruiser Squadrons, before being transferred to the Grand Fleet, at the outbreak of World War One.   In January 1915 she went in to the Cromarty Firth for refitting, and it was there that a huge explosion, caused by faulty cordite completely destroyed the ship killing over 400 individuals.

   

 

Natal Road was once home to 'The Walney Theatre & Picture House' at the site now occupied by the homes shown within the picture on the far right (below). The opening of The Walney was opened for business during late 1915, primarily constructed as entertainment for the island's new residents taking up home on the Vickerstown estate/s. It was the local shipbuilding company who took it upon themselves to sponsor the facility on the premise that opening times suited those of the companies workforce.

Because 'The Walney' was a local community cinema , the films that it showed were normally done so a week later than the Barrow-in-Furness town centre, but this was reflected in the prices being comparably cheaper. The Walney had it's name changed to the Essoldo in 1950, only to see a decline in the numbers attending. If you wanted to contact the then Manager Mr N. Willis you would have done so by telephone No: 422.

During 1959 The Walney succumbed to the fact of closure as had three of it's town centre competitors, due to the ever decreasing customer base. The building itself in a state of abandonment stood for a period of five-years prior to being sold  and subsequently altered to operate as a supermarket during 1964. However as a supermarket the building was an unsuccessful entity and therefore in 1983 the structure was demolished to allow for the aforementioned housing.

 

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