VICKERSTOWN - Walney Island
In the late autumn of 1898, under the management of Mr. Benjamin Fish (himself a builder within the town of Barrow) a syndicate of businessmen collaborated to form the 'Isle of Walney Estates Company', announced their intent to construct an estate on Walney-Island, which they stated was to be called Vickersdale. During 1899 the company was bought out 'lock, stock and barrel' by the local shipbuilding company of Vickers Sons & Maxim.
After a number of changes to the original plans, foundations for the new estate were underway by 1900, using a number of various building contractors and materials supplied from Walney clay pits, of which there were two, one at North Scale and the other in what is now the Liverpool Street area. The estate architect, W. Moss Settle, had designed a variety of house styles, which the estates company was notoriously strict in their allocation, the houses being offered in accordance with the tenants' status within the local shipyard and with little or no regard of any individuals ability to pay extra. The first person to move into the estate was a Vickers clerk by the name of David Mason, having taken his accommodation at 28, Latona Street at the end of 1900.
When the estate had been completed in 1904 and c950 homes had been constructed, the 'estates company' paid off it's contractors. However the Rainey Bros were kept on for a limited time to clear up the loose ends left by the other construction companies and execute any maintenance that may have been required.
Public refreshment was offered to the estates folk in the form of a converted house at Gatacre Street, but the company owning the estate, Vickers Sons & maxim took a decision that two 'community' hotels should be constructed instead, the names of which would become the 'King Alfred' on the Promenade and the other, the 'King Edward on Douglas Street. We know today that only the King Alfred came to fruition as the escalating costs of the estate signalled the 'death knell' for the other. In return an off-licence was placed within a converted house at Methuen Street.
In 1899 a major change was to occur, which would change (North Scale) forever when Vickers Sons & Maxim bought out the Isle of Walney Estates Company and many acres of land, about 880 in total at a cost in excess of £55,000, which included six of the remaining farms. Vickerstown Home Farm (below) remains located at the foot of North Scale Village to this day although it no longer operates as a farm... By 1904 the farm was reported to be in ownership of 36 cattle, and also be responsible for the provision of produce for the 'new' Vickerstown estate'.
During 1988, having recognised the historical significance of the Vickerstown Estate/s, Barrow Council declared Vickerstown to be a Conservation Area, creating special incentives and special responsibilities for preserving the estates character. On another note a very well documented accident (within the local press) occurred at the farm in June 1903 when Lord Dunlace was administered an injury to his foot during an open day. Whilst he was giving a horse drawing a reaper a pat on the neck, the horse moved forward suddenly, only to draw the implement in tow across the foot of Mr. Dunlace. ouch!
Home farm as of February 2010, undergoing its latest evolution.
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