The best way I have to share my enthusiasm about things nowadays is to make a film... so, here is the story of the Furness Abbey Hotel and its railway station.
Furness Abbey in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, is a popular tourist attraction under the care of English Heritage. Founded in 1127, in the secluded valley of Beckansgill, it soon became one of the largest and richest monasteries in England. After its dissolution in 1537 the ruins remained largely neglected until the 19th century when the abbey became a focus of the Victorians' new interest in landscape and ruins. The opening of the Furness Railway in 1846 and the hotel soon after put Furness Abbey firmly on the tourist trail.
I was vaguely aware of all this history growing up in Barrow in the 1960s but for us it was also an adventure playground in the days before English Heritage. However, it always commanded our respect and I love the place very much.
I saw a one minute film clip recently from the BFI showing the abbey, hotel and station filmed from a train in 1900. player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-phantom-ride-on-the-furness-railway-1901-1900/
I was suddenly enthused and, over the last 12/18 months, have been collecting archive photographs and permissions to make a short film to share the story.
Yet there seemed so much to include; a brief history of the abbey, The Furness Railway Company, the building of the hotel and station, Sir James Ramsden and his home at Abbotswood, the famous locomotives and the legacy of the Furness Railway which lives on in the work of The Furness Railway Trust. So, this is a 20 minute film.... a lot to fit in!
This film has been one of my 'hobbies' over recent months. It's time to share it.