The Bog Standard Advisor: The Town Hall, Barrow in Furness

It’s said that Barrow Upon Furness is built the wrong way round; the front of things are at the back and the back of things are on the front.  This is as true of Barrow Town Hall as it of much of its wider urban landscape: so a visitor who has been caught short and is looking for some quick relief will have a problem if they think they are going to find the toilets quickly through the front door.  Because the front door – the one through which would naturally walk – is actually the back door, and what you want to be doing if you’re really desperate, is use the back passage.IMG_1504

Barrow in Furness is also disparaged for being on the end of the railway line; at the outer edge of English civilisation and having the highest concentration of neurotics in the whole of the UK.  Whilst all of this is unfair and none of it true, what is true is that the toilets in Barrow Town Hall are hard to find: but once you’ve found them, they are quite a delightful experience.

The first thing the rushed visitor finds when coming in the back passage is a PRIVATE sign: which hardly encourages you to go any further.  But the hardy, desperate visitor ignores these signs and heads up the stairs and eventually sees the signs they are wanting to see and heads off in that direction with one sole intent in mind.

IMG_1500Once in the cloakroom (and the good burgers of Barrow have called it a cloakroom as opposed to resorting to a cruder nomenclature), the visitor can be delighted by the architecture and the efficiency of the water systems.

Relief is quick and efficient and on the way out, one gains a bit more understanding about Britain’s industrial past at the same time by being able to study and marvel at the history of UK submarine construction for which the town is rightly famous.

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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