Posted by: travelrat | May 30, 2011

The Barrow Monument

I’ve already written a few words about Ulverston and its canal, reputedly, the shortest, widest and deepest in England. Overlooking the canal is the low Hoad Hill, topped by a lighthouse-shaped monument. It’s usually called the Hoad Monument, but it’s actually to honour Sir John Barrow.

Barrow was one of Ulverston’s two most famous natives (the other was Stan Laurel) and, in the early part of the 19th Century, served as Second Secretary to the Admiralty for nearly forty years.

So good was he at this, that he was requested to remain in post, even when the Government changed, which was the beginning of the practice of senior Civil Servants (now termed Permanent Secretaries) of retaining their posts no matter what the political persuasion of the Government in power.

Barrow had already travelled widely and achieved much when he was appointed to his Admiralty post in 1804. One of the things he was most enthusiastic about was the exploration of the Arctic; he supported many famous people in this field, who named various features after him; the Barrow Straits in Arctic Canada; Point Barrow and the town of Barrow, in Alaska.

He was the author of several articles and books, notably ‘The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty: Its Cause and Consequences’ … often reprinted under less prolix titles, and regarded as the most reliable resource for information on this event.




  1. I didn’t realise Barrow in Alaska was named after him. My sister lives in Alaska and has mentioned that town. I really like the shot of the monument. Very well captured.

    • Yes, I originally thought it was named after Barrow in Furness … although two more contrasting places, it’s difficult to think of!

  2. Hi Keith,
    Very interesting bit of history, I also didn’t know where the name Barrow came from. A monument a bit different than the norm, certainly a great idea.

    • At a guess, the town of Barrow in Furness is derived from ‘borough’ = a town; presumably, Sir John’s family name comes from there; it’s not very far away!

      It leads me to wonder how many more Barrows there are in the world; I know there are three others in the UK!

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