Photography enthusiasts learn how to capture pieces of the past

After a slightly hairy bus ride from Barrow along the winding country roads, the group landed in the quiet village of Broughton. Guided by Rebecca (Signal Films Project Manager), Geoff (local historian) and Caroline (leading photography tutor) and armed with a variety of DSLR cameras, we set off down the footpath, which until 1958, housed part of the Coniston to Furness railway line.

Standing at the junction of Market Street and the footpath it was difficult to imagine heavy freight trains whistling through here during the 1800’s.

Heading away from the village, the path ascended gradually to the East and in parts felt completely enclosed by the steep valley walls. Geoff pointed out a number of key remnants of the railway along the way and Caroline showed the group how best to capture them in the ever changing light conditions.

At the end of the footpath the bus collected the group and headed to Coniston, with Geoff pointing out the former route of the railway line (which in part ran parallel to the road) and the old Coniston station site. Once at Coniston Water, there were further opportunities for photographs before having a well earned rest at the Bluebird Cafe.

Sat beside the water, filling up on tea and cakes, memories were shared of previous visits to the lake and the many myths and legends associated with it. Thoughts turned back to the vintage posters and postcards introduced by Rebecca at the start of the journey showing the railway in its tourist heydays of the early 1900’s.

After the break, the group visited the Gondola which has been carrying passengers across the lake since the mid 1800’s. Unfortunately, the yacht was not running at the time, but it was easy to imagine why it has remained so popular as we stood admiring it in the shadows of Coniston Old Man.

Photography and digital media workshops

This February and March we delivered a FREE Photography course for enthusiastic creatives in the Barrow-in-Furness area. Open to adults of all ages, participants had the chance to develop their Photography skills led by industry professional, Caroline Douglas.

Starting with an introductory taster session and followed by 5 weekly workshops all sessions took place at Signal Film & Media, Cooke Studious, 104 Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness.

The course gave participants the exciting opportunity to be part of the Heritage Lottery funded project Lost Journeys on the Furness Railway, which explored the important role that the Furness Railway played in Barrow’s thriving industrial past and how it is remembered today. We have been collecting stories about the historic stations and lost train lines of Barrow and the Furness Peninsula, to link the lives of ordinary people to the grand history of the railway. Through these workshops participants brought the era to life again through creative photography and digital media.

An overview of what was involved:

  • Outdoor landscape and portrait photography
  • Introduction to using Darkroom to create prints
  • Introduction to using digital photo editing software
  • PLUS optional field trips to Lost Station sites

The resulting artworks created by participants will be displayed as part of the Lost Journeys exhibition in June 2016.

Pupils uncover the Lost Journeys of the Furness Railway

Signal partners with Barrow Island Primary School to uncover the Lost Journeys of the Furness Railway

Last month Signal ran a taster workshop for a year 5 class at Barrow Island Primary as part of the project Lost Journeys on the Furness Railway. Pupils heard about the history of the Furness Railway and tried out photography and oral history sound recording.

The class have now started a series of creative workshops and aim to tell the story of Barrow Island Shipyard Station. Opened in 1899 and custom built for Vickers Shipyard workforce, Barrow Island Station was well-used until its closure in 1967.

Led by filmmaker Sheryl Jenkins, the pupils have learnt about simple animation techniques and started creating artwork for a cutout style animated story.

They drew various types of images relating to trains, old stations, steam trains and conductors using old photographs of Barrow Island Train Station as inspiration.

Pupils have also put their oral history training into practice by interviewing and recording residents memories of how the train line featured in their lives in the days when it was the primary mode of transport and when industry was thriving.

Continuing the project throughout January 2016 the class will storyboard and edit their animated story that will link the lives of ordinary people to the grand history of the rail.