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Backbarrow
Backbarrow (Cumbria)
Backbarrow

Backbarrow shown within Cumbria
OS grid reference SD355849
Parish Haverthwaite
District South Lakeland
Shire county Cumbria
Region North West
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ULVERSTON
Postcode district LA12
Police Cumbria
Fire Cumbria
Ambulance North West
European Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Westmorland and Lonsdale
List of places: UKEnglandCumbria

Coordinates: 54°15'21?N 2°59'30?W? / ?54.25569, -2.99155

Backbarrow is a village in the Lake District National Park in England. It lies on the River Leven about 5 miles (8 km) northeast of Ulverston in the Furness region of the county of Cumbria.

Backbarrow probably grew during the Elizabethan period, due to the corn mills that were built along the river. Earlier mills at the site had been owned by Furness Abbey, which by this time had been dissolved. Development increased due to the iron furnace that was built in Backbarrow in 1711. The cotton mills continued to grow in size during the Victorian period.

In 1868 an extension of the Furness Railway was built through the village to transport iron and products from the mills. Though the line was closed in the early 20th century with the demise of the ironworks, the section from Haverthwaite to Lakeside, which passes through Backbarrow, remains open as a heritage railway (see Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway).

Backbarrow was particularly associated with the production of the blue pigment ultramarine, or "dolly blue". Production of this continued until 1981. The factory, which was known locally as "the bluemills", is now a popular hotel. A display of machinery used in the old factory is maintained by the hotel's proprietors.

The growth of the National Park led to an increase in tourism in the region. In particular, Backbarrow has seen the development of white water rafting, due to the turbulent nature of the River Leven, just south of Windermere. The river has also been used to develop a small hydro-electric plant, installed in 2000, generating electricity for the National Grid.

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