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Around The Bandstand examines the evolving role of Barrow Park and its Bandstand - the towns' longest established music venue - as 

a constant factor for the constantly changing social life of the town.


The project is a work in progress. With your help the collection of interviews and images here will expand.


The park itself is a work in progress and the Bandstand was refurbished in 2005, on its' original site. Positioned at the centre of the park from it's opening in 1908, it was intended as a gathering point for the whole town at times when holidays were rare and shared experiences were the norm.

Demolished in the 60's, its site was reclaimed by kids for their games. On its reappearance it hosted a new generation of musicians and performers. Even now, the life of the park courses through it and around it.

Barrow's major narratives tend to centre on industry and the imperatives of Empire, Military and hegemonic employers. In the memories of Park users we may find a record of a social confluence; a meeting place for the fluid social structures of the town; courtship rituals, fashions in clothes and music, the voices of women from several generations and the importance of the park itself in harder or more prosperous times.

With the Bandstand as our promontory we will map the converging histories of the people who have gathered under and around it. 

 We will explore the more fluid and autonomous interactions of social history found in the to and fro around the Bandstand and Barrow's rich history of grassroots  creativity, organisation and innovation; the below-radar worlds of children; the experiences of young parents; DIY Music scenes; the supportive social networks of mothers, aunts and grandmothers; the boundary-testing of teenagers; the search for peace and privacy and the pleasure of standing where your Mam and Dad stood, and seeing what they saw.

At times we will wander quite some distance from the Park into the busy streets and into some quiet  and private corners.  We will shift from era to era, we will view the same places from different angles and perspectives.

 The town's story is that of its people; what they have achieved and celebrated, and what they have sometimes lost, missed and re-made.

This is a collection of Barrow stories, there is room here for yours.


Photographs on this page: Alan Griffiths.

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