Walney has a rich and deep history that dates all the way back to prehistory!
Across the island there has been many discoveries that bring to light its prehistoric past from Neolithic stone axes to beaker pottery and even Bronze Age antlers.
Over the coming decades Walney was set to face the effects of war. During World War 1 there was two military encampments in use on the island, one known as Hilpsford Fort, to the south, and one as Fort Walney, to the north. Each providing defence on the home front and providing jobs in the area. You can find out more about these forts in our previous blog 'World War I, the effects in Furness'.
During World War 2 there were also many military defences built across the island, from pill boxes to Coastal Artillery Searchlight Emplacements. All built to protect mainland Britain in case of enemy invasion. If you want to know more about these defences then please read our previous blog 'Remnants of World War II, the Military Defences of Barrow and Walney'.
A year after World War 2 and Walney became the basis for the made up island of Sador in the Thomas the Tank Engine books.
Writer Rev. W. Awdry needed a location to base his stories around that was in Britain but also isolated enough from the main railway systems of the country. On a trip to the Isle of Man Rev. Awdry discovered the Bishop there was known as the Bishop of "Sodor and Man" and that the island was in the Diocese of Sodor and Man. He realised that there was no island of Sodor like there is of Man. This gave inspiration to create a new island, Sodor, for his books.
|A map of the Isle of Sodor (courtesy of Wikipedia). Note Barrow and Vicarstown to the right of the map.|