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*All Dalton Heritage Trail artworks** including the logo, leaflet, map, signage art, films and photographs are copyrighted to the artist Rachel Capovila and Barrowfull. Permissions are granted for the use of the Dalton Heritage Trail and educational resources relating to the trail ONLY under the administration of DACH. Any other use or reproduction must have permissions from the artist.

**Except where stated and the copyright remains with the named eg photographer or writer.

Photo: Town Hall – Ron Creer


Original council offices

The previous offices of the Dalton-in-Furness District Local Board was at the Market Square. The building was erected in 1851 in front of the castle and used as the attorney’s office of William Butler, solicitor. In 1873 it was used as the Council Offices, John Tyson, Solicitor and Clerk to the Local District Board being based here. Mr. Tyson was said to be an excellent Clerk, but not an excellent advocate, as each time the Board had gone to court, they had lost.  In 1885 when Dalton District Local Board moved to its new premises in Station Road the old building was used as a church institute, and later as the Liberal Club. The building was demolished in 1896.

Market hall and new council offices

The idea that Dalton needed a market hall was widely accepted. The two principal sites considered were Tudor Square and Station Road but the latter option was preferable as for the same area the land was cheaper. The issue of erecting a market house and offices in Station Road was finally resolved in January 1882 by the Dalton District Local Board. Designs were made (similar to the current building) and sanction for a loan from the Local Government Board made in March 1883, but the following month the original idea of erecting a market house was dropped, the board eventually erecting offices and fire station with stables and a cottage on the site.

In late May 1884, the Local Board placed an advert in newspapers for tenders for the “Erection of Board-room, Offices, Cottage, Fire Engine House, stabling etc. in Station Road according to plans, sections and specifications prepared by the Board’s architects.” The horses for the fire-engine were to be stabled at the rear as was the ambulance horse.

Although it is not known who won the contract, it was reported on 20 June 1885 that the Board were ready to move into the new offices.  However, the new offices had three times the accommodation necessary for the Board, and it was considered wise that some arrangement was made for renting out the offices.  The Board Room, it was decided, could be rented at £7 10s per annum and that a fire would be lit on giving notice to the caretaker.

The clocktower is of interest, the clocks being made by Mr William Potts and Sons of Leeds as was the Holy Trinity Church Clock, Ulverston.


Local Government Act 1894

In England and Wales, urban districts and rural districts were created by the Local Government Act 1894 as subdivisions of administrative counties. Although the current local wards were created in 1873, under the new act, Lindal and Marton were left with little representation and believed they should be formed into a separate ward. The three wards of East, North and South were retained.


Fire Service

Dalton Fire Brigade was formed in 1874 and moved to Station Road in 1885. The use and popularity of the internal combustion engine affected the fire brigade and around 1926 the horse-drawn vehicle was replaced by a small Dennis motor vehicle; this in turn was replaced in 1934 by a Leyland Cub vehicle. Following the war, in June 1948 Dalton Fire Station was to provide protection for Dalton UD and Kirkby, Ireleth and Angerton. The area was covered by twelve retained firemen with a self-propelled pump, a light pumping appliance and auxiliary vehicle.  On 4 December 1969 the brigade transferred to its new quarters at Butts Beck, although the new station was not officially opened until 4th June 1970. This building too was closed in 2014, demolished and turned into housing a couple of years later. Fire services for Dalton are now served from Barrow and Ulverston’s new Hub.


Local Government changes and later events

All urban districts in England and Wales were abolished in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, and replaced with a uniform system of larger districts. – Until 1974 the Town Hall was home to Dalton UDC, following the 1974 re-organisation everything was moved to Barrow Town Hall with minimal staff at Dalton, the ‘rates office’ and housing maintained a presence but the upper floor which had been offices was made available to the public for things like keep-fit classes etc.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s the Town Hall was used by the Marion Barstow Dance School for keep fit and dance lessons. Occasionally there was a disco, but these were mainly private parties, and there was never a cafe. Nonetheless, blueprints held at Barrow Archive Centre from 1983, passed by Barrow Council, show the conversion of part of Dalton Town Hall to a Community Centre with a Disco Room on the ground floor and a café lounge on the first floor. The Borough council must have decided against the move as there has been no café/lounge in the building.

The three Parish Councils in the Borough came into being in the late 1980s but Dalton Town Council were not allocated any space in the Town Hall and held meetings in the Castle.  Barrow Borough sold the building to a housing association (Bradford & Northern) in 1993/4. Once building works to create the flats upstairs and at the rear were completed the Borough Council leased a space from them as part of the sale which operated as housing and a cash office where members of the public could pay their rates/poll tax/council tax, housing rents etc.  The Town Council were given the council chamber and the Town Clerk worked from that space too. Between 2005-2007 the Borough Council decided that all their cash offices would close and at that point the Town Council assumed responsibility for the lease and took over the entire space.

 P. Schofield Ph.D.

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About us

Dalton is the ancient and historic capital of Furness and has approximately 8,000 residents at the current time. Ideally located less than thirty miles from the Lake District and close to the Irish Sea coast and nature reserves, Dalton is home to one of the Counties largest tourist attractions, South Lakes Wild Animal Park.