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Mikasa Street, Vickerstown.jpg
Mikasa Street, Vickerstown
Vickerstown is located in Cumbria
 Vickerstown shown within Cumbria
OS grid reference SD179685
District Barrow-in-Furness
Shire county Cumbria
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LA14
Police Cumbria
Fire Cumbria
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
List of places

Coordinates: 54°06′23″N 3°15′25″W / 54.1064°N 3.25708°W / 54.1064; -3.25708

Vickerstown is an area located on the Isle of Walney, near to the mainland town of Barrow-in-Furness, England. Albeit not part of mainland Cumbria, Vickerstown is still regarded as part of the town of Barrow-in-Furness. It is an example of a planned estate built for workers by a company needing to expand.

The location Vicarstown in The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry is based on Vickerstown.


Its construction was prompted by a lack of housing available for the workers at Barrow Docks, owned at the time by Vickers. Some workers were forced to live on board the Atlantic liner SS Alaska, which was moored in the docks. Plans for its development were begun in 1898 and Vickers bought out the Isle of Walney Estates Company to handle the construction.

Homes were designed to last, with the houses in a Tudor Revival terrace style. Larger houses overlooking Walney Channel were reserved for managers' families. The good construction of this estate meant that Barrow did not have the slums that plagued British towns in the 1950s. Most streets in Vickerstown are named after ships built at Vickers (including HMS Euryalus, HMS Juno, Japanese battleship Mikasa and HMS Vengeance) and other ports towns and cities in the UK (including Bristol, Folkestone and Liverpool).


The first 1,000 houses were completed in 1901 and tenants soon moved in, despite strict selection criteria. A toll bridge to the mainland was opened in 1908.

The rearmament programme and the First World War led to a second phase of building during which government loans were used to build accommodation for workers but these houses were more utilitarian than those in the original plans.

After the First World War, houses began to be sold on to tenants and in 1951, with only a handful of properties still under its control, the estate company was wound up.

Modern Vickerstown[edit]

Vickerstown remains part of the town of Barrow and was declared a conservation area in 1988, to keep the character of the estate intact. Barrow shipyard remains the largest employer in the town, though it is now owned by BAE Systems.


Main article (The Railway Series): Vicarstown
Main article (Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends TV series): Vicarstown

In The Railway Series of children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry (which developed into the television series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends), locomotives such as Thomas the Tank Engine live on the fictional Island of Sodor, a much larger island which takes the place of Walney Island. Sodor is linked to the mainland by two bridges, one road and one rail, across the Walney Channel, and the town nearest this bridge is named Vicarstown. As the author was himself an Anglican priest, this would have been an obvious choice of name.

According to the "research" into Sodor's history by the Rev. Awdry, Vicarstown was where the fictional North Western Railway first had its headquarters and according to some sources was where Thomas The Tank Engine first worked as a station pilot although some maps drawn to accompany the Railway Series books state this was at Tidmouth instead.

See also[edit]