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Furness iron and related woodland industries

Reproduced by permission of Historic EnglandAny metal industry needs raw materials, fuel and power. Furness and southern Lakeland are rich in iron ore, woodland and water.

Iron was probably made here as long ago as 800BC. By the medieval period, iron production was a significant part of the economy and in the 17th and 18th centuries it became a thriving industry.

During the 19th century coke-fuelled blast furnaces, more conveniently located, put the charcoal-fired furnaces in their remote woodlands out of business. Coke was cheap and relatively easy to produce; charcoal making required skilled labour.

Story author: Mark Bowden, English Heritage

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