Holker Street: Barrow A.F.C

Wilkie Road, Barrow-in-Furness, England, LA145UW

Known as the Progression Solicitors Stadium because of sponsorship, Holker Street opened its doors for the first time in the early part of the twentieth century. Nowadays it’s Barrow Association Football Club that call the venue home, having played their matches there since 1909. That probably helps to explain why 1909 is generally thought of as the year that it opened.

Though it boasts a capacity of 5,045, it is rarely needed to host the full allotment of people. Indeed, the stadium’s record attendance in the modern era is 3,307, which was set in a match against Notts County during the 2019-2020 campaign. It hasn’t always been that way, though, as just shy of 17,000 people attended an FA Cup match between Barrow and Swansea Town in 1954.

Stats

Holker Street Stats
Year Opened1909
Capacity5,045
Average Attendance2,010
Record Attendance16,874 (Barrow v Swansea Town (1954))
Pitch Size101 x 68 (6868)
OwnerBarrow AFC
SponsorProgression Solicitors
Clubs HostedBarrow AFC
First FixtureBarrow v Eccles Borough (1909)
Barrow AFC Stats
Year Founded1903
NicknameThe Bluebirds
Club MascotBluey the Bluebird
RivalsGateshead
Previous StadiumsStrawberry Ground, Ainslee Street
KitBlue & White (Home) / Yellow & Black (Away)
Training GroundHopwood Hall
Shirt Sponsor17Sport & Joma Sport
Team OwnerPaul Hornby
Record GoalscorerColin Cowperthwaite (282)
Record AppearancesColin Cowperthwaite (704)

Holker Street Photos

Holker Street Seating Plan & Where to Sit

Packed stand at Holker Street - John Lord / Flickr

Holker Street is the definition of an old-fashioned English football ground, with terraces being the dominant way that people watch matches. The away fans tend to be housed in one section of the Holker Street Terrace, which is close to the Brian Arrowsmith Stand. That is located at one end of the ground, whilst the Hoker Street End is at the other.

Barrow AFC Ticket Prices

During the 2020-2021 season, Barrow set their ticket prices at £16 for adults in the standing section and £19 for those that wanted a seat. Concessions cost £13 and £15 for the two option. It was a couple of quid more expensive if you wanted to but your ticket on the day, however.

How To Get Barrow AFC Tickets

Given that Holker Street hasn’t sold out during the modern era, it’s not difficult to get tickets for the club’s matches. You can buy them online via the club’s official website, though getting them in person from the box office is probably the easiest way to do it.

Where to Buy

Getting To Holker Street

Train - Barrow-in-Furness Train Station is about half a mile away from the ground, so easily walkable.

Bus - You can get the number 3 bus from Ormsgill / Newbarns and it will stop right outside the ground. Just ask for Holker Street. You can expect it to cost you about £1.50 if you’re an adult.

Car - It’s the M6 that you’ll be wanting to look for if you’re heading to Holker Street. Leave it at Junction 36 and get onto the A590, following the signposts for Barrow. You’ll come into the town on Park Road, so turn left after the fire station and you’ll see the ground on your left.

By Air - Located at the bottom of the Lake District, Barrow-In-Furness isn’t the easiest of places to get to regardless of the method of travel chosen. If you’re flying in then the closest commercial airport is in Blackpool, though Walney Island Airport is accessible for those with private means of travel.

Taxi - A taxi from Barrow-In-Furness Train Station to Holker Street would probably cost you around £5, depending on traffic. Obviously if you’re coming from further afield then it will cost you more money.

Parking Near Holker Street

There is a large amount of on-street parking available close to the ground; just remember to check for any parking restrictions that are in place.

Useful Resources

Holker Street Hotels

Being by the sea as well as right next to the beautiful Lake District, Barrow in Furness is well equipped to cater for tourists. Here are a few places we would be more than happy to stay:

OYO Hotel Majestic - £30+

Duke Street, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 1HP
The Lake District itself has a wealth of hotel options available to visitors, but if you want to stay quite close to the ground then you’ll do a lot worse than the OYO Hotel Majestic. There are two members of the OYO chain in Barrow, with the Majestic being the more budget friendly. That being said, It still offers free Wi-Fi and has a restaurant and bar. There are only seven rooms, so you’ll need to be quick if you want to nab one of them for a match day. More details.

Holiday Inn Express Barrow-in-Furness - £60+

Market Street, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 2LE
Sometimes you just want to know what it is that you’re letting yourself in for and there’s no better way of doing so than by staying in a chain hotel. The Holiday Inn is a decent chain, with the Express variant offering all of the usual amenities but in a more convenient package. There’s free parking, free Wi-Fi and a breakfast included in the cost of your stay. If you need to do some work then there’s a 24-hour Business Centre. With more than 120 rooms available, there’s plenty of options in terms of rooms. More details.

Duke of Edinburgh Hotels - £68+

Abbey Rd, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 5QR
Well priced for the standard here, the Duke of Edinburgh is very comfortable and has a cracking bar to boot. It has free wifi, parking and breakfast included, and also has a restaurant available. There's a safari zoo down the road too if you want to make a weekend of it. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Holker Street

Cumbria is the home of the Hawkshead brewery among others, and is full of great old pubs as well as more modern options to watch the footy in:

Last Orders

Rawlinson Street, Barrow-In-Furness, LA14 2DG (01229 825464)
Located close to the centre of town, Last Orders is a friendly pub that prides itself on showing as much sport as it can. Guinness, cider and a host of lagers are served behind the bar, to say nothing of soft drinks and spirits. The personable bar staff and cheap prices make this a decent place to head for a pre-match pint or to enjoy some sport after Barrow’s game is all over.

Victoria

Oxford Street, Barrow-In-Furness, LA14 5QL (01229 828899)
The Victoria is one of the main pubs in the centre of Barrow-In-Furness and is part of the Greene King chain. That means that you’ll know what to expect if you’ve ever been to one of the other Greene King’s around the country, which is to say good food and decent drinks at reasonable prices. There’s a beer garden here, plus pool tables and a family friendly environment. On top of that they’ve got the rights to show sports from most of the major operators, so there’ll be something on the screens pretty much whenever you go.

The Bay Horse

136 Hawcoat Lane, LA14 4HS (01229 837167)
A traditional pub that has made improvements over the years to get with the times, you can enjoy a bite to eat in The Bay Horse between noon and 8pm every day of the week. There’s a huge beer garden for those that like to sit outside and soak up the sun, but it’s inside that you’ll need to be if you want to watch some live sport on one of the big screens. In addition to a lovely food menu, The Bay Horse has a solid selection of drinks that really should be enough to satisfy even the most discerning of palettes.

Facilities

The facilities at Holker Street are basic, but in many ways that adds to the stadium’s charm. Obviously there are toilets for both sexes and places to get a drink, but food is mostly limited to the usual burger van type deal unless you have hospitality tickets.

Prices

  • Programme: 2.50

Hospitality

Holker Street is what one might euphemistically refer to as ‘old-fashioned’, but the hospitality on offer, although not quite what you’d get at a League One of Championship ground, has been improved no end since the clubs' promotion. They are doing their very best by providing a 2 course pre-match meal, the option to watch the man of the match ceremony, a match day program, and a complimentary bar.

Private Hire

Having made an effort to pimp out their hospitality areas since returning to the EFL, Holker Street can now be hired for birthday parties, anniversaries, wedding recpetions, and other celebratory such occasions with a bar and function room available. It is also suitable for business hire, so if you need somewhere a little different in the Barrow area it's a great shout.

Stadium Tours & Museum

At the time of writing, there is no tour of Holker Street available. Whilst the entire stadium looks like something of a museum, there isn’t actually a dedicated museum to speak of.

About Barrow AFC

Founded in 1901 and located in the town of Barrow-In-Furness, Barrow Association Football Club initially played at The Strawberry Ground. They briefly moved to Ainslie Street before shifting once more to Little Park in Roose. The club was elected to the Second Division of the Lancashire Combination in 1903 and remained in that league until the conclusion of the First World War. In 1921 they won the league, becoming one of the founding members of the Football League Third Division North as a result. The club’s lack of success was what set them apart the most during its more formative years, with their highest finish coming in 1934 when they placed in fifth. Barrow were also one of the founding members of the Football League Division Four in 1958.

The club’s highest ever league finish came in 1968 when Colin Appleton led the Bluebirds to an eighth place finish in the Third Division. They even briefly topped Division Three for a day during the 1968-1969 campaign. The club was voted out of the Football League in 1972 in favour of Hereford United. Soon the club began to suffer financial troubles and so the board chose to introduce a speedway track at Holker Street around the perimeter of the pitch. Though successes have been limited to the likes of the FA Trophy and the Lancashire Senior Cup, Barrow have enjoyed life bobbing up and down between the various divisions, eventually gaining promotion to League Two in 2020.

Holker Street History

Holker Street in 1984 - Steve Daniels / Holker Street, Barrow FC

Previous owned by Furness Railway, the site where Holker Street now stands was a rubbish tip before it was made into a football ground. The jokes for opposition supporters aren’t hard to find, therefore, from the moment that Hindpool Athletic Football Club transformed it into a stadium. Whilst bits of rubbish remained lodged in the pitch for years afterwards, Barrow took on a five-year rent of the stadium from 1909 and have remained there ever since. A wooden all-seater stand was the first physical structure built at the ground, opening in 1912. Soon it was developed into a decent stadium, complete with covered terracing for the supporters to use.

Obviously the stadium has undergone numerous different improvements since it was first built, with changing rooms, turnstiles and more added over the years. Floodlights were put in in 1963, but by the end of the 1970s the ground had become somewhat dilapidated. The all-seater Main Stand was part of a refurbishment of the venue, opening in 1998. Between 1998 and 2002 there was a long and protracted legal battle between the club and its former chairman, Stephen Vaughan, around the idea of who owned the ground. Eventually it was decided that it belonged to the club, so they began to carry out more improvements to it in the years that followed.

Future Developments

When it was confirmed that the club would be promoted to the Football League at the end of the 2019-2020 season, it was also made clear that improvements to Holker Street would be necessary for the club to be able to host matches there.

Numerous parts of the stadium were refurbished, with the likes of hospitality suites getting enhanced. A fanzone as well as CCTV will both be installed in the future, as will electric turnstiles. The dugout will need to be enlarged, with the same thing being true of the changing rooms.

The club will also need to put an extra 1,000 seats in, plus new crush barriers will be installed.

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