The rich haematite of Furness had been known since at least medieval times, and 17th century workings at Lindal and Dalton regularly exported ore to various parts of the country. By the 18th century iron ore was taken to the safe harbour at Barrow to smelting works in Wales and the Midlands. As the Industrial Revolution gathered pace, Furness haematite was increasingly in demand; 11,000 tons were raised in 1800, 75,000 tons in 1840.
The discovery of a massive iron deposit at the Park mine, near Barrow led to the building of the building of iron and steelworks in Barrow. This was the engine which was to drive Barrow’s growth for the next thirty years. Dalton's fortunes declined and by 1866 the new town of Barrow had outstripped its old guardian Dalton and Barrow formed its own municipality. The new borough, eventually took in areas which had originally been left within Dalton – Walney in 1872, Yarlside in 1875 and Rampside in 1881. Today Dalton lies within the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness.