Barrow Football Club was created in 1875 and played their games at Cavendish Park and occasionally played at the Parade Ground.
The formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union came in 1895 – Barrow didn’t join until 1897. By now they were permanent tenants of Cavendish Park, playing in the Lancashire Second Division and winning the league in their first season. They failed to beat Morecambe in the promotional challenge match and remained in the second division for another year before elevating into the top tier in the 1899/1900 season.
Those pre-war years were quiet for the club and in 1914 their ground was to be utilised in the war effort so they moved their football away from Cavendish Park to Little Park. With the official league suspended during war time, the club competed in the un-official ‘war league’ and won the competition in 1918.
In the years following the cease-fire when the league resumed, Barrow’s success was nil and their club seemed to be doomed when the numbers at Little Park depleted. The club had local War hero and Barrow fan G.W. Craven to thank who dug them out of the hole by starting an appeal fund with the initial donation coming out of his pocket (£500). Subsequent contributions of money along with many hours of voluntary work, helped Barrow construct their new ground in 1931. The stadium was aptly named ‘Craven Park’.
Despite coming close to a Lancashire Cup victory just before the outbreak of World War II, Barrow Raiders would go into the second half of the century without any ‘official’ silverware.
The 50’s were a very different decade for Barrow, they won a cup double in 1955 with victories in both the Challenge Cup and a Lancashire Cup. The team narrowly missed out on two more Challenge Cup honours in that decade too and the four time finalists were beginning to make a name for themselves.
When the league split in the 1960’s, Barrow’s poor performances in the preliminary years saw them relegated to play their games in the Second Division come 1962. They managed another Challenge Cup final appearance in 1967 but their performance was in vain despite being favourites to bring home the cup against Featherstone Rovers.
The club bounced up and down the top two divisions for the following 20 years. When the Super League was created in 1995 and the leagues decided to play the season throughout the summer, Barrow RLFC changed their name to Barrow Braves.
1997 saw the club merge with local rivals Carlisle and was rebranded to Barrow Border Raiders. In 2002 the name was altered again when the ‘Border’ part of the title was dropped.
Two years later in 2004, the club became National League Two Champions. Promotion to League One looked to be the turnaround Barrow had been looking for but they let their grip slip again and were relegated in the 2005/2006 season.
The latter years of the noughties were much more prosperous for the Raiders. They won the Co-operative Championship and won the subsequent Grand Final against Halifax. They just missed out on adding a Northern Rail Cup to those honours that year too.
They failed to match their 2009 heroics in 2010 but by finishing fourth and finally showing some sustainability in a single division, Barrow Raiders were looking to be a side moving forward.