Interesting stuff this Dave. I have a photo that was taken from a bedroom window in Clive Street in the 1920s that clearly shows the jute works and what became the Duke St, half of the ground a few years later.The ponds you refer to are actually man made reservoirs that were needed to produce the jute. Its worth noting that the jute works site was actually derelict when Barrow RLFC bought it and had been so for nearly 10 years. So what became Geronimos and in turn a a derelict shell, had been been derelict over 70 years before too! Says a lot about victorian workmanship and materials that despite everything the building endured (Fires, storms etc) the shell was still standing until last week! I dont know if this is common knowledge but in the week after the ground opened in August 1929 a very large section of the Duke St end wall collapsed and major repairs had to take place before the next game. Fortunately the ground was empty at the time of the collapse and no one was injured. I have 2 postcards that show the very extensive damage with bricks littering the road etc and a gaping hole in the wall. The incident probably occurred due to the ground being built by volunteers and due to the speed with which it needed to be completed coupled with lack of H&S in the twenties i suspect much of the work was completed by people who were not suitably qualified including bricklayers!
Much later in 1949 during a storm the stand roof blew off completely and was not restored until the end of the season due to an insurance wrangle that Barrow eventually won.