Barnsley

Street MapOur Photos

[amazon_carousel widget_type=”SearchAndAdd” width=”600″ height=”200″ title=”” market_place=”GB” shuffle_products=”False” show_border=”False” keywords=”Barnsley” browse_node=”” search_index=”Books” /]

Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Dearne, 11.8 miles (19 km) north of the city of Sheffield, 17 miles (27 km) south of Leeds and 14.5 miles (23 km) west of Doncaster. Barnsley is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, of which Barnsley is the largest and the administrative centre. The metropolitan borough had a population of 218,063 at the 2001 UK Census; Barnsley Urban Area had a population of 71,599.[1]

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Barnsley is notable as a former industrial town centred on coal mining and glassmaking  although in the town a few factories remain notably the glassworks and coking plant. Though these industries declined in the 20th century, Barnsley’s local culture remains rooted in this industrial heritage; Barnsley has a tradition of brass bands, originally created as social clubs for its mining communities.

It is between junctions 36 and 38 of the M1 motorway and has a railway station served by the Hallam and Penistone Lines. Barnsley F.C. is the local football club.

The first historical reference occurs in 1086 in the Domesday Book, in which it is called ‘Berneslai’ with a total population of around 200. The exact origins of the name Barnsley is still subject to debate, but Barnsley Council claims that its origins lie in the Saxon word Berne, for barn or storehouse, and Lay, for field.

The town lay in the parish of Silkstone and developed little until in the 1150s it was given to the monastery of St John, Pontefract. The monks decided to build a new town where three roads met: the Sheffield to Wakefield, Rotherham to Huddersfield and Cheshire to Doncaster routes. The Domesday village became known as “Old Barnsley”, and a town grew up on the new site.

The monks erected a chapel-of-ease dedicated to Saint Mary, which survived intact until 1820, and established a market. In 1249, a Royal Charter was grantedto Barnsley permitting it to hold a weekly market on Wednesdays and annual four-day fair at Michaelmas. By the 1290s,three annual fairs were held. The town became the main centre for the Staincross wapentake, but in the mid-sixteenth century still had only 600 inhabitants.

From the 17th century, Barnsley developed into a stop-off point on the route between Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield and London. The traffic generated as a result of this location fuelled trade, with hostelries and related services also prospering. A principal centre for linen weaving during the 18th and 19th century, Barnsley grew into an important manufacturing town. Barnsley also has a long tradition of glass-making, but is most famous for its coalfields. George Orwell briefly mentions the town in The Road to Wigan Pier. Orwell spent a number of days in the town living in the houses of the working-class miners while researching for the book. He wrote very critically of the council’s expenditure on the construction of Barnsley Town Hall and claimed that the money should have been spent on improving the housing and living conditions of the local miners.

Following the Local Government Act 1972, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council took control of surrounding towns, villages and adopted them as part of Barnsley. This resulted in names such as ‘Pennine Barnsley’ being invented for the market town of Penistone (more than seven miles away) for promotional purposes. Other types of ‘branding’ are also employed to bring surrounding places into the Barnsley orbit, such as the use of the Barnsley coat of arms on street signs which are well beyond the boundaries of the town itself.

The town was better known for coal mining, although most of the pits were actually in the surrounding villages, rather than in the town itself. The proportion employed in mining varied hugely, even before recent times. “Barnsley Main” colliery was in the town, but was fairly small; it closed in 1991. All of the mines in the borough are now closed; Goldthorpe was the last to close in 1994. Wire, linen and glass-making were also major industries, but only glass-making remains, with one large company still operating. The coat of arms for the town includes a coal miner and a glass-blower. It is now moving towards a service economy. As of July 2007, unemployment stands at 2.8% in Barnsley West & Penistone, 4.2% in Barnsley Central and 4.0% in Barnsley East & Mexborough, compared to the national average of 3.1%. Since 1997, unemployment fell by 55.2%, 52.5% and 52.5% in the three areas respectively.

The Western half of the Borough stretches from the M1 to the edge of the Peak District and is essentially rural in character. This Western part includes the Market Town of Penistone and some notable and remarkable places of interest, these include: Wentworth Castle and Gardens (Grade I listed gardens), Cannon Hall Park and Museum, Cawthorne Jubilee Museum, Wortley Hall and Gardens, Wortley Top Forge (16th century Forge).

In 2002, Barnsley Council and partners launched a major consultation exercise called “Rethinking Barnsley”. This led to a regeneration programme centred on Barnsley Town Centre called “Remaking Barnsley”. Developments include a new transport interchange, a new cultural centre in the old Civic Hall, a Digital Media Centre (opened August 2007), and new offices and apartments throughout the Town Centre. At the same time, housebuilding has taken off and major new housing areas have been developed. Business Parks on the M1 at Junctions 37 and 36, and in the Dearne Valley, have also expanded the job opportunities locally. Unemployment is now below the national average but a large number of local people are on Incapacity Benefit.The economic development of Barnsley is led by the Barnsley Development Agency.

Significant industrial employers include the Ardagh Glass Group.

A large part of Barnsley town centre was constructed during the 1960s. The area around Cheapside and May Day Green, the Metropolitan Centre, is home to the market and many national high street chains such as Marks & Spencer, Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, Boots, and The Body Shop. It is in the process of renovation to make space for a new retail and leisure development. Alhambra Shopping Centre, which was opened in 1991, houses retailers such as Next, Poundstretcher,and Primark. Other prominent areas include Queen Street, home to Marks and Spencer, Market Street, Eldon Street and the Victorian Arcade, which houses the majority of the independent and designer retailers in Barnsley. The town also has a large concentration of pubs and bars in the central district. There is also a cinema called Parkway Cinema Barnsley. Outside the town centre are large retail units, retail parks and supermarkets, which include Asda, Morrisons, Currys, and Halfords.

Barnsley town centre has been undergoing a period of change. Recent projects have included:

  • The new Barnsley Interchange
  • The Digital Media Centre
  • Gateway Plaza at Town End
  • Experience Barnsley – The creation of the Barnsley People’s Museum and Archives Centre. This project was awarded almost £3m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which means two floors of Barnsley’s distinctive town hall were transformed into state-of-the-art museum galleries, the first devoted to the borough’s stories, past and present.
  • Barnsley College A Block
  • Aimed for opening in 2020, a new area of town, covering the Cheapside and semi-open market area is set to open by April 2020. The facility is yet to be constructed, and will be named ‘The Glass Works’. The new facility will create an urban, glass and steel fronted open-top shopping area, comparable to that of Trinity Walk in Wakefield. The development will include a 20-screen Cineworld cinema and high street brands not before seen in Barnsley.
Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

No reviews yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.