Coordinates: 53°33′13″N 1°28′45″W / 53.5537°N 1.4791°W / 53.5537; -1.4791

A view of Barnsley from Havercroft
Barnsley is located in South Yorkshire

 Barnsley shown within South Yorkshire
Population 73,500 (estimate 2007)
OS grid reference SE3406
    - London  153 mi (246 km) SSE 
Metropolitan borough Barnsley
Metropolitan county South Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BARNSLEY
Postcode district S70-S75
Dialling code 01226
Police South Yorkshire
Fire South Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Barnsley Central
Barnsley East and Mexborough
Barnsley West and Penistone
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

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 [2] 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The first historical reference occurs in 1086 in the Domesday Book, in which it is called 'Berneslai' with a total population of around 200.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.[3]

The monks erected a chapel-of-ease dedicated to Saint Mary, which survived intact until 1820[citation needed], and established a market. In 1249, a Royal Charter was granted[citation needed] to Barnsley permitting it to hold a weekly market on Wednesdays and annual four-day fair at Michaelmas. By the 1290s,[citation needed] 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.[3]

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,[2] 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.


Barnsley Town Hall on a fine day.  The Town Hall itself is visible behind some gardens; the building is made of white stone and has an impressive clock tower
Opened on 14 December 1933, Barnsley Town Hall is the seat of local government in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley.

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.

Elections to Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council have seen the Labour Party retain control of the council at every election. Following the latest election in 2011 the council has 43 Labour, 13 Barnsley Independent Group, 6 Conservative and 1 independent councillors.[4] The municipal council elect the mayor every year. On the day of the election, a parade takes place in front of Barnsley Town Hall. The parade is in honour of the new mayor. The parade is served out by the local Sea Cadet Corps Unit, including Marine Cadet Detachment (TS Diomede), Air Training Corps Squadron (148 Barnsley Squadron) and the local army cadet company.

Barnsley has four MPs: Dan Jarvis for Barnsley Central, Angela Smith for Penistone & Stocksbridge, Michael Dugher for Barnsley East and John Healey for Wentworth and Dearne CC. They are all members of the Labour party.


Divisions and suburbs

Ardsley, Athersley, Birdwell, Bolton on Dearne, Brierley, Carlton, Cawthorne, Cubley, Cudworth, Cundy Cross, Darfield, Darton, Dodworth, Elsecar, Gawber, Gilroyd, Goldthorpe, Great Houghton, Grimethorpe, Hemingfield, Honeywell, Higham, High Hoyland, Hoyland, Hoyland Common, Hoylandswaine, Ingbirchworth, Jump, Kexborough, Kendray, Kingstone, Lundwood, Mapplewell, Monk Bretton, New Lodge, Oakwell, Oldtown, Penistone, Pilley, Pogmoor, Royston, Shafton, Silkstone Common, Silkstone, Smithies, Stainborough, Staincross, Stairfoot, Tankersley, Thurgoland, Thurlstone, Thurnscoe, Ward Green, Wilthorpe, Wombwell, Worsbrough Bridge, Worsbrough Common, Worsbrough Dale, Worsbrough Village


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.[5] "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.[6]

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),[7] Cannon Hall Park and Museum,[8] Cawthorne Jubilee Museum,[9] Wortley Hall and Gardens,[10] Wortley Top Forge (16th century Forge).[11] Pot House Hamlet

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".[12] Developments include a new transport interchange, a new cultural centre in the old Civic Hall, a Digital Media Centre[13] (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[14] and 36, and in the Dearne Valley,[15] 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.[citation needed] The economic development of Barnsley is led by the Barnsley Development Agency.[16]

Significant industrial employers include the Ardagh Glass Group.

Town centre

The main part of Barnsley town centre was constructed during the 1960s, and as with many other town centres, has become less aesthetically pleasing over time. The area around Cheapside and May Day Green, which is known as the metropolitan centre, is home to the market as well as many national high street chains such as Marks & Spencer, WH Smith, HMV, Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, Boots, and The Body Shop. It is due to be demolished in 2009 to make way for a new retail and leisure development. The Mall Barnsley, which was opened in 1991, houses retailers such as Next and Primark. Other prominent areas include Queen Street, where Marks and Spencer and stores such as Topshop, Topman, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins are located, Market Street, Eldon Street and The 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.

Outside the town centre lie numerous large retail units, retail parks and supermarkets, which include Asda, Morrisons, PC World, Currys, Halfords, and B&Q.

Development work on the new shopping centre is due to start in the town centre in 2012.[17] Several stores such as Vodafone and Halifax Bank have opened new premises in town.


Market Street.

Barnsley town centre is undergoing a period of change. Projects include:

  • The new Barnsley Interchange.
  • The digital media centre (now completed).
  • Gateway Plaza at Town End (now completed). Second phase has started.
  • The Markets complex which will house Barnsley Markets and be the centre of the towns retailing. It will be anchored by Debenhams.
  • Experience Barnsley – The creation of the Barnsley People's Museum and Archives Centre. This project has been awarded almost £3m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which means two floors of Barnsley's distinctive Town Hall will be transformed into state-of-the-art museum galleries, the first devoted to the borough's stories, past and present. This will be completed by July 2012.
  • Barnsley College A Block was completed and opened in September 2011.


The first bottle bank for glass recycling collection in the United Kingdom was introduced by both Stanley Race CBE, then president of the Glass Manufacturers’ Federation and Ron England in Barnsley. According to a BBC Radio 4 edition of PM aired on 6 June 2007, and a web article, the bank opened in June 1977[18] but a BBC web article published in 2002 states that the bottle bank opened on 24 August 1977.[19]


The interior of the redeveloped Barnsley Interchange.

The main transport hub in Barnsley is Barnsley Interchange, a combined rail and bus station, which opened to the public on Sunday 20 May 2007. The design has been entered for national and international awards. The interchange was the first project in the remaking Barnsley scheme to be completed.

Stagecoach Yorkshire run most bus services within Barnsley, operating to and from the new Barnsley Interchange. Stagecoach acquired the company from Yorkshire Traction in 2005, and has come under fire for operating the service poorly.[citation needed] Stagecoach then overhauled bus services in a bid to improve performance.[citation needed]

Train services are provided by Northern Rail. Northbound there is a half hourly express service to Leeds which takes around 35 minutes, this is augmented by a slower service via Castleford which takes around 50 minutes. There is also an hourly service to Huddersfield via the scenic Penistone Line. Southbound there are four trains per hour to Meadowhall and Sheffield, two of which are local stopping services and two of which are express. One service per hour continues to Chesterfield and Nottingham. Evenings and Sundays there is a less frequent service.

The nearest airport is the Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster. This is approximately 26 miles (42 km) away. The airport offers charter and a limited number of scheduled budget services. There is a direct bus service from Barnsley to the airport; the X19, which runs hourly. There are larger airports further afield, including Leeds Bradford Airport (34 miles (55 km)), Manchester Airport (43 miles (69 km)) and East Midlands Airport (61 miles (98 km)).


Barnsley College is one of the largest further and higher education establishments in Europe[citation needed] and is situated on a number of sites throughout the town centre, chiefly the Old Mill Lane Site, Eastgate House, The Sci Tech Centre, the Honeywell Site and the Construction centre. The University of Huddersfield has recently opened a campus in the town on Church Street besides Barnsley Town Hall. This is known as the University Centre Barnsley.

It is the home of Barnsley Christian School, an independent fee paying school, which started is an outreach of Hope house Church in 1986.

All 14 secondary schools in Barnsley are soon to be updated and replaced by Academy education centres. Named 'SuperSchools' these new schools are to combine numerous schools in the area.

Barnsley College is currently under-going massive redevelopment, A Block is undergoing a complete rebuild and the scheduled completion date for July 2011, this new building will become the Main Campus of Barnsley college.

Notable people

Musical groups

  • The Danse Society A positive punk/gothic rock group from Barnsley, active from 1981 to 1987.
  • Saxon Famous heavy metal band which formed in, and has members from Barnsley. Hits include '747 (Strangers In The Night), 'And The Bands Played On', and 'Wheels Of Steel'.
  • Redmist Destruction Rock group made up of local metal fans. Part of the new revival of Thrash Metal; Redmist Destruction have been picked up by various international Metal publications, including Terrorizer (magazine).[20]


English author Chris Roberts quips that the “small town” of Barnsley is “a couple hundred miles north of London geographically, but several time zones away culturally”.[21]

Barnsley is home to a proud tradition of brass bands, which were originally created as social clubs for the mining communities. Grimethorpe Colliery Band, located in the village of Grimethorpe, 5 miles to the east of Barnsley, is perhaps the best known brass band in Britain. It rose to fame in the film Brassed Off and is now the 'artist in residence' at the Royal College of Music, London. The band has performed in Hyde Park during the Last Night of the Proms.

The 'Bard of Barnsley' Ian McMillan writes a column in the local paper, the Barnsley Chronicle. He was recently nominated for a chair of poetry at Oxford University, and often appears on Radio 4. The Barnsley accent is starting to wear off amongst the younger generation, but it has generally been better maintained than most other Yorkshire accents. Some have started referring to Barnsley as Tarn.

Ken Loach's film Kes was set and filmed in several villages in Barnsley, including Lundwood and Monk Bretton, using local actors such as Freddie Fletcher.

There is a live rock and hip hop music scene, which reached its height in the Britpop years, around 1997, due to its close proximity to Sheffield and Manchester. Barnsley metal band Saxon were famous in the 1980s and continue to be popular today. Two of the Arctic Monkeys studied music at Barnsley College and Barnsley has its own rappers 'Yes Sir'. Barnsley is the home of several live music venues such as The Arches Live. Barnsley also hosts BOMfest which is an outdoor summer music festival which caters for unsigned local and national artists which made the Daily Telegraph top 100 U.K. Summer festivals in 2009.

Barnsley Council operates three museums, Cannon Hall, the Cooper Gallery and Worsbrough Mill. There are plans for a fourth museum located within the town hall. The project to create this is known as Experience Barnsley. Other museums in Barnsley include the volunteer-run Darfield Museum and the Cawthorne Victoria Jubilee Museum. Other heritage sites include Wortley Top Forge, Wortley Hall, Wentworth Castle, Monk Bretton Priory and Pot House Hamlet.

HIVE Gallery. Is a Contemporary Art Gallery in Barnsley. Founded in 2007 by Creative Barnsley and Patrick Murphy. Hive Gallery is situated within Elsecar Heritage Centre. HIVE curates eight contemporary art exhibitions per year. The HIVE programme ranges from supporting emerging contemporary artists to exhibiting the work of nationally and internationally known artists. Previous shows have included famous artists such as Sir Peter Blake and Patrick Caulfield.[22]

The Lamproom Theatre has four theatrical companies, and showcases theatre in the Town Centre of Barnsley

The Academy Theatre is part of the Take 2 Centre where performances range from comedy, west end performers, musicals and the traditional "An Evening With.....".[23] The Take 2 Centre also includes a Recording Studio, Design And Print Studios, Theatre School, Music School.

The Civic, located in Barnsley Town Centre is a multi purpose performance venue. A grade II listed building, The Civic was re-opened in March 2009 after a major redevelopment. The Civic has hosted high profile acts such as Al Murray and Russell Howard. The Civic is also home to a contemporary art gallery that hosts touring exhibition from the likes of The V&A and the Flow Gallery in London. The Civic also curates its own work for touring, such as Little Black Dress and most recently Brazil +55. [24]

Twin towns

Barnsley has two twin towns:


The historic West Stand at Oakwell Stadium is over 100 years old

Barnsley's resident football team, Barnsley F.C. play in the Championship of the English league. Their home ground is known as Oakwell Stadium, which is situated in Oakwell, just outside of the town centre. The club has had a mixed recent history. In the late 1990s they had a brief spell in the Premier League, but were relegated after just one season. Subsequent seasons saw them relegated to the third tier of English football. After 4 seasons, Barnsley finally regained their place in the Championship.

Speedway racing was staged at a track near Barnsley known as Barnsley Lundwood. The track entered a team in the Northern Leagues of 1929 and 1930.

As of 2009 the town has a rugby league team playing in the summer, Barnsley Broncos, based at the Shaw Lane sports facility.

The town also has a high standard badminton league, with three separate tiers.


  1. ^ Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Urban Areas : Table KS01 : Usual Resident Population. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  2. ^ a b "Barnsley Life". Barnsley MBC. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  3. ^ a b David Hey, Medieval South Yorkshire
  4. ^ "Labour's majority up to 23 - full election results here". Barnsley Chronicle. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ Page 9 for the 2007 figures. Page 36 for the fall in unemployment 1997–2007.
  7. ^ Wentworth Castle Gardens : Welcome to Wentworth Castle Gardens
  8. ^ Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens
  9. ^[dead link]
  10. ^ Wortley Hall
  11. ^ Wortley Top Forge
  12. ^[dead link]
  13. ^ Barnsley DMC: Barnsley office space, offices, meeting rooms
  14. ^ Capitol Park - Barnsley
  15. ^[dead link]
  16. ^ BDA
  17. ^ Wilson Bowden Developments - Barnsley Markets
  18. ^ "Bottle bank celebrates birthday". BBC News. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  19. ^ BBC – South Yorkshire News – Barnsley bottle bank's 25th birthday!
  20. ^
  21. ^ Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme, Thorndike Press, 2006 (ISBN 978-0-7862-8517-4)
  22. ^ : Hive Gallery : Contemporary Art Gallery : Barnsley :
  23. ^ The Academy Theatre Barnsley. Live Entertainment located at The Take 2 Centre in Birdwell, Barnsley
  24. ^ Barnsley Civic

External links

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  • Barnsley F.C. — Football club infobox fullname = Barnsley Football Club nickname = The Tykes, The Reds| founded = 1887 (as Barnsley St. Peter s) ground = Oakwell, Barnsley capacity = 23,009cite web|title=Barnsley Football Ground Guide|url=… …   Wikipedia

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