For the larger local government district, see Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley.
For other uses, see Barnsley (disambiguation).

Barnsley Town Hall
 Barnsley shown within South Yorkshire
Population 91,297 
OS grid referenceSE3406
    London  175 mi (281 km) SSE 
Metropolitan boroughBarnsley
Metropolitan county South Yorkshire
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Sovereign stateUnited 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 ParliamentBarnsley Central
List of places

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

Barnsley (/ˈbɑːrnzli/, locally ['baːnzlɛ]) is a large town in South Yorkshire, England, located halfway between Leeds and Sheffield. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town centre lies on the west bank of the Dearne Valley. Barnsley is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, of which Barnsley is the largest and its administrative centre. At the 2011 Census, Barnsley had a population of 91,297.[1]

Barnsley is a former industrial town centred on coal mining and glassmaking.[2] Although both industries declined in the 20th century, Barnsley's culture is rooted in its industrial heritage and it has a tradition of brass bands, originally created as social clubs by its mining communities. It is also home of the Barnsley chop.

The town is accessed from junctions 36, 37 and 38 of the M1 motorway and has a railway station on the Hallam and Penistone Lines. Barnsley F.C. is the local football club.


Cheapside, circa 1904.

The first reference to Barnsley occurs in 1086 in the Domesday Book, in which it is called Berneslai and has a population of around 200. The origin of the name Barnsley is 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 was in the parish of Silkstone and developed little until in the 1150s when it was given to the Pontefract Priory. The monks built a 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 until 1820 , and established a market. In 1249, a Royal charter was granted to 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 was the centre of the Staincross wapentake, but in the mid-16th century 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 its location fuelled trade, with hostelries and related services prospering. A principal centre for linen weaving during the 18th and 19th century, Barnsley grew into an important manufacturing town.

Barnsley became a municipal borough in 1869, and a county borough in 1913. The town's boundaries were extended to absorb Ardsley and Monk Bretton in 1921 and Carlton in 1938.[4]

Barnsley was the site of a stampede that resulted in the deaths of 16 children in 1908, at a public hall now known as The Civic, when children were rushing to watch a film in the building.

Barnsley has a long tradition of glass-making,[2] but is most famous for its coal mines. In 1960, there were 70 collieries within a 15-mile radius of Barnsley town centre, but the last of these closed in 1994.[5]

George Orwell mentioned the town in The Road to Wigan Pier. He 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.

Barnsley was created a county borough in 1913, administered independently of the West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972, the county borough was abolished and Barnsley became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley in the new county of South Yorkshire, along with nine urban districts and parts of two rural districts of the surrounding area, including many towns and villages including Penistone and Cudworth.

Elections to Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council have seen the Labour Party retain control of the council at every election. Following the latest election in 2012 the council has 53 Labour, 5 Barnsley Independent Group and 5 Conservative councillors.[6] The borough council elects the mayor every year. On the day of the election, a parade takes place in front of the town hall in honour of the new mayor.

Barnsley is split into three constituencies, Barnsley Central, whose MP is Dan Jarvis of the Labour party, Barnsley East, whose MP is Michael Dugher of the Labour party, and Penistone and Stocksbridge, whose MP is Angela Smith of the Labour Party.


Divisions and suburbs

Ardsley, Athersley, Carlton, Cundy Cross, Gawber, Honeywell, Kendray, Kingstone, Lundwood, Monk Bretton, New Lodge, Oakwell, Old Town, Pogmoor, Smithies, Stairfoot, Ward Green, Wilthorpe,


In 2011, Barnsley was:

94.7% White British

1.1% Asian

0.8% Black

The town had a population of 91,297 in 2011.


The winding tower of the former Barnsley Main Colliery (now closed) seen in 2006.

The town was known for coal mining, although most of the pits were in the surrounding villages (especially to the east), rather than the town. All 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 company still operating. The coat of arms for the town has both a coal miner and a glass-blower supporting a shield and depicting local families and other industries, above a ribbon bearing the town's motto, Spectemur agendo (Seen together in action). Major companies in Barnsley include online retailer ASOS, The largest cake bakery in Europe Premier Foods (formerly Lyons Bakery) who make the Mr Kipling Cake brand, Rexam Glass (glass bottle makers), Symphony Kitchens, Premdor, several double glazing joinery manufacturers and a number of other large food manufacturers. Most of these businesses are based on industrial parks outside the town centre including many on reclaimed former coal mine sites. The town centre is now moving towards a service economy. In July 2007, unemployment stood 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%. Between 1997 and 2007, unemployment fell by 55.2%, 52.5% and 52.5% in the three areas respectively.[7]

The western half of the borough stretches from the M1 to the edge of the Peak District and is rural in character. This western part includes the market town of Penistone and Wentworth Castle and its Grade I listed gardens,[8] Cannon Hall Park and Museum,[9] Cawthorne Jubilee Museum,[10] Wortley Hall and gardens,[11] and Wortley Top Forge (16th century Forge).[12] Pot House Hamlet

In 2002, Barnsley Council and partners launched a consultation, "Rethinking Barnsley". It led to a regeneration programme centred on the town centre.[13] Developments included the transport interchange, a cultural centre in the old Civic Hall, a Digital Media Centre[14] (opened August 2007), and new offices and apartments throughout the town centre. At the same time new housing areas were developed. Business parks on the M1 at Junctions 37[15] and 36, and in the Dearne Valley,[16] have expanded job opportunities. Unemployment is now below the national average but a large number of people are on Incapacity Benefit. The economic development of Barnsley is led by the Barnsley Development Agency.[17]

Significant industrial employers include the Ardagh Group.

Town centre

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, WH Smith, Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, Boots, and The Body Shop. It is in the process of demolition to make way 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, Stores such as Topshop, Topman, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins were located here but have largely been replaced by other businesses, 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 are large retail units, retail parks and supermarkets, which include Asda, Morrisons, Currys, and Halfords.

The development of a new shopping centre was started in the town centre in late 2015.[18] Several stores such as Vodafone and Halifax Bank have opened.


Market Street.

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


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[19] but a BBC web article published in 2002 states that the bottle bank opened on 24 August 1977.[20]


The interior of the redeveloped Barnsley Interchange

The main transport hub Barnsley Interchange, a combined rail and bus station, opened on Sunday 20 May 2007, first project in the remaking Barnsley scheme to be completed. Stagecoach Yorkshire run most bus services within Barnsley, operating to and from Barnsley Interchange. Stagecoach acquired the company from Yorkshire Traction in 2005, and has come under fire for operating the service poorly. Stagecoach overhauled bus services in a bid to improve performance.

Train services are provided by Northern. Northbound there is a half-hourly express service to Leeds which takes around 35 minutes augmented by a slower service via Castleford which takes around 50 minutes. There is an hourly service to Huddersfield via the Penistone Line. Southbound there are four trains per hour to Meadowhall Interchange 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.

Barnsley is served by Dodworth railway station west of the town centre, which is a stop on the Penistone Line, and has one platform.

Darton railway station however, is on the Hallam Line, has two platforms and is in the north of Barnsley.

The nearest airport is Robin Hood Airport approximately 26 miles (42 km) away. There is a direct bus service from Barnsley to the airport; the X19, which runs hourly.


Barnsley College is one of the largest further and higher education establishments in Europe 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.

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

Further information: List of people from Barnsley

Musical groups


The Lamproom Theatre

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".[22]

Barnsley is home to a tradition of brass bands, which were originally created as social clubs for the mining communities. Grimethorpe Colliery Band, located in Grimethorpe, 5 miles (8 km) 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. Other event include things such as Picnic In The Park, being held on 28 June 2014 to celebrate 20 years of Barnsley Hospice

The 'Bard of Barnsley' Ian McMillan writes a column in the Barnsley Chronicle. He was nominated for a chair of poetry at Oxford University, and appears on BBC 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. Barnsley has long been known as Tarn by locals however this seems to be heard less as the Barnsley accent seems to be spoken less amongst the younger age group.

Ken Loach's 1969 film Kes was set and filmed in several villages in Barnsley, including Lundwood and Monk Bretton, using local actors such as Freddie Fletcher. His 1977 film The Price of Coal was set at a fictional Milton colliery in the Barnsley area, although the site of filming was Thorpe Hesley, near Rotherham.

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. The 1980s saw the rise of Saxon (metal band), Danse Society (Goth) and Party Day (Indie-rock). 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 Underground, Shambles St and hosts BOMfest, an outdoor summer music festival which caters for local and national artists which made the Daily Telegraph top 100 U.K. Summer festivals in 2009.

Barnsley Council operates four museums, Elsecar Heritage Centre, Cannon Hall, the Cooper Gallery and Worsbrough Mill. There are plans for a fourth museum in the town hall, a project 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 founded in 2007 by Creative Barnsley and Patrick Murphy. It is situated in Elsecar Heritage Centre and 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.[23]

The Lamproom Theatre has four theatrical companies, and showcases theatre in the town.

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. ... ".[24] The Take 2 Centre houses The Take 2 Performing Arts Academy, The Academy Cafe, The Take 2 Music Centre and Lynx Training and Development.[25]

The Civic, in Barnsley town centre, is a multi-purpose performance venue in 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 houses a contemporary art gallery that hosts touring exhibition from 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.[26]

Twin towns

Barnsley is twinned with:[27]


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

Barnsley F.C. play in the Football League Championship, the second tier of English football. Their home ground, Oakwell Stadium is situated in Oakwell, just outside 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 one season. Subsequent seasons saw them relegated to the third tier of English football; they were promoted to the second tier in 2006, beating Swansea in the play off final. They were relegated in the 2013/14 season. After two seasons, Barnsley regained a place in the second tier, following a victory at Wembley in the 2016 Football League One play-off Final.

Speedway racing was staged at a track near Barnsley at Barnsley Lundwood. The track entered a team in the Northern Leagues of 1929 and 1930, and currently have professional speedway rider Josh Bates hailing from Barnsley

Rugby league is played in the town, at a number of clubs, past and present. Dodworth ARLFC played in the second division of the BARLA run Pennine League, playing through the winter. They played at the Miners Welfare ground in Dodworth until deteriorating player participation forced the club to fold 5 games into the 2013/14 season. The same fate befell Hoyland Vikings ARLFC, prompting talk of a merger. This however failed to materialise leaving only one club to represent the town. The only representation now comes from the Dearne Valley Bulldogs in nearby Bolton on Dearne. Like Dodworth and Hoyland, they participate in the Pennine League. Barnsley Broncos play in the RFL conference, which is a summer competition and runs from May to September. Also based at the Miners Welfare, Barnsley Broncos were set up to play in the less intense summer season.

Shaw Lane is the home to many sports in town, Cricket, Rugby Union, Squash, Bowls, Football, Athletics and Archery are all played to a high standard and host many of the towns teams including Barnsley CC and Barnsley RUFC. Peoples Sport in Barnsley is a project writing the history of participation in sport in Barnsley is in progress and is expected to be complete in 2015.

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

The town hosts Barnsley Harriers, a nationally recognised running club.

Ardsley Golf Club, Barnsley, (now defunct) first appeared in the 1930s. The club disappeared at the onset of the Second World War.[28]

There are a number of cycling clubs in and around Barnsley, including Barnsley Road Club itself, the long-established Birdwell Wheelers and Team Cystic Fibrosis (a charity-focussed team), together covering many different forms of cycle sport and leisure. There have also been various other initiatives set up to promote cycling in the town and district of Barnsley.

See also


  1. population of the Barnsley urban subdivision
  2. 1 2 "Barnsley Life". Barnsley MBC. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  3. 1 2 David Hey, Medieval South Yorkshire
  4. "Vision of Britain website". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  5. Douglass, David John (2005). Strike, not the end of the story. Overton, Yorkshire, UK: National Coal Mining Museum for England. p. 45.
  6. "Labour's majority up to 23 - full election results here". Barnsley Chronicle. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  7. Page 9 for the 2007 figures. Page 36 for the fall in unemployment 1997–2007.
  8. "Wentworth Castle Gardens : Welcome to Wentworth Castle Gardens". Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  9. Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens
  10. Archived 11 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. "Wortley Hall". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  12. "Wortley Top Forge". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  13. Archived 10 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. "Barnsley DMC: Barnsley office space, offices, meeting rooms". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  15. "Capitol Park - Barnsley". Archived from the original on 29 May 2014.
  16. Archived 29 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. Ledgard Jepson. "BDA". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  18. "£40m redevelopment of Barnsley town centre". BBC News. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  19. "Bottle bank celebrates birthday". BBC News. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  20. BBC – South Yorkshire News – Barnsley bottle bank's 25th birthday!
  21. White, Graham, Barnsley Chronicle, 4 February 1983.
  22. Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme, Thorndike Press, 2006 (ISBN 978-0-7862-8517-4)
  23. ": Hive Gallery : Contemporary Art Gallery : Barnsley :". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  24. "The Academy Theatre Barnsley. Live Entertainment located at The Take 2 Centre in Birdwell, Barnsley". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  25. "The TAKE 2 Centre - Theatre, Training and conference facility, Theatre School, Music Centre, Recording Studio, Day Nursery, Bistro, Design & Print Studio in Birdwell Barnsley.". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  26. Barnsley Civic
  27. 1 2 3 "Town twinning Information about town twinning". Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  28. “Ardsley Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.

External links

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Barnsley.
Look up Barnsley in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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