Barnsley is a 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.
arnsley is a former industrial town centred on linen in its former years and coal mining and glassmaking. The 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 was known for a thriving linen trade prior to the arrival of the coal industry. From the 1850s onwards, a large number of coal pits were opened, mostly in the villages surrounding the town, especially those to the east. Coal mining was the major industry of the town until the late 1950s, when a long-term decline set in. All the mines in the borough are now closed, the last to shut being Goldthorpe Colliery 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 (“Let us be judged by our acts”).
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, Ardagh 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.
The main transport hub is Barnsley Interchange, a combined rail and bus station that was opened on Sunday 20 May 2007, and was the 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.
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 also 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.
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 were demolished and replaced by academy education centres, named ‘SuperSchools’ these new schools combined all the previous LEA run comprehensive schools in the area into newly PFI built Academies under the Building Schools for the Future programme.