Saturday 30th June
As the June heatwave continued, the Friends headed out to Barnsley. Gleaming under a dazzling cloudless sky, the beautiful Town Hall welcomed visitors to Barnsley History Day, the grand finale to a great week of activities. The impressive 1930s building houses Experience Barnsley – the museum and discovery centre currently celebrating its 5th anniversary in the Experience Barnsley Festival.
Sharing the stories
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery arrived at the town hall and set up ready for the visitors to Barnsley History Day. Friends Directors Glen and Christine were joined by regular volunteer Chris, as local heritage groups set out their tables amongst the displays in the museum itself.
During the day, from 11-3, the Friends were pleased to talk to a number of visitors, individuals and family groups, regarding the work at Hemingfield, its historical connections to the Fitzwilliam Estate around Wentworth Woodhouse, and the progress the Friends Group have made securing the site, repairing and conserving the winding engine house roof, and contributing to the ongoing work on heritage in and around Elsecar as part of the Heritage Action Zone.
As well as the Friends, we were pleased to see a number of fellow societies, friends including the Barnsley Main Heritage Group, the Barnsley War Memorials Project on hand to discuss Barnsley’s history and heritage, and to exemplify the work of volunteers in bringing the stories of the past to life for the present and future generations.
We were also pleased to meet members of other groups we had not previously encountered, including Darton Local History Group.
which has strong interests in the mining industry and transport links along the Dearne and Dove and Barnsley canals which link strongly with the development of Hemingfield Colliery.
The day was also a great opportunity to listen to the great talks from a range of invited speakers, including a presentation on the enormous changes happening at Cannon Hall by Sharon Sutton, the Project Manager of the Cannon Hall restoration project, entitled ‘Restoring the Glory, Revealing the Secrets at Cannon Hall’. First World War historian Paul Reed, followed on with a talk on ‘Battlefields of the First World War’, relating to the regiments raised in and around Barnsley. As well as an updated talk on developments at Elsecar from Dr John Tanner, ‘Elsecar: The Earl’s Village of Iron and Coal’.
Falling on the same date, Saturday 30th June, also marked Armed Forces Day, for which a service was held outside in the Pals Centenary garden. Craig Tomlinson, Curate of the Benefice of Barnsley took the religious service, with readings from the Mayor of Barnsley, Councillor Steve Green, and Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central and Mayor of Sheffield City Region. A stirring brass band performance accompanied the hymns in front of members of the Armed Forces and the wider public.
Reflecting on disaster
Remembering loss was certainly a strong thread to the heritage events and group projects during the day. We were pleased to meet and hear from friends at Heritage Silkstone who are preparing to launch a significant programme of activities in commemoration of the 180th anniversary of the Huskar Pit disaster on 4th July 1838.