Being a born and bred Barnsley lass, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m extremely proud of where I come from. I may be a little bit biased, but here are my reasons why I think Barnsley is a flippin’ fantastic place to grow up in.
The birthplace of Michael Parkinson and ‘ome to the Barnsley chop… What else are you waiting for?
The Barnsley Chop
There are many reasons why Barnsley is brill and for any food fanatics out there, one of them is the Barnsley chop. Not to be confused with the cheap cuts you find in the supermarket, Barnsley chops are proper tasty cuts of lamb. They’re so juicy and succulent, especially covered in lashings of gravy (none of that thin watery muck!) and best served with a tray of rosemary roasties, beautiful! Head down to your local friendly butcher, market stall or farm shop to try one for yourself! Cannon Hall farm shop is one of my personal favourite places to buy fresh produce as they’ve won multiple awards for the quality of their meats! They’re some of the friendliest folk around too. If you do prefer the personal touch (and don’t mind a bit of good natured noise) then you should definitely take a trip to Barnsley’s award winning market.
People on bikes
Last summer my humble hometown was proud to be part of the Tour De France, attracting thousands of tourists to the Barnsley countryside. 3 billion people worldwide turned out to see the race and Barnsley is incredibly proud to be part of that history.
Talented folk (and a kestrel)
Barnsley, the birth place of Harold Dennis “Dickie” Bird, Michael Parkinson, heavy metal band – Saxon, and the fabulous Kate Rusby. There are many talented folk that who have originated from Barnsley. But, the iconic book ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ written by Barnsley-born author Barry Hines in 1968 is probably one the most famous things to come out of town. The book was turned into a film (Kes) buy Ken Loach the following year and The British Film Institute have listed Kes in the ’50 films you see by the age of 14′. The story focusses on a 15- year-old lad called Billy Casper, who struggles to fit in at both home and at school. Billy is seen as a “hopeless case” and is keen not to end up working down the pit like the rest of the family, but has no escape route until he finds himself training a Kestrel after taking a youngster from a nest. And so follows the story of the bond between boy and bird (not forgetting Billy’s antics along the way).
Blowing our own trumpet
Another top film frump’ tarn is the star studded Brassed Off. This tragic comedy delves into Thatcher’s Britain in full swing. It tells the story of a Barnsley colliery brass band and their trials and tribulations as they all struggle with the reality of the destruction of the mining industry. The film stars Ewan McGreggor and the late Pete Postlethwaite amongst others. It’s gloriously depressing but also brings out the loyal and hilarious nature of Barnsley culture.
Barnsley recently celebrated 40 years of being twinned with Schwabisch Gmund in Germany. This beautiful Southern German town (amongst its other historic attributes) is the “mecca” for Guggenmusik. Meaning “party music” it is the most carefree of all of the European musical art forms. Once a year tens of thousands of people make the pilgrimage to Schwabisch Gmund for the International Guggentreffen.
Musical talent like no other
This has close ties with Barnsley who in 2003 formed their very own Guggen Music group, the Frumptarn Guggenband. The band (now in their 12th year) are about to make their 7th trip back to Germany. Frumptarn are true to the Guggenmusik traditions of creating vibrant music and even more wacky costumes. This is brass music but as you’ve never seen it before. They can be heard in Barnsley town centre many a weekend and though you can hear it before you see it, it definitely has to be seen to be believed. Currently sporting their new steampunk costumes, the Frumptarn-ers will turn any occasion into a party!
Come on you Tykes!
As well as sporting legends such as Dickie Bird and Mick McCarthy; Barnsley is also home to Oakwell and Barnsley F.C. The town is unquestioningly loyal to their football club and week on week thousands of fans turn out to watch the “super reds”. From the crest which features pictures from the town’s roots in coal mining and glass blowing to their mascot, Toby Tyke, the club epitomises everything Barnsley.
Keeping up with current events is essential and the award winning Barnsley Chronicle newspaper is the best way to do it. Barnsley Chronicle is still in private ownership after over 150 years of publication. The weekly newspaper is owned and run by Pen and Sword Books who also publish nationally renowned military history books as well as other niche historical books.
A proud mining heritage
Even though its last pit closed in 1994, Barnsley is still lovingly dubbed as a mining town. The town was built and revolved around the industry for decades before the start of its decline in the 80’s. This industry still provides the backbone for many stories, songs and films. The National Coal Mining Museum gives visitors a fantastic and interactive insight into coal mining with the chance of taking a trip down a working mine shaft and seeing the working conditions at the coal face.
Great transport links
Barnsley is still in the process of getting back on its feet and the town centre is currently being redeveloped as part of this. In the past few years the town has seen its fair share of changes. Transportation in the town is now much improved thanks to the new Barnsley Interchange; this incorporates bus, train and coach services to connect Barnsley with the rest of the country. The town’s market is also being redeveloped in an attempt to further improve the town centre. As part of this redevelopment the Digital Media Centre was created in 2007 and is home to many successful businesses. A bright and vibrant place of work, this state of the art building connects the town of Barnsley with the rest of the world.
It’s our home!
One such company who are proud to call the DMC and Barnsley their home is Bigfoot Digital. Bigfoot Digital are an award winning online marketing agency who specialise in search engine optimisation and social media management. What makes this company truly unique is that the team are genuinely passionate about all things digital, and are determined to show off what they can do when it comes down to creating exceptional digital strategies.
Would you make any additions onto the list above?
Thanks for reading and remember “Keep thi sen calm, tha comes frum Tarn”