Collections

Barnsley's museum and archive collections include fine and decorative art, social and industrial history, archaeology, archival documents and photographs, local studies literature and sound and film. 

If you would like to make an enquiry about the collections, please email artsmuseumsandarchives@barnsley.gov.uk

 

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Experience Barnsley

PRISONER OF WAR MESS TIN, 1942

Frank Hadfield was a gunner in the Royal Artillery and was taken prisoner of war on 15th February 1942 in Singapore where he entered a Japanese camp for three years. He was treated very badly; beaten, tortured and starved. He was seventeen stone when he left and six and half when he returned. Frank never should have gone to the Far East, he was destined for Iceland but their ship from Liverpool was given the wrong orders. As they arrived they were ordered to surrender and taken in cattle trucks to camps. He was made to work on the railways and kept a diary of events throughout the war. Some entries are very brief, as being caught writing his diary was almost certain death. This mess tin was carved by Frank with a nail during his time as a prisoner of war. You can see his name, number and regiment. He was released on 16th August 1945 and put on the first ship back to Southampton, arriving in October. He spent nine months recovering in hospital and suffered all his life with the terrible memories. He lived until 76 years old and worked at brickworks at Monk Bretton Colliery when he returned to Barnsley. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

CHLOROFORM PURE 1944

Following his escape from a German forced labour camp during the Second World War, Frank Dubrowski joined the French Resistance where he was issued chloroform to be used as an anaesthetic. Members of the French Resistance fought against the Nazi occupation in France, they published underground newspapers, captured intelligence and kept escape routes open. It could be very dangerous work. After the war, Frank and his wife Annie, settled in Barnsley. They lived in Worsbrough Dale until they passed away, Frank in 2005 and Annie in 2012. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

1970s MINISTERIAL RED BOX

The design of these lead-lined boxes have changed little since the 1860s. They're designed to keep ministerial documents safe. This one belonged to Lord Roy Mason, MP for the Barnsley constituencyfrom 1953 - 1983. Photo © Norman Taylor

Cannon Hall

Bronze ‘Pan’ figurine

Bronze ‘Pan’ figurine made by Gertrude Spencer-Stanhope, c. 1900

Worsbrough Mill

Georgian reservoir

Built to feed canals that supported massive industrial expansion in the area. Completed in 1802.

Experience Barnsley

BISCUIT FROM FIRST WORLD WAR, 1914-1918

George Burnett was 33 when he enlisted in the First World War to the 13th Yorks and Lancs Regiment in 1914. According to his army enlistment record, he had previously worked in a chemical factory. He was married to Eva Thornton and lived at King Street, Barnsley. George was lost on the Somme in 1916 for four days, and was later treated for Shell Shock in an army hospital. He brought home many items from the trenches, including this army issue biscuit. He returned to Barnsley to work in Borrow Colliery after being discharged from the army in 1919. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

RECONSTRUCTED ROMAN CERAMIC VESSEL WHICH CONTAINED THE 'DARFIELD HOARD 1'

In 1947, workmen digging foundations for new houses at Darfield hit upon a pottery jar full of Roman coins, dating from the 1st to 3rd centuries. Another two hoards were uncovered in the same area in 1948 and 1950. BMBC.TH.1375 Photo © Norman Taylor

Elsecar

The Girl Pat

Many remember the rowing boat that was set up on the reservoir in the 1940s.

Cooper Gallery

A Street in Lericci

A Street in Lericci in oil on panel by Frederick Lord Leighton (1830-1896), Cooper Bequest.

Cannon Hall

Art Nouveau style vase

Art Nouveau style vase made of glass by Emile Gallé, late 19th Century