1960’s Eldon Street brought back to life through cutting-edge digital reconstruction

A remarkable digital reconstruction depicting Eldon Street in the swinging ’60s will be launched exclusively on Barnsley Museum digital channels on Friday, 28 April at 4pm.

It has been created as part of the Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), an exciting 4-year partnership project between Barnsley Council and Historic England, that has seen investment into the historic street to refurbish buildings and an exciting cultural programme that is uncovering and celebrating the fascinating stories of the street.

Using cutting-edge technology, the reconstruction has been developed by digital creator Martin Moss of Dextra Visual using techniques usually found in video game creation. The model is based on historic images from Barnsley Archives and the Tasker Trust. Members of the Barnsley U3A have also played an important part, sharing their memories and feedback to make sure the model is as accurate as possible.

Sweeping scenes of Eldon Street, alive with activity in the 1960s, have been brought to life in the most incredible way. It is now possible to relive precious memories walking past high street favourites such as Burton’s, as well as seeing familiar shop frontages of Timpson’s and Lesley Francis. 

Bygone businesses like the Devonshire Hotel and Benj. Harral’s can once again be seen in all of their glory, with views up and down the Victorian Arcade and across Barnsley’s iconic outdoor market.

People can take a peek inside the old Odeon Cinema, now the Parkway, and revisit the old central library via the original entrance to the Barnsley Civic from Eldon Street , which is now being restored as part of the Eldon Street HAZ project.

The digital reconstruction is being screened for the first time on Friday, 28 April via the Barnsley Museums Facebook and Youtube channels. It will be followed by an in-person event in Barnsley Town Hall on Tuesday, 23 May.

This is the first in a series of new Eldon Street digital resources that will be launched in coming months, including a new website for the Teenage Wildlife project, led by Barnsley Civic, which will feature teenage memories of Eldon Street from the 1950s through to the present day.

Jon Finch, Head of Culture and Visitor Economy, said: “Eldon Street is a very special place with a fascinating history. We are delighted that we have been able to bring back buildings, businesses, and experiences in such an immersive way and hope that it will bring back some heart-warming memories. The Eldon Street HAZ project is breathing life into an important historic street, which is the Gateway to Barnsley Town Centre.”

Tegwen Roberts, Heritage Action Zone Officer, said: “It has been a real treat to work on such an exciting project, particularly on a street that is so well loved and has such an interesting past. The reconstruction is stunning and will connect with people, bringing to life archive images and local memories with precision and accuracy. The whole project will have a huge positive impact on Eldon Street connecting the historical part of the town with the exciting new developments in the town centre.”