Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone

Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone

The Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) is an exciting 4-year partnership project between Barnsley Council and Historic England. It launched in 2020 and will run until the end of March 2024.

Eldon Street, in Barnsley town centre was first laid out in the 1840s. It quickly became an important gateway to the town, with the first railway station opening on Eldon Street in 1850. Eldon Street also quickly became a commercial and cultural hub, with bustling theatres, shops, pubs and markets. Today Eldon Street forms an important link between the Old Town and the new Glassworks development, at the heart of Barnsley Town Centre. However, as with many historic high streets, the area has faced challenges in recent years. The HSHAZ will help to rejuvenate Eldon Street and improve connectivity within the town.

The HSHAZ is working with local businesses and property owners to fund conservation repairs to key historic buildings on the west side of Eldon Street. The landmark project is the Civic, Barnsley, formerly the Barnsley Mechanics Institute and Public Hall. Despite delays caused by the pandemic, planning is going well and we’re hoping to see activity start on site in 2022.

The HSHAZ is also working with the local community to uncover and celebrate the stories and often overlooked heritage of one of Barnsley’s most important historic high streets.

Eldon Street virtual history tour

Eldon Street virtual walk and talk

We are working closely with volunteers and colleagues in Barnsley Archives to uncover the fascinating stories of Eldon Street, and the people who have come from across the World to live and work here over the past 180 years. To hear some of these stories, join our virtual walk and talk, which was delivered as part of the Festival for Archaeology earlier this year (full video is approximately 45 minutes long). 

Women business owners of Eldon Street

During our archive research we have uncovered lots of surprising stories of women business owners on Eldon Street. We used these stories as the inspiration for a creative project with local artists and young carers, launched on International Women’s Day in 2022. Watch our short animation and read our recent blog to find out more.

https://barnsleymuseums.art.blog/2022/03/07/women-business-owners-of-eldon-street/

Teenage Wildlife

The HSHAZ is also supporting an exciting cultural programme ‘Teenage Wildlife’ led by the Civic, Barnsley, and working with other cultural partners including Barnsley Libraries, to record and celebrate the experiences of teenagers on Eldon Street through the years.

https://barnsleycivic.co.uk/teenage-wildlife/ 

Simon Armitage poetry competition

The Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone project, the HSHAZ, and Fusion, Barnsley’s Cultural Education Partnership, are giving schools across the Borough the chance to take part in a very special competition were children and young people could win the chance to get their poetry featured alongside that of Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate.

Simon is the Poet in Residence for the HSHAZ project and has written a poem called ‘Unnatural History’ inspired by Eldon St and contents of the old natural history museum that was located on the street. Students are invited to write a poem, like Simon, about an animal encounter on Eldon Street or in the Victorian Arcade.

At primary level, the competition is open to Year 5 and at secondary, it’s open to all year groups. A downloadable information pack is available featuring Eldon St resources to inspire pupils (https://barnsleyfusion.co.uk/eldon-street-hshaz-animal-encounters-poetry-competition-2022/) and schools have until Tuesday July 12th to send their best ten entries to Learning@barnsley.gov.uk.

For more details contact Sara Mair on 07944 911093 or at Saramair@barnsley.gov.uk

Simon Armitage ‘Barnsley An Unnatural History’ -

We recently launched an exciting Eldon Street residency with Simon Armitage, poet laureate, who is creating a series of new works inspired by Eldon’s Street’s unnatural history. These will be showcased in a performance on Eldon Street in September 2022.

A stunning new lightwork ‘sunset’ has been created as part of the residency, by local artist Patrick Murphy. The multi-coloured neon piece uses Simon’s words and evokes the history of Eldon Street as a party street, and the much-loved Benj Harral’s ring shop, where generations of Barnsley people bought their engagement and wedding rings.

Find out more about Sunset here - https://youtu.be/iLKwjP6uIFw

More collaborative work is planned for 2022, including as part of the Twisted festival.

The Wonders of Eldon Street

The HSHAZ has been working with Barnsley street theatre company Mark Mark Productions to create the ‘Barnsley Unnaturalists Wonders of Eldon Street’ an alternative history tour. The tours encourage the audience, and sometimes unsuspecting passers-by, to journey through the incredible history of Eldon Street and the Victorian Arcade through a world of story, song, street theatre, dance and magic. The tours have been very popular, and will be running on selected dates throughout the year.

The Eldon Street Brides

The HSHAZ has also been working with artists to engage with local independent businesses and shoppers. The Eldon Street brides have been visiting shops with photographer James Mulkeen, to explore and illustrate local people’s love for Eldon Street and to find out why local shoppers love to visit the many independent businesses on Eldon Street and the Arcade.

Welcome to the Civic 1878

The Civic, Barnsley, is one of the most prominent historic buildings on Eldon Street. Built as the Mechanics Institute and Public Hall, it opened in 1878 and has supported local people to engage with culture, education and the arts ever since. During the first lock down in 2020, we worked with the Civic and local artists to create a digital exhibition about the early years of the building. This allowed people to access the building remotely at a time when we couldn’t visit in person. Travel back in time and see what this Barnsley landmark was like when it first opened its doors in 1878.

Welcome to the Civic 1878

The Civic, Barnsley, is one of the most prominent historic buildings on Eldon Street. Built as the Mechanics Institute and Public Hall, it opened in 1878 and has supported local people to engage with culture, education and the arts ever since. During the first lock down in 2020, we worked with the Civic and local artists to create a digital exhibition about the early years of the building. This allowed people to access the building remotely at a time when we couldn’t visit in person. Travel back in time and see what this Barnsley landmark was like when it first opened its doors in 1878.

 

 

Explore the Civic 1878 model and online exhibition

The HSHAZ is also supporting other cultural events and activities on Eldon Street, in conjunction with cultural partners including The Civic Barnsley, Barnsley Libraries and Barnsley College. As part of the cultural programme for the HSHAZ, the Civic, Barnsley are running ‘Teenage Wildlife’ to create a digital archive of memories and photographs of teenage experiences of Eldon Street from the 1950s onwards.

We have also been working with the Civic to create a digital model and online exhibition about the early years of the building. Travel back in time and see what this Barnsley landmark was like when it first opened its doors in January 1878.

Find out more

You can keep up to date with the project on twitter at @EldonHAZ or by following Barnsley Museums on twitter and facebook.

We have also written a series of blogs on different aspects of the project, and Eldon Street’s history. Find out more on the Barnsley Museums blogsite - https://barnsleymuseums.art.blog/category/heritage-action-zone/

Eldon Street History Hunt

(PDF, 1.76 MB)

How well do you know Eldon Street? Do you like a historical treasure hunt? Have a go at our Eldon Street history hunt, aimed at families (but suitable for all ages) and see how many details you can spot on Eldon Street's beautiful buildings. Produced by Blackbird publishing.

Download file - Eldon Street History Hunt