Lead by Barnsley Museums, and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust (BMHT), Up the Swanee! is an exciting community cultural project that focuses on the history of the Swanee Pond in Kendray. A much loved but often overlooked spot, which offers relaxation and a connection to nature. Although not a typical heritage spot, it has an abundance of hidden history and rich folk law to explore. 

Keen to showcase culture and art in unusual spaces we are putting a spotlight on local history across the borough, not just in the obvious places but in communities, green spaces, and high streets. Up the Swanee! aims to do this in the most creative of ways. 

A key part of the project is collaborating with local people through the co-curation of art, music, and poetry. It will result in a very special musical performance on the banks of Swanee Pond on Friday the 6 October. It will see performances by poet and BMHT Trustee, Ian McMillan, composer Luke Carver-Goss and a brilliant community band.

Creative workshops are taking place in the area at Kendray Hospital, Barnsley Academy, Forest Academy, and St. Andrews Community Centre over the forthcoming weeks and months. Other activity includes oral histories recording living memories of local residents, celebrated artist Richard Kitson creating artworks, and illustrator Liz Kay creating drawings.

There is little research available about the history of the area, so as part of the project local historian Jane Ainsworth has discovered some fascinating historical facts ranging from a priest watching the Aurora Borealis reflected in the pond in 1882 to Mary Queen of Scot’s armour being kept as a relic in a mansion house that the pond once belonged. The project also uncovered the source of the name The Swanee, originating from a posh boating pond called Swan Pond. 

We look forward to keeping you updated on the project and seeing you at future events.

For more information about the project contact stevenskelley@barnsley.gov.uk or follow the progress of the project on our Barnsley Heritage Connects social media: Barnsley@HC1.

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