Massive leap forward for Barnsley Archives!

6th September 2021

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies, based in the Discovery Centre alongside the Experience Barnsley Museum, achieved a long-term ambition in 2020 – bringing all the collections under one roof for the first time.

Having all the collections together had been an aspiration since the service was formed in 1987, but the sheer size of the collections made that difficult. Seven stores were reduced to just three in 2013 when a large store was created in the basement of Barnsley Town Hall as part of the Experience Barnsley project. But now, following a project that managed to progress despite the lockdown of 2020, a further large storage area was designed and created in the Town Hall. It means that some 4,000 collections of archives, containing hundreds of thousands of individual items, stored in 20,000 boxes are all within walking distance of the Archives Discovery Centre, meaning that individual items can be quickly retrieved for customers. It will also make the work of the archives team much easier – allowing more collections to be properly sorted, catalogued, conserved and interpreted.

Barnsley Archives exists to collect, preserve and make available the documentary heritage of the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, and the collections held cover every aspect of the history of the borough, with original archives dating back to the mid-12th century. These include the records of the council, local businesses, families, groups, charities, hospitals and so much more. The original archives are complemented by the local studies collections – thousands of books, pamphlets, microfilm and newspapers to enable researchers to look back and find the information that they’re looking for.

Following the award of ‘Place of deposit’ status in 2010, allowing Barnsley Archives to hold categories of official public records (principally court and hospital records); and the award of accredited status from the National Archives in 2017; the new store (which the remaining collections have just been added to) will allow the service to take a further leap forward. Managing, preserving and facilitating access to the collections should prove so much easier.

Massive leap forward for Barnsley Archives!