The Ballad of Eldon Street on Radio 4

16th October 2023

Some of you may have attended the listening party for the Ballad of Eldon Street, a new BBC radio ballad featuring the lyrics and music of Simon Armitage and LYR and stories and voices from Eldon Street, which was held at the Parkway cinema last month.

It was an opportunity to hear the radio ballad in its first listen-through in the setting of one of Eldon Street’s best-loved historic buildings.

The broadcast focused on Simon’s work as part of the Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) project, an exciting artistic collaboration celebrating the historic street. Inspired by Eldon Street’s untold stories, particularly around natural history. Simon was appointed artist-in-residence, exploring Eldon Street’s mythologies and characters, using Barnsley Archives as a creative resource. Simon was particularly interested in tales of a now almost mythical Natural History Museum (created by the Barnsley Naturalists) that was on the top floor of today’s modern Barnsley Civic until the Sixties.

The residency culminated in a performance of a series of new works by Simon and LYR at the Parkway in September 2022. A selection of these works have been used as the basis for a new radio ballad by producer Sue Roberts, exploring the history of this extraordinary street woven together with oral history interviews and voices from Eldon Street, including former shopkeepers and local residents.

The ballad is now available to hear at BBC Radio 4 – Drama on 4, The Ballad of Eldon Street

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said:

“Working with Simon Armitage on the Eldon Street High Street project has been an incredible way to retell stories of the area. It has a fascinating history, and his research and interpretation have brought to life parts of its past that had long been forgotten. Through his work and the music of LYR, the stories of the street will be shared around the world.”

The Ballad of Eldon Street on Radio 4