The memory of the Co-op building lives on at Experience Barnsley

14th December 2016

One of Barnsley’s most iconic buildings will be remembered at the town’s award winning museum, Experience Barnsley.

Island Corner, which meant so much to the people of the borough, holds memories for those who have worshipped, shopped, worked and socialised there since it was built in 1804.

The distinctive and characterful piece of architecture, which was in the heart of Barnsley town centre, started life as the Methodist New Connexion Chapel later becoming the iconic Co-op store.  Here people would visit for clothes, homeware, and food. While there, they would also catch up with friends and neighbours, making it a cornerstone of the community.

It later became Hedon Rock Café in 1993 before opening as Chicago Rock in 2001, both popular bars in Barnsley.  A generation of people came to socialise, creating many happy memories for those who visited.

Following the sudden demolition of the building, after a fire rendered it inhabitable, Experience Barnsley, thought it important to save what they could.

Pieces of stonework which have been conserved will soon be on display in the galleries Barnsley Wall. Visitors will also be able to see detailed architectural records of the building created by laser scanning prior to its demolition. Take a look at a 3D impression and a short film illustrating the development that the building went through from 1886 onwards. Listen and look at films, stories and pictures about the history of the building and what it meant to the people of the town.

In conjunction with the museums display and as part of the Heritage Lottery Sound and Film project, Ian Mcmillan has been commissioned to write a poem about the building. The piece will draw from the memories and recollections posted on social media in the days following the destruction.

Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet spokesperson for Place, said: “It is really important to remember one of the town’s most iconic buildings and there is no better place to do this than Experience Barnsley. Visitors can come and take a look and relive some of the wonderful memories made there.”

For more information about the display please visit

The memory of the Co-op building lives on at Experience Barnsley