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Photographic Society look how times have changed

By gail robinson, Town Reporter Wednesday 23rd April 2014

Barnsley Photographic Society is celebrating its 90th birthday by looking back through its extensive records and revealing just how much the landscape and the architecture of the town has altered over the years.

In 1924, Barnsley's mining industry was booming, the landmark town hall had yet to be built and a group of enthusiastic photographers got together.

From then until now the Barnsley Photographic Society has been here snapping the town and recording its changes.


The group celebrates its 90th anniversary this year with a special exhibition showcasing the best pictures from its long history.

To preview that exhibition the society has loaned the Chronicle some images taken by its members in 1975- European architectural heritage year.

There are also a few taken this year to show how the local landscape has changed in the past 39 years.

Racecommon Road then and now reveals what Town End looked like without its roundabout and how few tall buildings there were on the skyline.

Barnsley College then and now shows two completely different buildings.

Considered worthy of noting in European architectural heritage year were the cottages that belonged to Middlewood Hall in Darfield and Worsbrough Hall.

Worsbrough Hall, of Elizabethan style with a centre and two wings, used to have beautifully laid out gardens and once housed a collection of rare paintings and reputedly some of the best tapestries in England.

In the late 1950s and early 60s it was bought by the National Coal Board and used as offices. When they moved out in the early 1960s it was left empty and decaying until being converted into apartments.

The photographic club itself was founded on May 21, 1924 in the Shambles Street photographic studio of a Mr A Roberts. The original subscription was five shillings per year. Today, it is £20.

The current 30 members come from across the borough, and range in age from 30 to 90 and they are looking forward to snapping their way to 100 years.

The 90th anniversary exhibition will be at the Cooper Gallery, in Church Street, from April 28 to the end of May.

* The society meet Mondays, 8pm, at the Emmanuel Methodist Church, in Huddersfield Road, Barnsley.

CommentsClick here to add a comment...
Posted by Muddled I Wed 23rd Apr 2014 at 3:52pm

I've been looking for a historic photograph of area before town end roundabout. My memory is hazy of the junction that had Dodworth Road, Racecommon Road and the old swimming baths coming as one, but as yet, I haven't been able to find one. Any ideas?

Posted by Brian I Fri 25th Apr 2014 at 4:23pm

You could try the Old Barnsley Photo stall in the market (don't know the proper name of it) - and if he hasn't got an exact photo for sale that matches what you are after, I'm sure he'd find one in the Tasker Trust books 'streets of Barnsley' - which come with lots more information as well.