Located half way between Leeds and Sheffield, together with several villages the Barnsley forms the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley.
The town grew as an important manufacturing centre originally from linen weaving during the 18th and 19th century but later became known more for its glassmaking and coal mining industries. The National Union of Mineworkers has its headquarters in Barnsley while the British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation now known as Britglass is based near the edge of town.
Like many towns in Yorkshire Barnsley has seen a major decline across all of its traditional industries. More recently through a number of regeneration initiatives the town has invested in road infrastructure with new industrial zones, distribution centres and business centres such as the Barnsley Business & Innovation Centre and the Barnsley Digital Media Centre.
Committed to helping it’s young develop their opportunities to the fullest and developing skills and expertise relevant to the needs of businesses in the area Barnsley College combines Sixth Form education in its larger newly built Sixth Form Centre and also higher education at University Campus Barnsley providing vocational higher degree and apprenticeships courses.
Tourism has also undergone a transformation in and around Barnsley, major attractions include:
- In town the Cooper Gallery. Built in 1769 originally as the home to Barnsley Grammar School, when the school relocated the building was purchased by Samuel Joshua Cooper who later left the gallery to the town with more than 200 of his paintings. The gallery opened to the public in 1914 but more recently has had a major refurbishment.
- On the edge and north of Barnsley is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park Britain’s first and finest sculpture park according to
BBC Arts article Yorkshire Sculpture Park, founded over 40 years ago and now the leading centre for modern and contemporary sculpture.
- To the west of town the nearby picturesque village of Cawthorne with the country house museum of Cannon Hall and its surrounding park together with Cannon Hall Farm, Cannon Hall Garden Centre, village tearooms, antiques and Gallery.
- To the south of Barnsley the Elsecar Heritage centre developed on the site of the former Elsecar coal mine.