Back in the summer I attended a conference in Sheffield, and it was very good. With it taking place on a Saturday and at Hallam University, which for those of you not in the know is next to Sheffield train station, I had deliberately booked a late train back home on the Sunday to allow me time to do something on the Sunday.
That “something” was to be determined on the day: do something in Sheffield, visit Meadowhall, sleep….or visit a town I’ve not been to for 18 years. Between the years of September 1996-June 1998 I did my HND in journalism at Barnsley College, and it set me on the way to the career I am enjoying now. Since then, I’ve not had the opportunity to get back to Barnsley so with a free day and only a 30 minute train ride from the town, I decided to make a visit.
There were numerous reasons for going, and one of the main ones was would I still remember my way around. The simple answer was yes, and for the most part, the town was a lot more green and pleasant than I had recalled. The areas around the college, court, and streets where I and friends lived were quiet, leafy and with some lovely brickwork that I guess I never really appreciated at the time.
I realise for the majority of people this will have no interest, but for me and the people I shared my education and socialising with in that time, the town will always have good memories. So let’s start with leaving (a massively improved) train station:
This was Regents Park nightclub, the scene of Wednesday late nights. Looks like it is still a nightclub. As I left the doors were open, not sure if it was to cleaner of it is now open during the day too.
This was K2 kebab shop, and home of the Standard Box. Now a (closed looking) Italian restaurant.
Barnsley Town Hall. Quite an impressive building.
So first shock, this was our student’s union. Now a play centre. Words cannot summarise my thoughts on this.
This was Eastgate building, opened in 1998 but now looks closed.
The main college building, Old Mill Lane, looks to have been completely taken down and replaced with a whole new “main” building.
The NUM building, I learned on my first day the College that this is known locally as “King Arthur’s Castle”.
Statue outside the NUM building, always liked it.
Hopwood St, where Mike, Dan, Chris, Tom, Huw and others lived.
Sackville St, where Dan, Wayne, Antney, Antonio, Maxine, Cynthia and Sally lived. Looks like the houses they were in have been levelled and replaced with new houses.
I walked up this hill a few times in my second year; at the bottom is a dry cleaners and I lived upstairs.
This was one of the college buildings, I forget the name. Often underused, it now appears to have been sold off to local businesses.Former NI secretary Roy Mason lived next door, his armed guard were pretty obvious.
Church St college building, had a pretty decent (and usually quiet) internet suite. Two words that now make me feel my age!
This sandwich shop did the best big sandwiches, I guess you would call them “subs” now. Mine was an egg mayonnaise with no tomatoes.
I left 3 years before the 9/11 attacks, the gardens of the town hall now have a number of plaques.
Front of the Town Hall, still impressive. I just recall walking past with people asking “what time is it” and us looking at the large clock that was usually right!
Now back to being called the White Hart, it was the Firkin pub in the second year and my reason for not getting a distinction.
Sculpture outside the Town Hall, not sure what it is meant to be.
The McDonalds has been moved out of the town centre, replaced with a bank.
Formerly Tommy Wallocks, and still Chennels. Wellington St was where the majority of pubs were. Seemed a lot had gone since then though.
Front door of what was Hedonism night club (Monday nights). Appeared to have been a Chicago Rock Cafe, but looked closed down to me.
The Alhambra shopping centre. I cut through this regularly and ended up eyeing the CDs in Woolworths regularly. These days it was mostly pound shops.
To finish off my hour long walk around Barnsley, I concluded with a pint in the Firkin/White Hart. Layout was much the same, but it looked like it has been given a recent makeover.
I spent about an hour in Barnsley. The town centre looks like the recession had hit it hard and a number of high st chains had gone, which is a shame as it was always pretty good during the week. On the Sunday I visited there was a street market going on, but it did feel like the town had seen better days.
Overall it was great to revisit, and while I didn’t get to the other end of town where I lived in the first year, it was a good trip down S71 Memory Lane.