Celebrating 50 years of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

On April 1, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council will celebrate its Golden Anniversary – that’s 50 years of public service within our local communities and creating the wonderful borough we live in today.  

The council was formally established on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972 which abolished previous local government structures and created a whole new local government system. This included redefining geographies of councils across England, with some new counties established, some merged and the introduction of Metropolitan Counties and Boroughs. It was at this time that the County Borough of Barnsley was abolished and the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, as we know it today, was established. 

This significant milestone, which we share with many other borough councils, is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate 50 years of our borough, our communities, the fabulous things we’ve achieved and look forward to during the next 50 years. 

We’ll be celebrating throughout the month of April, with plenty of ways to get involved, and join the celebrations. Here’s a snapshot of what’s in store: 

  • Get creative and enter our special art competition open to four- to 16-year-olds, to design a poster to celebrate our 50-year Anniversary. For full details and terms and conditions, please visit our webpage. 
  • Barnsley Libraries will be creating special book displays showcasing a range of local history books, providing the opportunity to gain insight to our borough and your local area over the last 50 years. 
  • Barnsley Libraries will also be hosting some art and craft sessions during the Easter holidays with the theme, ‘celebrating 50 years of the borough and the next 50 years.’ 
  • Barnsley Museums and Archives have lots in store, including: 
  • Visit our special display of documents relating to the history of our borough in the reception of Barnsley Archives and Local Studies located in the town hall from Tuesday 2 April to Friday 12 April. 
  • Take a trip down memory lane at Experience Barnsley Museum where you’ll find Civic Cases displaying objects used in meetings and ceremonies, as well as our fascinating collections showcasing life in the borough over the years. 
  • Make sure you’re following Archives and Local Studies social media pages as they’ll be sharing lots of old photos of council buildings across the borough. 
  • Keep an eye out for their dedicated blog to share historical photos and stories of times gone by. 
  • Keep an eye out at the town hall’s flower bed which will feature a special flower arrangement – can you guess what it will look like? 

To help with our celebrations, we also need our communities, who lie at the heart of our borough, to share memories and photos. Take a look at what you can do to get involved: 

  • Share with us your memories of Barnsley in times gone by. It doesn’t need to be as long as 50 years ago, but we’d love to get a glimpse of Barnsley through the years within your community. We’d also love to see any old photos to see how much it’s changed. 
  • We’d like to put together a commemorative collection of photographs of places, landmarks or landscapes taken across the borough (from anytime in the last 50 years) and quotes from local people about what they love about the borough. The top 50 entries will be made into a celebration slide show to showcase our remarkable borough. 

Please send memories, photographs and quotes to communications@barnsley.gov.uk so we can share them on our social media channels during the month of celebrations.  

Sarah Norman, The Chief Executive of Barnsley Council, said: “The 50-year anniversary of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council is a real milestone, and one that I’m honoured to be a part of. Rather fittingly, it comes the year after we won two prestigious Council of the Year Awards in 2022-23, from both the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and the Municipal Journal (MJ) Awards – the first council to do so. This highlights just how far our borough has come over the last 50 years, and despite the many challenges we’ve faced through the decades, we’ve built a borough with ambition – a place of possibilities to be celebrated and proud of.  

“Our Golden Anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate our communities who have continued to be at the heart of our borough through the years and have never been stronger. It’s also a great opportunity to share memories, dig our old photographs and talk about how things have changed - please get involved and share these with us. 

“Finally, I’d also like to thank all our employees, partners and elected members over the last 50 years who have served our communities and contributed to the borough we know today.” 

For full details about our celebrations and how to get involved, please visit www.barnsley.gov.uk/50years.

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