One of Barnsley’s earliest maps has been repaired, restored and made available to the public thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Friends of Barnsley Archives.
The Barnsley Local Board of Health map is an extremely important document dating back to 1856 and shows the extent of the jurisdiction of the Board.
Local Boards of Health were local authorities in urban areas of England and Wales, created following the Public Health Act of 1848, largely in response to the cholera epidemics of the previous decades. These new boards had substantial local powers, including regulating environmental health risks, controlling sewers and drainage, and ensuring the supply of water.
The Local Board of Health in Barnsley was created following the inspection of the town in 1852 by William Ranger of the General Board of Health. He criticised the unsatisfactory condition of the town, particularly citing the mortality rate, the water supply, and the inefficiency of both sewerage and drainage. Due to the poor conditions the decision was taken to create the new Board to tackle these problems. The Board remained until 1869 when Barnsley became a borough.
Measuring 131 x 97cm, the map is tremendously detailed, showing every house, building and structure. The restoration work cost nearly £800.
Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place said, “We are indebted to the Friends of Archives for funding the restoration of one of Barnsley’s most important maps. The map shows the many changes that have occurred in the area over the last 160 years. The area at the top of Market Hill, now occupied by the Town Hall and Barnsley Sixth Form College has altered beyond all recognition, with the housing, lanes, pubs and alleys having been cleared away during the 20th century. As for sport, it was to be another 30 years before the Reverend Preedy founded the town’s football club. Where the towns beloved Oakwell now resides was just open fields back in 1856. As the redevelopment of Barnsley’s town centre gathers pace, maps such as this become more significant, allowing us to look back at what has changed but also at what has remained constant over the centuries.”