Remembering the Second World War through the eyes of Barnsley folk

Opening at Experience Barnsley on Saturday, 12 October is a fascinating, thought provoking and inspirational exhibition - ‘The Second World War, Barnsley's Story’.

Telling remarkable stories of the experiences of people across the borough through the turbulent war years of 1939 to 1945, the exhibition features objects, images and archives including a wartime wedding dress, objects from the Pogmoor plane crash, a baby’s gas mask, a Spitfire Fund recipe book, WAAF jacket, wartime mining kit and parachute silk underwear. Accompanying these objects are individual stories of living, working and surviving in wartime Barnsley – stories of bravery, resourcefulness, love and hardship. 

The exhibition includes a fictional Barnsley family illustrated in pictures for our younger visitors to follow.  The family is based on the memories and experiences of actual people living in the borough during wartime, including factory work, blackouts, fundraising, celebrating Christmas and looking after the pigs.  An activity space is a chance to dress up and try some wartime toys and games, and all visitors are invited to leave their own stories of families or loved ones in the exhibition.  

The free exhibition highlights the spirit of the people of Barnsley who gave up their time, money and in some cases lives to support the war effort for a better and brighter world for future generations.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition a very special day has been planned to mark the occasion.  On Saturday, 12 October between 10.30am and 2.30pm there will be a variety of wartime interactive activities and performances.  The Yorkshire Military Band will be playing a selection of music from the era, there will be World War 2 inspired board games, activities and traditional games such as French skipping, hula hoops, yo yo’s, ludo and dominos.   What will make the day even more spectacular is the arrival of a life-size authentic spitfire that will be outside the Town Hall during the opening event - which will be a truly stunning sight. 

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Regeneration and Culture) says: “We are extremely proud and indebted to the many brave Barnsley men and women who suffered during wartime for a better future for us all.  The exhibition is a celebration of them, their memories and their unwavering courage - that is difficult for us to even imagine.  People will be fascinated by the stories told of Barnsley folk and get a real insight as to what life was like, both the highs and lows, when our Country was at war.”

For more information about the exhibition or to make enquiries about a school trip visit

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