Barnsley Markets

Barnsley on film

Over the years the market has been more than just a place to shop. It was a place to meet and catch up on the news, in the days before social media! People gathered in the market place to celebrate and even to find a job. 

The Barnsley Museums Film Archive is a fascinating collection of local film clips. One of the earliest films in the collection is a rare colour cine film from 15 May 1937. It shows the market during the royal coronation celebrations with a special display by market stall holders. 

This film and more have been added to YouTube as part of the Archive's Sound and Vision project. You can subscribe and see more on YouTube.

Other historic events 

1249 - October/Michaelmas Fair started by charter of Henry III. A popular six day event at Fairfield (now Churchfields).

1514 - February Fair started by charter of Henry VIII.

Origin unknown - May Horse Fair, which tied in with the May Day celebrations held on May Day Green.

1583 - Barnsley Feast started by charter of Elizabeth I. This was held on May Day Green. Also known as the Saint Helen's Fair. It included animal entertainment, bull and bear baiting and maypole dancing.

1838 - 3,000 working men celebrated Queen Victoria's coronation with roast beef and porter in the Market Place.

1855 - At the Fall of Sebastopol a large bonfire of coal was lit in the Market Place, supplied from local pits.

1856 - At the end of the Crimean War 7,750 children sang hymns at the top of Market Place hill.

1929 - Riot Act read in the Market Place during the Weavers' Strikes.

1 November annually - Statutes held in Market Place. Also known as Hirings Day, this was a mass event to hire local staff for work 'in service'.

Archives enquiry

Call us on (01226) 773950 or

Barnsley Archives

Explore our past at the Archives and Discovery Centre in the Town Hall

Visit the Centre