Collections

Barnsley's collections are an inspiring variety of historical material and works of art. At Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre, original archives, photographs, sound, film, archaeology and social and industrial history collections tell the story of Barnsley from prehistoric times to the present day.

We are working towards making all our collections searchable online so we can share them with you and help with whatever subject you are interested in. Currently the online catalogue is limited to sections of the archive collection and a selection of fine art from the Cooper Gallery. However, it is updated each week with new content.

To search our fascinating historical collections please visit www.explorebarnsleycollections.com

For tips on how to make the best of your online catalogue searches please watch the short help video below.

Our records are used for a wide variety of reasons, including family history research, school projects or even legal disputes. Many of our users delve into archives to explore their family history - to find out who their ancestors were, where they lived, where they worked and how they lived their lives. Others are interested in the history of their local area. What did it look like a century ago? How has it developed? Some researchers want to look at the history of their house. How old is it? What was on the site before it was built? Our records might enable you to answer some of these questions. Students and academics also use our records during the course of their research, using a mix of printed material and original archives.

To make an enquiry about the collection or to offer items to the museum please email museumandarchivecollections@barnsley.gov.uk

We have records donated to us from members of the public, local businesses and groups throughout the year. Take a look at the video below to see some of the recent donations to the Archives.

Showing 11 to 20 of 24

Experience Barnsley

BISCUIT FROM FIRST WORLD WAR, 1914-1918

George Burnett was 33 when he enlisted in the First World War to the 13th Yorks and Lancs Regiment in 1914. According to his army enlistment record, he had previously worked in a chemical factory. He was married to Eva Thornton and lived at King Street, Barnsley. George was lost on the Somme in 1916 for four days, and was later treated for Shell Shock in an army hospital. He brought home many items from the trenches, including this army issue biscuit. He returned to Barnsley to work in Borrow Colliery after being discharged from the army in 1919. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

PRISONER OF WAR MESS TIN, 1942

Frank Hadfield was a gunner in the Royal Artillery and was taken prisoner of war on 15th February 1942 in Singapore where he entered a Japanese camp for three years. He was treated very badly; beaten, tortured and starved. He was seventeen stone when he left and six and half when he returned. Frank never should have gone to the Far East, he was destined for Iceland but their ship from Liverpool was given the wrong orders. As they arrived they were ordered to surrender and taken in cattle trucks to camps. He was made to work on the railways and kept a diary of events throughout the war. Some entries are very brief, as being caught writing his diary was almost certain death. This mess tin was carved by Frank with a nail during his time as a prisoner of war. You can see his name, number and regiment. He was released on 16th August 1945 and put on the first ship back to Southampton, arriving in October. He spent nine months recovering in hospital and suffered all his life with the terrible memories. He lived until 76 years old and worked at brickworks at Monk Bretton Colliery when he returned to Barnsley. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

1940 PRISONER OF WAR BOWL

This tin bowl belonged to Stanley Brazier and was the only thing he ever stole in his whole life. Stan was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore and was placed in the notorious Changi Prison. Whi...lst there, he was sent up country as part of the labour force. He did not wish to eat his rations from a leaf so he took the bowl when he left prison. Whilst in prison, he started to inscribe the names of new friends onto the side of the bowl. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

EARLY BRONZE AGE STONE HAMMER HEAD, c.2000 BC

This hammer head was found during the construction of Scout Dyke Reservoir at Ingbirchworth in the 1920s. Although for the past 40 years it has been used as a door stop! The hammer was owned by William Wadsworth who worked at Barnsley Corporation Waterworks, based at the town hall. The hammer was passed through the family and played with by grandchildren for decades. (LI.BMBC.TH.2012.14) Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

CHLOROFORM PURE 1944

Following his escape from a German forced labour camp during the Second World War, Frank Dubrowski joined the French Resistance where he was issued chloroform to be used as an anaesthetic. Members of the French Resistance fought against the Nazi occupation in France, they published underground newspapers, captured intelligence and kept escape routes open. It could be very dangerous work. After the war, Frank and his wife Annie, settled in Barnsley. They lived in Worsbrough Dale until they passed away, Frank in 2005 and Annie in 2012. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

BUGLE, 1943

This bugle was played by Don Booker MBE in the Barnsley Army Cadet Force Band in 1943. In later years, it was converted into a table lamp. The band was based at Barnsley Drill Hall, Eastgate, now occupied by the Barnsley Chronicle. The bandmaster was Reg Rapson who also played in a dance band. Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

BLACK-GLAZED CERAMIC FLOOR TILE c.AD 1200-1300

Medieval tile fragment, glazed in yellow and black from the church floor at Monk Bretton Priory. BMBC.TH.1246 Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

RECONSTRUCTED ROMAN CERAMIC VESSEL WHICH CONTAINED THE 'DARFIELD HOARD 1'

In 1947, workmen digging foundations for new houses at Darfield hit upon a pottery jar full of Roman coins, dating from the 1st to 3rd centuries. Another two hoards were uncovered in the same area in 1948 and 1950. BMBC.TH.1375 Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

Bronze Roman bracelet, 2nd to 3rd century AD.

Bronze Roman bracelet, 2nd to 3rd century AD. This roman bracelet was found during open cast coal mining at Billingley in 1950. The ends of the bracelet are moulded in the form of a serpents head. BMBC.TH.1362 Photo © Norman Taylor

Experience Barnsley

1960 SLAZENGER'S TENNIS BALLS

From the 1880's and for more than a centurym Slazenger's Barnsley factory sent tennis balls and equipment around the world, including to the Wimbledon Championship every year. With the company's reputation at stake, only the best and most experienced employees were put on the 'Wimbledon Section'. Products were rigorously tested and checked. Photo © Norman Taylor