The 1st of July 2016 marked the centenary of the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. On that Day, around 300 Barnsley men lost their lives, including many of the 13th/14th York and Lancaster Regiment – more commonly known as 'The Barnsley Pals'.
To commemorate this anniversary, a new piece of temporary public art was commissioned called 'Light Lines' in the Town Hall Gardens and a public event held at the War Memorial. The artwork was later moved to a permanent site in Churchfields Peace Gardens - just opposite St Mary's Church.
'Light Lines' was made possible by funding from Barnsley Council, Barnsley Ward Alliances, Arts Council England and Historic England's Heritage Schools programme. The relocation of the artwork was also funded by Barnsley Museums Heritage Trust and donations to Barnsley Pals Plinth, with support for the Civic Trust Awards from NPS Barnsley.
Designed by Musson & Retallick, the artwork uses images of the soldiers found from research in Barnsley Archives and Local Studies. They were then reproduced as digitally rendered laser-etched acryillic panels, which illuminate in low light using white led lights. Below these images are cast medals in plaster made by local school children from 10 primary schools to signify the memories of those at home.
The artwork is located close to the entrance to Churchfields Peace Gardens at the junction of Church Lane and Churchfield. It is also visible from Church Lane. The postcode for Churchfield is S70 2DQ. Parking is available in Sackville Street or The Seam (County Way) car parks. 'Light Lines' is approximately 10 minutes walk from Barnsley Interchange.
Stories of the Somme
Running alongside 'Light Lines' was the 'Stories of the Somme' exhibition at Experience Barnsley. It told of the bloodiest battle in British Army history through the eyes of local people. The Battle of the Somme raged from 1 July to 19 November 1916. It was a terrifying, hard struggle and Barnsley's men and boys were at the forefront of the fight. The video on this page was created to highlight the story of John Glynn who lived in St George's Square in Barnsley and worked at Barrow Colliery, near Worsbrough before leaving to fight. This is his story and an insight into the battle, through a dramatised account of his letters sent back home to his wife in Barnsley.
Find out more
Barnsley Archives and Local Studies has lots of resources available for you to find out more about the First World War. We have free access in the Town Hall to popular subscripiton sites Ancestry, Find My Past and the British Newspaper Archive. Perfect for miltary, family history research or to find out about how historical events affected the borough and beyond.