Love where you live!

I am very proud to be a Northerner and a Yorkshire lass from Barnsley. I am very proud of my roots and my beginnings. I had a fab Barnsley childhood and have so many lovely memories of Barnsley and Yorkshire. I love my accent; it makes me me. I was offered elocution lessons when I was a newly qualified English teacher but I politely declined. I was very shy and quiet back then. I would now answer very differently! "Nah. Be right! What's tha on abart?" I love this bread board I saw on Facebook to buy.

As a trainee teacher studying in Leeds, students would think Miss was great 'cos she comes from Barnsley!' I have Barnsley football team, who were in the Premiership at the tine, to thank for that! Being a trainee teacher who caught the bus to school and was smaller than most of the Year 11s was not easy!

I loved bumping into people when we were abroad, especially in America and they loved our accents. They always thought we were from York when we said Yorkshire, but that was fine by me! I absolutely love York so I didn't worry about a few miles and correct them!
Growing up, there was a massive sense of community where most folk on your street all had the same things. We were kind of in it together. I grew up during the Miner's strike and saw how it pulled communities together.
Over the years, we have seen Barnsley town centre and the markets change. My aunts and uncles used to travel from all over to Barnsley Market.  It hasn't been the same in recent years but hopefully it will be again. I actually saw a coach trip to Barnsley market the other day! We all met as a family on a Saturday morning outside Marks and Sparks. There were no mobiles then so you just had to wait! Imagine that now! We'd pop to the old Woolworths for a bag of pic n mix and we'd go to Littlewoods. One of my fave shops was the massive BHS. We used to buy food at the back when BHS did food. We'd go right to the top to the cafe that looked out on May Day Green and have a jacket potato. I was always fascinated by the conveyer belt you put your tray on when you'd finished and I'd watch it go all around to the kitchen. Love this old photo I found on Facebook. We loved to sit on the Mushroom in the middle of May Day Green!

I have fab memories of these Saturday mornings going to the discount shop Thoms, up Market Hill with my gran and sorting through tons of every coloured tights and pop socks in bargain bins. I'd come out of there with my 10p pair of yellow tights feeling so happy! Martin Raymond's was another bargain shop at the bottom of Market Hill and I always bought something from there too.

A few years ago, we went to a CO-OP exhibition at Barnsley Museum. It brought back so many fantastic memories for us and showed my daughter an insight into trading co-operatively back in the day. My best memory was the CO-OP stamp book that my gran collected. I'd stick them in and get the £1 off something when the book was full. I loved the feel of the completed book in my hand! I used to wonder, as a child, just what the Divvy was. I heard the saying about falling out of the dustcart into the Divvy and thought it was like a quarry or a tip! Later, I found out it was the Dividend for CO-OP members and it meant they were jammy so and sos!

When I was growing up, the CO-OP was still thriving and most of the top of Market Street was the CO-OP. Most people had a relative who worked for the CO-OP and I had my mum! I remember the furniture shop, then the cafe where family met for a vanilla slice or fly pie on a Friday. I loved to go on a school holiday and have an egg custard. I remember the food shop opposite with the fruit and veg. Above this was the Arcordian Hall where we went as the Recorder group from Infants with our marvellous teacher whom I adored. We also attended the Elsecar festival. We totally rocked it and came back with the Roseball trophy. I'm there on the photo, basin haircut and two front teeth missing, totally rocking it too!
I also loved going to Barnsley Market, especially with my gran who would take me to Sid's Sweets for a quarter of boiled sweets. She loved liquorice. We'd sit and eat the coiled liquorice with the jelly in the middle, polished off with a juicy satsuma to balance it out! I always thought Sid was a sailor, with his hat on. Perhaps he was!
When I was even younger, the market was a fascinating place of noises, smells and sights. You'd walk as close to your adult, a sea of legs and feet in front of you, trying to make out just how much for a pound of carrots. They spoke so quickly! On passing near, or entering the meat and fish market, we'd hold our noses and over dramatise the smell! I love visiting our market and there memories always flood back as I enter through the main doors.
When we went into town, we mainly went by bus. I'd love the bus rides at 2p a fare. Only 2p for a child! I loved the bus station with its sweet shop newsagent but best of all was the sweet smelling Don Miller's Donuts with proper gooey jam in the middle. They weren't just dusted in sugar; they were coated! They were so yummy!
There were lots of little specialist shops too that my dad would take me to. I loved the old shoe shops with shiny brogues, packed out DIY stores with bits and bobs and the tobacconist, Watson's. We used to visit Elstone's on Market Hill and he'd buy a big box of Lion's Wine Gums and Midget Gems that would last him for ages. When I walk past the little DIY shop down the Arcade, I always stop and take in all the boxes and tins of nails, hooks and gadgets galore and I'm back in the 80s standing with my dad, looking through the busy window, waiting to go in.
I loved the record shops in the 80s and 90s too such as Casa Disco and Egs and sons. They were a Saturday haunt, loud music blaring out, packed full of people and loads of singles and LPs to sift through while you tapped your feet to the music. I loved buying records and playing them on our record player. I still have them now. I had all of Madonna's; I was crazy for her. Madonna was my first live concert at Roundhay Park. It was her 1986 Who's that Girl? Tour and she was amazing.

Barnsley Town centre isn't the place it was all those years ago but it is slowly on the up again and is undergoing much work to modernise it and I feel it will look great when it is ready. I do love the new shops and bars that are being opened. The Old George has put a fab stamp on Barnsley for example.
As I walk through Barnsley today, I am happy where I live. I take in the gardens at Churchfields with the daffodils blowing in the breeze, past the monuments for the soldiers who died in the Somme and onto St Mary's church. I then walk on towards the Town Hall with the bunting flying, ready to celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire, I smile. Yes, there are times when I do wonder why I'm not in a palatial shopping centre, where litter and graffiti are at a bare minimum, but I prefer outdoor shopping anyway. Taking in the old buildings around me that have housed generations of people and soaking in the flowers in the urban parks is all part of the shopping experience for me. We do like to frequent the small, local shops and cafes where the staff get to know you. Although there are the odd moments where you wished you'd shopped online. Like the other day outside Chennels when I was asked if I was Tony's bird but I misheard and started directing him to the toilets. On hearing correctly, I assured him I wasn't! I love this picture from Barnsley and Surrounding Districts.

I absolutely love our Town Hall and love to have a glance up Regent Street when we park at the Courthouse. The flower beds are always lovely and colourful. This Spring picture with the blossom tree shows that! I love to hear the fountains and love them lit up at night.

The town looked lovely at Christmas with the laser show on the Town Hall and fireworks. The grand silhouette of this marvellous building was amazing. We also went to visit the fab light exhibition at the Civic and Mandella Gardens looked ace lit up!

I'm so glad new businesses are coming and settling in Barnsley. I have always loved the Arcade and about 15 years ago, it got a fresh look with new shops like Barnsley Bookworm and the lovely Dorricott shop. The Arcade is a lovely place to walk down with a variety of gorgeous shops such as Marshmallow Moments and Kingston and Ryan's Jewellers. There are lovely cafes such as Aroma, Victorian Tea Rooms, Toasted and Ice Queens.
I remember singing in my choir in Choirfest and Live in Barnsley and they were fab experiences. It did help that the events were held on sunny days too! The atmosphere for both were brilliant with people stopping and singing along and the acoustics down the Arcade were fab! I follow The Victorian Arcade on Facebook and love their cover photo as it reminds me of the Van Gogh painting, Starry Night.

I know there are parts of town that need work on but I try to look past that and focus on the old buildings seeped in history. I support the old and new businesses so hopefully we will still have a town centre in years to come.


  1. Lovely memories and pics!

  2. Great reading, you brought back similar memories for me too. We were probably in the CO-op cafe at the same time eating similar things, I was with my dear grandma, Aunt and mum. Thanks for reminding me ��x


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