Dearne’s history is a big hit at museum

Jemma Conway, community heritage curator pictured with the Turbanator,  a 1950s hairdryer. It was once used in a Wombwell salon. Picture: Marie Caley S0775MC
Jemma Conway, community heritage curator pictured with the Turbanator, a 1950s hairdryer. It was once used in a Wombwell salon. Picture: Marie Caley S0775MC

Some of the Dearne Valley’s most treasured artefacts are proving popular with visitors to a new museum celebrating Barnsley’s rich history.

Experience Barnsley only opened last Thursday but has already had thousands of people through the doors.

Dr John Tanner.

Dr John Tanner.

Dearne items including mining memorabilia, Roman coins and sporting photographs, feature among more than 1000 artefacts on display at the museum’s town hall base.

Jemma Conway, community heritage curator, (pictured right) said: “We have been amazed at the response and the people of the Dearne have really supported the project all the way through.”

Among the items featured are around 1500 silver Roman coins, dug up in North Street, Darfield, while new homes were being built between 1947-50.

The haul dates back to AD 100-300 and was discovered when a workman’s spade struck a pottery urn, prompting a cascade of silver coins.

Medals belonging to Barnsley’s Busby Babe Mark Jones are on display with pictures of him playing for Manchester United. He was killed in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster and is buried in Wombwell Cemetery.

Items showing the colourful life of Wombwell man Roy Kilner also feature. He was injured on the first day of the Battle of the Somme but went on to play cricket for England and Yorkshire. Roy got malaria during a tour of India in 1927-28 and died aged 37.

More than 100, 000 attended his funeral and the museum has a cigarette card depicting him.

Another popular item is a pit hammer dug up at Grimethorpe in 1983.

It dates back to 1910 and part of the handle had fossilised because of the pressure underground.

There is also a ‘Turbanator’ - a 1950s hairdryer from a Wombwell salon, and membership cards for Houghton Main WMC from the 1970s.

Thousands through doors just a week after opening

Project leader, Dr John Tanner, said more than 5000 people had visited the museum since it opened.

He said: “We have been amazed by the response from the public, we knew the museum would be popular but never expected to get so many people in through the doors, so quickly.

“We had a great response from people donating items from the Dearne Valley and they have been popular with visitors.

“The area has such a great wealth of interesting history.”