Forging Ahead: Barnsley and Elsecar Heritage Centre

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Barnsley’s Cultural Development Fund project will transform Elsecar Heritage Centre, creating new creative studios in derelict historic spaces, maker and museum galleries and stunning new indoor and outdoor areas for events and cultural activity. Elsecar Heritage Centre is an internationally important and unique cultural asset and attracts 500,000+ visitors per year.

Forging Ahead: A New Vision for the Historic Elsecar Ironworks

Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of the Council said:

“Elsecar has always played an important part in Barnsley’s history, from its thriving industrial past to its unique heritage assets, it’s a place to be cherished and proud of.  Now thanks to the generosity of the DCMS-funded Arts Council managed Culture Development Fund, significant investment in the village will have a major impact on its future, catapulting it even further to become an internationally recognised visitor destination”.

The investment includes new facilities in Barnsley’s Principal Towns, delivering a cultural programme that promises to create a real buzz, excitement and ambition, working together with our local communities and artists, supporting people to co-produce and take part in local cultural activities.   

Barnsley’s Principal Towns

Creative Networks

Working with partners including University of Sheffield, CDF funding has enabled Barnsley Council to map its creative sector as the first step in establishing a local Creative Network. 

The mapping work includes: 

  • Collating existing data and further mapping of creative industries/artists/makers in Barnsley
  • Exploring with project partners a series of planned events taking place to engage with unknown artists that live and work in Barnsley
  • Detailed report for Barnsley MBC of the creative industries/artists/ makers based in the Borough of Barnsley

Through this work to date, an initial database has increased over 300 creative practitioners, demonstrating a clear appetite and need to further develop and support the local network. 

Cultural Programme and Activities

Activity supported through the Cultural Development Fund revenue funding includes: 


Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) is lead partner for Barnsley’s CDF programme. CDF Funding has enabled BMBC to work with a range of different delivery partners across both the capital and revenue projects, including:

Three performers dressed in vintage Edwardian clothing standing in a modern day high street with their arms raised together in celebration
The Un-Naturalists. Artists: Markmark Productions

Through its bursaries and commissions and with CDF support, BMBC has also been able to support and engage with a wider number of freelance artists and creative practitioners. These include: 

  • Angela Hardwick
  • Amazelab
  • Charlotte Fairclough
  • Dan Jones
  • David Sinclair
  • Elisa Artesero
  • Eloise Unerman
  • Ian MacMillan
  • Jack Riley
  • Les Monaghan
  • Louise Ann Wright
  • Lucy Burns
  • Lucy Pimpernel Wood
  • Patrick Murphy
  • Peter Aldred
  • Sam Batley
  • Sean O’Connell
  • Tomekah George
An artists collage of various photographic images of people, children's drawings of houses and hand-written text relating to how people feel about their home town
Barnsley Townscape

Find out more …

For more information about Barnsley’s CDF programme, contact: / 

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