Barnsley Town HallEdit profile
Barnsley Town Hall is the seat of local government in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley. The Borough's local government was last reorganised in 1986 when the South Yorkshire County Council was abolished. The former County Council was located in offices on Kendray Street, the main part of which is due for demolition in 2007 or 2008 as part of a major redevelopment programme. The foundation stone of Barnsley Town Hall was laid on 21 April 1932 and was opened by His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales on 14 December 1933. The cost of construction of the town hall and of furnishing the new seat of local government was £188,037 12/10d. George Orwell in his book The Road to Wigan Pier was highly critical of this expenditure and claimed that the council should have spent the money on improving the housing and living conditions of the local miners. Orwell spent a number of days in the town living in the houses of the working class miners while researching for the book. Every evening blue fluorescent lights are turned on in the room in the spire, leading to the Barnsley rumour that the mayor has a sunbed. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the Parliament Buildings of Northern Ireland, Stormont, and, like Stormont, its façade is sculpted in Portland stone. In front of the Town Hall, the soldier of the war memorial looks down Regent Street, the financial heart of Barnsley. The cenotaph was built before the Town Hall. Since the abolition of the County Council, only a small number of council departments are based in the town hall, most of the offices having being distributed around the town centre. In 2006 the Council are building new offices on Westgate to the West of the Town Hall to accommodate 700 staff. There are plans to convert part of the town hall into a museum and community heritage facility. The project is known as Experience Barnsley.