Town centre gateway receives multi-million pound revamp

Work is now progressing in Barnsley to restore buildings on Eldon Street, between Regent Street and the junction of Market Hill.

The Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) is a four-year project between Barnsley Council and Historic England which aims to bring back to life historic buildings through restoration work and cultural activity.

By the end of March, the project will have seen almost £4m of investment go into the historic street.

It includes a community and schools’ engagement programme promoting creative careers and opening up possibilities within the town centre.

The final stage of the project is about to begin and will see conservation works completed to 58 Eldon Street (Leslie Frances Hairdressing Academy), 60 Eldon Street (Globe Holidays) and 70-72 Eldon Street (Best Kebab & Pizza).

58 Eldon Street is one of the oldest surviving buildings on the street and was originally built as a linen warehouse. It later became an adult education school in the 1870s, before it became Anne Porter’s and Sons, one of Barnsley’s first department stores to cater specifically for women.

60 Eldon Street was originally built as a furniture shop and warehouse. In the 1880s it was a music warehouse selling instruments and sheet music. After that, it was Roebuck’s furniture emporium.

In more recent years, the building has been used for a series of fast food restaurants before becoming Globe Holidays.

Next door, the Parkway Cinema is due to have its original canopy restored as part of the street’s regeneration.

The current building was well known as the Odeon Cinema in the 1960s. Now as the Parkway Cinema, it is one of only a handful of cinemas in the UK to still use 70mm film.

Dr Tegwen Roberts, Heritage Action Zone project officer, said: “There’s so much history hidden within these buildings. To be able to uncover so much of it and to share that with local communities has been incredible.

“The whole project will have a huge positive impact on Eldon Street as we connect historical areas with the exciting new developments in the town centre.

“The HAZ is not only restoring elements from the past, maintaining buildings and stories for generations to come, but it provides these buildings with a new lease of life so they can continue to have purpose now – and in the future – as part of a modern town centre.”

Barnsley’s town centre has undergone significant changes over the past five years to help boost shopper and visitor numbers.

Councillor Robin Franklin, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture at Barnsley Council, said: “The Eldon Street HAZ project is breathing life into an important historic street, which also happens to be many people’s gateway into Barnsley town centre.

“Eldon Street is a very special place with a fascinating history so we are happy that the works taking place will restore the façades, bringing our historic buildings back to life while also encouraging experiences along the street.”

Nicola Brown, from Historic England, said: “It has been a joy to watch the regeneration of Eldon Street over the past few years through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme.

“This latest phase of works on this historic street will cement its role as one of the most vibrant and attractive parts of the town centre.”