Why?

Why a website for Penistone?
When the internet first arrived we all had Geocities pages. Most people had an interest or a hobby that they wanted to share with the world and assumed that the world also wanted to share. Some had pictures of their cat, others their taste in music or favourite actor/actress, etc. I did one about me, including my interest in CB radio and TV test cards. It had a bit about Penistone with a picture of the church. Yes it was as bad as that. Nobody really was interested in cats or people like me. And as regards testcards, well, I still like them. Then I had a think.

In 2000, I signed up to an ISP with 50MB of web space and wanted to use it for something. Penistone was being 'marketed' as a tourist attraction by well-intentioned but dotty comers-in. They didn't really have any right to do this, in my mind. The claim that Penistone was the 'Gateway to the Pennines' finally did it. As an Irishman once said; "If I was going there, I wouldn't start here". Who in their right mind would choose Penistone as a starting point. On top of that, Barnsley started calling Penistone, 'Pennine Barnsley'. Completely bonkers. Hence my earlier banner called Penistone the 'Gateway to Barnsley'. But another thought was forming in the back of my mind.

I was born in Penistone (and still live here) and wanted to give the world a taste of our small Yorkshire town, with some nostalgia for ex-Penistonians abroad. I wanted the internet to be like this for me, so that I could visit anywhere in the world and see how other people live. Promotional websites never show things as they really are, 'warts an' all'. So I wanted to lazily explore the world and thought that there might be some interest the other way round.

I don't crave personal recognition for my efforts but rather I enjoy a sort of minor celebrity status - and all because of this little hobby. In that respect I'm a bit like the presenters of our local radio station but they have to work much harder for it. It's great that this website opened doors and let me 'do' inaccessible areas, like the church tower, the firemen's drill and behind the scenes at the Paramount. I might also have a small influence on those who are supposed to represent us in various ways.

How does it fit into the Scheme of things?
When this project started in 2000, there was not much about Penistone on the internet. Since then, other websites have sprung up to fill the holes, add more info and broadcast the local news. You can now find pleasing 360 degree views of Penistone and some very professional pictures on other local websites. There are numerous personal and business websites for Penistone these days. Nobody wants to be left out and most of us help each other with reciprocal links, which also help our status in the search engines. See the Penistone links page.

I have given you a Pictorial view and I know that some photos are poor quality but they serve a valid purpose. In fact, they looked much better when I started, when people had lower resolution monitors and before I had an operation to improve my failing eyesight. I particularly enjoy doing the events list and it gives me scope for a few whimsical remarks, which probably amuse me more than you.

From square one, I have not misrepresented this site as being in any way 'official' or 'definitive'. I leave that up to others. It is a personal website and that has given me freedom to be a bit jokey and unprofessional, in keeping with my own character. I can show rainy days or graffiti or someone at a bus stop without worrying too much about constraints (other than decency) from elsewhere, although I am more careful about copyright and attribution than most.

My politics are very neutral and I am very democratic in my outlook. That's why I poke remarks at our council and others whose natural mode is a state of secrecy. I might well offer opinions that don't necessarily fit in with 'official' thinking. The internet is open to everyone and they can set up websites to do similar things their own way. Why not? The more, the merrier.

Old Show CommitteeView from Hartcliffe Tower1983 Council
CinemaMarket DayUncle Alfred BriggsThe Fence

What's special about Penistone anyway?
In truth, not a great deal compared to some other towns and villages in the area but Penistone goes back a long way and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. There is a Saxon cross in our lovely old church which is more than a thousand years old. We also have a wonderful stone railway viaduct with twenty-eight arches but, most of all, our town has a particular character in its people.

Local government reorganisation in the 1970s put Penistone under the power of Barnsley and they relish this on every occasion. They even call us 'Pennine Barnsley'; a description that I particularly dislike. New street signs in Penistone have Barnsley insignia of a miner and glass-blower but we don't have much affinity with these industries. The Clarel coat of arms is Penistone's coat of arms.

We are in a special position. Our town is not joined on to any other and we have a special character of our own which is threatened by constant expansion from profit-driven developers. Penistone is largely a 'dormitory town' for out-of-town employment and many 'comers-in' do not take any interest in their adopted town. Apart from Friday nights, when young 'uns go all-out to get drunk, you will mostly find local people chatting away in the local pubs. Penistone's essential character is still intact. People around here are often quirky and there are some real characters about. I hope to be remembered as one or the other.

1947 snow2003 Destruction of Livestock MarketBus sgelter Tesco Protest sign - not clickable Firemen

The Author
I have impeccable credentials as a true Penistonian. I was born here, was a pupil of Spring Vale Junior School then Penistone Grammar School. I also survived having the late George Punt as my form teacher. After a spell in the darkest dumps of Moss Side and Whalley Range in Manchester, I returned home and have lived here ever since. My father and grandfather's families were from the nearby village of Thurlstone and go back a long way. I hear you thinking "Now there's a man without ambition". You might be right.

Supporters and Visitors
All who I have asked to help have been very supportive of this website and I think that they go along with its purposes. Most of all if nobody took an interest, there would be no point in this website so it is you who makes it worthwhile. I do have a lot of hits from people all around the world. My Thanks to you all. Now go and do something useful.


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