Penistone Street Views

Ward Street
The first picture is of 'Old Ward Street', which used to have a tennis court and poplar trees on the bend. Next shot is looking half-way up Ward Street. The red bricked houses on the left were previously council-owned until the 'Right-to-buy' was introduced in the 1980s. The newer houses on the right are social housing, replacing the earlier 'Airey' prefabricated houses, which were council houses. You can read up on the post-war housing at the University of West England (Section 5). In those days, nearly everyone rented their homes. These homes were not called 'Social housing' until much later. Just off Ward Street is is mostly old people's bungalows on Dransfield Avenue, leading to Victoria Street.

The third picture is of the nearby Weaver's Court, which was built after 'Airey' houses on Wilson Avenue were demolished. Weavers Court is classed as being on Unwin Street now. It is a quiet area with sheltered housing, retirement housing and supported housing for older people, with a central area for social activities. The fourth picture is the lower part of Ward Street where it joins Green Road. Ward Street used to be a busy rat-run for cars going to and from David Brown's foundry just to the left, around the corner on Green Road. New houses arrived next to Rose Hill but the fourth picture is from 2006, not long before they were built.

Green Road
Bottom left is Green Road, opposite the old David Browns steelworks entrance and not far from Southgate and Westgate. Cubley Brook goes under Green Road near the junction with Ward Street on its way to the River Don at Spring Vale and this area has been prone to flooding in heavy rain. A particularly bad flood in the sixties saw the water rise half-way up the raised pathway on the left of the picture, to about where the roof of the parked car is. The 2007 floods did not rise quite as far.

Old Ward StreetWard StreetWeaver's CourtThe last patch of grass
Green RoadGreen RoadSaunderson GardensSaunderson Gardens

The next view looks in the other direction, towards Waddie's Shop (now closed) with the long red-brick wall of David Brown's, before it was demolished and more new houses built. The road climbing up to the right used to have an old, red-bricked chip shop until it was demolished perhaps in 2006, with the road continuing to Castle Dam and Roughbirchworth. Older locals will remember 'Winnie's Chip Shop' after the local character, Winnie Adams. She would bite a piece off a chip to test the cooking, then the other part went back in the pan. People avoided eating half chips. After Winnie retired, it was taken over by two men. One was Geof Beard and the chip shop became nicknamed 'Chippie Geof's'.

The last two pictures are Barratt Homes which were built in 2007 on the site of the old Hitech X-Ray machine, which had been housed in a huge, square concrete building to protect people from the powerful X-Rays. It was used to detect flaws in metal castings. With new houses going up, this area is now called Saunderson Gardens (more like Kensington Gardens). An odd name, given that they do not appear to have any gardens. Saunderson was a famous, blind mathematician born in Thurlstone in 1682.

Towards Spring Vale
But first a little note about the name. It is only in recent times that the descriptive name of 'Spring Vale' has merged into one word as 'Springvale' (and is perhaps said more quickly). I think it has lost some charm in the process, like one of those long German compound words. Looking at most local area maps (including current on-line BMBC maps) and it is still shown as two words. Anyway, it looks better to my untrained eye. I always suspected that the change came about from a misspelling at the council depot. The old, dilapidated sign read something like 'Spring Vale Council Depot' but was most likely replaced when 'Barnsley took over' in the 1970s. As I usually gain some pleasure from blaming Barnsley for most of our woes, they can have this one too. After all, they make all of the signs these days, including that for new Spring Vale School. I won't give in on this one. That's better!

Carrying on along Green Road, past Waddies' shop and you come upon another railway bridge, which now has traffic lights (but not in this picture). Junior School children used to walk under the bridge to Spring Vale School. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a wonderful, sulphurous smell of steam engines and an actual working gas lamp on the bridge's inner wall, with a ticking clockwork gas timer. It was probably the last gas lamp left in Penistone and the only one I ever saw in active service. The Victoria Reign 'VR' post box on Waddies' shop is shown here. The shop closed in the 'naughties'.

Green Rd. Bridge VR Post Box, Green Rd. Birdcage Walk
Green Acres WMC, Springvale

Top-right picture is the view down Green Road to Sheffield Road junction from just after the bridge. This row of houses was nicknamed 'Birdcage Walk' and known to every local person by that name. Cage-like railings used to adorn each house's entrance but most have been removed now. From the same viewpoint but looking left is a large, new housing estate (bottom-left) with the sort of name beloved by developers, 'Green Acres'. Plans for these 47 houses on the old Cammel-Laird site were passed by Barnsley MB Council in 1999, with the houses being built soon after.

Spring Vale WMC
Just beyond that is the last, rather sad picture from 2004. This was the Penistone & District Working Men's Club. An original WMC on the same site had been a large green building, opened Saturday, 17th January 1925. There might be an anomaly in the story here, as it goes that Spring vale WMC had re-employed a building which had been used as a cinema by Woodhead tunnel workmen in the 1950s, which doesn't quite fit with the 1925 date. The old club was painted green but had to be demolished around 1958 as it had become very rotten.

The replacement, purpose-built club was spacious and had a movable divider down the middle, with a dance hall and stage on the left and games room on the right with much more seating. It was a thriving and popular institution in the area, with comfortable seating, regular entertainment and ample car parking. Its dance nights were legendary in the area and it had popular 'turn' nights. Towards the end, it perked up with such as Line Dancing, which went through a popular phase, and even aerobics classes. The Penistone WMC club trips to the seaside were legendary in the area and could could fill eight railway coaches on chartered seaside trips. The train was almost too long for Penistone Station. Children were always given free pop and crisps for the trips.

The follow-on for Club Trips was later provided by Penistone Royal British legion (and still continues). Unfortunately, whether through mismanagement (as is often suggested) or just through the tighter drink-driving laws, the club went into decline. It closed some time in the 1990s and was boarded up, abandoned and a depressing sight until it was demolished in 2005. Part of the new junior school was then built on the site. See my Spring Vale reminiscences page.

Green Road Development
The wallWith the relentless expansion of house-building in Penistone, some old familiar views have gone forever. One of these was David Brown's red-brick wall that ran along much of Green Road. A hole appeared in 2007 and it was demolished in 2009, with the factory building behind revealed to the world. New houses sprang up, such as the 'Kensington Gardens' area and red-bricked houses opposite Waddies' shop.

Ex-pats and older Penistonians will be unsettled at how the landscape changed. The old wall was a special feature of Green Road that a good many Spring Vale alumni will remember, as it stood for many decades.

The next view is the 2007 hole in the wall in all its glory, from a viewpoint not far from Chippie Geof's old red-brick chip shop. Incidentally, that's another change. The old chip shop has gone and a house has taken in its place.

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