Weekend festival traces history of workers’ struggles

John Hugh Burland whose Annals of Barnsley a five volume handwritten history of Barnsleyhas been revealed as Barnsley's greatest treasure.
John Hugh Burland whose Annals of Barnsley a five volume handwritten history of Barnsleyhas been revealed as Barnsley's greatest treasure.
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Barnsley Festival of Labour History, Barnsley Civic.

Barnsley Trades Council has lined up five history professors to take part in a weekend of events on the town’s working-class history.

Professor Malcolm Chase of the University of Leeds will talk on the Yorkshire Rising of 1820, focusing on the Grange Moor Rising involving men from Barnsley who planned to march on Parliament.

Last year, John Hugh Burland’s books The Annals of Barnsley were voted Barnsley’s greatest treasure. Excerpts focusing on the Chartist movement in Barnsley in 1839-41 period, which he participated in, will be read by some of his descendants living locally. The readings will be interspersed with 19th-century industrial songs performed by Barnsley folk singer Dave Burland, his descendant. The archives department in Barnsley Town Hall will open specially on Saturday so visitors can see their manuscript and other artefacts.

Ken Loach’s two-part 1977 TV play The Price of Coal will be screened on Saturday night. The first part tells of a pit preparing for a Royal visit, the second of a disaster at the pit. It was scripted by Barnsley author Barry Hines, who died this year. Ken Loach has been invited to speak.

Other speakers include Louise Raw, author of a book on the 1888 Matchwomen’s Strike, and leading Suffragette historian Jill Liddington.

The festival opens on Friday night with US protest singer David Rovics at the Old No. 7 on Market Hill.

Tickets: call 07594 857960 or go to Barnsley Civic