Spitfire swoops on Barnsley town hall to launch museum’s latest exhibition

In the dark wartime days of the early 1940s, it wasn’t unknown for fighting machines of the era to appear in front of Barnsley town hall as the authorities attempted to rally public spirits.

By Paul Whitehouse
Monday, 14th October 2019, 2:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 3:40 pm
Crowd pleaser: The Town Hall Spitfire had an enthusiastic audience
Crowd pleaser: The Town Hall Spitfire had an enthusiastic audience

More than threequarters of a century later, an example of maybe the world’s most famous fighting machine of them all made a similar appearance – albeit for less desperate purposes.

Barnsley Council’s award winning Experience Barnsley museum in the town hall has launched a new exhibition to tell the story of the town’s role in World War Two and the impact of the conflict on its population.

To drum up extra publicity for the event the tracked down a Spitfire – the aircraft credited with helping to win the Battle of Britain – which was parked up in front of the town hall steps for the opening day of the exhibition, which runs until late March next year.

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Imposing: A Spitfire outside Barnsley Town Hall

Experience Barnsley has proved highly successful since it was created and has gone on to win awards and generate widespread public interest, with recent exhibitions including a commemoration of the end of World War One and a look at the history of Barnsley Cannister Company, a major force in the industry during its heyday and affectionately known as ‘the tin ‘oyle’.

The Spitfire succeeded in drawing in the crowds, though the reaction of wedding parties which found the iconic fighter sharing their limelight remains unknown.