Former pit village takes on big names in conservation area award challenge

Historic: The former miners' lodging house in the Elescar Conservation Area
Historic: The former miners' lodging house in the Elescar Conservation Area
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A former Barnsley pit village may not be an obvious rival to the likes of Cambridge or Richmond when it comes to topping the list of the nation’s favorite conservation areas.

But taking that accolade is now within the grasp of Elsecar, a village which grew as a result of the coal mining industry, with its own pits and the engineering infrastructure to support the colliery empire of the Fitzwilliam dynasty, at nearby Wentworth Woodhouse, in the pre-nationalisation era.

The village’s historic heritage as been long recognised and it was designated a conservation area in 1974 but more recently its real significance in the Industrial Revolution has become better understood and it has also become a Heritage Action Zone, meaning more work is being done to investigate and understand its past.

Now it has been selected as one of 18 conservation areas shortlisted from 250 nominations to be recognised as the nation’s favorite, in an award set up by the charity Civic Voice, relying on public votes to dictate the outcome.

Barnsley Council spokesman Matt Gladstone said: “We're delighted that Elsecar has been shortlisted as one of England’s favourite conservation areas. We are very proud of our heritage and our local communities which make this area so unique.  I urge the residents of Barnsley and South Yorkshire to vote and help give Elsecar the national recognition it deserves.”

People can vote for their favourite Conservation Area by visiting BigConservationConversation.com/vote-for-ca. Voting closes on16 October, with the winner announced on October 19.