Monument to Barnsley's glass industry completed after 18 months

Tribute: Coun Margaret Sheard worked for 18 months on this monument to Barnsley's glass industry
Tribute: Coun Margaret Sheard worked for 18 months on this monument to Barnsley's glass industry
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An eighteen month project to create a striking monument which recognisesBarnsley’s overlooked glassmaking industry has been completed by a councillor.

While Barnsley became synonymous with coal mining from the era of the Industrial Revolution, it has also a centuries old connection with the glass industry, though it is less well documented.

One of the town’s biggest names in glassmaking, Beatson Clark, is based near the Monk Bretton district which Coun Margaret Sheard represents and she has worked for 18 months to get a new monument created on a roundabout at the centre of the community.

It is a joint enterprise, created using the skills of an artist, engineer and groundsman and was created with an image of a glass blower in silhouette, along with five ‘chimneys’ in glass, designed to be reminiscent of those which were features of glassmaking plants in the district.

At night it is internally illuminated to provide a distinctive centrepiece in the village.

The project was financed with money from the legacy of Stanley Race, a lifelong worker at Redfearns, another of the town’s big glass companies, who before his death expressed a wish that the trade and its role in Barnsley should be remembered.

Coun Sheard was approached by his daughter, Elizabeth Mitchell, with an offer of money from his legacy to finance the idea.

That was 18 months ago and she put together the team of experts, who each used their skills to design and then create the sculpture, with support from Barnsley Council.

With the glass element of the structure standing at just less than nine feet tall, the structure scraped in beneath the threshold where planning permission would have been required, simplifying the process.

Coun Sheard said: “I have never done anything like this before. I got an artist to design different sculptures and we came up with this, five chimneys.

“We worked on it for 18 months and this is the result. We are going to get an information board to go at the roadside and a bench will also be made to go there.

“I feel proud of doing this, it was a challenge and something I have never attempted before,” she said.