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Designation date: 1974 Elsecar Conservation Area covers the historic core of Elsecar village, six miles south-east of Barnsley. It was developed from the 1790s onwards as the model industrial village by the Earls Fitzwilliam of nearby Wentworth Woodhouse. It was the precursor to model villages like Saltaire and was a centre for innovation throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was intended as a showpiece for the Fitzwilliam family and royals and aristocrats were regular visitors. The local community are at the heart of the Elsecar conservation area. One thing that makes Elsecar distinctive is the depth of pride that local residents have in the village, and the wealth of history – including memories, stories, photographs and objects – that is still held within the local community. Local people are proud of this history and keen to share it. Over recent years hundreds of local people have come together to support regular clear-up days, litter picks and other activities. There are a number of active friends’ groups and community partnerships who work hard to support the Conservation Area in all sorts of ways, including through community events. A great example of this is Elsecar-by-the-Sea, a summer festival that brings together multiple local partners (including Barnsley Museums, the Forge Community Partnership and the Friends of Elsecar Park) inspired by a fascinating period in Elsecar’s history as a popular summer holiday destination for the residents of local industrial towns – including Sheffield and Barnsley – who flocked to swim in Elsecar Reservoir in the early 20th century. Another recent example was the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire celebrations, when the local community came together to decorate the village, creating masses of heritage-inspired bunting and decorations based on historic photos of a royal visit to Elsecar by King George V in 1911. Over 3000 local people turned out to welcome the race and local pubs and other businesses worked together to host a day-long celebration in the heart of the Conservation Area. This process is ongoing, and exciting plans are being developed by Barnsley Museums and other partners to ensure that the local community are able to continue taking an active role in celebrating and preserving this unique and much-loved Conservation Area for years to come.
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