The Victorian park at the end of my street.
Locke Park was named after 19th Century railway engineer and lifelong friend of Robert Stephenson, Joseph Locke. The park was given to the town of Barnsley by Joseph’s widow Phoebe in 1861 and is home to some of my earliest memories.
It used to snow a lot more when I was little. Whenever it snowed, I was in Locke Park until sunset. My brothers and sisters would take me, our sledges and my mum’s best aluminum trays up to the park. Not content with a normal sledge, my brother-in-law once built himself a “snow bike”…a bicycle with a plank of wood instead of wheels. It lasted two runs and ended in a painful crash.
I remember being told at school that the reason Barnsley received very little bomb damage during World War II was because of the location of two of it’s landmarks. Apparently, Locke Park Tower and the tower of the Town Hall building were used by enemy bombers as way markers to find and bomb Sheffield, Barnsley’s bigger industrial neighbor.
Go there in winter, in the dead of night. There are only a few old street lamps, a blanket of unspoiled snow and an eerie mist that settles around the base of the trees. All of a sudden you’re in Sleepy Hollow…
There’s an old Victorian bandstand towards the back of the park. Until this day, I’ve never seen one musician even set foot in it.