Birdwell, South Yorkshire

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Birdwell Obelisk
The Birdwell Obelisk, built in 1775
Birdwell is located in South Yorkshire
 Birdwell shown within South Yorkshire
Metropolitan borough Barnsley
Metropolitan county South Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Barnsley
Postcode district S70
Dialling code 01226
Police South Yorkshire
Fire South Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Barnsley East
List of places

Coordinates: 53°30′00″N 1°29′00″W / 53.50°N 1.4833°W / 53.50; -1.4833

Birdwell is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England.

Birdwell is located approximately 4.5 miles (7 km) south of Barnsley (measured from Barnsley town centre to the northern edge of Birdwell) and neighbouring villages include Worsbrough, Tankersley (accessible via a footbridge which crosses the M1 motorway), and Hoyland Common.

The A61 (Sheffield Road), passes north-south through the length of Birdwell and at the southern end is Birdwell Roundabout which is the junction between the M1 motorway at Junction 36 and the A61. Birdwell Roundabout also marks the start of the Dearne Valley Parkway - a relatively new dual carriageway / by-pass system which effectively links the M1 at Junction 36 to the A1 at Marr (near Doncaster).

Birdwell runs under the auspices of the Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC).


The origins of the village of Birdwell date back to the time of the English Civil War, around 1642, when the village name is first mentioned.

It is said by some[who?] that its name is derived from the old Anglo Saxon "Brydd-Wella" or "Bird-Well". Legend has it that the servants from the nearby Tankersley Hall found a well of clear water. After watching some large birds drinking from it, decided it must be fit to drink, and started to collect their water from it, naming it, the 'bird-well'. Local folklore says that the village took its name from a nearby well that never dried up and at which a heron was always present. The well has since been buried by the M1 motorway and a bench / sculpture commemorating its presence and the area's history was erected on the site.[citation needed]

Much of the land to the northern end of Birdwell was open cast mined in the years following the Second World War and in some areas the remains of the quarries can still be found. Much of the land was subsequently restored to agriculture, mainly pasture with a little low key arable production and since the 1970s was owned by a local farming company. A small pocket of woodland called Parkinson's Spring survived the mining activity and whilst little is known of its history, the name spring could infer it was coppiced for the production of spring wood. The predominantly ancient woodland of Miller Hill and Wigfield Woods are thought to be remnants of the once extensive woodland of the Wortley Park estate, an area through which the M1 motorway was subsequently built. Hangmanstone Depot was the site of Allan Finlay's diesel engine export company Hartwood Exports, where many thousands of UK buses and other commercial vehicles ended their lives. Most of the engines which now power many Hong Kong Junks were exported from the Birdwell yard.[citation needed]

The first purpose-built mines rescue station, Tankersley Rescue Station, opened in Birdwell in 1902 and still stands today albeit as a beauty salon and private house. The dated rescue station plaque can still be seen on the side of the building.[citation needed]

Birdwell & Hoyland Common railway station, was a railway station on the South Yorkshire Railway's Blackburn Valley line between Westwood and High Royds. The station was intended to serve the villages of Birdwell and Hoyland Common, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire although the original chosen site was moved half a mile nearer towards Barnsley to serve the purposes of the Earl of Wharncliffe who was, at that time, sinking Wharncliffe Silkstone Colliery nearby. This move away made the station less convenient for most of the population.[citation needed]

The station was opened in February 1855, the building having an ornate canopy over its entrance and the buildings containing a private waiting room for the use of the Earl of Wharncliffe. Closure came on 7 December 1953.[1]


  • Birdwell Club is a former working men's club located on Sheffield Road in Birdwell that hosts a variety of entertainment. In 2005 it played host to a highly rated gig by local band the Arctic Monkeys,[2] which was voted 9th best gig of the year by the Observer Music Monthly, notably surpassing Live8.[3]
  • The Take 2 centre at the south end of Birdwell houses the Academy Theatre - a full theatre facility with a varied programme of live entertainment, licensed bar and a Bistro
  • Birdwell Lodge Craft & Antique Centre
  • Worsbrough Mill Museum & Country Park
  • Traveller's Inn
  • Cock Inn public house
  • The Obelisk. Towards the southern end of Birdwell stands a large obelisk which was constructed in 1775 (according to the plaque) to mark the distance (3 miles) to Wentworth Castle (at nearby Stainborough). The obelisk was struck by lightning on 6 June 1906.


Birdwell has a primary school (Birdwell Primary School) and there is also a smaller school located in Worsbrough Village (Worsbrough St Mary's CofE Primary School). This officially closed on 31 December 2007, there is also a private day-nursery called Chatterbox in Birdwell.


The village has had two football teams play in the FA Cup - Birdwell F.C. and Birdwell Primitive Methodists F.C.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "The History of Birdwell". Birdwell, Tankersley & Hoyland Common Community Portal. 
  2. ^ Simpson, Dave (28 July 2005). "Arctic Monkeys, Birdwell Club, Barnsley". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "2005:Gigs of the Year". London: Guardian Unlimited. 18 December 2005. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 

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