Village changes

A guide to Barlow Village in Derbyshire

between

Chesterfield and Sheffield
Lat.53.16N   Long.1.29W  Elevation 137m (450 ft.)

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Changes in local trade

During the last 40 years the character of the village has changed out of all recognition. Gone are many of the old timers who would not have looked out of place in an episode of “Last of the summer wine.” The “Weather men” who used to congregate at the seat just above Crowhole would have been a match for Compo, Foggy and Clegg any day. Why were they known as the Weather men?  They seemed to be quite impervious to inclement conditions as they, and their dogs, held their daily meetings regardless of what the elements could throw at them.

An influx of townies, many of whom commute to Sheffield or further afield has completely altered the social make-up of the village. Increased car travel and supermarkets in Sheffield and Chesterfield have had a devastating impact on local trade. In 2008 not a single general store remained in the village and even the post office and newsagents had closed down.   How different from a century and a half ago. In the 19th century Barlow could boast an impressive variety of shops and trades.

According to the 1852 edition of “White’s Gazetteer and General Directory of Sheffield and 20 miles around”, Barlow is listed as having four shopkeepers, three tailors, three shoemakers, two basket makers and even the Bole Hill boarding school run by a Mr. Edward Straw. 

 By 1857, villagers could post a letter at Owen Featherstone’s farm.   Mary Simpson, who had been running a shop in the village for some years took over postal duties around 1868. Letters arrived from Chesterfield at 9.0am and were collected at 5.30pm.

Nowadays, the nearest post offices and general stores of any size are at Newbold in the Chesterfield direction or, going the opposite way, at Bradway or Totley Rise in Sheffield.  The Hare & Hounds operates a limited post office on two days a week.

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