National Lottery grant set to transform the grounds of Cannon Hall

9 January 2017

The grounds of Barnsley’s Cannon Hall will be restored to their former Georgian glory thanks to a grant of almost £3m.  

The 70 acres of park and gardens surrounding the historic hall in Cawthorne will be transformed using £2,925,200 secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.

The money will be used to restore and repair original features, some of which have never been seen by the public, with the aim of placing the visitor attraction firmly on the tourist map.

An intact ice house built in the 1700s will be revealed and a two-acre area of woodland behind the walled garden will be cleared and opened up for educational tours and activities.

The lakes of the park will be dredged and restored, improving their appearance and water quality and supporting biodiversity. Once completed, visitors will be able hire rowing boats and fishing equipment, emulating popular Georgian pastimes.

New paths will be created around the site, allowing wheelchair access to areas such as the lakeside, and an adventure trail will run through the wooded area from the deer shelter to the museum.

The gardener’s cottage will be restored to create a base for volunteer activities and a ‘midden’, an early example of an outside toilet, will also be revealed.

Work will begin in early 2017, with completion scheduled for Early 2020

Two years of planning, research and consultation went into the funding application, called ‘Restoring the Glory’, and over 100 people were involved.  

Volunteer group The Friends of Cannon Hall have raised over £40,000 by holding major events, fayres and activities at the hall for match funding. The total partnership funding is £740,567.

Richard Emerson, chairman of The Friends of Cannon Hall, said: "The grant is a major boost for a historic recreational site and is absolutely fantastic news for the Barnsley community and beyond. This incredible result follows years of long hours and detailed preparation and is vitally important, enabling much needed restoration and improvement of the park and gardens. Our local heritage is of great importance to us all, it defines who we are and the character and identity of our communities and must be protected.”

Cannon Hall was owned by the Spencer-Stanhope family for 300 years and its grounds were designed in the 18th century by renowned Georgian landscape architect Richard Woods. The hall opened as a museum in 1957.

Popular visitor attractions in the grounds include the deer shed, recently licenced for weddings, and the Cannon Hall pear tree collection, which is housed within the historic walled garden and contains over 50 varieties - making it one of the largest in the north of England.

Fairyland, part of the Pleasure Gardens, was built in the 1870s and features arches and pillars built from stone taken from the ruins of local churches. It is said to be inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Roddam Spencer-Stanhope.

Visitors can also discover the remains of the Pinery, a greenhouse built in the 1700s to grow pineapples and exotic fruit. Work to attempt to grow pineapples again will begin in 2017.

The walled gardens are also home to a 200-year-old Muscat grapevine, which is a descendent of today’s Australian fine wines.

Cannon Hall and its grade two listed grounds are part of the Barnsley Museums portfolio, owned and operated by Barnsley Council. The parks and gardens are free to visit and are open 365 days a year.

Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place at Barnsley Council, said: “The HLF funding is the result of many hours of hard work by a wide range of people, including community volunteers, and we are all delighted with the result. We hope this investment will lead to Cannon Hall and its park and gardens becoming one of Yorkshire’s top cultural visitor attractions.”

The funding forms part of the Parks for People programme, a joint initiative between the Big Lottery Fund and the HLF. The programme awards grants of between £100,000 and £5 million to revitalise historic parks and cemeteries.

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of HLF, said on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “Public parks play a vital role in our health and well-being. With this investment from National Lottery players, there is real opportunity for the rejuvenated Cannon Hall grounds to deliver huge benefits to the whole community.”

The Friends of Cannon Hall are calling for more volunteers to help with the improvements and restorations. To find out about the volunteering opportunities available, email or call 01226 790270.


Notes to editor

Attached images show Richard Emerson and the grounds of Cannon Hall. Please credit Kyte Photography for image of the grounds.  

A photo opportunity with Richard Emerson, Alison Cooper (Curator at Barnsley Museums) and Cllr Roy Miller (Cabinet Spokesperson for Place at Barnsley Council) will take place at 11am on Monday 9th January at Cannon Hall. Please contact for further details.

Cannon Hall was home to the Spencer-Stanhope family, who made their fortunes in the local iron industry, for 300 years. The grounds were landscaped in the mid-1700s and the estate was sold to Barnsley Council in 1951. The hall was opened as a museum in 1957.

Cannon Hall and its grounds are now part of the Barnsley Museums portfolio, owned and operated by Barnsley Council. The other museums are the Cooper Gallery, Worsbrough Mill, Elsecar Heritage Centre and Experience Barnsley.

Cannon Hall and its grounds are adjacent to the privately-owned Cannon Hall Farm, but are not connected.   

For more information on Cannon Hall, contact Devinia Skirrow on 01226 787 944 or at  

Additional media contact: Mary Ferguson on 01226 766900 or at

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For more information, please visit 

About Parks for People
The Parks for People programme uses National Lottery funds to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks and cemeteries. In England the two National Lottery funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks of £150m.

Parks for People applications are assessed in two rounds.  A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

Find out more about how to apply at  


About the Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.

It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. @biglotteryfund #BigLottery


About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

State of the UK Parks -  

In September 2016, HLF published State of UK Public Parks 2016, a follow-up to its 2014 report.

This second report revealed there is a growing deficit between the rising use of parks and the declining resources that are available to manage them. Without urgent action the continuing downward trend in the condition of many of our most treasured parks and green spaces is set to continue. 

Whilst new ways of working and generating income are showing potential, more support, shared learning and collaboration is needed to support those that manage public parks. Therefore, this research calls for collaborative action to deliver new ways of funding and managing public parks to avert a crisis.

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