As I was a walking through Barnsley one day,
Down to the townend I chanced for to stray,
Well me throat it was dry but no pub could be found,
For the Wheatsheaf has lately been razed to the ground.
Farewell to the Wheatsheaf and all of her crew,
To the mild men and the bitter men and the lager louts too,
Well we can't buy a pint now, nor a single or a double,
For the bulldozers came and reduced it to rubble.
Now the welcome was warm and the beer it was cool,
There were lads throwing arrows or playing at pool,
There were meat pies and pasties and bright green mushy peas,
Chip butties and sarnies all wash down with ease.
There were dancers and singers in there used to meet,
Now some they had longswords and some two left feet;
Some sang unaccompanied and some played guitar,
While the rest came to listen or prop up the bar.
Now the last pub in Barnsley to sell Tetley’s Ale
Was the victim of a council compulsory sale,
Now the Wheatsheaf has gone to make way for a road,
For cars buses and lorries with an extra wide load.
So here's to the landlord and his fine Tetley brew,
To the men with the longswords and the Barnsley lads too,
And when we've departed and we're all feeling dry,
We will all meet in the Wheatsheaf way up in the sky.
So come all you town planners and list what I say,
Remember the drinker has not had his day,
If you're wanting a new road to pass through your town,
Don't mess with the skyline and knock the pubs down.
This is a contemporary song about Yorkshire.
The Wheatsheaf Hotel stood for very many years as a well known Barnsley icon at the townend area of Barnsley at the corner of Racecommon Road and Dodworth Road. Being some quarter of a mile from the next pub going into town it was considered more of a “locals” pub. The pub was kept by Harry and Emma Peck -- known as “Emmie”-- for some twenty five years until 1988 and had been used for at least two different periods as a folkies pub. The folk club latterly met on Monday nights and Barnsley Longsword team on Tuesday nights in the upstairs function room.
The pub was demolished in the early 1990s, Emmie having retired just before its demise. The venue was also used as a venue for some of the late 1980s and 1990s folk festivals.
Roy Hardacre, a keen singer and excellent melodeon player from Harrogate, wrote this song and it is often sung with affection when he comes to present day folk activities in Barnsley.
Emmie's story can also be found on a BBC website as WW2 reminiscences.