Barnsley Building Society

Barnsley Building Society was established in January 1853 by a group of prominent townsfolk who, following the example of many other towns and cities at the time, decided to form their own building society.

Yorkshire Building Society trading
as Barnsley Building Society
TypeBuilding Society (Mutual)
Financial services
DefunctJuly 2016
FateClosed and rebranded under Yorkshire Building Society
HeadquartersBarnsley, England, UK
Key people
Edwin Baggott (Regional manager, BBS branches)
ProductsSavings, Mortgages, Investments,
Loans, Credit Cards, Insurance
£157 million GBP (December 2012)
Total assets£33.5 billion GBP (December 2012)
ParentYorkshire Building Society

The society became part of the Yorkshire Building Society in 2008, and has since continued as a trading division. In 2016, the Yorkshire announced it would replace the Barnsley Building Society brand with its own; closing six branches and rebranding the remainder under its own brand.


The Barnsley Permanent Benefit Building Society was formed in January 1853 by "a few prominent townsmen". For the first three years it operated from a room in public buildings before moving to an office provided by James Taylor, a local druggist and Manager of the Society from 1854 to 1875. After ten years, in 1866, the Society moved to an office above a grocer's shop but it was not until 1890 that the Barnsley Permanent moved into its own purpose built premises at the corner of Regent Street and Royal Street in the town centre. During this period many rival terminating societies emerged as were the norm at the time, but due to its permanent nature the society began to dominate the local market for saving and mortgages. By the 1890s the society had opened branches at both Clayton West and Mexborough and saving balances started to grow more quickly.[1] The society started to operate in several other locations around the area including temporary branches in church halls and schools in order to make saving more available for the working classes.

The society opened its head office at Permanent Building on the corner of Regent Street and Church Street, Barnsley, in 1938. The newly built head office was opened by Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood who at the time was president of the Yorkshire county association of building societies. By the 1950s the society's assets were strong and 15 branches existed, spreading from Blackpool in Lancashire to Dartford in Kent.[1]

During the 1970s the society rejected opportunities for possible mergers with the South Yorkshire BS and the Elsecar, Hoyland and Wentworth Saving society who were smaller local societies that were looking for merger partners.

During the late 1970s, increased competition from other expanding societies such as the Halifax and the Bradford and Bingley meant that the Barnsley lost ground, and by one stage in the 1980s, the society had contracted to a single Barnsley office and maintained part-time agencies at Wombwell and Mexborough due to increased competition and regulation.

Barnsley Building Society, Wakefield.

After an influence of more modern thinking and helped by the 1986 act which lifted many hurdles it faced with competing with retail banks, it soon recovered and branches were re-opened at Wombwell and Mexborough. Offices at Royston and Hemsworth soon followed but these were short lived and closed in 1989. During the early 1990s the society expanded once again and new branches were opened in Wakefield, Rotherham and Chesterfield. In 2001 the society's Wombwell and Mexborough offices were re-located to better premises and the Wombwell branch was refurbished shortly afterwards in 2006, during which period the society operated from a temporary location in Wombwell council offices. During the mid-1990s the society opened a second Barnsley office in the town's Alhambra Centre. Also during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, the society carried out a rapid agency expansion programme and agencies were opened throughout Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire as well as more local sites such as Wath, Royston and Penistone, but due to increased costs and declining retail funding these agencies were closed in early 2006. In 2004 it was decided to merge the Church street and Alhambra branches and the society opened a new flagship branch on Cheapside, a prime location within Barnsley town centre.

Merger with the Yorkshire Building SocietyEdit

In October 2008, the society announced that it expected to lose up to £10 million which it had deposited with Icelandic banks. In order to mitigate the situation, the Yorkshire Building Society agreed to take it over by the end of the year. The merger completed on 31 December 2008, at which point Barnsley Building Society became a trading name of Yorkshire Building Society. The Yorkshire expressed a desire to keep the Barnsley brand alive and run its eight branches as a separate trading brand; this being welcomed by many former Barnsley members and Barnsley staff. The merger was however somewhat controversial as several members of the FSA believed the merger was unnecessary as the Barnsley had substantial reserves to cover the losses. The board of the Barnsley however believed that in the uncertain times caused by the credit crunch the Barnsley's members would be better served by merging with the Yorkshire building Society. The Barnsley, despite its expected losses, was still a valuable commodity and it was rumoured several other societies were interested due to the Barnsley's strong mortgage book and funding streams which were in place without excessive lending from the money markets.[2]

At the time of the merger, the society had 8 branches located at Barnsley, Cudworth, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Mexborough, Rotherham, Wakefield, and Wombwell as well as its Regent Street Head office. It was the 34th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £376 million as at 31 December 2007[3] and was a member of the Building Societies Association.

In January 2016, it was announced that the Barnsley brand will be phased out by July. Six branches would be closed, with those that remain open being rebranded under the Yorkshire brand.[4]


  1. ^ a b Heald and Carrington, Barnsley Permanent Building Society 1853-1953, 1953, Wombwell
  2. ^ "Barnsley Building Society rescued". BBC News. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  3. ^ Building Societies Association – Asset List (PDF File) Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Yorkshire Building Society announces branch closures and rebrand". BBC News. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.

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