Athletics Meetings were held in the August Bank Holiday starting in 1867 and were held under the auspices of the then Barnsley Cricket Club.
In the latter part of the 19th century the Annual "Feast Sports" held at Shaw Lane were the towns major event.
This report from the Barnsley Chronicle gives a flavour of the event.
"The chief attraction in Barnsley on Monday in connection with the feast was the annual athletic festival promoted by the Barnsley Cricket and Athletic Club, on the Shaw Lane Ground. For once in a while the weather was fine, if somewhat dull and the attendence was the best seen for some time, there being about 4000 pople present. The total prize money amounted to £70. Cycle Events, it had wisely decided to discard, owing to the condition of the track, but a variety of other competitions were introduced, such as cricket ball throwing, football kicking, a dribbling race and pony and donkey races.
These contests aroused considerable interest, though the competition was not as strong as might be expected. Altogether there were about 200 entries and flat racing provided some really excellent sport and numerous tight finishes. This was particularly the case in the 220 yards and the quarter mile handicap."
School Sports Days were very popular in the 1950s, 1960's and 1970s. These events were promoted by the Barnsley and District School Sports Association. In 1951 for instance, 2000 entries were received from 50 schools. The picture above is taken from the meeting held in July 1971, where over 1000 junior school children competed in many events lasting the whole day. Events were:- Cricket Ball Throwing, Obstacle Race (Boys only) Egg & Spoon, Skipping. (Girls Only) Sprints and the Relay Race were held seperately for girls and boys and mixed events such as the Potato race and Three Legged race completed the day.
By our estimation over 40.000 people who still live in Barnsley, must have competed in these events at some time in their lives.