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History - of the Society...

The Barnsley Schwäbisch Gmünd Society was founded on 7th April 1978 following a visit by Councillor Williams and twenty six of his council and hospital colleagues. He became the founder chairman and Wilf Kitson the first Secretary, followed by Chris Simmons. The first Treasurer was Coun.Ted Galvin. Although little detail of the actual gathering itself is known other notables present at this inaugural meeting included hospital secretary Mr Nolan, heart specialist Gerald Sandler, Barnsley Council Housing Manager Phillip Mollard, Councillor Ben Fellows and retired hospital secretary John Nunn.

An early problem for the society was the lack of a similar body in Schwäbisch Gmünd to liaise with so they presented a chairman's gavel and block to their hosts on their next visit. The point was very well taken and soon the 'Verein Städtepartnerschaft' came into existence. Since then the two groups have liased closely, planning visits from Barnsley to Schwäbisch Gmünd every two years with reciprocal visits in between.

Despite the passing of time officials of the Barnsley Schwäbisch Gmünd Society changed little, Arthur Williams was Chairman up until becoming President when long standing Vice Chairman Stan Spencer took over. Chris Simmons was followed as secretary by Mrs Phyllis Galvin, Mrs Eileen Truelove and Mrs Pauline Rowland. The position of Treasurer was held for many years by Mrs June Maw.

In 1996, many people both in Barnsley and in Schwäbisch Gmünd celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the twinning of the two towns and a Silver Jubilee booklet was designed to commemorate the special friendship.

The Late Arthur Williams. M.R.S.H. Founder & Honorary President.




"I am proud of the part I have played and urge Barnsley people to play their part in making our twinning even stronger in the years to come."


- The Late Arthur Williams. M.R.S.H. Founder & Honorary President.

Over the years, great personal friendships have been forged and many private visits in addition to those organised by the societies also take place, as one member put it "they are like family now."

Ties have strengthened in various ways, there has been a marriage between residents of the two towns, Barnsley Society members have taken part in Schwäbisch Gmünd's 'Lantern Festival' and their members have taken part in 'Barnsley Mayors Parade'.

A measure of the friendship was seen in December 1984, when £15,000 worth of presents were distributed in Barnsley following a miner's strike appeal by the Städtepartnerschaft in their local newspaper.

Exchanges between the citizens of Barnsley and Schwäbisch Gmünd have blossomed, Secondary schools are twinned and they exchange students every year. Sports and cultural groups have established long standing friendships and join in each others events, artists have exhibited their work in their twin town.
Groups have excited the public with performances in the town centre and during festivals and brass bands have also played in surrounding villages, business regularly exchange ideas, the list is endless. A special mention to Barnsley's Frumptarn Guggen Band who travel, along with many of their fans, to take part in the International Guggen Music Festival held every year in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

kitson two

March 2019 saw the opening, by special invitation, of Barnsley portrait artist Richard Kitson's first international solo exhibition in the very prestigious Labor im Chor gallery within the Museum and Galerie im Prediger. The six week long exhibition ran together with workshops by Richard with students from the art school in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

Amongst the many gifts which have made the journey in reverse are a painting of the Barnsley Town Hall, Black Pudding, Pork Pies and of course a 'small' sample of John Smiths Beer!

Barnsley's Acorn Brewery has begun exporting beer for British flavoured events organised by the Association for Town Twinning in Gmünd. The first "British Ale Tasting" event was clearly a big success as all 280 bottles from the first of several deliveries of Barnsley's Acorn beer were very quickly consumed by 'fans of the British pub' culture there.

Chairman Prof.Dr.Reinhard Kuhnert and his wife Adelheid visiting Schwäbisch Gmünd Way, Barnsley.



Former Städtepartnerschaft Chairman Prof.Dr.Reinhard Kuhnert and his wife Adelheid take time to visit Schwäbisch Gmünd Way during the organised visit of 44 Gmünder to Barnsley in May 2009.



Barnsley has a street named 'Schwäbisch Gmünd Way,' whilst Schwäbisch Gmünd boasts a traditional red English telephone kiosk (which was until recently fully functional), erected in Gmünd, specially organised and arranged by the members of the Barnsley Society. It has now been fully refurbished and given a new lease of life as an international library containing books for all ages donated by people from all of their twin towns for people to borrow and read. In May 2019, during a visit Oberbürgermeister Richard Arnold officially opened the library and the first books donated by BSGTTS members were added.

phone box grp

It is fitting that the library has been re-installed next to the Barnsley Garden in Schwäbisch Gmünd as it is quite remarkable how very popular our garden has become with the public and our hope is that situated in front, many more people including children will be encouraged to make use of the library, spend a short time, maybe making regular visits, sitting in the Barnsley garden to enjoy a nice experience, reading and learning through the literature from all the twin towns contained in this multi-lingual library. Books from their other twin towns, Antibes (France), Székesfehérvár (Hungary), Bethlehem (USA) and Faenza (Italy) will be added.

All this has been made possible because of the twin town agreement signed by the councils and the active work of both twinning Societies.

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