George Bradshaw is best know for publishing railway timetables, but he also published a number of guides to the places the railway lines passed through. While there were a number of versions of these guides, as I mentioned above, this particular book collects together the four volumes and reflects the railway as it was in 1863. Given that both the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and the Yorkshire and Lancachire Railway had both reached Penistone by 1863, the first thing I looked for was an entry for Penistone.
I eventually found Penistone on page 52 of part 4 and it would appear that Bradshaw (or more likely someone working for his company, as he died in 1853) didn't really think much of the area as the full entry reads:
This is a small market town, situated on the banks of the Don, in the midst of a wild and dreary district. It contains several large cotton and woollen factories, and a free Grammar School.Today Penistone is a still an active market town set in wonderful countryside that I challenge anyone to call dreary, even when the weather is miserable!
We'll have to see what Michael Portillo thinks of Penistone when series 5 of Great British Railway Journeys airs on TV. Although the list of journeys hasn't yet been announced my next door neighbour saw him with a TV crew a few stations up the line earlier in the summer.