Dam Weirs, and Mills



The Floods of 2007 were horrendous. It was a miserable time  no one wants a return to that. I was pretty excited by the news that Sheffield was going to get major funding, but then I started reading the Sheffield Flood consultation, and found a lot of questions arising and no answers to be had. Like the clergyman’s wife in the Simpsons who shouts “What about the Children?” I find myself shouting “What about the heritage?”

I’ve been ploughing through flood reports and strategies and know a lot more now about river ecology, hydro morphology and a whole lot of long words I need the spellchecker for. The conclusion I have reached is that flood defense it is a very complex issue, that the Council hasn’t even tried to explain.

It is no accident that one the oldest artifacts we have is a dugout canoe. How significant Sheffield’s waterways were in those days it is difficult to say as exploration of our early history has been undervalued for centuries and is still so in many quarters.

The Sheaf, Shire Brook and the Meersbrook have been the boundary rivers for centuries if not longer. Sheffield was a border town for a great amount of its history and in Roman times was the northern extent  of the Roman Empire for about 30 years.  In Saxon times the Sheaf  and the Meersbrook became significant as the boundary between Mercia and Northumbria, and latter between Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

With the Norman conquest new technology was introduced and Sheffield’s rivers took on a new significance. The monasteries introduced water mills and new metalworking methods. The first known wheels date from the 12th century. In the 16th century the development of water powered bellows created huge changes in the production of iron and steel. Evidence of this can be found in the wills of the Norton scythemakers who went into mass production soon after its introduction on by the Earl of Shrewsbury on the nearby Sheaf in 1560,  as the new innovation changed production from 20 tons to 200 tons of processed iron per year.

Grinding wheels dominated the rivers Loxley and Rivelin. These two rivers flowed from the north-west of Sheffield and were accessible to the cutlers of Bradfield parish, especially Stannington, and the cutlers of Nether Hallam in the hamlets of Walkley, Crookes and Malin Bridge.  The river Sheaf had the most varied sites, almost equally divided between corn grinding, metalworking (especially lead) and blade grinding.  The river Sheaf had the most varied sites, almost equally divided between corn grinding, metalworking (especially lead) and blade grinding. The Blackburn brook provided power for a number of mills along its course  Industry started on the Shire Brook at Carr Forge in the mid 16th century and by the 19th century there were five wheels operating sharpening scythes and sickles.  The Don is the largest river in Sheffield, collecting the water from the other rivers and flowing from the north before turning northeast at its confluence with the Sheaf near the centre of Sheffield. Like the Sheaf it had more metalworking sites, but unlike the Sheaf they were all concerned with ferrous metals.

Shepherd Wheel

Shepherd Wheel


No one knows exactly how many wheels dams and weirs there were and it is quite difficult to know how many survive. Many dams were built over when the Railways were built. Others later on when they were no longer needed. Some like the Mayfield Dams are silted and grown over. Some have become water features in parks and gardens.  Often when the dams are long gone the weirs still remain as no one saw a reason to remove them. In some cases the weirs have been culveted such as where the Sheaf joins the Don, and rumours speak of at least one dam now underground, though this may be an urban myth.  And some Dams and Weirs were lost under the reservoirs. Possibly around 160-200 mills were working off the water wheels in Sheffield. Many wheels shared the weirs.

So what, you may say. Sheffield is now littered with bits of mills, lots of weirs and dams. Times have changed.  Many naturalists don’t like the weirs and feel they should be all scrapped and moan that a handful are actually listed. Others feel they are an obstruction on the rivers and if scrapped would stop the flooding. Lastly the owners of the weirs can’t be found so all maintenance has to be tax payers money.

Brightside Weir.JPG

Brightside weir

As many weirs are between 200 and 900 years old, if removed the whole riverside would change. The Bio-diversity would change and we have no way of knowing what we could lose due to the changes. Fish ladders have been put into many of the weirs now, but it is unrealistic to think that we can return the rivers to 900 years ago.  The bigger blockages problems are trees growing too close to the riversides, culverts and poorly maintained drains that block easily, bridges that are low but made worse by silted rivers, and stupid people who dump an incredible amount of rubbish into the rivers and riversides. As for the maintenance argument no one argues that Venice should be left to sink or Stonehenge to fall down. The history and heritage of Sheffield’s rivers are unique.

Historic England recommends

In areas where there are groups of strongly connected heritage assets which are considered to cumulatively have a particularly high value, then designation as a Conservation Area should be considered similar to those often formed for canals. A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance (Section 69 of the 1990 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Area) Act). The main attributes that define the special character of an area are its physical appearance and history, i.e. the form and features of buildings and the spaces between them, their former uses and historical development.

There is considered to be a particularly strong case for this in Sheffield, where designation as a Conservation Area where the survival of a high density of weirs and associated infrastructure are illustrative of the internationally important metal trade that developed there. Such designation would also be of assistance in ensuring a consistent approach to design of fish passes and river channel improvements.”

To qualify as a World Heritage Site the Rivers need only meet one of these criteria.

to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.

to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design

to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.

Our dams and weirs have created places of beauty in Sheffield. There is nowhere more beautiful than the Rivelin Valley, or lovelier than the dams and woodlands of the Sheaf and Porter Valleys. But more than that nowhere in the world is there anywhere like Sheffield with the huge number of mills on the rivers and streams. Like much of our heritage in Sheffield it has been ignored and undervalued. So much has been left to rot or survives only because of tenacious groups that refused to let them all turn to rubble. They lost some battles but thankfully some gems last such as Shepherd’s Wheel, Matlock Wheel, Forge Dam, Mousehole Forge, Abbeydale Hamlet, Stanniforth


Sharrow Snuff Mill

Works, Mallin Bridge, Mill houses Mill, and Sharrow Snuff Mill. But so much has never been researched properly. Many have yet to be looked at from an  archaeological point of view. We don’t know how old many of the weirs and dams are. We don’t have a complete list.

Historic England has voiced concerns that the changes made due to flood defences and fish passages have not taken into account the heritage of the waterways, and feels there is a need for better consultation and better training of the department of environment.

Within South Yorkshire the catchment partnerships are hosted by the Don Catchment Rivers Trust and The Environment Agency (Don and Rother), and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (Thorne). The core partners within each partnership include wildlife and environmental organisations, water companies, Local Authorities, Government Agencies, landowners, angling clubs, farming groups, academia and local businesses. Amongst the partners, built heritage interests are poorly represented


South Yorkshire’s Historic Water Management Assets March 2016 by
Historic England


900 years of the Don fishery: Domesday to the dawn of the new millenium‘ by Chris Firth MBE

The Heritage Statement of the Weirs on the River Loxley by The Brigantia Archaeological Service.

Position statement on the Upper Don and Sheaf Catchment Flood Alleviation schemes.  http://www.dcrt.org.uk/archives/2431

http://www.floodprotectionsheffield.com/  Sheffield Flood Protection




Timewalk project A personal perspective

TW LOGO NEW  Timewalk project started 21 months ago. The idea was to map out some of Sheffield’s heritage to show people what was there and to find a way also of showcasing the great work of the history and Heritage organisations.

It’s been an interesting journey and I must admit we have sometimes been led in directions we weren’t expecting to go. They were nevertheless important directions. I personally have found myself at entrepreneur events and Le Tour workshops and some great arts events as well as meetings for coffee with all sorts of interesting people.


Wardsend Cemetery

What I had confirmed is that heritage is important in that it gives people a sense of place. In housing estates which have rows and rows of identical houses it is good to have ancient farmland, which is now a park, and that has historic buildings within it that you can learn the story of, and tell it to outsiders. It’s what makes your neighbourhood unique. It doesn’t matter whether your family goes back generations there, or you just came to live there,  it is the story of where you live, and you are all part of that story. In a rundown neighbourhood, that seems like everyone outside forgot about you, it is important to know that there is a story to be told, which often in Sheffield changed the whole world. Crucible stacks, cementation furnaces, factories and workshops that changed the world completely. It created in Sheffield an attitude of problem solving and adaptation, which is present today and now called entrepreneurship. It’s also why the label Made in Sheffield is so important. Not just a heritage thing but a sign that it is an ongoing attitude that outsiders respect.  It can be a good mix though not always. Good to be rooted in the past but not to be concreted in.


Bishop’s House Meersbrook Park

Shepherds Wheel 1

Shepherd Wheel, my first Sheffield Heritage photo 26 years ago

I was not born or brought up in Sheffield though my husband was. What I knew of Sheffield before I came with my fiancé to meet his parents  26 years ago could have been written on a postage stamp and still have room. Certainly wasn’t what I was expecting, but every visitor finds that. Some things were annoying such as lack of disabled access to most of it including most of the pavements, but 2 places had a great impact on me. A visit to Shepherd Wheel and to Bishops House. I remember Shepherd Wheel most of all. There it was nestled in the hillside in a public park, with this elderly enthusiast who set the wheel going for us and told of us of the struggle they had had to save this wheel.  I felt quite shocked that such an important part of Sheffield’s history should ever have to fight for its survival. Another day we struggled up the steep hill of Meersbrook park. Not a place I would recommend for a wheelchair push. There, almost at the end of the park, at its highest point, was the pudgy slightly wonky little black and white timbered building. Somehow inside the house it was almost Tardis like. The House seemed much longer inside than outside. In one of the rooms was an art exhibition of Heeley wheel and other local wheels, all gone with hardly a trace.

I lived for a while in Broomhall and remember discovering the beautiful Broom hall. The lovely Georgian front and the little black and white half timbered building to the side. Since then it seems like every corner holds a surprise, and so many old buildings that have remarkable stories to tell. So many of these stories are left untold. Not sure why. Perhaps local people don’t think the place where all the stainless steel objects in the world started from is particularly worth noting. After all there are other equally important buildings round every corner. Or perhaps it was thought that dwelling on the past was unhealthy in the continual drive for Sheffield to progress and innovate.


Broom hall, once home to Designer David Mellor


Personally I don’t see why you can’t look both back and forward. What you learn from looking back is past mistakes and solutions. At MADE conference I remember listening to the story of the development of the Gripple, a fastener which has revolutionised wire fencing, and the mistake made in buying expensive welding equipment to weld 2 pieces together, then seeing that a dye-caster could create the whole thing in 1 piece much cheaper and better. An old skill used in a modern setting.  Its not an untypical story in Sheffield, the mix of age old skills and modern innovation and design. It’s evident in the designs of David Mellor and is becoming evident in the partnership between artists and pewter manufacturers for example.


Jessop Hospital surviving wing.

Wincobank Chapel Non denominational

Wincobank non denominational Chapel

So Heritage should be important to the people who live here. It is at grassroots level. There are literally thousands interested in the history of Sheffield within the city and elsewhere. You see it reflected in the number of local history and heritage organisations, the online forums and the Facebook pages. New groups form every day.  But there is no supporting structure within Local or National Government. No building is completely safe. Each building that is saved is still only 1 battle won. The war goes on. No building is safe no matter how important to that community’s story. No matter that previously battles were fought and won. A new road, a new development, a new rail link, a shopping centre all are given prime importance over listed status. While I am not saying we should not have new developments or shops I am saying that they shouldn’t be built regardless of local feeling or of  the importance of a specific site to the city’s history. Other cities and countries manage this.

We should have a city which prides itself on its heritage and shows it off to the world. The world is interested. You only have to look at the number of people from abroad on the Sheffield History sites. Timewalk projects Facebook Page has people from 22 countries linked into the page alone.

So that’s why Timewalk has found itself looking at other aspects other than just listing what’s to see and what the heritage and history groups are up to.

  1. How do you get to see it? Is it accessible to my wheelchair or mobility scooter? What about other people who aren’t so fit or have young children? This produced our path grading system.

    Botanical Gardens Access Map -finished and amended-page0001

    Our first official graded map.

  2. Some places would be more accessible if they just moved certain things that obstruct access such as bins and furniture. Yes, can be that simple. That has led to me being on an all inclusive access advisory group. Now looking to creating a directory of best practice, and how even listed buildings can have better access or at least made into a better experience, rather than sitting watching the rest of your family go in and then sitting outside bored for an hour.Open Doors, Open Minds conference invite-page-0
  3. Such great venues like Manor Lodge, but why aren’t there queues every day to see it? That has us involved in looking at ways of marketing Sheffield’s heritage both locally and further afield. The bigger the crowd the more money sites like Manor Lodge have to restore and add to the experience. The better the experience the more visitors from outside and the more money in the local economy. The more money into the local economy the more value is placed on that heritage site. So now we are looking at a conference and other events to show off what we have to businesses and conference organisers. There is a wide range of historic buildings that could be used for all sorts of events.


    Manor Lodge, Festival of Dance

  4. Certain buildings are at risk not of demolition but of neglect. Often there are people who would like to take on the building and have ideas which are not heard. We are looking at how we build up better communications and possibly along with that a directory of willing experts. Some buildings are neglected not through choice, but through lack of funding. There are several avenues that could be explored to help such buildings. Collective purchasing between several groups to cut costs.   Funding generally is for specific projects. It is not available for day to day expenses or employing people on a permanent basis, or advertising or promoting. Exchange of expertise and experience. That has involved me going to entrepreneur conferences and business conferences to look at how groups can find self sustaining ways of keeping everything going and at possible cooperative structures.


    The Old Townhall/magistrates courts Castlegate


Shepherd Wheel

Present Day Shepherd Wheel.

Timewalk project has become a link between many organisations, but still has a long way to go in that respect, but the foundations are there. We are on no particular organisation’s committee. We do not seek to interfere with any history group or heritage organisation’s autonomy. We go to committee meetings as visitors not members. We make suggestions and convey news and facilitate meetings, but we do not run them or organise them. This gives us a certain freedom of movement and speech.  From my point of view it is necessary because I am not in good health and cannot make regular meetings or organise things, but I can use the social media to publicize and link people together. My objective is to be redundant. The communication to be so good that my work is unnecessary.


Tours of Wardsend Cemetery, Heritage Open Days

Saturday 13th September


As part of the Heritage Open Days events for 2014 The Friends of Wardsend Cemetery organised two tours of the said cemetery, based in North Sheffield  South Yorkshire, starting at 10.30am and 2pm respectively. This was out first time as part of The Heritage Open Days and we were not sure what exactly to expect. Our organisation of it began on the Previous Wednesday when we put up signs directing visitors to the cemetery.


One disappointment here was that on Friday we discovered that the signs we put up around Penistone Road leading to Livesey Street had been taken down, by who we don’t know but as the booklet and internet guide gave good details the effect wasn’t too bad. The signs down Livesey Street were left untouched so that once our visitors got to Livesey St it was no problem for them to find us. Hillsborough College also helped us by putting up additional signs. Also on Wednesday one final check was made to make sure that all arrangements at the cemetery proper were in order.


On the Saturday we were at the cemetery in good time and by the time 10.30 came round there were 14 people who had come for the tour, slightly disappointing as we expected a few more but nonetheless a reasonable number, predominately they were in the older age range bracket but with one or two younger including one child. All of them showed a keen interest in the cemetery. Given that we are in an isolated position on a dead end street (sorry!) most visitors have to be interested to go out of their way to visit. The tour took about fifteen minutes longer to finish than was scheduled, always a good sign,


Visitors asked various questions about the cemetery and its history some we expected others unexpected. At the end of the first tour two people volunteered to write down comments regarding their visit and where they travelled from. Those comments were:-


‘Very interesting and informative’  from visitors from the other side of Sheffield at Gleadless Townend and Norton Lees, about 3 miles away.


‘Interesting morning very informative’  from a local person from Hillsborough 

The second tour at 2pm attracted 25 visitors including a group of 12.There was a similar age breakdown as on first tour. We started about a little after time to allow for latecomers. In fact the second tour lasted half as long again as the scheduled tour such was the interest. A quad bike rider did try and come down the main path but was not allowed to go very far before being forced to turn round and leave! There were a lot more questions and great deal of keen interest shown. The comments we  had on the afternoon tour were as follows:- 


Superb tour of Wardsend. Will do it again’  visitor from Walkley, just over a mile away. 

‘Excellent tour of Wardsend Cemetery – like entering a different world’  also Walkley. 

‘Very interesting trip round’  Barnsley – 10 miles away. 

‘Oughtibridge – born 1945, lived in Burnell Rd, played in the area until 9 years old. Brought back many memories and enjoyed all the history of the site. Many thanks’ – Oughtibridge  3 miles. 

‘A very good tour’ – Chesterfield 12 miles.


‘Pleased to see paths much clearer, well done’  Sheffield (this last comment refers to work done on cemetery, work that is still progressing.


Both tours concentrated on the history of the cemetery and the area, the history of the ‘residents’ buried here, the ecology and the Friends group. Overall it was a successful day, one that would encourage our participation in future Heritage Days.


George Proctor


Friends of Wardsend Cemetery


Chapel Site


Vestry Site




At the End of the second tour the party of 12 promptly produced a picnic by the riverside


Heritage Open Days 11-14th September

Thursday 11th September starts with a bang with an amazing variety of places to see  from the medieval Beauchief Abbey founded in 1183 to a rooftop view of Sheffield from Hallam’s University’s Owen Tower. Here’s our brief guide to venues. For times and dates check out our events calendar or http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/


ShrewsburyHospital Chapel

Shrewsbury Hospital Just across from the Cholera Monument this is a quiet and usually private enclave. HOD gives people a rare glimpse into the Hospital Chapel.





Beauchief Abbey


Founded in 1183 it is hard to believe that Beuachief covered a large area of Derbyshire and were given the ancient churches of St James Norton and St John the Baptist Dronfield as well as properties in Chesterfield.



Grenoside Reading Room


Recently loving restored by the Grenoside Community as part of their claiming Grenoside’s unique history.  Built around 1790 as a School room.  Grenoside are holding a great weekend of events including a look into the recently grade 2 listed crucible forge in a cellar and life in WW1




Sheffield Cathedral


Built in the 12th century probably around 1170 the same time as her sister church St Mary the Virgin in Handsworth by William de Lovetot Lord of both manors. The Church of  St Peter as it was then called was a parish church for Sheffield Manor. The church mirrors the changes in fortune both of it and the city within its walls. The Cathedral is putting on a guided walk to assist the visitor in interpreting these changes.


City Hall Barkers Pool

City Hall Barkers Pool


Although it only took 4 years to build the City Hall took 14 years from acquisition of the land in 1919 till it was opened in 1932. The architect was the prestigious Vincent E Harris. The Hall is now host to over 750 events a year.  Visitors are given a rare chance to tour the building and learn the stories behind it all.



Shepherd Wheel

Shepherd Wheel

There once was 400 water wheels  on the waterways of Sheffield, running Hammers, furnaces and grinding shops like the one at Shepherd Wheel. In 1954 Sheffield Council listed 17 wheels that should be preserved for posterity. Today only 3 wheels are left and only Shepherd Wheel is able to run.  In the 1920s it was the show stopper for visitors to see how old fashioned grinders made flat steel into razor sharp knives.




Weston Park


Weston Park Museum (itself an interesting heritage building) is hosting a hand on event where people will get the chance to handle a range of old objects and learn their history





Cutlers Hall


Home to the Company of Cutlers of Hallamshire it is the 3rd Cutlers Hall on this site. Built in 1832 it was later altered in 1865 and again in 1888. The building is Tardis Like in that the extent of the building is not obvious from the size of its frontage.





Town Hall


Sheffield Town Hall is a grade 1 listed building. Sheffield’s 4th Town Hall and the first to separate itself from the law courts.  It took 7 years to build and was opened by remote control by Queen Victoria, who never left her carriage, in 1897.





Manor Lodge

Manor Lodge was the Earl of Talbot’s Summer residence. A huge palatial complex which has now largely gone except for the ruins of the Lodge and the magnificent Banqueting Tower. Besides its Tudor connections with Mary Queen of Scots who lived a great proportion of her life under the control of the Earl of Shrewsbury as her jailer, there is also  farms that developed after the Talbots divided the old Deer Park into farms.  Manor Lodge has been restoring the farmhouses and putting the land back as Living History Farms. Together with the craft studios and the prestigious cafe The Rhubarb Shed there is a lot more to Manor Lodge these days.



Portland Works sign

Portland Works


Portland Works was built in 1865 and has been in continuous work ever since. Not a museum but a living breathing commercial works where some of the old fast disappearing but vital skills of silver plating, stamp making, engraving  and cutlery. It was here that the first ever stainless steel cutlery was produced.




Underbank Chapel

Formerly a Non-conformist Chapel Underbank Chapel is 1 of 3 Non-Conformist church which became Unitarian. Built in 1752 to replace a converted barn which had housed the Non-conformist from 1652.  It is about a beautiful chapel in a tranquil setting.





Abbeydale Hamlet


Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet. Open as a Museum since 1970 Abbeydale Hamlet has been continually improving and renovating this unique historic site. After many trials and tribulations some outstanding work has been carried out on the large wheel, new displays and a brand new visitor centre built to provide 21st century facilities has been built back from the ancient buildings so that the site is now opened up as never before in the Museum’s history.


Cathedral St Marie

St Marie Catholic Cathedral

St Marie Catholic Cathedral. Built in 1846 in the style of an ancient Lincolnshire Church. It was built by C M E Hadfield whose face is said to be on one of the heads  carved in the adjoining Church House. The Cathedral has recently been in the midst of renovations. There is now a chance to walk through and examine the changes and the beautiful stane glass windows.




Tinsley Manor



Jessop Building

In addition to  the project investigating the history and archaeology of Tinsley Manor which has been going some time there is now the launch of the translation and interpretation of the Tinsley Manor Rolls/Documents. This is an exciting project which will set up a new academic resource for students and enthusiasts studying the medieval history of Sheffield.



Central Library

Central Library


Built in 1934 by W G Davies, it is a fine example of the Art Deco style yet strangely complementary to the adjoining Victorian Lyceum.  The Library are offering a tour of this unique building from Top to bottom looking at its history and its present.




Horn Handle Works

Horn Handle Works/ now Regather. Built in 1897 for the manufacturer of Horn Handles for umbrellas it is unique part of Sheffield’s history that is barely without trace today. Horn was used prolifically in making buttons,  handles, and combs.  An exhibition of the works history to its re-incarnation as the Regather cooperative is available.



Butchers Works Arundel street

Butchers Works/Freeman College


Freeman College is composed of the old Sterling Works and the Butchers Works. The Sterling Works dates from the 1850s and the Butcher Works which grew on the site from 1810 but is mainly 1835.  Freeman College provides day and residential education and care in Sheffield and South Yorkshire for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Students are guides and demonstrators during the day; visitors welcome to try spoon forging, weaving & felting, suitable for children. Craft items on sale in the Ruskin Arts & Crafts shop. Organic Fusion café provides locally sourced home cooked meals.



Midhopestones chapel

Midhopestones is a hamlet,  in the north west of Sheffield. St James’ is a tiny rugged church, surrounded by a picturesque graveyard. The foundations were laid around 1360 by the Barnby family.   Guided round walk looking at history and heritage of the village, including access to the church and other buildings of interest. Approximately 2 hours.





St Mary the Virgin Handsworth


St Mary the Virgin, built in 1170 by William de Lovetot the history of the area goes back to Bronze Age.  Your Chance to look inside this ancient church and also to see the lovely Georgian Vicarage which hides a tudor framework.




Wincobank Chapel Non denominational

Wincobank non denominational Chapel

Visit the unique Undenominational Chapel built in 1841 as a school then extended in 1905 as a chapel. Learn about the history of the philanthropist Read family from Wincobank Hall,  who had a lasting impact through their campaigns for social justice and Mary Anne Rawson, a tireless campaigner for the universal abolition of slavery. Join a guided walk up to Wincobank Iron Age Hillfort and enjoy spectacular views across Sheffield




Upper Chapel


Built in 1700 the Upper Chapel brought together many free thinkers and non conformists. Your chance to view the Henry Holliday stained glass windows and magnificent painted ceiling in the first non-conformist Chapel in Sheffield  Admire the bronze statues sculptured by Fullard in the forecourt. Appreciate the Victorian interior of Channing Hall with its painted bricks and magnificent wooden ceiling.



Wardsend Cemetery

Built in 1857 as an overspill cemetery for St Phillips Church Wardsend Cemetery is a tranquil place near the River Don in Owlerton.  Two 90-minute tours of the historic North Sheffield Cemetery, following the main paths. Visitors will hear of the history and all other aspects of the cemetery and the surrounding area, mainly from Victorian era but going back much further with reference to surrounding area




Wisteria Cottage Nether Edge 1765


Nether Edge Historical Walk.

A 2.5 hours’ walk around Nether Edge village, Brincliffe and Kenwood led by members of the Nether Edge History Group. Although the area is now mainly suburban, we’ll explore the history of the area including a house built about 1605, remnants of several farms, the 1845 Ecclesall Brierlow Workhouse.



Firth Park Clock Tower

There will be photographs and information on the official opening of Firth Park Heritage Park, the first public park in Sheffield in 1875 by the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward 7th. Lots of books, photographs and literature of the surrounding area, including the Old Library’s opening ceremony in the 1930’s





Park Hill Flats


Opened in the Early 1960s Park Hill flats were built as an innovative way to replace the previous slums. The Park Hill estate is the largest Grade II* listed building in the country and comprises approximately 1000 units of council housing. It is currently being cleared to allow a major refurbishment of the flats, which will change the tenure mix and redevelop the whole site. Work is now completed on the first Flank within Phase 1.



Firth Court Western Park

Firth Court is a Grade II listed building and it was built in 1905. Guided tours of the Chancellor’s Room, Firth Hall and the University WW1 Memorial within Firth Court will be available.





General Cemetery Egyptian Gate


General Cemetery opened in 1836 as a commercial concern offering an alternative to the overcrowded churchyards.  2014 marks the start of an exciting project to restore the Grade II* listed Non-Conformist Chapel at Sheffield General Cemetery. This Heritage Open Day visitors will have the chance to go behind the scenes and discover how the chapel is being restored. Guided tours throughout the day will introduce you to some of the cemetery’s famous residents



Whitham Road Spiritual Church

Previously a Swedenborgian Church, the Spiritualist Congregation moved into Whitham road from Meersbrook in 1943. The Spiritualist Church in Sheffield celebrated its centenary last year.





Old theatre Bill


Sheffield’s early theatres all stood within a few hundred metres of Tudor Square. With tales of the architects, theatre managers and the stars that trod the boards. Tales of actors and directors including the larger than life actor-manager Donald Wolfitt Bookings Roy Rogers 01142 683697 or royrogsheffield@aol.com. People turning up on the day, will be accommodated if there is room. Limit 18 per tour. meet across from Lyceum




SHeffield Student Union

Sheffield Student Union

Attendees are invited to take a guided tour of the building led by Student Ambassadors. The tours will last approximately 25 minutes visiting: The Plaza, The Hub, New Leaf, Garden View, The Activities Zone, Officers’ Corridor, The Interval, Gardens, Bar One, The Foundry, Studio, Fusion then returning to the Plaza. Everyone taking in the tour will be given a copy of “Standing up for Students” by Helen Mathers and a voucher to spend in Coffee Revolution after the tour.




St Marks Broomhill


The interior of the original Victorian church was destroyed by bombing during WW2 and the church did not reopen for worship until 1963. The new interior, designed by the architect George Pace, is open, light filled and peaceful. The east ‘Te Deum’ window, designed by Henry Stammers, and the west window, depicting the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit and designed by John Piper, are particularly worth noting.



St Cuthberts Church Fir Vale

St. Cuthbert’s Church Firvale

Built in 1904 by John Dodsley Webster and Sons, a grade 2 listed. History of church and wonderful stained glass windows. Games for children . refreshments .





Rivelin Valley Park

Rivelin Valley Park


From the 16th to 20th centuries this three-mile stretch of river valley, with its 20 water mills and 21 dams (possibly the most concentrated number over that distance in the country) supported industries ranging from cutlery grinding workshops and tilt forges to paper mills and corn mills, and including the world-famous Mousehole Forge anvils



SUM studios Heeley

SUM Studios

Old Anns Grove School. Displays by Heeley History Workshop and Heeley Development Trust. Tours of the Buildings. opportunities to share memories and show support for our ongoing fundraising to restore the remaining buildings. The building is safe and accessible, everybody is welcome, we have no specific activities for children or families



Madina Mosque


There has been a muslim community in England since the early 18th century, but it was in the late 19th century that there were any substantial numbers usually in the ports. The encouragement of commonwealth citizens to work in Britain brought in many more from Pakistan India as well as a strong Somali community. Purpose built mosques are rare.  A guided tour of Madina Mosque which will incorporate the key architectural features of the mosque, explanation of how the building is used for daily prayers, children’s education, Eid and funerals.




Brromhall centre

Broomhall Centre

Heritage Walk taking us around the streets of Broomhall, learning about its hidden past and interesting characters, past and present Event not suitable for children under the age of 10.






Concord Park Cruck Barn

Cruck Barn Concord Park


Cruck Barn,Concord Park,  Medieval Hamlet Oaks Fold dates back 12thc Barn probably early 16thc. . Grade 2 listed.  The Cruck Barn and the adjacent restored farmhouse. The Cruck barn will be open to view and information leaflets will be available.




Endcliffe Hall

Built in 1860 for Sir John Brown. Grade 2* listed.  It was the biggest mansion in Sheffield built to impress his customers and visiting dignitaries.  After John Brown’s death the hall fell empty due to its huge size. In 1914 the Territorials took it over and it has remained in their ownership ever since.




Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Gurdwara

The first Sikh communities settled in England in  1911.  A guided tour with the opportunity to ask questions, giving visitors a chance to learn about the history and practice of Sikhism.






Wicker Arches

Wicker Arches


Canada House


As part of their 180th Anniversary celebrations, Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson (www.hcd.co.uk) invite you to join us for a walking tour of Sheffield. Guided by local historian, Ron Clayton




Electric Works

Electric Works


the Electric Works caused a bit of a stir with a rather unusual feature in reception… a huge helter-skelter. It’s fair to say five years on, it hasn’t lost its charm, and our clients still regularly use it. Of course we’re more than just a slide. Electric Works is a unique and creative office space housing some of the region’s most exciting companies, from animators to games developers to film makers. Not normally open to the general public, we’re pleased to be opening our doors (and slide!) as part of Heritage Open Days to showcase this fantastic building with short tours.



Church St Lawrence Tinsley

St Lawrence Tinsley


Discover Tinsley’s historic St Lawrence Church. There has been a church on this site, since the 12th Century! Find out about the history of the current building and the fascinating history of the site




BBC Radio

BBC Radio


BBC Radio Sheffield is the BBC Local Radio station broadcasting to South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire,  on Shoreham Street in Sheffield.  Started in 1967.  Their studios are rarely open



Sheffield Castle

Sheffield Castle

Explore the vicinity of Sheffield’s lost castle and associated sites to learn about the castle’s history – legends – excavations – remains and proposals for its future with professional Sheffielder, raconteur, local author, historic tour guide, and character big Ron Clayton



St John Baptist Wales and Kiveton Park

St John Baptist Wales


St John the Baptist Wales  are holding a flower festival with the theme of Weddings and Anniversaries. The original Church was constructed in Norman times. The tower was constructed in the 15th century and in 1897 a nave and south aisle were added.




St John Evangelist Hoylandswaine

St John the Evangelist Hoylandswaine


St Johns is a small Grade II listed Victorian Church with a recently-uncovered wall painting around the East Window by the renowned Pre-Raphaelite artist, John Roddam Spencer Stanhope of Cawthorne. The painting was whitewashed over in the 1960s as a result of water damage, but has recently been uncovered and successfully conserved




St John's Throapham

St John Throapham


The church is Saxon/Norman in origin with additions in the 1200s,1400s and early 1700s, with important monuments and memorials. There will be an exhibition entitled Faith in Words and Images. It is suitable for all ages.



Hallam University Owen Building

Owen Building


This is a unique opportunity to see the City of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University’s City Campus from the 12th floor rooftop of our Owen Building in the heart of the City. We will give you tour of the campus from the rooftop with information about the history of the University buildings





Medical School


History of the Medical School and World War One. This fascinating exhibition will cover the help given by Sheffield Medics during World War I.






St Leonards Dinnington

St Leonard’s is an 18th century church built on the site of a much earlier building. The first church in Dinnington was recorded in 1088. This original church was destroyed by fire around 1318. It is unknown when the church was rebuilt but it is recorded that by the 1780’s this second church was in a poor state and demolished in 1785. Robert Athorpe, a local landowner, built the present Church in 1868.




William Layne Reading Room


Display of local history documents, maps and photographs. Albums of photographs, maps and documents for visitors to browse. Information about local fatalities in the First and Second World War.






Manor Memories


The Sheffield Manor Parish launched the Manor Memories project in January 2013.  The project formed part of the All Our Stories initiative, which was a Heritage Lottery funded small grant programme designed to help local communities find out more about what their local area was like in the past or how people in the community used to live.

Our project had two key components:  collecting and recording oral histories of residents, past and present, of the Manor Parish; and researching the heritage of the local area.  The project was so important to us because we wanted to make sure that stories don’t get lost but get passed on to future generations.  We also wanted to bring people together with a common goal and to help them to learn more about places on their doorsteps.

Since the launch I have been out and about interviewing local people, hearing some fascinating stories of how life was in the Manor area, about growing up, going to school, courting and getting married, the war years and so much more.  And as a group we enjoyed some brilliant talks, tours and workshops.  The talks were given by some experts with local knowledge.  We heard from Suzanne Bingham about social housing in the 20th century, Grace Tebbutt about Manor Oaks Farm and Sheffield in general during World War II and Ray Battye on how street names come about.  We  visited Manor Lodge and Norfolk Heritage Park and heard about their history before having a tour of the prominent features. We went to Sheffield Archives to see some of the historic documents that they hold there and to learn how to access them and we had a heritage session at Manor Lodge where we learned more about the industrial hamlet in the ruins in Victorian times.  And then there were workshops sharing memories and making memory boxes.  The memory box workshop had people bringing along their treasured items to make a lasting 3D display and they can be seen in the Manor Memories booklet.MB16.largetrail and packs for the local schools which we achieved and which went down extremely well at our final event when we watched the DVD together (almost all the interviewees were able to attend) and everybody received copies of the DVD, booklet and walking trail.  Running a project such as this was hard work but I truly found it a pleasure to delve into people’s memories and listen to their stories.

Nicola Smith





Time Walk… See http://timewalk.btck.co.uk/ for heritage map & other other useful Sheffield heritage information.

Sheffield’s Heritage Woodlands

DSCF3280There are around 175 woodlands in Sheffield. Some go back to pre-Roman times. Probably the reason why they have not gone the way of many ancient woodlands is twofold. Some are in areas that are not useful for any other purpose but the main reason for there being so many is also the reason for the expansion of metalworking in the area.  They were needed as fuel to make Iron and Steel and sometimes even used as part of the process.

What it has left Sheffield with is a great resource both Archaeologically Botanically  and Environmentally.  Many of the woodlands have been the source of academic study. From the none academic point of view there is still a lot that can be seen and appreciated.  I have made up a list of some of Sheffield’s ancient and significant woodlands. I don’t know all these woods but hope to in the future. Perhaps someone can have a look and give a review?


Ecclesall Woods

Ecclesall Woods is an area of woodland in south-west Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, between Abbeydale Road South and Ecclesall. The woods also contain a number of important prehistoric and early historic monuments. There’s also a wealth of other heritage features, such as charcoal heaths, relating directly back to the wood’s past management for timber and other wood products. http://www.friendsofecclesallwoods.org.uk/


Bowden Housteads Woods are situated between Darnall and Handsworth, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. the woods are encircled by Sheffield Outer Ring Road, Sheffield Parkway and Handsworth Road. In order to be classed as an ancient woodland, an area must have been continuously wooded since at least 1600. There is clear documentary and other evidence that Bowden Housteads Wood has been wooded for far longer than this. he earliest documentary reference to the wood dates from 1332 when it was referred to as Baldwynhousted in an property inventory compiled following the death of Thomas de Furnival, Lord of Hallam. Baldwyn is an Anglo-Saxon personal name; hous means house; and sted has a variety of meanings, including a place occupied by a farm or other building. As a result, it is presumed that the woodland is named after a nearby farm, tenanted or owned by someone named Baldwyn.


Gleadless Valley Woodland

There are seven Heritage Woodlands in the Gleadless Valley, which lies only 2 miles south-east of Sheffield city centre. Until its development as a residential district in the 1950’s and 60’s, this was a rural area consisting of hedge-lined fields, woodlands and scattered trees. The valley is still remarkable for the way in which a network of open spaces has been retained, both within the development, and between it and neighbouring built-up areas.

http://www.heritagewoodsonline.co.uk/map/016/016.html http://gleadlessvalley.wordpress.com/tag/woods/


Greno Wood

North of Grenoside, S35 8RS  Map reference  SK 325 950 

Greno Woods is a large and beautiful reserve covering 178 hectares, next to the residential areas of Grenoside, Ecclesfield and Chapeltown. There is evidence that Greno Woods existed as early as 1600AD and has played a critical role in the local economy ever since.



These four small blocks of woodland are located 4 kilometres north of Sheffield city centre and just to the north of the Shirecliffe area of the city. The blocks of woodland, which lie on a prominent ridge overlooking the Don Valley, are divided by roads and paths, including Herries Road which runs through the middle of the site.  Scraith Wood and Rawson Spring were at one time part of Park Wood, most of which was removed for the mining of stone, ganister and clay. Both woodlands are recorded in documents dating from 1600 and 1637, making them ancient woodlands, in other words, woods that have been in existence for at least the last 400 years. The early name for Scraith Wood was Scryhcrest. ‘Scryh’ means scree, referring to the steep slope on which the woodland lies. The word ‘Spring’ in the name of Rawson Spring Wood tells us that this woodland was managed by coppicing, probably to produce charcoal for the early iron and steel industry.  (Access described as poor)

Shirtcliff Woods

Shirtcliff Wood lies in the Shirtcliff valley on the northern edge of Woodhouse, nearly 7 kilometres east of the centre of Sheffield. Part of the wood is crossed by the Shirtcliff Brook. Although the wood first appears on a map dating from as late as 1802, historical documents suggest that it was managed for charcoal in the Middle Ages by the Monks of Kirkstead Abbey as part of the Brainley Hall Estate.


These two separate but nearby woodlands are located in the Fir Vale area of Sheffield, roughly 3 kilometres north of the city centre and near to the Northern General Hospital. Roe Wood, which is the northernmost of the two woodlands is also the largest. With the adjoining area of Crabtree Ponds this area represents the most important wildlife reservoir in North Sheffield.
The woodlands are first recorded as part of continuous block of woodland known as ‘Cockshutt Rowe’ in a document dating from around 1600 which listed the Earl of Shrewsbury’s coppice woodlands. This clearly shows Roe and Little Roe Woods to be ancient woodland, meaning that they have been in existence for at least the last 400 years. A ‘cockshot’ was a term used to refer to an opening cut through a wood to allow gamebirds such as woodcock to be caught in nets.

Wincobank Wood

Wincobank Wood lies on the west-facing slope of the Wincobank ridge, which creates a most striking landscape feature, dominating the Don Valley. It is this hill which rises so prominently behind Meadowhall shopping centre. The woodland provides a significant area of open space in an otherwise heavily urbanised area, just over 4 kilometres north-east of the centre of Sheffield.

A study of the place names associated with Wincobank reveals much about the character of the place at different times. The word’ Winc’ is thought to refer to a Saxon personal name, Wineca. The earliest written usage of this name dates from 1345 when it was referred to as ‘Winckley’ meaning ‘Wineca’s forest clearing’, giving a clear indication of the wooded nature of the surroundings. In 1442, however, a document refers to the site as ‘Wincowe’, a name which meant ‘Wineca’s mound’, possibly harking back to the hill fort itself.

By Tudor times the name by which we know the hill was already fixed for there is a surviving document dated 1574 which names the farmstead on the hill ‘Le Wynkeabanke’. It was around this time that we have the first reference to the management of the woodland itself. The wood formed part of the extensive estates of the Earls of Shrewsbury, the Lords of the Manor of Hallamshire http://www.heritagewoodsonline.co.uk/map/034/034.html


Wheata Woods is a 53 hectare heritage woodland area, situated 8km (5 miles) north west of Sheffield.  It is made up of the four contiguous woodlands comprising: Woodfield Spring, Birkin Royd, Prior Royd and Wheata Woods.

The site of an agricultural settlement dating from the Romano-British period (1st to 4th century A.D.) has been identified in Wheata Wood. This comprises stone banks and other features which indicate field boundaries and possibly huts. These remains extend into surrounding fields and possibly also into upper parts of Prior Royd. It is highly likely that part of the area was cleared at this time, both for cultivation and also because the inhabitants of the site would not want to be vulnerable to attackers creeping up on them through woodland. Some woodland though remained in the vicinity and this was exploited for wood and timber as well as being used for the grazing of domestic animals.  http://www.heritagewoodsonline.co.uk/map/033/Wheata%20Pamphlet.pdf http://www.grenosidelocalhistory.co.uk/

Wooley Wood

Woolley Wood is located approximately one kilometre north of Meadowhall Shopping Centre and 6 kilometres north-east of the centre of Sheffield, between the Shiregreen and Wincobank areas of the city. It is easily accessible both by car and public transport. The upper edge lies adjacent to Concord Park and a good network of footpaths runs throughout the wood.

Woolley Wood has been the source of a number of interesting archaeological finds including the remains of a Bronze Age axe or hammer and a coin and sherds of pottery dating from Romano-British times.

Recent archaeological surveys as part of the ‘Fuelling a Revolution’ programme have revealed a number of features relating to the past management of the wood, including a possible medieval boundary ditch, an old drystone wall, and platforms associated with charcoal burning. A number of quarries, pits and hollows found within the wood are associated with the search for coal and other minerals. The sandstones underlying the wood are fine-grained and suitable for the production of grindstones,  http://www.heritagewoodsonline.co.uk/map/035/035.html


Manor Park Art Trail by Ana Ospina


The Manor Park Art Trail was created in 2012 to encourage people to visit the new artworks that have been created . Commissioned by Pennine Housing 2000 as part of a wider program of street scene improvements, these artworks were designed to celebrate the new parks created by Planit IE landscape architects, while linking the present day community to the rich heritage of the area.  Artists  from Fourth Wall Creations were  chosen to undertake the commission, which we did in consultation with the community and working closely with the design team.

Manor Park is near to the centre of Sheffield and got its name from the fact that it was the hunting grounds for a great Manor House. Large areas of green space have always been a feature of the landscape here.  Pennine Housing recognised a need to bring some of these neglected green spaces up to the level of usable parks for local residents. Three keys areas were identified, each with unique characteristics. Fourth Wall Creations ran a series of activities, including hands-on art and design workshops and a naming competition. The names chosen for the new parks by the community were: Poppy Fields, Castle View Park and Seaton Field.

Poppy Fields:


This park name was inspired by the pastoral landscape and the recent (and spectacular) reintroduction of wildflowers into the area by Green Estate. The main artworks designed for this park were 4-metre tall sculptures of poppy seed heads made from steel, with a rust-coloured finish. Tall enough to make an impact, they really serve as a landmark for this large and lovely park. In addition to this, dotted around the park, a series of concrete seating plinths were created, their amorphous shapes echoing the forms of the deer that used to graze here. There are bespoke signs at the two main entrances to the park, made from laser-cut steel and cast coloured glass.


Castle View Park:

This park is on a fairly steep slope and overlooks the Manor Lodge ruins, which are often referred to as the ‘Castle’. The artworks in this park are designed to link with this and encourage visitors to look around them and enjoy the views, as well as maybe questioning why things look the way they do.

Castle park 1

There are 2 circular steel ‘frames’, one at the entrance to the park and another at the brow of the hill. This main arch has a bench situated directly behind it so that visitors can sit and enjoy the view of the ruins. Cut into the steel frame is a poem written by a local resident, which explores the many changes that have helped shaped the landscape in this area.

Castle Park 2

There is a small community orchard at the back of the park, with a bespoke plaque at the base of each, commemorating a local hero.

Local Heros

Seaton Field:

Seaton 1

This park links most strongly with the Tudor history of the area, as the name ‘Seaton’ comes from one of Mary Queen of Scots ladies in waiting. She was known to be an excellent hairdresser, as of course she did the Queen’s hair. At each of the 3 entrances to the park stands a ghostly figure, a stylised dress or apron shape, cast from pale concrete.

Seaton 4The fourth lady stands guard over the children’s play area, which has a colourful bespoke play surface designed with heraldic symbols, some historic, some invented.

SeatonAt the 2 main entrances, there are signs showing the park name which also incorporate cast metal discs containing coats of arms created in collaboration with local school children. Within the central pergola are two bespoke concrete and wooden seats whose design echoes that of Tudor hair combs.

Seaton 2

Thanks to Diane Jarvis for her great photos.

visit the project blog at: http://manorparkgreenspace.blogspot.com.

To see Fourth Wall Creations’ other work visit their website: http://www.fourthwallcreations.com.

For more information on the local history,  http://www.manorlodge.org.uk.