Losing Heritage damages your health.

Birley Spa

Birley Spa Community owned building due for sale in 2019

Losing publicly owned heritage buildings is not only economically damaging but also damaging to the health and well being of a community. Heritage is part of the anchorage of a community when the upheavals of factory, pit, or farm closures have left communities with a feeling of loss. 

Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant Sharrow. One of Sheffield’s most prestigious buildings sold by SCC to private developer despite alternative community scheme.


English councils are selling off 400 publicly owned buildings a year. To add to that are closures of churches, working men’s clubs, and local pubs. For those on lower income public spaces and buildings are the only places they can afford to use. In the case of historic buildings and sites it also incorporates a history of ordinary people like themselves that goes back generations.

Civil War mix Manor Lodge

Manor Lodge, after decades of struggle now a popular destination.


Children growing up in social housing are more likely to suffer from depression and poor self esteem than children from families in same income and same hardships who live elsewhere. Research has found that lonely elderly people have a 31% higher  risk of death, and that each older lonely person costs health and social care services up to £6,000 over 10 years. They are 1.8 times more likely to visit their GP, 1.6 times more likely to visit A&E and 3.5 times more likely to enter local authority-funded residential care. But it is not just the elderly who suffer from loneliness, 40% of 16-24 years olds say they feel lonely. 400,000 children and young people are in contact with the health service for mental health problems. The number of “active referrals” by GPs is a third higher than two years previously. There is a sharp increase in children seeking help for depression and anxiety.

Herdings Heritage Centre

Herdings Heritage & Community centre. Originally farmhouse


If people have nowhere to meet as a community, people grow more isolated, more anxious. People stay indoors, and areas begin to show neglect and there is a rise in vandalism, racism and violent crime. Sheffield has a lot of great green spaces but in housing estates like Gleadless Valley

Since the removal of wardens and kids clubs the area has become litter strewn and prone to anti-social behaviour. 

Concorde Barn and House

Ancient cruck barn & farmhouse Concorde Park. Age unknown but medieval site. Barn not open to public as used as store

At Manor Top,  DeHood has taken over the old school as a community gym, and cafe, as well as  being a drop in centre for recovering addicts.  The crime rate is down 60%,  arson has halved. The savings to emergency services, social services and health services must be quite substantial  Yet the site is to be sold to create a new shopping centre. There is a suggestion that a new place could be found but part of the success of the club is the building’s strong historic links to the community.

High Hazels Hall

High Hazels hall. Once used as museum now in poor repair & only partially used in High Hazels Park

Public buildings that have a long history have an advantage that newer buildings without a history haven’t. It gives older people a chance to talk about their experiences to the young  and builds up trust. Most older public buildings are geographically as well as emotionally central to the community. The history and appearance gives the area an identity that is unique to their area.  

The loss of historic buildings matters to ordinary people. Over 11’000 people signed a petition about protecting the character of the Devonshire Quarter in Sheffield.  In Sheffield there are approximately 130 Heritage groups and organisations. Many organisations have several hundred members and have been around for over thirty years. Feelings run deep in Sheffield but finding a similar response from National heritage organisations and funders is prone to failure.


Our heritage and culture has the lowest level of funding in the country. It was found that for the north to get the same Arts Council England funding per head as the capital it would need £691m more in the 2018-22 funding round, and HLF funding is not only lower in Yorkshire than elsewhere it is lower in South Yorkshire than it is in the rural Yorkshire dales. Research would suggest that this is down to a National and local cultural snobbery.  Recently the Government granted £7.6m to Wentworth Woodhouse whereas most grants through the Heritage Lottery fund rarely reach the £1m level in South Yorkshire. It is hard to get funding for “working class” northern heritage. Perhaps that is why the Council had no active plan for protecting and utilising buildings like Birley Spa, or Meersbrook Hall, and the medieval Concorde barn is used as a store, and instead of accepting the community based plan for Mount Pleasant it was sold to a private developer. Most of our prominent heritage buildings are there due to pressure by local groups such as the Lyceum, Abbeydale Hamlet, Kelham Island Museum, Bishops House, Wincobank church, and the General Cemetery to name but a few.    

Abbeydale Dam with crucible stack visible

Abbeydale Hamlet, Gifted by Greaves to the city, after decades left to rot was restored.


Sheffield Council cut its preventative health budget by £880,000 for 2018/19.  In  January 2018 Sheffield Council predicted an overspend of £20m in their social care budget. All the community properties put together, sold  and put into the Council’s coffers would only make a slight dent in one year’s  required income. How many £m would they save over the years by transferring them to the community rent free?  Birley Spa has an asking price of £70’000. How much will it cost the community and health services to see it go, rather than put it back into community use?

Meersbrook Hall HOD

Meersbrook Hall, once home to Internationally famous Ruskin Museum


Friends of Meersbrook Park  have calculated that a community asset transfer of Meersbrook Hall  would save the Council £65m per annum by removing their need to maintain and heat the building, and further savings in staff time, administration and unforeseen costs such as damage repair.


The tenacity of heritage groups in Sheffield is amazing. It took 6 years for the Grenoside community to get HLF funding to fully repair and restore the 18th century reading room, but meanwhile they continued cleaning out the rubbish and landscaping round the building. As Grenoside’s 1st listed building it has brought back a sense of community and gave them space for their community. 

Grenoside reading room

Grenoside Reading Room now community owned and run.

Our communities have to be the primary focus of any Council’s planning decisions, especially if their decisions may result in the loss of our culture and impact on our health and well being.    


Sheffield, Yorkshire’s most important city.


Whirlow Farm dig has confirmed what has been known to a wide variety of historians and archaeologists for a long time that the area of Sheffield was historically the most important area in the history of Yorkshire and England. From before Roman times. Much of the concentration on the narrow period of 18th and 19th century has ignored Sheffield’s strategic importance.

It is no accident that the area has hillforts & many signs of Ironage settlement or before that of even earlier settlements. Sheffield was important place even before the discovery of metalworking, but the discovery of metalworking made the land around worth defending and fighting for. Sheffield became the heavily contested border between Roman and Brigantes, Mercia and Northumberland, Derbyshire and Yrokshire. England was born at the treaty made in Dore. William the Conqueror put his righthand man William de Busli in Charge. Time and time again Royalty placed their best men in Sheffield and nearby. Its no accident that a small place in Norton produced two Bishops. One chaplain to Henry V11 and the other defending Henry V111’s  interests in the Welsh Marches. No accident that Mary Queen of Scots was sent to Sheffield or that one of England’s biggest castles was built here. The land was important and only the Royals best loyal supporters had lands here.

Sheffield Castle

Sheffield Castle

Sheffield was never a backwater. The Talbots as earlier had strong connections with the Royal Court. The Fifth Earl was in charge of Henry V111’s household, the sixth in charge of Mary Queen of Scots. Sheffield was always well informed at what was going on in the seats of power. Money from the nearby Lead mining  funded much of the Elisabethan explorations.  IT was only with the shift in the Talbot’s power and influence in the civil war that changed the Royal links.

That does not mean Sheffield lost its importance to English History more that it became the place for innovation both in manufacturing and in radical and religious thought, which to some extent still exists with Sheffield.

So why aren’t we celebrating Sheffield’s long history? Why are we looking at a short time in history where Sheffield developed its mass production of cutlery as if that was the heyday of Sheffield and that is all there is and ever was of Sheffield? Beats Me.


Civil War Sheffield






Napoleanic Wars Sheffield


Happy New Year

King Edwards SchoolIt is now three Years since Timewalk project started. It started in response to things that people said to me and my friends. Seemed a very simple thing to do. Just map out the old buildings, put a little information with them about the places history and a link to the relevant heritage/history organisation. There is around 1’200 listed structures within the borders of Sheffield, and around 120 community heritage groups and about 12 museums. Some groups have several hundred members and have been working hard for decades, and some are fading due to the old age of their members, while others are growing fast pushed by youthful enthusiasm, and others are taking small nervous steps to create the first history group in the area. Museums range from the great Weston Park to the tiny Garden Tools Museum in Meersbrook Walled garden. Some people may be scornful of the small private museums but every museum in the country started with a small collection. Just because they are tiny doesn’t mean they are unimportant.


Manor Lodge

We started the mapping and certain issues arose. No point in mapping out buildings if we didn’t know whether there was anything to see, and how easy it was to see.   Then when you looked at the listing it doesn’t actually tell you much. It says about the buildings age and architectural features that need to be protected but nothing of the history of the building such as who built it and why, and who lived or worked there, or even who owns it now.  So it meant getting out there and looking, photographing and looking up the places history.  Seems simple idea but it set up a whole lot of other problems and issues.


Old Town Hall Waingate


I have mobility problems and a limited knowledge of IT. It became obvious that there had to be a way of also showing how accessible a place is.  Also a map on its own wasn’t enough. We needed an online presence where we could put more information. I set up our first community Facebook page to call for volunteers to take photos and give me information on their area. Through there met some amazing people and some great photographers and it also meant I could link to a lot of heritage groups in a much simpler way than searching all their websites for event information.  Also realised that there was no heritage events site. Many heritage groups weren’t online much, were scared of social media and only advertised fairly locally by leafleting so consequentially even in their own neighbourhood events were poorly attended simply because no one knew they were happening. So I started listing events on a Google calendar My version is clumsy but it works. Someday I hope for an IT expert to come and upgrade it all for us.


Very few of our problems have been completely solved. All I can say is that we now have a collection of access maps, several hundred places mapped and researched, listings of around 2’000 events a year and access to several thousand people online. We’ve watched the explosion of Heritage organisations and events over last three years which shows there is both an enthusiasm there and potential to build upon that. The Fire and Police Station Museum now the National Emergency Services Museum has gone from 3’000 visitors a year to over 40’000, the Cathedral has developed its Heritage side into a great schools programme but also some mega public events, Manor Lodge has restored several farm buildings and developed its WW2 section, as well as running better and bigger historical events.


With the rise of Austerity policies and cutting of funding from many sources is the preservation of old buildings merely a luxury we can’t afford? Why should we preserve old buildings? Can we afford the upkeep and cost or restoration work? We need houses, investment. Isn’t keeping hanging on to old buildings a purely sentimental attitude standing in the way of progress? No, for several reasons.


Bishops House Museum

  1. Community identity.

At first glance this looks like sentimentality. However many who find the heritage buildings in their neighbourhood important were not born in Sheffield, so it’s not merely the family memories of a place. It is what gives an area its unique identity. It’s how you describe your area to an outsider and often it is where your community meets. Sheffield is fortunate that there are few areas that do not have historic distinctive buildings. There is heritage round almost every corner.


  1. Economics of Uniqueness

Sheffield shares many attributes with other cities but it is what is different about Sheffield that has to be considered. If 2 similar cities are considered by incoming investors what is it that makes the investors decide which city to pick. Sheffield has many assets and it is impossible to look at Sheffield without considering how Sheffield came into being and how it is now without looking at the wealth of historic parks, scheduled monuments, listed buildings and historic traditions within the city. From the Peak National Park to the medieval farmland that became Meersbrook Park, from ancient British Hillforts to the Art Deco Central Library the history is evident to all. Much of what shaped the Nation started in Sheffield whether it was political, religious, or manufacturing. In world terms Sheffield is a small city but in terms of how it influenced and is still influencing the world it is vast. Where would the world be without stainless steel? Sheffield’s tools built the houses, cleared the land, and developed the technology to develop much of the world. It was this push to design adapt and innovate within Sheffield that built the Technical College, the Mechanics Institute and the Art College that in turn developed into Sheffield and Hallam University with a strong emphasis on engineering , science and design.


  1. Good for the Environment.

When Jessop wing was demolished to make way for the shiny box which is the engineering block, vanity got in the way of both environmental and community heritage. The argument that knocking down a 100 year old building because a new one would be more efficient and greener doesn’t match the facts. Older buildings are greener. The materials used to build them have been made years sometimes centuries ago. It is estimated that for a new building to even break even by being energy efficient will take between 40 and 60 years to match the cost of demolition and rebuild.  A third of non degradable  landfill is from demolished buildings. But aren’t old buildings cold draughty and use more energy to keep warm? They don’t have to be. New technology and better insulation can make old buildings more energy efficient.


Butchers Works once cutlery works now apartments , gallery and workshops


Tourism is not something that Sheffield really considers from a Heritage point of view. Sheffield is the city of the Outdoors or Festivals such as Tramlines or DocFest. A lot of people enjoy these festivals and DocFest brings in people from all over the world, but people coming to visit the Industrial Archaeology or the ancient Hillforts or the magnificent Cutlers Hall? A few perhaps but compared to even smaller cities than Sheffield, the city fares badly. Looking at Sheffield there are some great assets but being realistic there needs more development in that area. We have the 2 oldest Football clubs in the world, the works where stainless steel cutlery was invented, the battlefield of one of the greatest Saxon battles, the hunting lodge of the prestigious Talbot family, the Tudor farmhouse of the Chaplin to Henry V11, and countless other historic places and buildings.   However there is no Tourism budget and funding is lacking for organisations to develop the tourism potential of the area.

  1. Regeneration

Research has proved that old buildings far from holding back innovation,  are where in general startup  and creative industries blossom. They supply cheap rented space to experiment and start new businesses.  Many businesses like the feeling of continuity an old building gives their business. Throughout Sheffield old buildings are taken over by incoming businesses , new businesses and expanding old businesses.  A look at the area round Devonshire Street and also Abbeydale road will show new retailing is evolving in these areas and the stimulus is the historic character of the area and the availability of a wide variety of suitable buildings. Likewise in the Shalesmoor and Neepsend area new and innovative manufacturing businesses are developing. And there are the older existing businesses, some which stretch back 300 years. If we tore out these older buildings we could be in danger of tearing out our economic heart

Central Library

  1. Livability

That is the quality of an area that makes people want to live and work in the area. In Sheffield there is a higher percentage of graduates who stay after their studies are over than other University towns. A quick sample of historic buildings found that around 50% of new businesses started in old buildings were started by University graduates. In Manchester the city centre changed by redevelopment of old industrial buildings for the middle to higher priced apartments. Older buildings do not require the same amount of money to convert as it costs to build new. They also create an area with a distinctive character.


The problem that we have in Sheffield besides underfunding is the lack of data, and with that no strategic planning in relation to our historic areas in the city. We do not know what the economic impact of restoring buildings is compared with redeveloping the area. We do not know how many businesses rely on our old buildings. We have no assessment of an area’s viability or how our old buildings , parks waterways and woodlands relate to either our mental well being, the commercial viability or the environmental impact and yet the Government wants us to say where new housing should go.  The present austerity measures and planning laws are creating problems in funding our parks, museums and heritage buildings and pushing the planning authorities to make quick decisions without any knowledge of what a decision may do to future regeneration plans or to the community that lives and works within the city.


So 2015 has been a year of looking at the research from elsewhere on these matters and of talking to experts and concerned people. I have written articles, did a radio interview and even given a speech. Timewalk has worked together with a consortium of heritage groups and as a consequence in April we will have a Heritage conference, and later Timewalk is working with Hillborough Fest a new exciting cultural festival. Timewalk’s aim is to continue promoting Sheffield’s heritage but to work together to setting out a plan with as many organisations as possible to put forward Sheffield’s view of how Sheffield’s heritage should progress.  Endcliffe-Hall---Sheffield

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.


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.






Sheffield, City of Heritage and Culture

Wincobank Hill viewSheffield is known as the city of steel but when people visit Sheffield they find there is a lotDSCF3153 more than that.

Sheffield still makes a lot of steel. There have been metalworkers in the area since pre-Roman times. On either side within Sheffield stand Iron age Forts. Carl Wark and Wincobank. WIncobank is described as probably the most significant iron age fort in the UK.

DSCF3858There is literally heritage round every corner. So many buildings not only significant to DSCF5110Sheffield but to the world. Yet Sheffield has taken a long time to realise that people might be interested in the place where Mary Queen of Scots was incarcerated for 13 years of her life. The place that spawned 2 bishop brothers, and the founders of Newfoundland. Where the King of Wessex and Mercia signed a treaty with the King of Northumbria. There are Saxon crosses, medieval churches, fine Georgian Buildings, grand Victorian Buildings and classic Art Deco. From Ring and Cup markings of the ancient Britons to the Edwardian magnificence of Sheffield University’s Western Bank all within the city’s boundaries

???????????????There are 180 woods in Sheffield, 80 of which are classed as heritage woodlands. There are DSCF6061 (2)4 scheduled ancient monuments, 15 local nature reserves, and 6 sites of scientific interest within Sheffield and part of the Peaks National Park lies within Sheffield’s boundary. Sheffield has 80 public parks and 650 other green and open spaces. It is not difficult to find a park wherever you are in Sheffield.

DSCF5931 Sheffield is not a museum. Many old buildings survived the onward march of technology by being readapted or even a complete change of use. The oldPortland Works sign works make great accommodation for students or offices,  whereas other works  continue in the way they always have done  as multi-use workshops though there may be bands rehearsal rooms,  recording studios and artists workshops amongst the cutler, and the electroplater.

The reputation the Made in Sheffield label throughout the world, has meant that Sheffield has more artists and craft workers proportionally than anywhere ????????????????else in the UK. Sheffield has more theatres, more amateur acting groups, more musicians and more recording studios than anywhere outside London but given the size of Sheffield it means also a larger number of the population are involved in creative arts than anywhere else in the UK. There are always a wide range of art exhibitions opening, Plenty of live music and some high class concerts and plays. Theatres range from the tiny Victorian Lantern Theatre to the more Brutalist style of the Crucible but all share the same high quality of performances.

DSCF6628The visitor can immerse themselves in Sheffield’s history. They can book in at a historic hotel, have a meal in an old steel works, go back to Georgian times at Abbeydale hamlet, climb the heights of Wincobank Hill or walk through ancient woods. They can stand in the DSCF6763banqueting Tower of Manor Lodge and imagine the presence of Mary Queen of Scots, sit in Carbrook Hall  and imagine you are Colonel Bright and the Parliamentary forces discussing strategy. Or walk through the little tudor/Jacobean farmhouse called Bishops House and imagine the families that lived there for nearly 500 years.  Visit the many galleries and workshops in renovated works. Walk the grand General Cemetery and hear stories of  the residents.Tamper Sellers wheel Join one of the many activities in the ancient Cathedral or sit back and enjoy a concert at the magnificent City Hall, or enjoy the Victorian DSCF7243opulence of the Lyceum Theatre. The list is almost endless. Museums such as the tiny one at Handsworth Vicarage to the Grand Weston Park, from ancient Shepherd’s Wheel to Kelham Island and the amazing National Emergency Services Museum. All  unique to Sheffield.

Sheffield is a city of diverse cultures which means there is a wide diversity of restaurants and food shops. One of the places for a wide DSCF4780Eggs Bendict Tamperrange of food is London Road which has a high number of Chinese restaurants but has also been joined by other countries cuisine. There is also  high cuisine in a variety of restaurants in historic buildings using local farm produce from within Sheffield’s boundaries.  Sheffield is  world famous for its independent breweries such as  Kelham Island Brewery and the Fat Cat pub.

DSCF6352DSCF7029It is impossible to be in Sheffield and not see its history.. To find out more visit Timewalk’s website, or Facebook Page.   ???????????????                             http://timewalk.btck.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/TimeWalkProject


Sheffield Castle                                                

Mary arrived at Sheffield Castle on Nov 28 1570 age 28 having travelled from Chatsworth. It would be 14 long years before she left Sheffield. The Castle would always be her main prison as it was the most secure being a 300 year old medieval castle built on bedrock and surrounded by the Don and the Sheaf. George Talbot had been requesting a move to Sheffield from early into his custodianship of Mary. He had been unsettled by proposed escape attempts and plots to put Mary on the throne of England.

Within 6 months of arriving in Sheffield, the Ridolfi plot was hatched but  Sir Frances Walsingham, discovered the plot and the ringleaders executed, The main beneficiaries were the Duke of Norfolk who was subsequently executed and Mary, who thanks to Elizabeth, was spared the axe. However, George Talbot was given new instructions on how to look after Mary.

Her entourage was to be reduced from 40 to 15 and her quarters reduced in size. She had to give 1 hours notice to leave her quarters for basic exercise. This severe confinement would go on for year in, year out with only brief remission periods much to detriment of Mary’s health.

Mary was very closely guarded-in fact George Talbot paid for an extra 40 soldiers out of his own pocket after the Ridolfi plot had been discovered. Mary disliked the guards intensely especially as they changed them at 5 am in the morning and beat the drums very close to her bedroom door. She did not go to bed until about 1 am in the morning.

It was always intended to go to Sheffield Manor Lodge and this commenced in April 1573. The Castle and the Lodge were linked by a beautiful avenue of walnut trees which arched over allowing no daylight through but more importantly no rain to penetrate. This was most important as when “sweetening” i.e. cleansing took place the artefacts did not get wet. Sweetening was  the most important reason why Mary was moved from place to place. Whilst based in Sheffield, she visited Chatsworth on 7 occasions, Buxton 7 times and Worksop Manor twice.  They would go for a month or two at a time and come back to base Sheffield either the Castle or Manor Lodge. From 1573, Manor Lodge was used every year until 1584 apart from 1575 when they went direct to Chatsworth from the Castle.


Over the years her entourage of people was allowed to build back up from the 15 in 1572 back up to over 40. These comprised of her doctor, apothecary, food taster, cook, head of her household, grooms etc. It was a completely separate household to the Shrewsbury one. The remit to hold her was she was to be kept in custody in the manner of a Queen. Her meals were 16 course meals 4 times a day-buffet style with choice of fish, meat, venison, rabbit etc. The cost of keeping her was over £12,000 p.a. and George Talbot’s allowance was £2,700 p.a. and even that was paid infrequently. In today’s money that is over £2 million pounds p.a. shortfall for 15 years nearly taking George Talbot to the verge of bankruptcy. George’s other problem was that he was virtually a prisoner as Mary. Not allowed out by Elizabeth unless he took Mary with him which was a major logistical exercise. His only trip to Court was for the Duke of Norfolk’s trial in 1572- His sons had to conduct his day to day affairs. No wonder George’s health suffered.

MARY’S GENERAL DAY TO DAY LIFE IN SHEFFIELD                                                                         Mary was almost 6 feet in height and considered one of the great beauties of Europe. She had a flawless complexion probably helped by her allowance of 2 barrels of white wine per month. As well as drinking it, much to George Talbot’s annoyance she bathed and washed in wine.

Mary Queen of Scots

Her everyday life was very restricted as she was kept in such close confinement. She read books and wrote many letters. It has been calculated she wrote over 2,000 letters in her captivity and that figure does not include the intrigue letters she smuggled out to France and Spain.  Her other main occupation was embroidery. Many of the embroideries have survived.

Her riding, which was her favourite sport, was severely restricted but in some of the less severe parts of her captivity she would have been allowed out riding within the park together with an armed escort!

Her health suffered during the captivity mainly being in her “wretched prison” Sheffield Castle with its damp, cold, dark and smelly rooms causing rheumatism and arthritis. By 1581, she could hardly walk and had to be supported either side by someone if she did try to walk. She had to be carried room to room in a sedan chair. A request was put in for a carriage to take her around the park which was subsequently granted.

In 1584, George Talbot’s health declined and arrangements were made for Mary to be moved. When Mary left Sheffield in 1584, she was a premature middle aged to elderly lady. She wore wigs and underneath was just wispy grey hair. She had got very plump, with excessive meals and lack of exercise. Being hardly able to walk, this was a completely different Mary who had arrived in Sheffield in 1570. Within 2 years of leaving Sheffield, Mary had become embroiled in the Babington plot and was executed for high treason at Fotheringhay in feb 1587 age 44

Sheffield Castle,  and Sheffield Manor Lodge form the part of a a unique piece of Tudor history and more importantly should always be remembered as a very special part in the story of one of the most romantic and tragic figures in British History

Manor Lodge Tower

David Templeman