Sheffield beats Leeds and Manchester in national heritage table

Heritage Open Days at The Catholic Cathedral of St Marie.

Heritage Open Days at The Catholic Cathedral of St Marie.

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Sheffield has risen above Leeds and Manchester in a list of the cities with the best heritage assets in the country.

It rose 23 places to third in the 'core cities' table of the Heritage Index, which ranks the areas that are best at using heritage to create a distinctive identity – and which could do better.

Heritage Open Days at The University of Sheffield's Diamond building.

Heritage Open Days at The University of Sheffield's Diamond building.

The table, put together by the RSA and the Heritage Lottery Fund, combines more than 120 factors, such as historic buildings and events and activities. First of the core cities this year was Bristol and second was Liverpool.

In the list of all the UK's 325 local authority areas, Sheffield was ranked 136th.

Jon Bradley is chairman of Joined Up Sheffield, a group working to come up with a heritage strategy for the city.

He said: "The fact that Sheffield is moving up places on the RSA’s Heritage Index is to be welcomed.

Heritage Open Days at Gripple.

Heritage Open Days at Gripple.

"It reflects the better understanding of the significant heritage that the city has, not just buildings but the community culture and experiences that connect us all.

"What’s great to see in the index is how good we are at natural heritage. What’s concerning is our buildings at risk.

"What’s exciting is the potential for us to do more with the breadth of heritage we have on our doorsteps, in our neighbourhoods and in the heart of the city.

"The work of Joined up Heritage Sheffield is dedicated to driving a big strategic change in how our wonderful city's heritage is understood, delivered and experienced. We have a lot to work with and to work on to make this happen – that’s the exciting bit.”

Heritage Open Days at Aizlewood's Mill.

Heritage Open Days at Aizlewood's Mill.

Part of Sheffield's success can be put down to the growing interest in the Heritage Open Days event in September. The number of venues and attractions opening for free over the course of a set weekend has risen from 19 in 2012 to 86 this year.

Among those taking part were the Catholic Cathedral of St Marie, Aizlewood’s Mill, manufacturing firm Gripple, and the University of Sheffield’s Diamond building.

Liz Godfrey, who helps co-ordinate the event in Sheffield, said: "We know from our feedback that the event instils pride of place, that visitors come from across the city and from outside Sheffield to see places and that they suggest new places they would like to see."

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