Old pictures bring history back to life

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The wealth of life and history in part of Sheffield is being showcased and celebrated on a new website.

Dozens of volunteers have collected thousands of photographs, film clips and spoken to past and present residents as part of the community history project, Our Broomhall.

new Our Broomhall history project. donated by Mary Roberts

new Our Broomhall history project. donated by Mary Roberts

The website – www.ourbroomhall.org.uk – has been created by volunteers based at the Broomhall Centre.

The two-year-old project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has provided skills training and work experience for more than 100 volunteers. It aims to capture and record the changing history and diverse nature of the area. Volunteers have been inundated with more than 5,000 images of Broomhall which have been digitized, while 57 people have been interviewed to share their memories of living and working in the area.

Jennie Beard, project manager, said: “We have been inundated with material, including historical photographs and memories from past and present residents, many of whom have been involved in Broomhall’s active community life over several decades.

“Our volunteers have searched old archives documents, maps and newspapers and many interesting characters have emerged we weren’t expecting.

“We discovered an historic hotbed of creativity, full of famous writers, photographers and artists.

“Broomhall, past and present, has always been a diverse neighbourhood, but, until we did our research, we didn’t realise just how much.

“The Broomhall area is named after the local 15th century house ‘Broom Hall’, on Broomhall Road, and its estate.

“It later developed and grew as an area in Georgian times and into the 19th and 20th centuries, on the edge of the city, yet a distinctive neighbourhood, with its own identity. Broomhall has experienced many changes over the years – its boundaries have constantly altered.

“The proximity to the universities, and being effectively cut in two by the ring-road, have changed its character profoundly.

“It has had its fair share of negative press in the past, but we wanted to show there is a more positive story to be told and I think we have done this successfully.”

To mark the project’s finale a special celebration event will be held at the Broomhall Centre, Broomspring Lane, on Saturday, March 21, from 5pm to 8pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Entry is free and refreshments will be served.

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