Favourite Things: Remembering heritage to make sense of the past

Richard Godley is project manager for a two-year project to mark the 75th anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 9:00 am
Richard Godley is the project manager for the Sheffield Blitz 75th commemorations. A new drive for funds is happening, and Richard is a big fan of the Emergency Services Museum where a permanent Sheffield Blitz exhibition will eventually be sited. He has written this week's Favourite Things feature for the Sheffield Telegraph and one of his choices is the museum.

The far-reaching piece of work aims to leave a legacy to educate present and future generations on the impact of the city-wide bombings of December 1940 that left near 10 per cent of the city homeless and hundreds dead and injured.

Though Sheffield Blitz 75th has received a Heritage Lottery Grant, the plans are reliant on the group raising another 50 per cent of funds.

Schools across the city are about to embark on their own fundraising and scores of local people have donated in the past few months.

Central to the plans is the Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail – up to 14 sites around the city centre have been earmarked for the installation of permanent plaques.

Volunteers will soon be embarking on work recording survivors of the attacks.

There is also set to be a book, website and more.

From an early age Richard was involved in countryside management and farming. His career has involved many aspects of the environment, from countryside management in the public and private sector, waste management, sustainable development to interpretation, event management and rights of way and countryside access.

Richard, aged 50, lives with his partner, Lisa, in Renishaw.

National Emergency

Services Museum

The former Sheffield Fire And Police Museum holds probably the best collection of Blitz-related artefacts you’ll find in the area – and there’s not that many at the present time, unless you visit South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum in Doncaster where there’s a permanent exhibition. The National Emergency Services Museum holds vehicles, an Anderson Shelter and a lot more. It’s a great place, with incredible history, run by volunteers. It’s also a great place for kids. Where else could you get a ride in a fire engine? It’s also going to be the home of a permanent exhibition to the Sheffield Blitz which we’ll be doing in the coming months.

Moor Market

We held a Blitz anniversary event in here in December and it really was a great space. It has a lot of scope as a building and it would be good to see it used more in the evening.

Nonnas Ecclesall Road

I’m a very big fan of Italian cuisine and they don’t come much better than this place – especially now they’ve had the refit. I love the concept running at the moment whereby the chefs are doing a north-to-south tour of the country with specials from each region that change each month. I’m also a regular at Marco @ Milano and Bella Donna in Renishaw.

Grenoside Reading Room

I was lucky to be one of the team that helped restore the only listed building in the Grenoside area. Originally opened as a school around 1789, one of its main aims was to educate poor children. It is now a Heritage Centre thanks to lottery funding. It has a busy events programme and has become a popular focal point for the Grenoside area.

Renishaw Hall

I can remember many happy times walking around the estate with my dad watching wildlife on the lakes and fields. I used to visit Eckington Woods with the old estate manager, Peter Hollingworth, who’d tell me everything from who planted certain individual trees to how the estate was managed. I remember going to the lakes with them in 1976 to see a bird – a bittern – that was on the edge of existence then but now in a better position thanks to great conservation works by various bodies.

Kelham Island Museum and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

I’m fascinated by the industrial history of the Sheffield area, especially that related to the past 200 to 300 years that links to the industrial revolution and the steel/iron trade. I have total admiration for families that made the move from rural society to heavy industry during those periods. Both Kelham Island Industrial Museum and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet bring this history to life so well. I never get bored of visiting them.

Sheffield Canal

I’ve always been interested in this early piece of engineering. It opened in 1819 and attracted crowds estimated at 60,000 watching 10 boats arriving from Tinsley! Within the party was a barge of coal from Handsworth Colliery – the first cargo to go down the canal.


This is long gone, but the rock nightspot was a favourite haunt of mine in years gone by. Seven (if my memory serves me correct) flights of stairs to get you to the top of Castle Market to hear heavy metal until 2am via cans of Red Stripe and bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale. Bliss!