Open days chime with aim to promote legacy and heritage

Clare Starkie, with the Sheffield Bells behind her, which are on display at the Millennium Gallery and will be rung for this years heritage open days. Picture: Andrew Roe
Clare Starkie, with the Sheffield Bells behind her, which are on display at the Millennium Gallery and will be rung for this years heritage open days. Picture: Andrew Roe

A programme of 85 events is getting under way as part of a four-day celebration of Sheffield’s history.

Activities organised for this year’s Heritage Open Days, organised by the Sheffield Civic Trust, range from bellringing to tours of theatres and cinemas.

The 2016 campaign takes place amid continuing efforts to draw up a strategy setting out how Sheffield should look after and make the most of its heritage. This year’s event will be used as a pilot to gather data about the kind of visitors Sheffield attracts, which will then be used to help funding applications.

Open days - mostly organised by volunteers - are running until Sunday, and each venue is free to attend.

Included on the list are the Norfolk Heritage Trail, brutalist architecture at Park Hill and Trinity Church on Ecclesall Road, a look at the Iron Age hillfort in Wincobank and a wander round old Wadsley.

The story of the city will be told in three of its cemeteries, and people will be able to discover Florence Nightingale’s connection with Sheffield at Tapton Hall in Crosspool.

Industrial and craft history will on display through tours of the Hawley Tool Collection, the Cutlers’ Hall and Wortley Top Forge, while theatre and film links will be under the spotlight at the Montgomery Theatre, the Curzon cinema and the Abbeydale Picture House, which is being used regularly as a venue for concerts and movie screenings.

Dave Pickersgill, of Sheffield’s Campaign for Real Ale branch, will lead a pub heritage walk, and Broomhill Library is opening its doors for a talk about the restoration project planned there.

Tomorrow (Friday) from 6.30pm a bike ride starting at the Sheffield Tap will follow the path of bombs dropped in Sheffield’s first Zeppelin air raid in 1916, while on Sunday the history of Meersbrook Hall, in Meersbrook Park, is being celebrated from noon to 4pm with tours, creative workshops and a makers’ fair.

Heeley Development Trust and the Friends of Meersbrook Hall’s plan to refurbish the building - home to the Ruskin Museum from 1890 to 1953, and used until recently as council offices - and transform it into a community centre with workspaces, a café, a playgroup and rooms to hire.

Tours are at 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

The Meersbrook open day also represents the final event in this year’s Ruskin in Sheffield season.

Meanwhile, on Sunday in Crookes there is a ‘bustle walk’ - during which three ladies wearing bustles will walk round the suburb, followed by a chance to learn about the garments.

The open days were set to be heralded by co-ordinated bellringing as part of a national initiative, beginning with the Millennium Gallery’s Sheffield Bells, and followed by ringing at St James’s Church, Norton; St John’s, Ranmoor and St Marie’s Cathedral in the city centre.

Further bellringing sessions are to happen on Saturday and Sunday at St John’s, St Mary’s in Walkley, the Anglican Cathedral and St James’s.

n A full programme can be downloaded from or printed copies are available from the information centre on Surrey Street.