Selfies to celebrate Sheffield’s heritage

England’s largest festival of heritage and culture takes place this month with a celebration of Sheffield’s most historic buildings.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 2:29 pm
Updated Friday, 6th September 2019, 2:30 pm
Janet Ridler, Central Library

It’s the 25th anniversary of Heritage Open Days with a series of events from September 13 to 22.

There’s a chance to explore places not normally open to the public, as well as special events and behind-the-scenes tours.

We asked councillors and campaigners to take a selfie by their favourite historical place.

Liz Godfrey, Holy Trinity Church, Ecclesall

Visit for event details.

Shire Brook by Coun Mike Drabble, Heritage Champion at Sheffield Council

“The Shire Brook, a small stream rising in Gleadless Townend and flowing to Beighton and Woodhouse Mill, trickles under the cellar of the Red Lion pub.

“It’s the old border between Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Shire Brook pre-dates Sheffield as an industrial city, this gives us a really deep connection to our heritage.

Coun Penny Baker, Bishop's House

“Heritage may be where you least expect it.”

Bishop’s House – Coun Penny Baker, Leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats

“Part of our past and very much part of our present, thanks to the efforts of volunteers, Bishop’s House in Meersbrook park is a very special place for me.

“It is seeped in the history of our city and includes pieces believed to have come from Sheffield Castle, the home in the 1660s to Capt William Blythe of the John Brights Regiment of Foot who, with another Captain, was sent to knock down Sheffield Castle.

Coun Andrew Sangar, Shepherd Wheel

“My maiden name is Blythe and some years ago a relative of mine did our family tree, he believes he has made the link that makes William Blythe our direct ancestor.

“Bishop’s House is a place where we take all our family to enjoy the history, the mystery of the house and its peace and to cement the feelings of family and belonging.

“Bishop’s House is a treasure, a very special place.”

Holy Trinity Church – Liz Godfrey, Sheffield Civic Trust and Heritage Open Days co-ordinator

Coun Paul Turpin, Blackstock Road flats

“My selfie is outside the concrete Holy Trinity Church at Endcliffe. I actually like the cliff-like exterior and the inside church is interesting because it incorporates a fine example of an early 20th century church with the 1960s one. It’s a two for one church!”

Central Library – Janet Ridler, Heritage Open Days co-ordinator

“I’ve chosen the 1930s art deco Sheffield Central Library for my heritage selfie. A Grade II listed building with fabulous original interiors, it has played a huge part in the lives of many Sheffielders for over 80 years.

“It speaks to me of an age which built and valued grand civic buildings for the use of the people; the library houses not only a lending and reference library but also the Graves art gallery, the Library Theatre, the Children’s Library and the Local Studies Library.

“For many decades this building has enabled many thousands of ordinary local people to have access to books, newspapers, reference materials and information which would otherwise have been inaccessible to them; for me, weekly visits to the Junior Library as a child instilled a love of reading which has lasted a lifetime.

Today, Sheffield Central Library stands proudly alongside the Crucible and Lyceum theatres to form an iconic cultural quarter which celebrates both the written and the spoken word, and it rightly merits a special place in our city’s history and heritage.

Coun Angela Argenzio

Shepherd Wheel – Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Sangar, Fulwood ward

“Shepherd Wheel in the Porter Valley is a unique working example of Sheffield’s knife and blade grinding industry.

“It was one of dozens of small water-powered grinding workshops along Sheffield’s five rivers and is the earliest complete example of this industry with evidence dating back to the 1500s.

“In this workshop, or hull in local parlance, in damp, dark and dangerous conditions generations of skilled grinders produced sharp cutting edges.

“As water power gave way to coal power in the nineteenth century most of these small grinding workshops were redeveloped or lost. By a series of lucky accidents, Shepherd Wheel survived.

“In the early 2000s the Friends of the Porter Valley, supported by the local community, the council, and the Heritage Lottery successfully organised the restoration of the dam and the waterwheel.

“It was a privilege to be part of that effort and it was great to see the restored site reopened to the public in 2012.

“As I walk the Porter Valley, it’s great to have this surviving example of the industry which made Sheffield great.”

Blackstock Road flats – Green councillor Paul Turpin, Gleadless ward

“These iconic flats are a great landmark and, much like the cooling towers did for many people, they make me feel at home: when I see them, I know I’ll be there in a minute.

“Heritage doesn’t have to be hundreds of years old. They were built in a time of hope when our country was being reinvented. Nostalgia can reinvigorate hope!”

King Edward’s school – Green councillor Angela Argenzio, Broomhill and Sharrow Vale

“King Edward VII’s old school building on Glossop Road has a special place in my heart.

“For several years now, it has been the rehearsal space for the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, of which I am part, so the building and the hall are a place of spiritual uplift for me, a space where I can free my soul and become part of something bigger by making music with a large group of people.

“I also love this building because it has two belfries, an architectural feature more common in Northern European countries.

“I have been fascinated with it since learning the odd English expression ‘to have bats in the belfry’ in my English class when I was around 13.”

Birley Spa – Green councillor Douglas Johnson, City ward

“There’s something mysterious about this hobbit-hole in the woods that is Birley Spa; the pagan nature of the water popping out of the ground and the bizarre notion of the Victorian aristocrat and entrepreneur, the Earl Manvers, who thought he would build a hotel here.

“At that time it was just a field in Derbyshire. In 2002, Lottery funding was given to the council to refurbish it and it opened for a short time only.

“Now it looks sad. Waiting to see what will happen to it, a new Friends’ Group is campaigning to have the building from sale or destruction.”

Springvale school – Green councillor Kaltum Rivers, Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward

“Springfield school sits between Broomhill and Sharrow, and is Grade II listed.

“I am very proud that Victorian classes are hosted in this building, which is very exciting, and the fact that heritage and traditions are being taught in a great building.

“I chose this building as the structure is very beautiful and I love it when my children say it’s like a castle.

“This is a valuable heritage building to have in my ward.”

Sheffield Town Hall – Lord Mayor Tony Downing

“The Town Hall is arguably one of Sheffield’s most beautiful buildings, but because people see it every day, perhaps they take it for granted.

“As Lord Mayor, I’ve discovered a new found appreciation and love for it on so many levels, its hidden corners, the ante-room with photographs of all the Mayors who have served this city so well for so many years, and the wonderful Mayor’s Parlour of course.

“Everywhere I go, I discover something new about Sheffield and its people. That’s true of this building as well. I’d encourage everyone to come and take a look.”

Coun Douglas Johnson, Birley Spa
Lord Mayor Tony Damms, Sheffield Town Hall
Coun Mike Drabble, Shire Brook
Coun Kaltum Rivers, Springvale school