Take a walk through historic Walkley as Victorian fair returns to Sheffield for its 18th year
Walkey is travelling back in time to the birth of the Sheffield suburb this weekend, as Walkley’s Victorian Fair returns to the city.
Walkley Historians have been delving into the area’s Victorian past in preparation for the fair, which launched in Walkley yesterday, and will run throughout the weekend, as part of the Walkley Festival, which has run every year for the past 18 years. The theme of this year’s event, which is run by the Walkley Community Forum, is ‘Creative Walkley Old and New.’
The first Walkley Victorian Fair on record was in 1862, featuring displays, stalls, exhibitions, and games held at venues throughout Walkley.
Historian Bill Bevan said: “Walkley really began in the 19th century and local groups are getting together this weekend to celebrate its origins with events, activities, music and traditional dancing.”
The fair launched yesterday evening with a very special ‘Night at the Music Hall’ – at the 19th century Ebenezer Hall, presented by the talented Vulcan Varieties theatre company.
Today there will be a host of activities running all day long on South Road. The fair will be opened at 10am at the Walkley House Medical Centre car park, on Greenhow Street, by Grenoside Sword Dancers and Pecsaetan Morris Dancers. The dancing groups will be making several appearances throughout the morning.
Visitors to Walkley are being encouraged to head to the Victorian craft and food market at the Greenhow Street car park and at Ebenezer Hall where there will be lots of stalls selling goods and refreshments.
Walkley Historians will also have displays of their research available in the hall for visitors to peruse.
There will be lots of workshops, for those attending to have a go at everything from traditional lace making, and traditional sword dancing, to learning to make a Victorian terrarium, or draw comics with Victorian characters.
There will also be traditional Victorian urban folk music playing live in different venues throughout the day, a Victorian Bazaar in St Mary’s Church Hall, guided walks, demonstrations of an original phonograph, and displays of Victorian Sheffield theatre posters in Walkley Library. The Library is the start for the Walkley History Mystery, a guided trail and whodunnit where you try to solve the crime of the stolen painting from Ruskin’s Walkley Museum.
Cabaret Boom Boom will be on hand blending music, circus and puppetry, to bring to life Walkley’s more interesting Victorians through a tour of Walkley Community Centre, where there will also be the launch of a specially brewed Victorian beer based on a 19th century recipe, and the return of the popular Hand-Pulled Tales storytelling event about Walkley’s pubs at Walkley Cottage.
The event is the brainchild of Walkley Historians – an independent volunteer local history group formed in 2016. The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7pm at St Mary’s Community Hall, for those interested in getting involved.
Meetings are open to all with a wide range of historical interests. In addition to the group committee, there is also a steering group which advises the historians, consisting of those with experience in history and heritage and those in positions of community leadership.
Visit walkleyhistory.wordpress.com for a full list of events and to see the official Walkley Festival programme, which is also available in venues
around the town.
Walkley Festival will run until July 7, giving residents of all ages a chance to learn a new skill. as part of this, local artists, writers and musicians are opening their studios and classes until that date for those who want to try out new creative opportunities. Murals created by young local artists will be on display on South Road throughout this time. There will also be opportunities for visitors to visit the historic Walkley Cemetery.