Heritage Open Days 2017
- , 2017
Four days to explore heritage treasures across the city: go, go, go!Visit site
That church you pass on your way to work with the fascinating stained glass window. Those repurposed cutlery works whose history you've often wondered about. The civic building whose architectural features always catch your eye. Chances are you'll be able to get inside each and satisfy your curiosity during Heritage Open Days.
Each September, doors to cultural treasures open all over the country for four days of free heritage exploration, led by local experts and volunteers. With guided tours of everything from former steelworks to cemeteries, and open doors at libraries, churches and factories: there's always loads going on across Sheffield for Heritage Open Days.
As Louise Watt, one of the Sheffield Heritage Open Days coordinators, puts it: "it's a real people's festival" this year, with events everywhere from Attercliffe to Abbeydale, Pitsmoor to Penistone. See our top picks below, and find more in the Sheffield Heritage Open Days programme.
Wentworth Pewter Factory Tour and Talk
There's only a handful of pewter companies left in the UK, and Wentworth is one of them. Established in 1946, the company continues to work with traditional techniques that have been around since the days metalwork made Sheffield internationally famous – putting them to use to create modern designs. Visit the factory in Darnall to see how these craftspeople work, and even have a go yourself.
Thursday 9:30am-3:30pm / Friday-Sunday 9:30am-12pm
Monarch Works, Catley Road, S9 5JF
Natural Heritage Bat Walk
Spend an evening with our nocturnal friends as they flit and forage by the River Sheaf. Members of South Yorkshire Bat Group will help you locate and identify bats with detecting kit. Bring a torch!
Thursday 7:30pm – book now: [email protected]
Millhouses Park, Abbeydale Road South, S7 2QQ
Lantern Theatre History
The oldest, smallest and possibly most charming theatre in Sheffield, the Lantern was built in 1893 for private use by cutlery manufacturer William Webster. It was abandoned in the 1920s and stood empty for years, until local actor Dilys Guite came along to restore it – 2017 marks 60 years since it opened to the public. Take a peek behind the scenes and back through the Lantern's history.
Friday 12-6pm / Saturday & Sunday 10am-3pm
18 Kenwood Park Road, S7 1NF
Sheffield Pub Heritage Walk
Our city isn't short on excellent historic pubs, and this tour will take you to some of its best. Starting at Fagan's, you'll head to some of the drinking holes featured in CAMRA's Yorkshire's Real Heritage Pubs book, plus a few others with beautiful interiors – with opportunity to sup a half or two along the way, of course. Stops include Dog and Partridge, The Grapes, The Red Deer and Bloo88, and The Bath Hotel. You might also want to head to the Sheffield Tap in your own time, where they're serving a specially brewed Heritage Open Days beer.
Friday – book now: 2:30pm / 5:30pm
Meet: Fagans, 69 Broad Lane, S1 4BS
Sheffield's best night out on two wheels: the Friday Night Ride returns. Join in the cycle tour of "beauties of Pitsmoor" past and present – from the heights of Parkwood Springs to the site of mediaeval ore pits to the spot that, in the 60s, was home to Peter Stringfellow’s King Mojo nightclub, a converted house that served coffee rather than booze and brought the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ike and Tina Turner, and Jimi Hendrix to town.
Friday 6pm (for 6:30pm start)
Meet: Sheffield Tap, Sheaf Street, S1 2BP
Wincobank Victorian Chapel and Iron Age Hillfort
Mary Anne Rawson of Wincobank Hall was one of the 19th century's leading anti-slavery campaigners. It may come as a surprise, then, to know that until recently the grave of this hugely overlooked figure and her notable family was hidden by undergrowth in a forgotten Attercliffe cemetery. Find out all about the family, as well as life in a Victorian and Edwardian household and local archaeological finds, on a visit to this chapel. Friends of Wincobank Hill will also be leading hour-long walks through ancient woodland to the Iron Age Hillfort that overlooks Sheffield and the Don Valley.
Saturday 10am-4pm – walks at 11am, 1pm, 3pm
Upper Wincobank Chapel, Wincobank Avenue, S5 6BB
If you'd also like to explore the Zion Graveyard, where Rawson and her family's vault was discovered, as well as other historical sites, join A Walk Round Attercliffe on Thursday, 10am.
And you can help the Friends of Zion Graveyard buy and protect the spot by donating to their crowdfunding campaign.
Trinity URC Church
Brutalism tends to divide people, and this 1970s concrete church is no exception. Built into the side of a cliff overlooking Hunter's Bar roundabout, the Trinity is a foreboding but captivating presence. Take a look inside and hear about some of the people behind the building in a talk by Professor Clyde Binfield.
Saturday 10am-5pm, talk 2:30pm
737A Ecclesall Road, S11 8TG
An Open Ground
Bloc Projects is a fantastic contemporary art gallery, housed in a Victorian factory building. Working with artist Peter Martin and people based in the area, Bloc is recording, mapping and celebrating the heritage of the streets surrounding the gallery. On Saturday, Bloc is hosting a do to launch the resulting exhibition and website, An Open Ground, with street food stalls, music, local artists' work and historian-led tours of the area.
71 Eyre Lane, S1 4RB
Experiencing the Architecture of Flockton: a Guided Walk
Led by Sheffield Society of Architects, this 2.5/3-mile walk will shed light on some of Sheffield city centre's architectural heritage – specifically, the buildings created by the Flockton practice in the 19th and 20th centuries. Starting at King Edward VII School and ending at the Head of Steam, it'll visit Flockton buildings that are still in use or that have been altered over the years.
Sunday – book now: 10:30am / 2:30pm
Meet: enhance to King Edward VII School, Glossop Road, S10 2PW
Explore the Flockton Archive further with an exhibition of drawings and artefacts at La Biblioteka – open Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 12-4pm. The indie bookshop is based in Laycock House, designed by Flockton & Gibbs over 120 years ago and currently facing an uncertain future despite its irreplaceable heritage and aesthetic value.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
This 19-acre "garden of surprise" is joining in the Heritage Open Days fun for the first time this year. Head out on a history tour, enjoy an illustrated talk on the gardens' creation, hunt down some of its secrets on a family trail, or just pick up plants and books to take home from one of the stalls.
Sunday 11am-3pm – guided history tour 11:30pm, illustrated talk 2pm
Clarkehouse Road, S10 2LN
Drop in and join a tour around this beautiful blue-tipped mosque, looking at its architectural details as well as the many ways the building is used by the local community.
24 Wolseley Road, S8 0ZU
The birthplace of stainless steel cutlery, this Victorian factory was bought by the community in 2013. It's always worth a visit when they open the doors to the public, to hear stories of its past from people who are just as passionate about the building's present restoration work and its future.
Randall Street, S2 4SJ
Walking the Twentieth Century
The Twentieth Century Society is essentially a fan club for British architecture and design from 1914 onwards. It aims to protect this era of our architectural heritage, and to encourage others to appreciate it too. Join them for a leisurely stroll around some lesser-known examples of 20th century architecture in Sheffield.
Sunday 2-4pm – book now: [email protected]
Meet: Showroom Cafe, 15 Paternoster Row, S1 2BX
Sheffield Football Heritage Walking Tour
Sheffield can rightly lay claim to being a football city. It's home to the first and oldest club, as well as the oldest football trophy, and a bunch of the rules of the game as we now know it were established here. Starting at the Crucible, the site of the old Adelphi Hotel – where Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Sheffield Football Association were founded – this tour will take you to key spots in the city's football story.
Sunday 2-3:30pm – book now: [email protected]
Meet: outside main entrance to Crucible Theatre, 55 Norfolk Street, S1 1DA
Photo: Sheffield Botanical Gardens.