Sheffield, from its beginnings as a small market town through to today, is a city with an international reputation for industry, commerce and sport steeped in history. It has a heritage to be proud of and envied by many. Heritage can be seen as a series of stepping stones to where we are today, but sadly we don’t make the most of ourselves in comparison to our noisy neighbours like Bradford, Leeds and Manchester.
Joined up Heritage Sheffield is an organisation chaired by Jon Bradley and launched in October 2017 with a major aim of making sure our heritage is celebrated locally, regionally and nationally. A broad range of organisations and individuals representing Sheffield’s very diverse heritage sector have come together to explore ways to develop a better resourced, better connected and better communicated heritage offer to a wide range of audiences.
Heritage is big business, with over 75 per cent of adults visiting historical sites, and it is estimated that it is responsible for putting £20.6 billion into the UK economy. Tourism is a growing industry, and Sheffield must take full advantage of its history and reputation. History alongside modern settings make desirable places for people to live and work, also attracting industries and start-ups. Preserving our heritage and historical sites also prevents the growth of identical, concrete cities with high rise flats and modern, bland architecture.
Joined up Heritage Sheffield brings together heritage partners or stakeholders in a co-ordinated and strategic fashion. Funds are limited but application has been made to the Charities Commission. The city’s heritage must be promoted far and wide, and Jon and his associates will need all their passion, commitment and marketing skills to do justice to the history of Sheffield and to achieve any degree of success. However, there is plenty to celebrate including Kelham Island, Bishops’ House, the Botanical Gardens and Abbeydale Industrial Museum, as well as knife, cutlery and tool manufacturing, water power, rivers and canals. Beauchief Abbey, the General Cemetery, the Cathedral, Sheffield Castle, Manor Lodge are other examples to inspire and attract visitors.
Good communications will be vital, and Joined up Heritage Sheffield is using all means available including the website www.joinedupheritagesheffield.org.uk, newsletters, community forums, local history fairs, conferences and stakeholder (partners’) meetings to spread the message. This is a big but worthwhile challenge to ensure Sheffield’s history is not forgotten but used in a very positive way to promote it alongside the virtues a very modern city. Today’s Sheffield can be traced back through those stepping stones to its past. Clearly, Jon and his associates have plenty of heritage to join up and members of Stumperlowe Probus Club wish them success and await the results with great interest.