Sneak a peek behind scenes of historic South Yorkshire buidings

Sheffield University is offering free tours of Firth Court.
Sheffield University is offering free tours of Firth Court.
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Historic buildings across South Yorkshire are preparing to throw open their doors for the return of a national heritage event.

Heritage Open Days – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – sees historical landmarks not normally open to the public, or which usually charge for admission, open their doors to the public for free.

Sheffield Town Hall

Sheffield Town Hall

The annual celebration of England’s architecture and culture involves museums, churches and listed buildings offering access, tours and more from Thursday to Sunday, September 11 to 14.

Among the events in Sheffield, people can take tours of Wardsend Cemetery or the Grade II*-lised Park Hill estate or visit the roof of Sheffield Hallam University’s Owen building for a view across the city.

A university spokesman said: “Sheffield Hallam sits in the heart of the city centre.

“Heritage Open Days offers the university the chance to take the general public for the first time on a guided tour of our Owen Building rooftop.

Stock pictures: City hall

Stock pictures: City hall

“It is truly one of best views of this remarkable city and its iconic buildings.”

Sheffield University is offering guided tours of its students’ union and Grade II-listed Firth Court building, with visits to the Chancellor’s room and Firth Hall.

Elsewhere. its medical school, based at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, is hosting an exhibition called World War One – Sheffield cares for the wounded, outlining the work of city medics during the conflict.

Sue Cresswell, from the university, said: “The university was founded in 1905 and its earlier heritage dates back to 1828 through the Sheffield School of Medicine, so it has an incredibly diverse and compelling history which can be uniquely exhibited to members of the public through Heritage Open Days.

Heritage open days logo

Heritage open days logo

“During this year’s open days, the university is inviting members of the public to visit three of its landmark buildings to discover how our students, scientists and medics have had a positive impact on the city of Sheffield as well as throughout the world.”

Guided tours are also available of Sheffield City Hall and the Grade I-listed Sheffield Town Hall, while Sheffield Cathedral, another of the city’s Grade I-listed buildings, is holding a heritage open day on the Saturday, featuring family tours, children’s activities and more.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, pictured left, said: “There are more than 30 fascinating buildings open to the public across the city during the Heritage Open Days – many of which have limited access at other times of the year.

“Some of the tours have a topical World War One theme, but all will appeal to a range of ages and interests, so I encourage everyone interested in Sheffield’s history to check out the great buildings and tours that are on offer.”

In Rotherham borough, buildings including St Helen’s Church in Treeton and Holy Trinity Church in Wentworth are opening their doors, while in Barnsley, Hoylandswaine Nail Forge, Wortley Top Forge and Monk Bretton Priory are among the places taking part.

In Doncaster borough, the Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery are leading a railways and railwaymen tour of the graveyard, featuring stories of ‘some of the many folk who worked and sometimes died on the railway’.

And visitors to Cusworth Hall Museum are invited to join guided tours of the Grade I-listed Georgian country house.

* For further details, including opening times and booking details, visit