An unusual exhibition has landed at Sheffield’s Moor Market which celebrates the places dear to the city’s residents.
‘Dear Sheffield’ – a collection of gigantic postcards featuring some of the city’s most iconic buildings as well as some of its hidden gems – was thought up by the Sheffield Society of Architects as a memorable way to mark its 125th anniversary.
Keen to produce an exhibition that would project the views of those who live in the city, the SSA sent out hundreds of cards across Sheffield asking people to submit memories, anecdotes and images of their most beloved local place, be it past or present.
A year on and 250 responses later, Sheffield architectural historian Dr Steve Parnell had the challenging job of whittling down the nominations to curate the exhibition.
Dr Parnell said: “It was an incredibly tricky job as there were so many great entries.
“I was tasked with picking out 125 places from the nominations – one for every year the SSA has been running – which were made into postcards for visitors to the exhibition to take away with them as a free souvenir.
“From the top 125 I then had to select 34 images which would be blown up into giant postcards to form the actual exhibition, with the help of Sheffield reprographics firm Pinders, and Heeley-based graphic designers Peter and Paul.
“From a practical point of view the selected images had to be high enough quality to enlarge and print, but then I selected those that were most striking or that showed a real sentiment to the city through their accompanying message.
“I also tried to represent Sheffield in all its diverse glory when picking the top 34.”
Dr Parnell told The Star he found several entries very touching, particularly that of Sheffield resident and business woman Julia Gash.
She had nominated the Ball Street Bridge in Kelham Island which she crossed everyday on her way to work for 10 years.
Julia said she chose it because she saw her first ever kingfisher on the bridge, she witnessed an eclipse there and it was also the place she was standing when her dad phoned her to say her mum had suddenly collapsed and died.
“Julia’s entry is a moving example of how people connect to places within the city,” said Dr Parnell.
“The entry of Nigel Bendle also captured my imagination. He nominated the old Sharrowvale Laundrette which he described as a meeting place, events notice board, friendly place for a catch-up and a new experience for students away from home.
“We also had some fantastic entries from Meadowhead School, including Luke Harwood who created a collage of a Sheffield street where he likes to skateboard, and Alfie Golland who chose the Record Collector in Broomhill as he loves music.”
Popular buildings included the city’s iconic Park Hill Flats, the former Henderson’s Relish factory and the General Cemetery.
So as an expert on the city’s architecture what is Sheffield’s best bit, according to Dr Parnell?
“I actually nominated Gleadless Valley – I think it’s a much overlooked part of Sheffield that gets press for the wrong reasons.
“It’s a stunning example of post-war architecture.”
Exhibition on the move
The free Dear Sheffield exhibition can be seen at The Moor Market until July 31.
In September the giant postcard collection will appear at Sheffield Hallam University’s Institute of Arts before being moved to The Arts Tower at Sheffield University in October.
The exhibition has been created by the people of Sheffield, for the people of Sheffield and Dr Steve Parnell said the Sheffield Society of Architects is eager that it reach as many residents as possible.
He said: “Having launched the exhibition at The Millennium Galleries we are now keen to house it in places where it will reach a cross section of people and especially those that wouldn’t normally visit an architectural exhibition.
“We are still looking for places that would like to feature the exhibition and we would particularly like to see it shown in community centres or libraries.”
Those interested in housing the exhibition should contact Emma England on 0113 389 9870, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.