PAUL Testa’s favourite neighbourhood building is the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hillsborough.
“I don’t go in there,” he admits. “But it’s just this incredibly elegant architectural gem bang in the middle of a working class area. Every time I step out my front door, it wows me.”
He thinks for a second.
“But then someone else might have that same reaction to the sports bar on Hillsborough corner.”
Such, it seems, is the democracy of opinion when it comes to the places we live.
And it is that which the Sheffield Civic Trust, of which Paul is vice-chairman, is hoping to capture in a hugely ambitious new project officially launched today.
The group are asking Sheffielders to send in pictures of their favourite neighbourhood buildings as part of a massive year-long campaign to capture the city as it is - and as its citizens like it best - in 2013. They are hoping to collect hundreds of images from Pitsmoor to Hackenthorpe, Totley Rise to Grenoside, capturing the places that put smiles on faces.
A professional photographer, Nynke Wierda of Wadsley, has already snapped the gems on this page to help kick-off the project. She will continue to take pictures all year. And so far, early nominations for favourite places have included everything from churches to chimneys, high rises to, er, The Earl Marshall pub in East Bank Road...?
“We’re fully aware people have different views of what they love about the city,” says Nynke, who herself nominated Wadsley Church. “That’s the point, to capture Sheffield from all angles.”
The images will initially be displayed on a specially built website - www.seeingsheffield.tumblr.com - with an exhibition tentatively planned for next year.
“I’m certain everyone will have a favourite,” says Paul again. “The point of this project is to get people talking about what theirs is, and to get them talking about the place they live, and the built environment in general.
“People do care about their neighbourhoods but a lot of time they don’t feel empowered enough to come forward and get involved in a discussion about its development. This project could change that.”
And afterwards? They have one eye on history too. Just imagine if someone had done something similar back in 1913...
“Exactly,” says Paul, an architect of Victor Street. “What we would now have is this amazing gallery showing exactly what Sheffield was like through the eyes of the people who lived here at the time. We’d very much like for ours to be that amazing gallery for future generations.”
To submit pictures, email email@example.com with a short description.