Retro: Community project to tell story of city suburb

Flory with her daughter Evelyn outside her shop at Providence Road, Walkley.
Flory with her daughter Evelyn outside her shop at Providence Road, Walkley.
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A Walkley history group has won £69,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project telling the story of the suburb.

The project, Walkley: Stories from the Streets, will be led by community volunteers working with the Walkley Historians group who have won the funding bid.

The project focuses on the Victorian history of Walkley’s streets, the colourful stories of residents and the life of local institutions.

The three-year project will begin with a launch event on February 24 at 7pm at St Mary’s Community Hall.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will enable residents of Walkley to engage with their Victorian history through training in local history research, creative workshops and storytelling events.

There will be also be opportunities to present researched history in exhibitions, a book and a heritage trail.

Walkley as a hillside of fields, woods, farmhouses and country lanes has existed for hundreds of years.

Modern Walkley grew in the middle of the 19th century, driven by the rapid expansion of Sheffield as an industrial city.

Little estates of a few streets appeared among the fields, laid out by Land Societies which aimed to give working people the chance to own property, providing benefits such as voting rights and other advantages.

The farmland shrank as more estates were founded and the new residents on the hillside needed services such as schools, shops, doctors, churches and burial grounds.

Places of entertainment and self-improvement appeared, including pubs, sports clubs, billiard halls, a cinema, horticultural societies, political and social organisations.

New streets were built to connect Walkley to Sheffield and other growing suburbs.

By the 20th century Walkley had become a fully urban landscape and continued to change and develop.

David Clark, chair of Walkley Historians, said: “We are excited to have received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident that the project will engage Walkley residents, past and present, in the heritage of their community.”