New Restorations series shines light on city's proud history through its buildings

Who doesn’t love history, interesting buildings and crafting skills?

Friday, 14th May 2021, 12:45 pm

Put them together and you have our new Restorations series. Think Grand Designs meets Repair Shop meets Who Do You Think You Are?

Each week I’ll be touring the structures that have helped shape Sheffield and are making a comeback, with a look at who built them, why they stand out and the tradespeople and entrepreneurs restoring them to future glory.

The history of this proud city is written in its buildings.

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Charles Henry Firth's initials carved in stone.

The first piece is on Riverdale House, a grand Victorian villa on the edge of Ranmoor, built for steel scion Charles Henry Firth and later occupied by J G Graves.

History fills the place and goes far beyond the expertly-made and no-expense-spared materials, features and architecture.

The Firths can be traced to legendary steel firm Forgemasters today, while J G Graves funded Graves Art Gallery and Sheffield University's Student Union and made gifts of land including Graves Park, Ecclesall Woods, Tinsley playing fields, Concord Park and Blacka Moor.

The £2m Riverdale restoration will provide employment for more than 100 skilled tradespeople before it reopens as flats next year, restoring it to its original residential use with a new and hopefully very long lease of life.

Roofer Martin Flanaghan, right. Picture Scott Merrylees

There will be similar tales to be told all across the city. Thanks to its wealthy industrial past, Sheffield has an abundance of impressive buildings. Entire suburbs like Nether Edge are stuffed with fine and historic homes.

Already we’ve had contact with the Globe Works, which has an impressive frontage on Penistone Road. Built in the 1820s for edge tool manufacturers Ibbotson & Roebank, it is thought to be the oldest and most complete purpose-built cutlery works in Sheffield. It is being renovated by former tenant by Matt Davison of Davison Property Investments.

We’ll also be featuring the revamp of the derelict Grade II-listed Old Coach House in Hillsborough Park which will become a dementia friendly cafe for Age UK.

And many more.

Carpenter Geoff Gray.

So, join me as I go through the keyhole, up the ladder and on to the scaffolding to shine a light on the love, care and vast expense going into Sheffield’s best Restorations.

John Holmes of Dorsia Homes in the dining room at Riverdale House. Picture Scott Merrylees

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Ornate stone carvings, granite mullions and restored sash windows all feature in Riverdale House.
Globe Works on Penistone Road was built in the 1820s and is thought to be the oldest and most complete purpose-built cutlery works in Sheffield.
Charles Tordoff, left, and John Holmes of Dorsia Homes, which is undertaking a £2m revamp of Riverdale House.
Carpenters and roofers have spent weeks restoring wooden fascias and leadwork at Riverdale House.