Drainspotting - a European Story



Sheffield’s Drainspotting walks have been a popular event in the Heritage Open Days calendar since 2016. Led by Calvin Payne, the walks encourage people to look and learn from the history under their feet, telling a rich but often neglected story of our social history from Victorian times.

The walks have recently won a Storyteller of the Year award from the European Heritage Days body, and Calvin has been given funding by the Council of Europe to organise and carry out a complete survey of Sheffield’s historic pavement features and furniture, tracing, counting and plotting every last piece. It is hoped that this will lead to new understanding of the city's development, and encourage an appreciation of our previously unknown history and heritage.

Inspired by the spirit of Heritage Open Days, this project will need the participation of people across the city to survey their street or neighbourhood to build the full picture, so to mark this initiative this year’s Sheffield HODs programme also includeed two launch events for people to find out more and join in.

Calvin says, ‘We  will be taking a specially close look into Sheffield's development of modern drainage and sanitation to combat cholera in the mid-19th century, the improvements in road surfaces and drainage as a result of the electric tramway in 1899, and the early days of home electricity power and telephone installations in Sheffield, through  the period of  post-war reconstruction and different eras of local government. This full survey of Sheffield’s pavements will, I hope, lead to new and indeed ground-breaking insights about our city.’

For more information about the research project or to volunteer to take part email streetheritageresearchgroup@gmail.com  For information on the launch events check www.heritageopendays.org.uk 

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