Community Heritage Officer at Heeley City Farm, Sheffield

Friday is for recovering

Im Sally, the Community Heritage Officer at Heeley City Farm in Sheffield. I have been in post for almost  5 years.

We started a brand new HLF project in February, its called ‘Exploring Tinsley Manor’. We are working with Wessex Archaeology and Tinsley Junior School to find out about the lost medieval Tinsley Manor House which is buried underneath the school field. We have been working with Year 5 children weekley looking at all aspects of local history (including dressing up, looking at objects writing poems, going for walks, growing crop marks, making maps….you get the idea)


Its a really interesting school  in an interesting and very historic part of Sheffield which is now a bit squashed between Meadowhall shopping centre and the M1. The majority of the children speak English as a second language, its a really loveley positive environement to work in. Even though we are mostly working with Y5 the whole school have been involved. In May all the children helped to do a resistivity survey of the field.


Then for 2 weeks at the end of June we excavated, we had 4 small trenches lots of amazing volunteers and 15 different children every half an hour for 2 weeks. It was wonderful! I think i might have enjoyed it more than the children.  We found lots of things (including a very small flint and some medieval pottery) We had visitors from the local heritage group, the local MP, a lovely local press artical. All good stuff.


This week i have been recoverning, tidying up and trying very hard to catch up with everything i have been neglecting in favor of Tinsley. Except for Tuesday when i went to Stavely Hall with a group of adults who i taught last year as part of the WEA’s Digability project.


And Wednesday when we had the wonderful Heeley Heritage Volunteers in, finds processing ceramicsphoto

Today mostly I sat here and drank tea.


I spent quite a lot of time replying to e-mails, sorting and tidying. I  also enjoyed trying to find out a bit about this mystery object.

Cannon Ball

A lovely chap brought it in on monday hoping i would be able to tell him more about it, we think its a cannon ball he has lots of contxtual information which is great. Its one of the nice bits of my job that people quite often bring me interesting things, if anyone has any suggestions about this one i would be glad. I know nothing about cannon balls….yet.

The rest of the day have quite a bit of chatting in it, and some breaks to do a bit of office decorating and unscruffing. And then I sorted out part of what we are going to be doing for this years Heritage Open Days in September.

Looking forward to the weekend.


Community Heritage at Heeley City Farm

I am the Community Heritage Officer at Heeley City Farm in Sheffield.

We are running a Community Excavation ‘Life at No.57: The Sheffield Terraced House Dig’, its part of the CBA Festival for British Archaeology. Today is Day 14 of 16 days of excavation. It is a community dig run in partnership with the University of Sheffield but with lots of volunteers of all sorts and ages. The project really wouldn’t be possible without our amazing volunteers who are doing everything from keeping the finds room under control to supervising the trenches and keeping me organised. The Dig is free and open to everyone.

My Day started with a live phone interview with BBC Radio Sheffield to promote the Dig, my phone contribution was part of a large piece which had been record on site the day before with interviews with Dr Roger Doonan from the University of Sheffield, Megan and Morgan two 10 year old volunteers on their first dig and Joseph one of our volunteer supervisors who began his career in Archaeology through the Sheffield YAC (Young Archaeologists Club) and who is now just waiting for his A-Level results, we all have our fingers crossed for him as he wants to take up his university place to study Archaeology. We talked about why we are excavating 3 Victorian terraced houses on a city farm, who lived in them what we have found and who has taken part so far.

Radio Interview

During the interview a lady living in rang the radio station, she lives in Hampshire and had been listening on-line as she used to live in Sheffield, it turns out that she lived on the very street we are excavating! The houses were all demolished in the 1970’s and she lived there as a child just before they were pulled down. The BBC producer passed on my number to her and we had a lovely chat, she is going to e-mail me her memories of the street.

When I began work on site the volunteers had already started and our 3 trenches were going very well. We have 3 large trenches, Trench A has the front wall of No.50 Richards Road, Trench B has the front cellars of No.52 and 54 Richards Road and a passage into the back yards, the biggest trench , trench C has the back yards of 4 houses and an outhouse.

This is the third year of this project and its getting better each year, this year we have been looking for evidence of light trades and home-working, trades such as button-making and handle-finishing, we have found evidence of this in previous years. Our work will be supported this year by an exhibition all about trades in Heeley 100 years ago at Kelham Island Museum.

I spent most of the Day supervising volunteers and the trenches. Today we had about 40? volunteers or visitors to the site (it might be more, not had time to add everyone up yet) all the children are getting credit for their involvement through the Children’s University so i spend some time registering people for this.

We had a visit from a local Heritage Photographer who is artist in residence at the moment in the Archaeology Department at Sheffield University he took lots of lovely photos of people at work in the trenches as well as a few of our reconstructed Iron Age Roundhouse which happens to be in the same field as the trenches.

We finished and packed up at 4, I said some sad goodbyes to volunteers digging for their last day, tidied and locked up up our finds room and came to do some paper work.

I’m working on getting ready for a lovely new storytelling project next week, a summer holiday week of activities built around a historical mystery with lots of trips out for 9 to 11 year old’s.

Community Heritage always involves doing at least 3 projects at once. its now 5.30 and I’m going to walk home for my tea.