People needed to help uncover stories of Yorkshire’s industrial past and communities

  • New app is giving the public a chance to delve into the history of north Sheffield while maintaining social distancing, keeping active or without leaving their own homes
  • Project is inviting people from Kelham Island, Netherthorpe, Upperthorpe and Neepsend to share their own photos or stories of their neighbourhood’s past
  • World renowned during the Industrial Revolution, Kelham Island was home to Sheffield’s famous steelworks, with the surrounding areas of Netherthorpe, Upperthorpe and Neepsend also providing housing and amenities to workers and their families
  • Initiative aims to support and empower communities through a platform to share untold stories of their heritage and expand on the story of Sheffield

A painting of Osborn Mushet Works

A new app that is inviting people to help uncover the history behind one of Yorkshire’s oldest industrial areas by submitting photos and stories of the landmarks that matter to them, has been launched this week.

The project, which sees archaeologists working with local community groups and heritage organisations, enables people to delve into the history of north Sheffield while maintaining social distancing, keeping active or even without leaving their own homes.

The app can be accessed through a web browser so people can log on and submit their own photos and stories from anywhere using a mobile device, tablet or laptop.

Once a beating heart of industry with trade links to as far away as North America during the Industrial Revolution, the Kelham Island quarter of Sheffield was home to the city’s world famous steelworks, factories and workshops. The surrounding areas of Netherthorpe, Upperthorpe and Neepsend also offered housing and amenities to thousands of workers and their families, as they still do today. More recently, these areas have also welcomed new communities from all over the world.

A photo of pupils and teachers from St Josephs School in Sheffield

Renowned for the quality of its products, steel manufactured in and around Sheffield’s Kelham Island ensured ‘Made in Sheffield’ became a mark of craftsmanship known worldwide.

Now, the new project is giving people a chance to explore the heritage behind the buildings and objects that remain throughout Kelham Island, Netherthorpe, Upperthorpe and Neepsend.

With lots of history still to uncover in each area, the project is inviting people from each area to share their own photos and stories of heritage in their neighbourhood that is important to them.

Dr Lizzy Craig-Atkins from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology said: “By contributing to our interactive Roots and Futures app, the people of Sheffield can help us explore the heritage of Neepsend, Netherthorpe, Upperthorpe and Kelham Island. We want to know more about the standing buildings, surviving objects and stories of the past that matter to you, so we can collaborate to expand the story of the city.”

A photo of the remains of Wharncliffe Works in Kelham Island

The app, named Roots and Futures, has been launched as part of a partnership between archaeologists at the University of Sheffield, Zest Community Centre, Kelham Island and Neepsend Community Alliance, and Kelham Island Museum. The app itself was created in partnership with ECUS Ltd.

The project is aiming to support and empower communities throughout Kelham Island, Netherthorpe, Upperthorpe and Neepsend by giving people from the areas a platform to share the heritage and cultural identities connected to the neighbourhoods.

Results from the project could also inspire future research into the areas’ heritage for the benefit of Zest, Kelham Island and Neepsend Community Alliance, Kelham Island Museum and the communities they serve.

For more information on Roots and Futures, including how to access or contribute to the project, visit:

Additional information

Archaeology at the University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology is one of the world’s best for teaching and research in archaeology, according to the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020.

With an international community of archaeologists committed to exploring the past in order to benefit our future, Sheffield’s unique approach to archaeological teaching and research draws upon the integrated strengths of the humanities, natural and physical sciences.

Sheffield has one of Europe’s most respected archaeology departments. It combines global partnerships with local communities to produce world-leading research which has a real and positive impact.

The University is renowned for its teaching and research in archaeology in the fields of Prehistoric Europe, Classical Antiquity, Medieval and Post-Medieval Britain, Landscape Archaeology and Funerary Archaeology, Material Culture Studies, Bioarchaeology and the Archaeology of the Mediterranean.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852