Cultural Industries

A Sheffield Guide for Introverts

Words by Grace Burr

When you close your eyes and picture Sheffield, what do you see?

The bright lights of the Crucible Theatre, these city streets filled with bustling crowds and the stereotypes of an industrialised Steel City. A world that caters to the social desires of extroverts.  Consisting of constant socialisation, consumerism and only comes alive due to the crowded nightlife.

And in some ways perhaps you’re right.

Yorkshire folk and Sheffield locals are renowned for their straight laced sense of humour, laid back demeanour and often stereotyped for a ‘funny’ accent. You could go into any Yorkshire pub and you’d be able to easily find someone willing to talk with you about literally anything.

That’s if you wanted to walk into any Yorkshire pub.


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There are a few noticeable differences between them, though it will be immediately obvious that everyone is openly talking with anyone around them.

But there’s another side to Sheffield.

If you took a walk around this Steel City through my eyes, you’d see a different perspective of Sheffield. From a quieter, more personal and introspective point of view. And while there’s no denying it, there’s some truth to be found within the stereotypes of Sheffield locals.

Sheffield Street Art

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These ideals aren’t quite as favourable to me and many of these stereotypes are just plain wrong. Within the past two decades, Sheffield has seen a lot of inward migration through people who are starting to discover our little Yorkshire county for themselves.

Which is why I’ve chosen to put together this little guide of cultural hotspots and hidden treasures within the landscape of Sheffield.

Street Art Trail- Design

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“Starting at Site Gallery, our street art trail will take you to 10 of the finest murals that dot the city centre, plus one that’s just a short bus ride away.”

The first 10 stops on this trail covers around 1.6 miles and it should take 35-50 minutes.

Street Art

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However, due to the ephemeral nature of street art, keep your eyes peeled – perhaps you’ll manage to spot even more along the way!

For more information:


National Emergency Services Museum, Old Police/Fire Station, West Bar, S3 8PT

The National Emergency Services Museum (NESM) is an independent, self-funded museum. A charity dedicated to celebrating and preserving the history of the emergency services and their communities, within peace and war. They are regularly involved in local community work, wider national and international projects as well as events all over the country.

” We are the largest combined emergency services museum in the world.”

Open Wednesday-Sunday & bank holidays 10am-4pm.

It may have surprised you to learn that the World’s largest emergency services museum is located right here in Sheffield. Only almost a stone’s throw from the city centre. And it’s an attraction of national and local importance with a charm all of its own and an established independent identity.

For more information:

Exterior of Graves Gallery

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The Graves Gallery is situated in the centre of Sheffield. It’s located above the Central Library and is in close proximity to the Millennium Gallery and both the Crucible and Lyceum Theatres.

Plan your journey to Graves Gallery using the Traveline website.

Central Libraries Interior

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There’s is public access to the gallery which operates as a non for profit with the policy of ‘Free Entry | Please Donate.’

Open Wednesday–Saturday 10–4pm. Closed 24 December– 4 January.

For more information:


Weston Park Museum, Western Bank, S10 2TP

It sits at the head of one of the prettiest green spaces in the city.

Keeping watch over blossom trees, a duck pond, a Victorian bandstand and another notable building in Sheffield: the Arts Tower. Dating back to 1937, when it opened as Sheffield City Museum and Mappin Art Gallery, the museum today traces the social history of Sheffield.

As well as leading its visitors on interesting expeditions into further parts of the world.

There’s is public access to the gallery, which operates as a non for profit with the policy of  ‘Free Entry | Please Donate.’

Open Tuesday–Friday 10am–4pm, Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 11am–5pm.

During Sheffield school holidays, open Monday–Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 11am–5pm.

Closed 24 December – 3 January.

For more information:

Millennium Galleries Exterior

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Millennium Gallery, 48 Arundel Gate, S1 2PP

“Alongside all the art and artefacts, Millennium Gallery is home to a bright café downstairs, an enticing gift shop upstairs.”

Open Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm and  Sunday 11am–5pm.

Millennium Galleries Interior

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During Sheffield school holidays: Monday–Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 11am–5pm.

Closed 24 December–4 January.

There’s is public access to the gallery which operates as a non for profit with the policy of ‘Free Entry | Please Donate’.

For more information:


National Videogame Museum, Castle House, Angel Street, S3 8LN

“We think video games are for everyone.”

Here, you can explore the history of games and how they are made, who makes them, and even why they are made. You can play them and make them. You can attend workshops to learn how they are made. You can discover careers within the UK’s fastest growing creative industry.

Find us in Castle House, Sheffield, S3 8LN. We are open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

Open term times: Friday 12-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Open school holidays: every day 10am-5pm

For more information:

Central Libraries Signs

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Sheffield Central Library, Surrey Street, S1 1XZ

Sheffield Central Library is a free to access public library in Sheffield. It houses all of the city’s library services.

Library Interior

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Within a single and the largest general lending and reference collection. As well as being the location of Graves Art Gallery, on the third floor, and housing a theatre in the basement.

Open Monday-Tuesday 9:30am-5:30pm, Wednesday 1-8pm, Thursday-Friday 9:30am-5:30pm, Saturday 10am-4pm

For more information:


The Art House- The Art House, 8 Backfields, S1 4HJ

The Art House is slightly hidden gem, tucked away and operated by St Matthew’s Church as a multipurpose space.

Located just off the busy Division Street. This is a creative hub and it is adjacent to the church.

The place itself is all new, with access to studios, art galleries, a café and its own workshop rooms.

It’s a great space for showcasing work by existing local artists. Regularly featuring local painting and ceramics within its exhibitions.

However, it primarily operates as an established charity. There’s an emphasis on its work, with members of local communities, to discover and develop new artists of any age.

The Art House seeks to provide a safe and inclusive space for:

“people who are normally excluded and marginalised and most unable to discover their creativity.”

In the past it’s worked on projects with homeless people, hosted exhibitions, supported World Mental Health Week, and organised activities for children during school holidays.

Open Monday-Saturday 11am-3pm

For more information:

Shoeroom Cinema Exterior

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Showroom, 15 Paternoster Row, S1 2BX

Box office opens every day from 11:30am (10am Monday & Thursday).

Bar open Monday-Thursday 10am-11pm. Friday 10am-late, Saturday 10:30am-late, Sunday 11am-10:30pm

Converted from an art deco 1930s car showroom, ‘Showroom’ is one of the biggest independent cinemas in Europe.’

It’s also said to be one of any independent moviemaker’s absolute favourite places to be in Sheffield.

Showroom Cinema Exterior

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Just across the road from the station, with its own bar and restaurant. It’s easy to spend many whole days here.

On any specific day, the Showroom’s variety of film listings range from the latest subtitled hit from the continent, to indie drama or a hard-hitting piece documentary; “You could watch anything from a kids’ classic from the 35mm vaults to a slasher movie barely aired since the early 80s.”

That’s a variety of film you just won’t find anywhere else in Sheffield.

Showroom Image

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They have a special membership called CINE 26, it is completely FREE to join for everyone aged 26 or under.
You can see any film from the regular programme, on any day at any time all for the amazing price of £4.50.

For more information:


Women of Steel, Holly Street, S1 2HB

It was unveiled on 17 June 2016, to a crowd consisting of over 100 surviving women of steel and around 3,000 proud locals.

“During the 2014 TEDXCoventGardenWomen conference, the writer Laura Bates gave a talk titled ‘Everyday Sexism’. In this talk Bates revealed that out of 573 commemorative statues in the UK only a staggering 15% celebrate the achievements and lives of women.”

In light of this, Sheffield’s addition of the Women of Steel statue becomes even more poignant.

It stands in Barker’s Pool, a stone’s throw from Sheffield City Hall.

During both the first and the second world wars, thousands of women were conscripted to aid the war effort from across South Yorkshire. These were roles that were often dangerous and physically demanding. While working within the factories and steel mills, they aided the war effort by taking up the jobs where most male workers were away fighting.

Prior to this, a woman’s sphere very rarely deviated from the domestic. And they did all of this important work alongside fulfilling their other, traditionally “womanly” duties and providing for their families.

Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore described the women as:

“inspiration to us all, and a reminder of the grit, determination and guts of this city”.

Luckily for us, the surviving Women of Steel have refused to allow their stories to be forgotten forever. In 2011, four of the surviving women; Kathleen Roberts, Kit Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby took action. It was time for the incredible tales and the voices of women of steel to be heard.

Councillor Dore said the women wanted their statue to:

“reflect the friendships that they created while working together”.

The Women of Steel statue is not only a testament to these surviving women’s inner strength and steely resolve. But acts as a welcome milestone in readdressing the gender imbalance in historical statues. Two female steelworkers, standing arm in arm – the Women of Steel statue is a powerful symbol of solidarity between women. One that will no doubt remain a source of inspiration for many generations to come.

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