Do something new: Explore St Marie’s Cathedral, Sheffield

Today's spotlight falls on the beautiful St Marie's Cathedral in Sheffield. Laura Claveria, the site's Heritage Engagement & Learning Officer talks to us about their plans for the festival this year after receiving a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund...

© L.Claveria - Explore St Marie's Cathedral and have fun with your family on our free art workshop

1. What’s special about your site and how does HODs help you celebrate it?

St Marie’s Cathedral is often called a hidden gem in Sheffield city centre. Despite its impressive tower and being just opposite the Crucible Theatre, St Marie’s Cathedral is still relatively unknown among locals and tourists alike. It is an oasis of calm and spirituality, while its people are welcoming and friendly. Also, the combination of its fascinating history, recently restored architecture and exquisite features - some of which were designed by the world-famous architect, Augustus Pugin - make it perfect for an unforgettable and inspiring visit.

Undoubtedly, HODs visitors help us bring St Marie’s Cathedral alive. This year’s HODs are a particularly special occasion for us as this September we will celebrate our 165th anniversary, and we couldn’t think of a better way to do it than by sharing our heritage with everyone living in or visiting Sheffield. In addition, since we welcome everyone regardless of their background or beliefs, the HODs also allow us to break all sorts of barriers and reach a wider audience.

2. What new things do you have planned to celebrate HODs this year?

Having recently been awarded a Heritage Lottery Funded grant, St Marie’s Cathedral has been able to plan a new and exciting programme of free activities and events, especially designed for this year’s festival.

One of the highlights of our HODs is a fascinating organ demonstration where visitors will be able to discover how this musical instrument works and enjoy listening to some world-famous masterpieces performed by the Cathedral's organist, Mr Hugh Finnigan (Thursday at 3.30pm). Deacon Bill Burleigh will also deliver a talk on the Cathedral’s 165 years of history, from its secret origins to its thriving present on Friday at 3.30pm. Furthermore, on Saturday from 1.30pm to 4pm Sheffield artist Kim Bevan will lead a fun-packed workshop where families will be able to design and make their own stamps and prints. And last but not least, we have also planned a not-to-be-missed guided tour of the hidden gems of St Marie’s Cathedral (Saturday at 2.30pm) and two exciting behind-the-scenes tours (Thursday at 10am and Sunday at 2.30pm). As you can see, there is something for everyone and I am confident visitors won’t regret visiting us.

3. What has been your favourite HODs moment/memory?

HODs always bring many unforgettable moments: appreciative gestures, surprised faces, heart-warming comments, inspired minds… It is definitely very rewarding to see both “regulars” and first-time visitors from all walks of life enjoy and admire this much loved Cathedral as much as we do. 

Have we whetted your appetite, do you fancy discovering something new?