From Canal & River Trust

25 August 2017

This summer, the city of Sheffield will host its biggest ever Waterfront Festival, thanks to the combined efforts of waterway charity, the Canal & River Trust and Kelham Island Museum.

To coincide with this year’s global celebrations for World Rivers Day, the city’s waterfront – from Victoria Quays along the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal and the River Don – will be transformed with a bumper-packed weekend of free family-friendly activities, live music, art, food & drink during 23-24 September, 10am to 4pm.

‘On the Waterfront’ – Victoria Quays

On Saturday 23 September try a range of water-based activities for free at Victoria Quays on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, from fishing tasters, canoe tasters to boat trips. Enjoy artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Alex Chinneck and an exhibition of canal paintings by local artist Norah K Rogerson. Street artist Philip Padfield will be at work as he paints a unique art work for the festival.  Live music, food and drink stalls plus a terrace BBQ and stalls from Hilton Hotel will be available throughout the day.

‘Down by the Riverside’ – Kelham Island Museum

On Sunday 24 September visit Kelham Island Museum on the banks of the River Don to enjoy a range of have-a-go heritage and traditional crafts, community stalls, local artisans, kayaking and riverside walks and talks.  Live music with Dead Man’s Uke and guests, plus refreshments from the Steam Hammer Café BBQ and Millowners Arms Ale will be helping the festivities along. Normal admission fees to the museum apply.

The Sheffield Waterfront Festival is part of the Canal & River Trust’s plans to reconnect the local community to their waterway over the next 18 months, ahead of the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal’s bicentenary in 2019.

Tom Wright, development and engagement manager for the Canal & River Trust said: “Sheffield would not be the city it is without its waterways. This festival will be celebrating the city’s industrial heritage which played such an important part in its development. The River Don and Sheffield & Tinsley Canal not only connected the city to the wider world, they powered the foundries and workshops of the 18th and 19th centuries. This festival will hopefully help the local community learn about Sheffield’s heritage and the many ways to enjoy the waterways resource on their doorstep – from a traffic-free route to school, to a place to unwind at the weekend.”

He added: “We’ve been bowled over by the support we’ve had from businesses along city’s waterfront and would love for Sheffield Waterfront Festival to become an annual event. A special thanks to our supporters, who have helped to bring this event to the city – the River Stewardship Company, CMS, Born and Raised and the Hilton Sheffield Hotel.”

Niki Connolly from Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust that looks after Kelham Island Museum said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and the River Stewardship Company to host the city’s biggest Waterfront Festival. At Kelham Island we’ll be celebrating the role waterpower played in the history of the Island and the growing community of people who live and work here. It’s going to be an exciting weekend for everyone who shares a passion for supporting our riverside heritage.”

Hellen Hornby, Communities, Education and Engagement manager for the River Stewardship Company said: “We’re looking forward to the Sheffield Waterfront Festival, there is something for everyone on offer, from an exhibition of canal paintings by Norah Rogerson and pirate themed treasure hunts to tarot readings and guided heritage walks along the waterfront.  It’s a great opportunity for people to see what Victoria Quays has to offer and how we can make it a vibrant, welcoming place for all.”

With The Friends of the Blue Loop and the River Stewardship Company, the Canal & River Trust has been busy preparing the waterfront to ensure it looks its best ahead of the festival. The Canal & River Trust are asking local residents and businesses to get involved in preparations and join drop-in Sheffield Towpath Taskforce, to help with lock painting, cutting back overgrown vegetation, litter picking and graffiti removal, to make the canal an even more attractive place for people to visit.

Becca Dent, volunteering development co-ordinator at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We’re looking for people who enjoy spending time outdoors and want to make a difference to the city of Sheffield. No previous experience or commitment is necessary, people can join us for as long or as often as suits – we have two dates coming up – 7th and 21st September, from 10am-2pm and we’d love to hear from you.” If interested contact:

A special reception to launch the Sheffield Waterfront Festival will also thank corporate supporters on Friday 22 September at 5.30pm at the Terminal Warehouse, Victoria Quays, S2 5SY.

Norah K. Rogerson made a visual record of the Canal Basin during its progress from dereliction to regeneration between 1988 and 1995. A selection of her work will be on display in the terminal warehouse from the 23rd September. The warehouse has been carefully restored thanks to Ovo, who are kindly donating the time, resources and space so that the exhibition of this important collection can be seen again.

Norah explains her this series of watercolours, inspired by the draining of Sheffield Canal Basin: “The superb stone foundations of the Terminal Warehouse (1819) were revealed and I realised that whatever became of this building, unlike some in Venice, it would never sink into the mud……I was taken on a tour of the north and west quays, including the interiors. I decided to record views that would disappear once the new buildings were constructed — in fact this happened very quickly. My style of working had to change in order to adapt to the pace imposed by the building operations.”

Sheffield & Tinsley Canal travels through areas and communities that will be transformed in the years to come – Attercliffe, Tinsley and the fast-emerging Olympic Legacy Park. As the focus of the city will increasingly look to the east to provide exceptional places to enjoy, live and work, Sheffield’s waterways will once again be seen as an asset that can power the city forward for another 200 years.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, at Sheffield City Council said: “There is no doubt that Sheffield’s canal and riverside has great history and great potential. We are keen to reconnect the city centre with its waterways – the canal, Rivers Don Porter and Sheaf, and are making excellent progress in this ambition. We recently unveiled plans for Castlegate which include the chance of uncovering part of the River Sheaf and an archaeological dig on the site of Sheffield Castle.”

He added: “This festival will focus people’s attention on one of the city’s gems and will also include some plans for further up river and how the canal can deliver regeneration and culture from the city centre to Meadowhall, Attercliffe and Tinsley.”

For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust, including lots of volunteering opportunities and how to donate, visit