Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Heritage Open Days - St. Helen's Church


A view of St. Helen's church from Front Street

When I first turned up at St. Helen’s church in Treeton, back in February 2016 to photograph the inside of the church, I never thought that 30 months later I would be organising Heritage Open Days here on behalf of the Friends of St. Helen’s Church Trust. 

The south elevation of St. Helen's church

Having acquired a good understanding of its construction history, which sparked off an extensive investigation of mediaeval churches in and around South Yorkshire during the rest of that year, good friends here have since considered me to be a “natural” when throwing myself enthusiastically into this task. 

Dolomitic limestone headstops

I had taken many hundreds of photographs of the church during the past 2 years and, with text produced for a previous Open Day, the formal registration and listing on the Heritage Open Days website was easily done and the next step was to bring past efforts to raise the profile of this Grade I Listed church up to date. 

The Church Trail

The “Friends” also form the core of the Treeton Local History Group and, with various documents supplied by its archivist, it didn’t take long to refine these ideas and to produce a Church Trail using the digital technology available to me. 

Photomontage 1

Based on a plan that was drawn by R. C. Sabin back in 1991, 20 points of interest have been highlighted – with an accompanying photomontage - and a set of discreet labels are now placed in the church. 

Photomontage 2

With the Heritage Open Days at St. Helen’s church listed on the national website and the information for visitors completed, the next task was to publicise the events locally. In past years, events for Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley were mentioned in a leaflet produced by the Sheffield Civic Trust, but this didn’t happen this year and organisers of each venue were left to publicise their own events. 

Various points of interest in St. Helen's church

With this in mind, I sent various ‘press releases’ to the Rivers Team church and Treeton Parish newsletters – as well as to the Rotherham Advertiser/Rotherham Record, the Sheffield Star and to the Yorkshire Evening Post. 

The Treeton Parish Newsletter

I have also e-mailed posters to Rotherham Visitor Centre, Rotherham Gismo, Rotherham Central Library and community libraries throughout the borough and I have hand delivered these to the Community Centre, the Reading Rooms, Treeton Cricket Club, Treeton Miners Welfare and to various shops in the village. 

A poster for local distribution

Also, this event has been widely publicised on LinkedIn, Twitter and on Facebook too. Whether or not all of the above will reap rewards, with new visitors coming to the church, who can tell; however, I’ll sleep well tonight, knowing that I have done my very best and that on the 6th and 8th September, we will give you the warmest of welcomes before showing you around.

The St. Helen's church Visitors' Guide

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