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ICE guided tour of Sheffield makes civil engineering accessible

14 June 2024

The walk has been designed to ensure that everyone can take part, with leaflets and audio descriptions available for use.

ICE guided tour of Sheffield makes civil engineering accessible
The guided walk takes participants through key landmarks and structures. Image credit: Shutterstock

ICE member Duncan Froggatt has created an accessible walking tour of Sheffield to educate the public on how civil engineering has shaped the city.

Beginning from the city’s cathedral, the circular walk guides participants through the development of the city’s key landmarks and structures.

It includes the Winter Garden, Old Town Hall, and Commercial Street Bridge, and covers more than nine centuries of civil engineering history.

A leaflet will be available in public spaces around Sheffield detailing the route of the walk and providing a QR code to audio guides.

Making civil engineering accessible

The leaflet and audio guide provide walkers with the option to read or listen to insightful engineering facts, making the experience accessible to the deaf and blind communities.

The audio guide in available in two formats:

  1. a standard version which simply narrates the walk with historical details; and
  2. an audio description developed with the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, aimed at immersing blind walkers in the rich civil engineering history of Sheffield.

The walk has also been planned to allow access for those using mobility scooters, wheelchairs, and prams, ensuring that there are no barriers for the public.

Walkers also have the option to finish the walk at the half-way point and return to the city centre, allowing everyone to engage at a level appropriate to their own ability.

The project has picked up attention from media outlets in Sheffield, with Froggatt receiving invitations to appear on BBC Radio Sheffield, and the Sheffield’s Hidden Gems podcast.

Duncan Froggatt’s story

Froggatt followed the legacy of his maternal grandfather, a civil engineer, developing his passion for how the industry shapes the world around us.

When a former ICE Yorkshire and Humber regional director appealed for a member to create a guide on civil engineering in Sheffield, Froggatt volunteered.

“I have long felt that civil engineers are the unsung heroes of the modern world, too often taken for granted except when things go wrong,” Froggatt said.

His walk demonstrates the important work undertaken by civil engineers to support the changing infrastructure of Sheffield as it grew into a modern city.

Froggatt’s decision to ensure full accessibility was informed by his own experiences with health,

“I have also always been a keen walker, although for many years now my capacity has been very limited”, he explains.

“This emphasised my knowledge that any walk has to be accessible to everyone, but walking is a good way of exploring an area.”

Civil engineers’ contribution

Froggatt hopes that his walk will empower participants to “get a better understanding of the development of Sheffield and how civil engineers contribute to the fundamentals of any society, providing the infrastructure upon which everything else depends”.

Froggatt has also delivered this tour in person as part of the Sheffield Heritage Open Day and Festival of the Outdoors.

Those interested in the engineering history of Sheffield can find further insight in his book, Sheffield: A Civilised Place.

Going forward, Froggatt hopes to expand the initiative with new resources, such as a children’s workbook and a video tour, allowing participants to unlock the engineering history of Sheffield from anywhere in the world.

Access the walk guide

  • Jess McCamley, communications lead – UK regions at ICE Yorkshire and Humber