The Kentish Visitor Information Centre is located at 5 Pioneer Crescent, Sheffield. It also houses WASS’s Pioneer Gallery, which displays for sale a collection of artworks by local Artists and Crafts people.
“A patchwork tapestry of fertile farmland surrounds this quaint and quirky town. Sheffield has developed into a hub for fine arts and crafts people. Studio-galleries with woodcraft, glass and ceramics, are dotted around the region. At the Working Art Space a co- op of artists display their wares and demonstrate their skills for visitors. The Kentish Museum contains a wealth of information and artifacts which reveal the shire’s agricultural, industrial and social histories. “
Visitor Information Centre History
In 1993 the Sheffield Visitor Information Centre as it was then called was a project sponsored by the Kentish Development Agency in conjunction with the Kentish Council to be built on Council owned land. Building began on the 2nd September 1993 and the doors were opened to the public on 27th December 1993. The building was officially opened on the 26th January 1994 by the former Premier Hon. Robin Gray, MHA.
Incorporated into the building was a circular room housing a 3-D sight and sound exhibition that became known as “The Panorama of Kentish”. The exhibition had a backdrop consisting of a circular mural depicting Kentish country life between 1880 and 1930 and featured displays in front of the mural which fitted in with the mural theme. Four listening stations throughout the room related stories associated with the mural and provided appropriate sound effects. The Kentish Development Agency became insolvent in 1994 and was officially dissolved on 21st December 1994 with the Panorama being disassembled and removed from the building by 31st January 1995. Ownership of the entire building reverted to the Kentish Council, which continued to operate the front section as The Sheffield Visitor Information Centre.
The area that had formerly contained the Panorama was eventually leased to John and Cecile Corbin, who ran a craft shop from the premises. John and Cecile eventually relocated their business to Devonport and another couple moved in and ran their souvenir/craft shop, The Blue Gum Gallery, from there for several years.
This business eventually moved to the main street leaving the circular room vacant for several years with the Council unable to find a paying tenant. In 2011 Kentish Council gave temporary permission to TRAK (t/a The Working Art Space) to set up a gallery in the space. This gallery was then called ON TRAK but was later renamed the “Pioneer Gallery” following the demise of TRAK and the re-forming of the Working Art Space group under its current name of “Working Art Space Sheffield”.