Norfolk Heritage Park, Sheffield.

Sheffield has 80 public parks and 650 other green and open spaces as well as being situated right on the edge of the Peak District National Park.

Norfolk Heritage Park opened in 1848 and today is designated at Grade II. The land once formed part of Sheffield Park, the deer park of Sheffield Manor.

The park has a few interesting facts:

  • Norfolk Football Club played its home games in the park between 1861 and 1880.
  • Queen Victoria visited the park on 21 May 1897, during her Jubilee year.
  • In 1910 Norfolk Park was given as a gift from the Duke of Norfolk to the City of Sheffield
  • Wikipedia states that, the TV game show, It’s A Knockout, was filmed in the park during the 1970s. However, Sheffield History state that it was held on the Arbourthorne Playing Fields in May 1971. If you know, leave me a note.

During the later 1980s the park fell into decline. In 1994, the park was added to the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens (Grade II) and the ‘Friends of Norfolk Park’ group were established.

Al that remains of the old Refreshment Pavilion.

Also in 1994, the park became more commonly known as Norfolk Heritage Park reflecting its heritage and cultural significance. In 1995, the derelict Refreshment Pavilion was badly damaged by an arson attack and was demolished. A new refreshment pavilion was build called, ‘The centre in the Park’. Which was built to serve the community. It has rooms available for hire, a community cafe and Creche. It opened to the public in 2000, along with new children’s play areas, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield.

I visited Kelham Island Museum back in October. The museum had remained closed during the pandemic. However, they were finally able to re-open with COVID safe implementations in place. The museum are using the track and trace app and have a one way system in place with social distancing. If you head to their website, they recommend booking tickets in advance. Adult entry is £7. Sadly, the River Don Engine was not performing shows, which is understandable.

I love Kelham Island, there is a lot to see and the Island Cafe/Bar does awesome food and coffee. A lot of Sheffield’s industrial history is now inside the museum. It is a wonderful place to remember what made Sheffield the city it is today.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Sunnybank Nature Reserve, Sheffield.

Sunnybank was the very first reserve created by the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (then Sheffield City Wildlife Group) in 1985. The area is only small. However, if you are in the are close by, it is worth having a little look. There are some nice art sculptures there as well.

Sunnybank is located in an urban area, behind a petrol station and close to the city centre. The area is only small but the pool and woodland is home to all sort of animals and plants, including:

  • Dragonflies
  • Pond skaters
  • Common frog
  • Birds
  • Foxes
  • Hedgehogs
  • Pipistrelle bats

Butterflies:

  • Small skipper
  • Green veined white
  • Red admiral
  • Common blue
  • Six spot burnet

St James Church, Norton, Sheffield.

http://www.stjamesnorton.org/content.php?page=index

This is a beautiful church building. There is documented evidence that shows a Saxon church may have sat on this site as early as 1180. However, most of the buildings that remain today were built between 1200 and 1500.

As you can see from watching the video, many of the gravestones have been moved or made into the path that surrounds the church. Sadly, many have also been lost. The churchyard was renovated in 1959-1960 where unsafe tombs were removed. The churchyard was closed for burials in May 1869, when Norton Cemetery was opened on Derbyshire Lane.

The sculptor, Sir Francis Chantrey is buried in the churchyard. There is also a monument dedicated to him just outside the church gates.

In 1956, a garden of rest was created just behind the tower.

Sadly, the building was closed when I visited. However, once COVID is over, I will return for a look inside as from the picture that I have seen online, it looks beautiful.

Thanks for reading.

Sheffield Christmas Lights 2020

2020 has been a strange year for everyone. Taking a walk around Sheffield city centre on what is normally Mad Friday was especially strange this year. The streets were bare and the pubs and restaurants mostly were closed. What is normally a buzzing atmosphere of late night shoppers enjoying longer opening hours with Christmas markets and festive cheer, this year just felt like another rainy winter evening.

Understandably, every city across the UK and wider world are having similar holidays. Let’s hope 2021 brings about better things.

I enjoyed the Christmas lights nevertheless. If you want to sponsor a snowflake at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the link is below.

https://www.tchc.org.uk/how-you-can-help/snowflakes.html

Happy Holidays.

Abbeydale Park Rise and Crescents Charity Christmas Lights 2020.

The lights on Abbeydale Park Rise and Crescents in Sheffield are in aid of the Eden Dora trust which helps children with Encephalitis and the Sheffield children’s hospital charity. To donate, please click HERE.

If you are unable to visit the lights, below is a short video.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Loxley United Reformed Church

Today, the once beautiful Grade II listed chapel is an empty shell. Damaged by fire, vandalised and full of graffiti, it is another one of Sheffield’s forgotten buildings.

The building was originally known as the Loxley Congregational Chapel. Constructed in 1787, the church closed in 1994 due to low congregation numbers, making it unsustainable to keep open.

Many of the 240 victims of 1864 Great Sheffield Flood are buried in the cemetery. When the Dale Dyke Dam was filled for the first time, its banks broke sending 650 million gallons of water down the Loxley Valley into central Sheffield. The dam broke around midnight. Most people were sleeping and so they were caught completely off guard. It still remains to this day, one of Britain’s worst man-made disasters.

The website Commonwealth War Graves identifies 14 graves of war dead commemorated in the cemetery.

The building was destroyed by fire in August 2016. Works have been undertaken to stabilise the walls and to restrict access. However, the metal sheets have been partially bent to enable access through downstairs windows. Restoration and reuse is under discussion. (Historic England)

Abandoned Storr’s Bridge Works (Loxley, Sheffield)

WOW! What a place this is and I am really happy that I got to see it before it gets demolished, even though I know that I am a little late to the party. 28 Days Later and Derelict Places have lots of reports on this place, going back a few years, so you can take a look at how the place has deteriorated.

The footprint of this place is huge, the site was owned by Bovis Homes who bought the site back in 2006. They had planned to put 500 homes on the site. However, local opposition halted plans stating that the area could not sustain that many new homes, which I agree with 100%. I believe that discussions are underway once again to build on the site, but the plans have been scaled down. I personally think that the site should be made into some sort of nature reserve as it is located in a quiet valley surrounded by countryside.

The factory is known locally as the Storr’s Bridge Works. However, I believe that it has been occupied over the years by a few different companies, including Thomas Marshall and Co,  Hepworths and Carblox. The valley of Loxley supplied bricks to the Sheffield steel industry, beginning in the 1800s and ceasing in the 1990s. The area was rich in ganister which came from the Stannington pot clay seam. There were multiple mines in the area (I believe one may remain but I have yet to find it).

The factory closed when the demand for produce decreased alongside the decline of the steel industry in Sheffield.

There is hardly anything left of the factory today. Most of the interiors have been removed and what is left has been trashed. People have done a great deal of fly-tipping on the site also, which the council have failed to clean up.

The site is located along a public footpath and whilst there are some signs up that say “do not enter” the site is easily accessible due to the temporary fencing being removed in parts. There is some great graffiti (and some not so great) on the buildings. The most interesting part of the site was being able to walk through what I think are the old furnaces.

If anyone reading this worked at the factory, please comment and share your memories as I would love to hear them.

If lockers could talk. I bet these have heard some stories.

Sheffield General Cemetery

October 31st 2020.

https://www.gencem.org/

Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. However, Halloween 2020 was a little different. I did not decorate this year as I did not want to encourage trick or treaters. I still wanted to do something for Halloween so I decided to take a walk to Sheffield General Cemetery. A little odd? Maybe, but the cemetery is actually a Grade II listed park, Conservation Area, Local Nature Reserve and Area of Natural History Interest..

The cemetery opened 1836 and was the principal burial ground in Victorian Sheffield containing the graves of 87,000 people. It was one of the earliest commercial cemeteries in Britain. Today, it contains the largest collection of listed buildings and monuments in Sheffield, ten in total including Grade II listed catacombs, an Anglican Chapel, with the Gatehouse, Non-conformist Chapel and the Egyptian Gateway, each listed at Grade II*.

The Cemetery was closed for burial in the late 1970s. Sheffield City Council removed many of the gravestones in the Anglican area to create more green space near to the city centre. The remains of those buried were not disturbed.

Cemetery residents include:

  • George Bassett (1818–1886). Founder of The Bassett Company—the company that invented Liquorice Allsorts. Mayor of Sheffield (1876).
  • George Bennett (1774–1841). Founder of the Sheffield Sunday School movement. The memorial to him (c.1850) is Grade II listed.
  • John, Thomas, and Skelton Cole. Founders of Sheffield’s Cole Brothers department store in 1847—now part of the John Lewis Partnership.
  • Francis Dickinson (1830–1898). One of the soldiers who fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean war.
  • William Dronfield (1824–1891). Founder of the United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades, which inspired the creation of the Trades Union Congress.
  • Mark Firth (25 April 1819–28 November 1880). Steel manufacturer, Master Cutler (1867), Mayor of Sheffield (1874), and founder of Firth College in 1870 (later University of Sheffield). The monument to Mark Firth is Grade II listed, the railings that surround it were made at Firth’s Norfolk Works.
  • William Flockton, architect.
  • John Gunson (1809–1886). Chief engineer of the Sheffield Water Company at the time of the collapse of Dale Dyke Dam on 11 March 1864, which resulted in the Great Sheffield Flood. Samuel Harrison, who documented the flood, and 77 of the flood’s victims are also buried in the cemetery.
  • Samuel Holberry (1816–1842). A leading figure in the Chartist movement.
  • Isaac Ironside (1808–1870). Chartist and local politician.
  • James Montgomery (1771–1854). Poet/Publisher. The grave and Grade II listed monument to James Montgomery, were moved to the grounds of Sheffield Cathedral in 1971.
  • James Nicholson (died 1909). Prominent Sheffield industrialist. The memorial that he commissioned for himself and his family c.1872 is Grade II listed.
  • William Parker, merchant. The monument to William Parker, erected in 1837 by the merchants and manufacturers of Sheffield, is Grade II listed.
  • William Prest (died 1885). Cricketer and footballer born in York, who lived most of his life in Sheffield. Co-founder of Sheffield Football club.

(source Wikipedia)

Shiregreen Working Mens Club, Home of the Full Monty.

A post came up on my Instagram feed by Heritage Sheffield which stated that, the Shiregreen Working Men’s Club, where the penultimate strip scene from the 2007 movie, the Full Monty was filmed, is to be demolished. Horrified, I immediately picked up my camera and ventured across the city to take some pictures of the club whilst it was still there. Local petitions temporary halted demolition plans. However, since then Eyre Investments, who own the land, have been granted permission from Sheffield Council to demolish the club and build on the land.

In my opinion, Sheffield Council were always going to grant permission for the demolition of the club. Sheffield Council is one of the most corrupt local councils in the country. I am sure I need to say no more. Like many other important Sheffield landmarks, it is to be lost forever. We have lost our industry, we have lost Don Valley, the Cooling Towers, The Hole in the Road, and we are soon to lose the Shops on Division Street. As a native of Sheffield, I feel that Sheffield is losing its identity.

The Shiregreen WMC opened in 1919 on Shiregreen Lane and moved to its current location in 1928. The club closed in 2018, after 99 years of operation.

Traditionally, WMC’s were to provide recreation and education for the working-class communities, mostly in the industrial north of England. However, they were mostly recreational, with their peak being in the 1970s. Normally, clubs required membership with thousands more waiting on the lists to become members of their local club.

Slowly, WMC’s started to decline in the 1980s. The pits closed and so did the steelworks. Changing social patterns, Sky TV, and cheap supermarket alcohol hit the WMC’s hard. The 2007 smoking ban also caused further decline for the clubs. Traditionally, the WMC’s were smoke-filled buildings, bad for your health, sure. However, it was just part of their identity.

Within a few miles of the Shiregreen Club, there are several other WMC’s still operational. However, it makes you wonder, how long can these clubs stay open? The area that surrounds Shiregreen WMC is already a deprived area. WMC’s served as community hubs, whilst as a nation, we are losing our sense of community. Rather than thinking about lining their pockets, I think Sheffield Council should consider its people and communities a little more.

Thanks for reading.

I’m not sure if it is too late, but please sign the petition below:

http://chng.it/4ss2pKf9Yq