Can Sheffield shake its tag as the graffiti city?
Plus, exactly when the cold snap will start
Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
The Tribune has been bullish about Sheffield city centre recently. But there is one aspect which is definitely bringing it down. The scourge of graffiti tagging is everywhere you look, and there doesn’t seem to be a coordinated effort to address it. But could change soon be at hand? A new dedicated police officer within the city centre neighbourhood policing team has made it his mission to tackle the problem, and the council is also setting up a team tasked with removing tags quickly based on a model that has proved successful in Leeds. Today we ask: can Sheffield shake its unwanted tag as the graffiti city?
As well as that we have a lovely home in Norfolk Park with views over the city, an interesting piece about the distinctive former Horse and Lion pub, and Sheffield’s carol singing season begins.
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Catch up and coming up
Our weekend read looked into the story of the Old Town Hall and asked if its current owner is the best person to look after one of Sheffield’s oldest buildings. You can read that piece here.
Last week we sent out two great newsletters to our 1,793 paying members. In the first, Victoria asked whether the current struggles of the Library Theatre could spell the end for amateur dramatics in Sheffield. And in the second we returned to our big story from earlier this month about the foodhall Kommune, as the popular restaurant’s joint owners Adrian Hackett and Nick Morgan got their day in court. An extract from that second piece is below.
The court case centred around three alleged debts: the annual rent for the building, the building insurance payments and the service charges for its maintenance. To win back its lease, Kollider Projects would have to pay everything the court ruled that it currently owes. At the start of the case, Northpoint CH had insisted it was owed a considerable sum of money, while Kollider’s position, as Northpoint’s lawyer put it, “was that they didn’t have to pay a penny”. It’s a little difficult to understand how Kollider would have come to this conclusion.
Next week we’ll send out two more including a day spent tasting top Sheffield restaurant Tonco’s brand new menu, and another which takes a deep dive into recently released data which reveals just how many Londonders have recently moved to Sheffield. To help fund a new way of doing journalism based on subscriptions rather than clickbait, please subscribe using the button below. It costs just £1.34 a week or 23p a day if you pay for 12 months up front (£70).
Editor’s note: Wow, what a month! At our first ever members’ event last week, an amazing 83 people came to Hideaway in Sheffield city centre on a Wednesday night to hear us speak about why we set up The Tribune. On top of that, so far in November, 107 new people joined as paying members, and now get the benefits of being full subscribers, from being invited to our regular events to commenting on stories and, of course, receieving all our journalism. Please join them today.
Find a more unusual home for your business at Sheaf Bank
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The big picture: Cool running 🏃♂️
Having such amazing countryside so close to the city is one of the best things about living in Sheffield. This photo was taken just above Lady Canning’s Plantation near Ox Stones on a beautiful but bitterly cold Sunday morning.
This week’s weather ❄️
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say the week will be initially unsettled, then turning increasingly cold with the risk of wintry showers increasing as the week goes on. Frosts likely, too.
Monday 🌧 Horrid and unsettled as a low passes south and east. An occlusion brings outbreaks of persistent and cold rain, fading later. Highs of 6°C.
Tuesday ☀ A much brighter day with lengthy spells of sunshine and light winds. Overnight, a widespread frost will form. Highs of 5°C.
Wednesday 🌤 Colder with sunshine turning hazier through the day. Winds light and variable with a frost early and late. Highs of just 3°C.
Thursday 🌥❄️💦 A low slides across the south, throwing a spanner in the works. Cloudier with the risk of wintry showers. Highs of 2°C.
Friday 🌥🌨 A more wintry day with breezy and biting NE winds blowing in snow showers. Confidence is low, but accumulations/hazards are possible. Highs of 2°C.
Outlook: Staying cold into the weekend, but likely to be drier and brighter with fewer wintry showers as the low clears 🌬 Sub-zero temperatures overnight with frosts.
The big story: Can Sheffield shake its tag as the graffiti city?
Top line: The scourge of tagging in Sheffield makes the city centre look terrible and is getting worse. With expensive developments like Heart of the City and the new Fargate due to be completed next year, is there any way of stopping it?
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the difference between street art and tagging is obvious for all to see. As the brilliant Street Art Sheffield website shows, many of the beautiful and artistic murals in Sheffield make what would otherwise be drab parts of the city visually appealing. Tagging on the other hand has no such artistic pretensions and is little more than vandalism.
According to one city centre resident, tagging has “gone into overdrive” recently, with huge amounts appearing on Cole Brothers and Burgess House, and on street furniture near Cambridge Street.
The resident told The Tribune they feared that if the problem was to continue unabated, the £500 million Heart of the City development could end up “being ruined” before it’s even properly finished.
Why it’s currently so bad is an interesting question. At a recent meeting at Sheffield Town Hall, Waqaar Hussain, a dedicated graffiti officer from the city centre’s neighbourhoods policing team, said part of the problem was building owners not reporting it. He said that owners had to report the tagging as criminal damage to their property in order for police to follow it up, adding that three convictions had recently been secured after tagging reports.
Some city centre businesses and organisations view the problem in very different ways, however. Law firm Grant Thornton on Holly Street recently said they had “no legal obligation” to get tags on their property removed. But earlier this year art gallery Bloc Projects on Eyre Lane put up a poster begging the taggers not to target their building as they didn’t have the money to get it removed.
Sheffielders don’t like to compare themselves unfavourably to Leeds, but our neighbours up the M1 do look to have got this one right. Leeds City Council have a dedicated team which cleans graffiti off almost as soon as it appears (they have a target of within 48 hours) and they work far more closely with city centre businesses to remove the tags.
Leeds City Council is helped by the fact that all their services are under council control (they haven’t contracted them out as Sheffield has with Amey). This means their system can be more joined up and proactive.
Having said that, it is believed that Sheffield City Council will set up a dedicated graffiti team within the next few weeks. There will also be a central database which people like the city centre ambassadors can add to.
Bottom line: There seems little point in spending hundreds of millions of pounds on a new city centre just for it to be spoiled with graffiti tagging. A new dedicated tagging team should help, but in order for the police to dedicate the required resources to it, what’s really needed is for the victims of tagging to report it. If we’re going to get our city centre looking as good as we all want it to, it will take a big team effort and everyone pulling in the same direction.
The Weekly Whitworth ✍️
Our resident cartoonist James Whitworth with his own inimitable take on the week’s big story. We’ll be publishing Whitworth cartoons weekly from now on.
Our media picks 🎧
'It feels like home' 🛍️ A nice piece on the BBC website celebrates 10 years of the Moor Market. Opened in November 2013, it replaced the much loved Castle Market, but has struggled to attract the same levels of footfall as its famous predecessor. However, despite the challenges of Brexit and competition from discount supermarkets like B&M and Poundland, the current traders seem optimistic about the future. Our piece about the former Castle Market is here.
Horse and Lion, Norfolk Park 🍻 Earlier this month, I went to see a talk by Steve Marland from the Modern Mooch website at Park Hill. While he was in Sheffield, he visited the former Horse and Lion pub in Norfolk Park, which is now a convenience store and chip shop. As well as lots of nice pictures of the unusually-shaped building, which once starred in an Arctic Monkeys video, his write up includes testimony from those who remember its 1970s heyday.
‘They’re determined to show you a good time, and they do’ 🍕 The good press for Sheffield’s food scene continues with this entertaining review of Domo in Kelham Island by Jay Rayner. The Observer’s food critic visits our little piece of Sardinia to try mamuthones pizza (pancetta and roast potatoes), salted and then vinegar-marinated anchovies, skate wings and tiramisu. He also has a seafood stew which he says has “a sauce of Booker prize-winning depth and profundity”.
Home of the week 🏡
This modern and stylish two-bedroomed and two bathroom detached home in Norfolk Park has a private garden with spectacular views across the city. It is on the market for £275,000.
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Things to do 📆
Christmas 🔔 We’re now well into Sheffield’s much-loved carol singing season — a unique tradition in which local choirs perform a special set of songs at pubs across the city. The custom was widespread in the past but while in other areas it has died out, in Sheffield it has survived and thrived. Our Favourite Places give their pick of the best sings here but for the full list see this website. For our piece from last year about the Sheffield Carols, click here.
Theatre 🎭 Noises Off, one of the best loved and funniest farces performed on the British stage, is coming to the Lyceum Theatre on Tuesday for a five-night run. Michael Frayn’s classic play serves up a riotous double bill, a play within a play. Hurtling along at breakneck speed, Noises Off follows the on and offstage antics of a touring theatre company as they stumble their way through the fictional farce, ‘Nothing On’. Tickets are priced from £15-45.
Music 🎹 On Wednesday, Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra return to Sheffield City Hall on their latest tour. As well as being a television staple, Jools’ orchestra are renowned as one of the UK’s most popular tours, and this year feature Pauline Black and Arthur Hendrickson from influential Coventry-based two-tone and ska pioneers The Selecter as special guests. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are priced at £38 and £54.