Credit where it’s due. The plans for Sheaf Field Park look fantastic
Plus, when Motty was ‘Motto’
Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
We hope you had a restful sleep last night? There is still no consensus on where in Sheffield the all night rave on Saturday night was — or even if there was only one! All we can hope is that it was just a one off. In other news, today is the start of the controversial Clean Air Zone, so you can expect some more coverage of that issue soon. But in this briefing we wanted to look at some good news. The plans for the castle site were unveiled last week, and most people seem to think the council has done a pretty good job. We look at the proposals in detail.
As well as that, we have a beautiful home in Bannerdale, a gorgeous painting of Sheffield’s industrial past, and a walking tour around sites linked with the city’s radical history.
And finally, there’s now less than a week left to apply to be The Tribune’s new staff reporter! For a description of the role and details of how to apply, click here.
Catch up and coming up
Our weekend read told the inside story of how two of Sheffield’s most successful institutions went to war, and the consequences it had for our city. You can still read that piece here.
Last week we sent out two great newsletters to our 1,201 paying members. The first included a great piece by our University of Sheffield intern Yasmin Wakefield about why Mancunians get seven times as much arts funding as we do. And the second included a piece by our regular contributor David Bocking about how the declining steel community of Heeley became a Sheffield success story. An extract from that second piece is below.
More than anything else, it’s a story about self-reliance. It’s a story about a local man, Andy Jackson, and how after years and years, he reached a frustrating conclusion. Not only can you not rely on the national government to regenerate a local community, it turns out, but you can’t rely on its local counterpart either. For better or for worse, Jackson would come to realise that there was only one clear way a community could secure regeneration: doing it themselves.
Next week we’ll send out two more including a piece about why a Sheffield replica of the Brooklyn Bridge never got off the drawing board, and another about the controversial proposal to turn King Edward VII School into an academy. To help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield focused on local readers rather than shareholders, please consider subscribing using the button below. It costs £1.34 a week if you pay for 12 months up front.
Editor’s note: With just one day of February left, we’ve had another great month for new members on The Tribune. 127 new paying members have joined up to our paid service, meaning we are on track to reach our goal of 1,250 by the end of March. Along with our sister sites in Manchester and Liverpool, The Tribune is one of the most exciting journalism startups in the country. To join 1,200 of your fellow Sheffielders, become a member today.
The big picture: Sheffield stands with Ukraine 🇺🇦
Thanks to Irina Amelkina for letting us use this brilliant photo of an event which took place in the Peace Gardens on Friday night to mark one year since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. More can be found on her Facebook page here.
This week’s weather 🥶
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say the weather this week won’t change much from day to day. Therefore, and for one week only (probably), we have a slightly different format!
The pattern ↙️ This week we have high pressure in control of our weather. Its positioning is key as it stays centred over the northwestern quadrant of the UK. As such, we will draw in a chilly north-easterly breeze throughout the week.
The weather ☁️ 🌥️ 💦 Not dissimilar to the weekend just gone with variable (often large) cloud amounts dominating. Some bright or sunny breaks can be expected at times, though conversely we can expect a few light showers to make their way inland of North Sea coasts.
The temperatures 🥶 A little below average throughout, with daytime highs of just 7-8°C and a northeasterly windchill knocking a few degrees off those values too. Despite the chill, there will be limited frosts due to the cloud amounts with only sheltered spots under clearer breaks seeing a light frost.
The outlook: Staying cold into the weekend with little change in the day-to-day pattern. Perhaps turning a little colder still by Sunday from the north.
The big story: Credit where it’s due. The plans for Sheaf Field Park look fantastic 🌳
Top line: The city council’s vision for the transformation of the former site of Sheffield Castle has been widely praised. The proposals, which were unveiled last week, reveal how the council is planning to spend the £15 million they got from the government Levelling Up fund.
People power: While previous plans seemed to suggest the site would be covered with buildings, the new proposals have much more green space. Councillor Mazher Iqbal said that the plans had changed after people expressed a preference for a new park in a consultation held last year.
As well as a central route through the site, from which it will be possible to see the mediaeval castle’s remains, the building’s original courtyard area will be preserved.
There will also be a large open grassed area (called the bowling green in a nod to the site’s function in the 1700s), play areas and a “rampart view” overlooking the site.
Filling in the gaps: While much of the coverage so far has focused on the public space, less attention has been given to the new buildings on the edge of the site. Plots 1 and 2 in the below map are being given to Sheffield College, while Plot 3 has been offered to S1 Artspace (their bid to use the Levelling Up money to create a new art gallery at Park Hill flats fell through after they failed to raise enough money to match the government funding).
Nothing’s perfect: While the proposals have generally gone down very well, some have also raised issues. One of these is over the proposed height of some of the buildings (Plots 1 and 2 particularly), which do seem to loom over the site somewhat.
Concerns have also been raised over the deculverting of the River Sheaf. The Sheaf and Porter River Trust have written to the council to ask them to fully uncover the river as promised and ensure that the river bank meets the waterside as originally planned.
There is also the thorny issue of the Old Town Hall on Waingate, a Grade II-listed building which has been left to rot for the last 25 years. Some have suggested that the regeneration of Castlegate will not succeed without a plan for its renovation.
Cost increases: However, one major issue the council may still have to contend with is skyrocketing inflation, which has increased the costs of materials, transport and labour. The Tribune has been told that some of the changes to the river section have been made to reduce costs. However, with inflation due to fall back markedly this year, hopefully the effect of price rises will dissipate.
Our take: Councils are often getting it in the neck for something they’ve supposedly done wrong, so it’s only right that they get some praise when they get things right. Barring a few high profile mistakes (the shipping containers, for example) Sheffield actually has a great record of creating public spaces that people really appreciate (Sheaf Square, the Peace Gardens, Grey to Green). Let’s hope that the plans for Sheaf Field Park are equally successful.
Home of the week 🏡
This attractive 1930s three-bedroomed semi-detached family house in Bannerdale retains many of its period features and has a spacious rear garden. It is on the market for £375,000.
Tribune Tips: If you want to tell us about a story or give us some information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to speak to people off the record in the first instance, and we will treat your information with confidence and sensitivity. Get in touch.
Our media picks 🎧
‘I know who killed my wife’ 🚨 A heartbreaking but gripping inquest report in The Star about an unsolved hit and run. Susan Henderson, aged 64, was killed in Birley in February 2020, with the car that hit her later found torched over a mile away. However, despite two appeals on Crimewatch and extensive CCTV footage, no one has ever been prosecuted. Now, her husband claims he knows who killed his wife, but says the police cannot prove it was them.
‘It’s magic, it really is’ 🏭 Now Then report from Portland Works in Highfield, 10 years after the building was bought by a community group for £390,000. The Randall Street building was famous as one of the first places in the world to produce stainless steel cutlery, but when it was put up for sale in 2009, it was feared all that history could be lost. Now, among other things, it’s the base for Locksley Distilling, one of the city’s most popular spirit makers.
‘Three hours of tripe at the Olivier’ 🎭 This review of Standing at the Sky’s Edge in the Spectator is one of the most horrible pieces of writing I’ve read in years. As well as being wildly inaccurate (Park Hill wasn’t built specifically for those in poverty), it’s also phenomenally mean spirited (the author “jokes” that Park Hill controlled the city’s population by encouraging people to jump from the roof). Read it if you want but be warned, it will make you angry!
‘The Wealth of England’ 🔥
Northerners author Brian Groom shares some brilliant northern art on his Twitter page and this is one of the best. The Wealth of England, the Bessemer Process of Making Steel by William Holt Yates Titcomb was painted in 1895 and is normally on display at Kelham Island Museum.
Things to do 📆
Tour 💈 Join a Weston Park Museum curator on Tuesday, 28 February for a look around their latest exhibition, Hair: Untold Stories. Looking at the work of artists, filmmakers and designers, you’ll discover a wide range of objects and archive material reflecting our connection with our hair. Together, they tell personal, powerful and surprising stories, spanning Sheffield hair salons to the global hair trade. The free tour runs from 1pm-1.45pm.
Music 🎸 “Everyone's favourite cult folk hero” returns The Leadmill on Tuesday night. Jay McAllister rose to fame with the band Jellicoe in the early 2000s, but for the last 15 years has been performing and recording under the name Beans on Toast. Tickets are £16.50 and doors open at 7.30pm. Afterwards, and for a completely different vibe, Club Orange is a full night dedicated to the music of Frank Ocean. Tickets are £6 and the event starts at 11pm.
Walk 🥾 Sheffield has a rich radical history, from the Chartists and Suffragettes to Socialists, Anarchists and even Ramblers. On Wednesday, 1 March, Sheffield Museums will take you on a guided tour around the old quarter of Sheffield, stopping at a variety of places linked to the various radical movements, from the 1800s through to more recent times, bringing these forgotten histories to life. The tour costs £8 and will begin at the Millennium Gallery at 2pm.
When Motty was ‘Motto’ ⚽
Legendary football commentator John Motson, who died at the age of 77 last Thursday, spent two years at the Sheffield Morning Telegraph in the late 1960s. One of his former colleagues, Keith Farnsworth, paid tribute to “Motto” (as he was then known) on Facebook last week.
“He arrived on the Telegraph sports desk in 1968 from a weekly paper in Barnet, and I think it was soon obvious to many of us that here was someone destined for high achievement, though we didn’t know then that his ultimate success would be in broadcasting rather than newspapers.
“He settled in digs in the Fir Vale area [but] his stay in Sheffield was comparatively short. When he spotted an ad in the trade press about a vacancy for a radio sports reporter at the BBC in London, he applied without much hope of getting the job. Within a very short time he was a regular on air with the sports results, and it just happened that his voice caught the ear of the top Match of the Day presenter and commentator, David Coleman.
“Success and fame never changed John. He always remained the same enthusiastic lad, passionate about his football; and he was proud of his links with the Morning Telegraph, always speaking fondly of his old sports desk colleagues. I think it was [sports editor] Benny Hill who told John he was not impressed with his writing, but was sure he had the perfect voice for broadcasting!”