Sheffield's High Street gets a new 'adults-only' tenant

Plus, a chance to see Michael Palin's pants

Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.

Today’s newsletter looks at a controversial new development for Sheffield city centre that is certainly not for the easily offended. We also have an opportunity to see some of the “lowlights” of Weston Park Museum’s collection and an interesting read about a very traditional Sheffield pub.

You can still read our great weekend piece about the rise of drink-spiking here. The piece was by our new trainee Alex Forbes, who is a philosophy and politics student at the University of Sheffield. He’ll be with us until next summer and we’re really glad he’s on board.

Last week we sent our 432 paying members a story about the battle to build the Crucible theatre and another about efforts to save Skye Edge. This week we’ll be sending them two more great local reads — the kinds of stories you can’t get anywhere else.

In the next few weeks we’ll be publishing an in-depth look at why Sheffield’s plastic recycling rates are so low, a story about why George Orwell took such a dislike to the city in the 1920s, and a Halloween piece about about the Stocksbridge bypass — the most haunted road in Britain.

To get those stories direct to your inbox and help grow The Tribune into a high quality news organisation that can serve this part of the world for years to come, please consider subscribing using the button below. It costs less than £1.40 a week if you subscribe for a year.


This week’s weather

Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who are predicting: “A more typical autumn pattern establishes with low pressure in the Atlantic being the main influence. Spells of rain define a very mild first half of the week with an improvement to cooler, brighter and more showery weather from midweek.”

Monday ☔️ any early brightness gets overcome by thickening cloud from the west as an occluded front leads the low pressure charge. Patchy outbreaks of rain developing from late morning. Mild with highs of 16°C.

Tuesday 🌧 turning windier from the south-west, though remaining very mild, with further spells of rain expected during the day with extensive cloud throughout. Highs of 18°C.

Wednesday 🌦 a windy day again with rain clearing to showers. Some sunny spells are likely as cloud breaks up, with the milder air gradually mixing out as a colder airmass develops from the north. Highs of 15°C. A colder night follows.

Thursday 🌦 still a few showers likely but perhaps less extensive than Wednesday, with high pressure beginning to ridge in. Winds will remain breezy and it'll add a real bite to the air. Much cooler with temperatures struggling into the low double-digits. Highs of 11°C. Rural frost possible overnight.

Friday ⛅️ anticipating a drier day with some sunshine as a ridge of high pressure briefly establishes. Winds will still be breezy from the west or north-west with another cold day and night expected. Highs of 11°C.

Outlook 🌦 low pressure to the northwest and the ridge of high pressure to the south will do battle, with the likely outcome of sunshine and showers for those in the middle. Temperatures will gradually recover from the initial cold start.


The big story: Sheffield's High Street gets a new 'adults-only' tenant

Top line: Subject to a licensing application, “adults-only crazy golf bar” GloryHoles will open its latest outlet on High Street soon.

What’s going on? Curious Venues have lodged an application with Sheffield City Council’s licensing committee for a new bar in the former Bon Marché shop in the city centre. Along with the former Pizza Hut restaurant next door, the unit has been empty since those businesses closed during the pandemic.

What is GloryHoles? The bar bills itself as “golf for adults” and features an 18-hole mini-course full of innuendo and sex-themed artwork.

  • Nottingham-based entrepreneurs Dan Brown and Drew Hewitt have already opened one GloryHoles outlet in their home city in May this year.

  • That branch was in the trendy Hockley district of Nottingham, in a far less prominent place than the new Sheffield branch would be.

No comment: We approached the company to ask about their move into Sheffield but haven’t yet heard back. Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live about the opening of the original branch, Dan Brown said GloryHoles was “a place for adults” and wasn’t for the “easily offended” but added that it didn’t contain anything “too bad.”

Background: Sheffield city centre was struggling long before the Covid-19 pandemic. As we slowly return to normal, many shops that were just about hanging on have now disappeared. Landlords and the council are desperate to fill empty units — which might mean we see more surprising tenants on our high streets.

  • The predicted trend is fewer shops and more leisure businesses and experiences. Over in Liverpool, some residents aren’t happy about the city’s historic Lyceum building being turned into a 'Jungle Rumble' miniature golf course venue.

What are the licensing powers? Under the Licensing Act 2003, the council’s licensing committee has a duty to prevent crime and disorder, ensure public safety, prevent public nuisance and protect children from harm. If councillors were to reject the application, an appeal can be lodged.

Reaction: None of the councillors on the licensing board are allowed to speak about the application before it is considered by the committee. However, councillor for the city ward Douglas Johnson said:

I’m not sure exactly what this proposal is and we’ll have to see if it actually goes ahead.  It’s possibly not a great addition to the Castlegate area, which has a lot of potential. At present, we are waiting to hear the Government’s decision on the Levelling Up Fund bid which could bring substantial money to the area.

What happens next? Any written representations need to be submitted to the committee by October 22. A decision is likely to take place sometime in the next few weeks. However, the venue’s management has already begun to move in fixtures and fittings, and their Instagram page says the bar is “cumming soon.”

Our view: Sheffield is desperate for investment, but at what cost? The city has big plans to turn itself into a destination for leisure and culture and the High Street area is key to that plan. Speaking to a meeting of city centre residents last month, director of city centre development Nalin Seneviratne said one of the Heart of the City project’s aims was to attract high quality businesses to Sheffield. So far, there isn’t much sign of that.


Let there be light

The 15th annual Parkwood Springs Lantern Festival took place on Saturday. As ever, the event brought hundreds of people to the wild and beautiful park, who took part in lantern-making, circus skills workshops and family treasure hunts. The photo shows the climax of the evening, a fire-juggling performance by Chris Marley from Green Top Circus. For more information about Parkwood Spring see their website.


Covid-19 update

Cases: The Covid case rate in Sheffield — the number of positive cases per 100,000 people over seven days — is currently 388.8, 344 cases or 17.7% up on last week. The England average is 410.3, 20.1% up on seven days ago.

Hospitals: There are 93 patients currently in hospital in Sheffield being treated for Covid-19, an increase of eight from last week. Of these 17 are on ventilation, an increase of six from last week. At least four deaths linked to the virus took place in Sheffield in the last week.

Vaccines: 772,523 vaccines have now been given out in Sheffield, including 402,784 first doses and 369,739 second doses. The council says vaccinations for younger age groups have now started and are going well. 74.8% of residents aged 12+ are now fully vaccinated.


Open newsroom

Here are a few stories we are working on at the moment — if you have some expertise or insight to offer, please hit reply to this newsletter or email editor@sheffieldtribune.co.uk.

  • A piece about why Sheffield doesn’t yet have a professional symphony orchestra.

  • An interview with Sheffield City Council leader Terry Fox. Please send us the questions you’d like us to ask.

  • Town vs Gown tensions in Sheffield. Are our two universities doing all they can to spread their success around the city?


Our favourite reads

  1. In this piece, Yorkshire Live sent their chief reporter Alex Grove to review one of one of Sheffield’s less well-known night spots. The Big Gun on the Wicker bills itself as a “nice pub for nice people”, but the welcome Grove got was decidedly frosty. I confess I thought the boozer had shut down years ago, but it is still going strong 225 years after it first opened in 1796 (as the Great Gun). It is thought to have been named after a large piece of ordnance that was manufactured in a city factory.

  2. A fascinating piece in Now Then about the life of enigmatic Sheffield musician Peter Boam, who died in 2010. Boam was an early member of Pulp and was a well known figure on the Sheffield and Chesterfield music scene for decades. The piece is written by Sheffield songwriter, musician, actor and poet David Palfreyman, who is currently producing a documentary film about Peter. Anyone with memories, recordings or footage of him is asked to contact David on david@ditelirecords.co.uk.

  3. An interesting story in the Yorkshire Post written by former Sheffield MP and sports minister Richard Caborn arguing that Sheffield could play a key role in a new wave of nuclear power generation. Caborn says that small modular reactors (smaller nuclear power stations that can be built far quicker than traditional ones) could be the solution to our energy needs when renewables fail, and that the city’s “unique heavy engineering skills, capacity and capability” make it an ideal place to make them.


Red deer on White Edge

Thanks to Howard Bayley from the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery for letting us use these magnificent photos he captured of deer on White Edge recently. Howard went up there early on Friday morning with his dog Ben, fortunately taking his big camera with him. He told The Tribune seeing the two young stags would have been enough, but they were later joined by several hinds and eventually two much bigger stags, in what made for a magical experience.

He said: “With the beautiful sunlight, the stunning views and deer in almost every direction it was a totally captivating couple of hours and I reflected on how fortunate I am to have all this beauty just 15 minutes from home and only nine miles from the centre of Sheffield.”


Things to do

Tour: You might have to be quick with this one as it has a tendency to fill up but the “lowlights tour” of Weston Park Museum on Wednesday, October 20 has always sounded like great fun to me. The much-loved museum is better known for Spike the Rhino and the Benty Grange helmet, but some of the odder items in its collection are just as interesting. In the lowlights tour you’ll hear about counterfeit coins, Victorian typos and even Michael Palin’s pants.

The underwear Michael Palin wore during the filming of Pole to Pole are part of the “lowlights” tour of Weston Park Museum. Photo: Sheffield Museums.

Theatre: Sheffield is spoiled for choice when it comes to great theatre, but one we haven’t featured up until now is The Company. Styling themselves as “professional quality amateur dramatics in Sheffield,” from October 20-23 they will be performing Agatha Christie’s The Hollow at the University of Sheffield’s drama studio. It’s not one of Christie’s best known whodunits but a familiar face crops up towards the end. For a preview trailer click here.

Books: The Off the Shelf literary festival (which we previewed in our last briefing) continues all week. Highlights this week include an illustrated talk about the life of pioneering scientist Mary Wortley Montagu on Tuesday, October 19 at 6pm, Sheffield publisher And Other Stories’ 10th birthday party on Wednesday, October 20 at 8.30pm, and an illustrated talk on the hidden voices in the Sheffield Archives on Thursday, October 21 at 12.30pm.


Work mural wins award

Congratulations to Sheffield illustrator Will Rea who has won a major international award for the mural he designed for Orchard Square. Rea won in the professional site-specific category at the World Illustration Awards. The mural, entitled “Workings of Sheffield,” depicts the city’s industrial heritage and was made in collaboration with Sheffield Museums.