Two rescued after flash floods hit Sheffield
Plus, Division Street to be permanently pedestrianised
Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
Today is the calm after the storm. Yesterday, Sheffield was hit by about an hour of torrential rain that was described in some quarters as “biblical”. For many it just meant packing away the deckchairs and taking the washing down from the line. But for others it was a different story. Two people had to be rescued from their cars in parts of Sheffield where the water was more than a metre deep. Today we ask what we can do to mitigate flash flooding in a warming world.
As well as that we have a lovely apartment in Sharrow Vale, the long-awaited return of music blogger Roger Quail, and a talk about the psychology of fetish and kink at The Leadmill.
Catch up and coming up
For our weekend read, David Bocking travelled to Green Estate, the Manor-based social enterprise which has just won an award from the King. You can still read that piece here.
Last week we sent out two great newsletters to our 1,486 paying members. For the first our new staff writer Victoria Munro visited two very different co-operative housing experiments in Sheffield to ask whether they could be a way more people live in the future. And in the second I looked at the poor transport links between Sheffield and Manchester and asked whether it was time to retire Snake Pass. An extract from that first piece is below.
According to Professor Jenny Pickerill at the University of Sheffield, who is researching more ecological forms of housing around the world, food is the issue British co-ops most often fall apart over. “I have seen co-ops where the question of whether everyone should be vegan or not has morphed into a defining issue that ended with some people leaving,” she told me. “One of the communities I worked with had all agreed to be vegetarian but the meat-eaters started a secret meat-eating group. When they were found out, it caused a lot of upset.”
This week we’ll send out two more including one about the strange Derbyshire tradition of well-dressings, and another by our data writer Daniel Timms about what happens to our waste when we recycle it. To help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield based on subscriptions rather than clickbait, please consider subscribing using the button below. It costs £1.34 a week if you pay for 12 months up front (23p a day).
Editor’s note: Last week, our members got to enjoy the first story written for The Tribune by our new staff writer Victoria Munro. As well as being great for me to have some help with writing, it will also be brilliant for members, who will get much more variety in the style of reporting we publish. I can concentrate more on what I’m good at while Victoria will be able to add more news and investigations. You can help us get better still by joining The Tribune today.
The big picture: Golden hour 🌇
Thanks to Instagram user maciejsphotos for letting us use his brilliant photo of a tram going over Park Square roundabout from Park Hill flats at golden hour.
This week’s weather 🌦
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say low pressure starts things off with sunshine and a cocktail of scattered downpours. Becoming more settled after midweek with high pressure building in.
Monday 🌦 A few showers during the morning, and a few during the afternoon, but they'll be well scattered with some pleasantly warm sunshine too. Highs of 24°C.
Tuesday 🌦 Weather fronts move north during the day, with a spell of rain likely later in the morning, clearing to sun and showers to finish. Cooler, with highs of 21°C.
Wednesday 🌦 Another mix of warm sunny spells and heavy, perhaps thundery scattered showers. Highs of 24°C.
Thursday ⛅️ Still the risk of an isolated shower but, with high pressure nosing in from the southwest, conditions should settle down. Highs of 25°C.
Friday ⛅️ Is expected to be very warm and settled with sunny spells and mainly dry conditions. highs of 26°C.
Outlook: Staying very warm, with a chance of hot weather, into next weekend as we likely stay under the influence of high pressure.
The big story: Two rescued after flash floods hit Sheffield
Top line: Two people had to be rescued from their cars yesterday after flash flooding left parts of Sheffield underwater. According to the Met Office, between 6-7pm on Sunday, some parts of the city saw 35.6 mm of rain, almost half the amount that would normally fall in the entire month of June. Should we be doing more to mitigate the risks of flash flooding?
Where did it flood? Reports of localised flooding came in from all over Sheffield including Beighton, Handsworth and Sheffield Lane Top. However, more serious flooding took place in Attercliffe, Darnall, Carbrook and in between Grimesthorpe and Brightside
A woman had to be rescued from her car under the railway bridge on Upwell Street in between Grimesthorpe and Brightside, while in Attercliffe a man had to be broken out of his vehicle on Worksop Road.
There was also serious flooding in Darnall and Carbrook, where the Car Brook river runs parallel to Prince of Wales Road, while in Rotherham parts of the hospital’s A+E department were left underwater.
Types of flooding: Sometimes flooding occurs when rivers burst their banks. However, this kind of fluvial flooding isn’t what happened in Sheffield yesterday. Sometimes in very heavy rain, drainage systems become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of water they are being asked to cope with. This so-called pluvial flooding is a particular problem in urban drainage systems where rainwater runs rapidly off hard surfaces like roads and pavements.
Mitigation: A great deal of work has been done both in Sheffield and elsewhere using sustainable urban drainage schemes or SuDS. These vastly reduce flood risks by holding water in the landscape for longer rather than funnelling it quickly to rivers.
The subject of our weekend read Green Estate has led the way on research into how drainage ponds, bioswales and planting can mitigate flash flooding.
Their expertise also helped create the Grey to Green SuDS scheme along West Bar and Castlegate which is now being rolled out across the city centre.
Historic flood risk: As a city with five major rivers and countless smaller tributaries, it’s perhaps unsurprising that serious floods have happened throughout the city’s history. Back in 2007, two people died after major floods left much of Sheffield city centre underwater. In 2019 another major incident spared the city centre but flooded Meadowhall, Rotherham and Doncaster. And in 2022 the River Don was perilously close to breaking its banks yet again.
Bottom line: Just looking at the history of flooding in Sheffield, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that floods are becoming more regular due to climate change. Climate scientists say this is likely to increase still further in the future — but we can do things about it. The world-leading Grey to Green SuDS scheme in Sheffield city centre was created in response to the devastating and deadly floods of 2007, and judging by the 2019 and 2022 floods it seems to have had an effect. It’s time we started thinking about rolling similar schemes out across the city.
Home of the week 🏡
This stunning three bedroom duplex apartment in Sharrow Vale features a timber decked balcony, beautiful communal gardens and off-road parking. 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.
Our media picks 🎧
How DocFest helped Sheffield 'reinvent' itself 📽️ A great piece on the BBC website looks back at 30 years of Sheffield DocFest. Back in 1994, the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival was based in just one venue and was initially aimed at giving the city renewed cultural purpose after the collapse of the steel industry. Three decades on, DocFest is now spread over 22 sites and is one of the biggest documentary film festivals in the world.
In This ‘Full Monty,’ the Clothes Stay On 📺 The fact that the new television series of The Full Monty is featuring in the pages of the New York Times is a good indication of the impact the original film had 26 years ago. In this interview, stars Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy speak about how the move changed their careers and where their characters are at in 2023. Not everyone is impressed, though. This review in The Guardian gave it just two stars.
The Fall, London, Friday 15 July 1983 🎸 After a hiatus of more than 10 months, it’s great to see that friend of The Tribune Roger Quail has resumed his blog detailing every gig he’s ever been to. This update sees Quail band’s The Box in London to record their debut album at the same studio as German rockers The Scorpions. While there they support legendary Mancunian band The Fall in Brixton. The piece also includes a Spotify playlist from the era.
‘Things we love to see’ 🚲
Active travel enthusiasts are celebrating after two schemes that were created during the pandemic were made permanent. Division Street in Sheffield city centre will remain closed to motor traffic following a decision made by the council’s transport, regeneration and climate policy committee last week. The council say the scheme has “created a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians and opened up more opportunities for active travel”. Also made permanent were changes to remove nine parking spaces and widen the pavement outside Broomhill shopping precinct. The changes are aimed at encouraging more people to travel there on foot — increasing footfall and the length of time people spend in local businesses.
Things to do 📆
Film 📽️ This year’s Sheffield DocFest ends today, but its Alternate Realities strand will continue at Site Gallery until 16 July. Free and open to the public, the exhibition presents powerful storytelling enabled by technological advancement in virtual reality, artificial intelligence and video gaming. Site Gallery is open from 11am-5pm every day except Monday. You will need to book a slot in advance to experience Within Touching Distance.
History 🗣️ A fascinating-sounding talk at Portland Works on Wednesday, 21 June looks in detail at Sheffield in 1925, a year when the city’s gang wars made national headlines and the Blades won the FA Cup. Local historians John Stocks and Dave Pickersgill examine what they call the city’s most turbulent year, when a fratricidal turf war between organised crime gangs led to murder and state executions. The two-hour talk costs £5 and starts at 7pm.
Sex 💑 Also on Wednesday at The Leadmill, Dr Lori Beth Bisbey will present a talk about the psychology of fetish and kink. A recent study in the UK found that approximately 50% of adults reported having a fetish or kink. Despite their prevalence, they are often shrouded in taboo and misunderstanding. In the talk Dr Bisbey will attempt to demystify the topic and answer the question: “Am I normal?” Tickets are priced £11.50 and doors open at 6.45pm.