Why is there no Pride in Sheffield this year?
Plus, an 'urban legend' dies aged 77
Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
As cities and towns up and down the country prepare for Pride events, Sheffield is notably absent from the list. By some metrics, we are the fourth biggest city in the country and yet unlike Manchester, Leeds, Doncaster and even Chesterfield, Sheffield isn’t taking part in this worldwide celebration of LGBTQ+ identities. Today, we look at why this might be and what it could be costing the city.
As well as that we have some great photos from the weekend’s Chance to Dance festival, an amazing piece about a homeless Sheffield man who lived in a shed for 20 years and details of a fascinating-sounding talk about the demolished buildings of Sheffield.
Catch up and coming up
“Workers in sun hats till the soil while a man with a beard inches his way along a ploughed field.” For our weekend read, David Bocking travelled back in time to find out how Sheffield Organic Growers are improving the city’s food security.
Last week we sent out two newsletters to our 708 paying members. The first was a piece by me about Sheffield Hallam University’s controversial decision to suspend several arts and humanities courses including English literature. And the second was a piece by Dani about her visit to a “goldmine” Abbeydale salvage yard. An extract from that first piece is below.
Laura Mills, 22, from Beighton, said she felt it was important that English literature courses were still available for people like her who don’t go to the elite “Russell Group” universities like the University of Sheffield. “I think I could have done the course at the University of Sheffield but my A levels weren’t good enough to get in there,” she tells me. “If this had happened a few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do the course I wanted to do.”
This week we’ll send out two more including some fascinating analysis on the recently announced census data which shows Sheffield’s population has grown just 0.7% in the last 10 years and why this might be. To get both of this week’s newsletters, become a member of The Tribune today to help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield.
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The big picture: Grey to Green 🌳
The Grey to Green planting scheme at Castlegate is looking absolutely fantastic at the moment. Stretching from the West Bar roundabout to Exchange Street, it is Britain’s largest continuous urban green street corridor. As well as looking great, it also helps prevent flooding downstream by slowing water runoff. Our piece about the amazing science behind the pioneering project can be found here.
This week’s weather ⛅️
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say high pressure will take its time to influence the UK, with cloud slowly breaking and temperatures slowly warming through the week.
Monday 🌥 Quite a lot of cloud during the morning, breaking up better by the afternoon and evening. Breezy from the west with highs of 19°C.
Tuesday 🌥 Dry, fine and bright for much of the day, albeit still on the breezy side from the west-northwest. Highs of around 20°C.
Wednesday 🌥 A decaying weather front brings the risk of light rain over the hills, and cloud for the rest of us, breaking later. Windy with highs of 21°C.
Thursday ⛅ A little warmer, though still breezy with bright or sunny spells and dry conditions for all. Highs of 22°C
Friday 🌤 Sunnier skies expected as our high continues to build its influence and break up the cloud. Warmer as a result with highs of 24°C.
Outlook 😎 The warm and often sunny weather extends throughout the weekend and likely into next week, with temperatures continuing to steadily rise.
The big story: Why is there no Pride in Sheffield this year?
Top line: As cities and towns across the country prepare Pride events to celebrate LGBTQ+ identities, why doesn't Sheffield have one?
Pride season: Dozens of Prides will take place over the next few months, after London kicked things off with its huge event over the weekend. The capital’s Pride event regularly attracts well over 1.5m people while the Manchester one (Friday, August 26 to Monday, August 30) welcomes around 170,000.
Some of the biggest Prides (London, Brighton, Manchester) are huge multi-million-pound events that have sponsorship deals with major corporations.
In our region, Leeds, Doncaster and Chesterfield will all be holding Prides this year. Leeds’ last event in 2019 attracted an estimated 65,000 people.
What about Sheffield? Sheffield doesn’t have a Pride this year, but is intending to bring one back for 2023. Instead, Pinknic does Pride, a day of live entertainment, music and stalls, will take place in the Peace Gardens on Saturday, July 16 from 11am-7pm. Heather Paterson from SAYiT Sheffield, who helped organise Sheffield’s first event in 2008, told The Tribune that trying to organise a major Pride from scratch after Covid had proved too difficult. She said:
If you’re a community interest company which has to rely only on voluntary support, staging an event like Pride in Sheffield is a big undertaking. It’s always been run by members of the community and has never had the financial backing that some of the other big city Prides have had.
The city scene: Back in March 2018, plans for a “gay quarter” in the city centre were announced. Since then, to the already existing Dempsey’s bar on Hereford Street has been added Queer Junction on The Moor and Spirit of Sheffield on Cumberland Street. However, a recent article in The Sheffield Tab student newspaper claimed the city had “next to no scene” for LGBTQ+ students at all. One student, Laura, told The Tab:
“Even without comparing Sheffield to other cities, two LGBTQ+ bars that are realistically full of old men and straight people are absolutely NOT good enough. I can’t believe that a city like Sheffield, bigger than a lot of places, doesn’t even have an official Pride event either.”
Our take: This timely piece in Now Then argues that things may finally be changing, and that the scene in the city is actually “going from strength to strength”. But it is still surprising that a city the size of Sheffield doesn’t have a Pride event this year. This is of course important on its own terms — for LGBTQ+ visibility and awareness — but it also has economic ramifications too. The so-called “pink pound” is estimated to be worth £6 billion to the UK economy each year. If Sheffield fails to capitalise on that, it will be missing a trick.
Open newsroom: How LGBT-friendly do you think Sheffield is? Do we still lag behind other cities like Manchester and Leeds or is the scene here going from “strength to strength?” Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or replying to this newsletter.
Home of the week 🏡
This gorgeous two-bedroomed and two-bathroom Broomhill apartment is situated in a converted school building which dates back to 1879. It is on the market for £265,000.
Our favourite reads 📚
Homeless man and 'urban legend' dies aged 77 🧘♂️ An amazing piece in The Star about John Burgess, a Sheffield man who had been homeless for 40 years and spent the last 20 living in a shed near Cutlers Gate. After he moved there, the railway line developed around him and he was able to take wood and resources from the skips to cook his food. He also grew vegetables and flowers there, performed yoga and swam in the River Don every day.
Gig 58. Iron Maiden, The Apollo Theatre, Glasgow, 12th May 1983 🎸 In the latest installment of Roger Quail’s blog about his gig-going history, his band The Box travel to Glasgow. While there, they’re put on Iron Maiden’s guest list, and watch them play to a crowd of adoring Scottish metal heads. As a thank you for being on Iron Maiden’s guest list, The Box decide to return the favour. “Sadly, they don’t turn up,” writes Quail. “They aren’t the only ones.”
Forcing universities to axe courses is an attack on working class students 🏫 An interesting comment piece in The Independent follows up on Sheffield Hallam University’s decision to cut a raft of arts and humanities courses including English literature. Columnist Hannah Fearn says the decision will have the effect of limiting opportunity for less well-off students. “Education cannot have one purpose for the rich and another for the poor,” she writes.
Chance to Dance 💃
Hundreds of dancers gathered in Sheffield city centre on Saturday for the return of Chance to Dance, a free community dance festival showcasing styles as varied as salsa, bhangra, ballroom and modern jive. These pictures, by Sheffield photographer Tim Dennell, show members of Latin American dance group Son de America. More of Tim’s photos can be seen on his Flickr and Facebook pages.
Things to do 📆
Talk 🗣 In this lunchtime talk at Weston Park Museum, hear about some of the much-loved Sheffield landmarks that have bitten the dust over the years and what the future may hold for others. In Demolished Sheffield, historian Mike Higginbottom will explore the reasons why some buildings are lost and queries whether some of them could have had a future. The talk, which takes place on Tuesday, July 12 from 1pm-2pm, is free but booking is advised.
Music 🎤 On Friday, July 8, The Greystones pub hosts the group Both Sides Now, a five-piece touring band dedicated to playing the iconic songs of Joni Mitchell. 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of her legendary Blue album, and the band will be playing homage to it alongside other tracks from Mitchell’s illustrious career. The band’s website says they are “not so much a tribute band as an evening exploring Joni’s amazing songwriting legacy”.
Event 🎭 Tudor Square this weekend welcomes back Together in the Square, two days of outdoor performance, street acts, music, poetry and theatre. The free event, which began last year as a way of enticing people back to the city centre during the pandemic, takes place on Saturday, July 9 (11am-7pm) and Sunday, July 10 (11am-4pm). An outdoor BBQ offering a range of meat, vegetarian and vegan options will be at Crucible Corner.
Creative connections 🎨
Manor-born artist Conor Rogers has paid tribute to Yuen Fong Ling, one of his teachers at Sheffield Hallam University, in a new exhibition at the Millennium Gallery. In Creative Connections Sheffield, Rogers’ painting of his teacher stands next to a sculpture of Victorian gay rights campaigner Edward Carpenter, who Yuen cites as an inspiration for his work. Conor’s painting also includes a poem as a tribute to both men. Our piece about Conor is here.