Wednesday Retro: Boozing and brawling

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“When night falls on Sheffield, yobs and booze bring menace and the threat of violence to our city centre streets.”

Dramatic words that introduced a Star special called Sheffield at Night: the Shocking Truth that ran on Monday, December 12, 1988.

Actually, it sounds fairly run of the mill – people drinking too much and fighting.

The coverage pays tribute to the emergency services. Reporters followed police, ambulance staff and teams in the old Royal Hallamshire casualty department.

The Hallamshire dealt with 60 patients with injuries associated with alcohol in three hours one night.

They included a lad who said he’d been attacked outside the Locarno on London Road. His bloodied face was featured on the front page.

Staff at the Hallamshire spent the night cleaning up head wounds, lacerations and vomit from drunks.

Ambulance teams dealt with a Mini full of students that overturned on Hollow Meadows, thankfully leaving its occupants with cuts and shock. A lad who came off his motorbike on Hangingwater Road was not so lucky and suffered serious injuries.

The paper followed Pcs Martin Capes and John Bowler, who drove the Delta Romeo 2 fast response police car. Their first job was to reprimand a drinker urinating in an office doorway…

The reporter said: “It’s the first job on a shift that will see them racing to an illegal acid house party, ejecting drunks from trendy wine bars, helping collar a bogus taxi driver, moving on pimps fighting with their prostitutes, chasing a gang of ‘runners’ from a curry house, cautioning another doorway splasher, solving a dispute over a restaurant bill and booking yet another doorway splasher”.

The city centre looked more like Benidorm than Sheffield on a freezing night with lads in shirt sleeves and women in mini skirts.

They were heading for the West Street pubs and city centre clubs with names that will bring back a lot of memories, like Legends, Cairo Jax and Millionaires.

Pity the poor lad who’d attracted 150 people to an acid house party in an old workshop on Trippet Lane, only to have 20 police turn up and close it down as unsafe.

A line-up of buses waited on High Street to take drinkers home at 11.15pm when a bus worker blew his whistle.

By 2.45am the paper said “only the birds and the odd burglar are likely to be out in Sheffield city centre”. A bit different these days.