Community in focus: Hillsborough - the ‘lovely’ suburb with football at its heart

Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe
Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe
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It’s the home of Sheffield Wednesday, has a bustling shopping centre, a dog track and a former army barracks now part of a supermarket.

And, according to the people who live and work there, Hillsborough is ‘lovely’, ‘fantastic’, ‘interesting’, ‘thriving’ and ‘friendly’.

Penistone Road, Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Penistone Road, Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Kevin Woods, landlord at the New Barrack Tavern, who has run the pub since 2003, says the area has changed over the years.

But one thing that hasn’t changed in Hillsborough is Sheffield Wednesday Football Club up Penistone Road.

It is the centrepiece of the area and Kevin describes the club as the ‘lifeblood’ of the Hillsborough area.

“It’s a lovely place to live, I think it’s one of the nicer areas in the Sheffield,” he said.

Kevin Woods. Picture: Andrew Roe

Kevin Woods. Picture: Andrew Roe

“It’s a thriving community within the wider city. The football club, I think, acts as a centre point for a lot of things that go on.

“If it wasn’t there it would have a huge impact on loads of businesses in the area.

“We take around 60 to 70 per cent of our trade from match days so the club is vitally important. I can speak for other businesses, other pubs and sandwich shops – loads rely on the fans’ footfall.”

But like many areas across Sheffield, the decline of traditional industry and factory employment has altered the economic landscape.

Christine McCarthy, 67, of Palm Street, Walkley. Picture: Andrew Roe

Christine McCarthy, 67, of Palm Street, Walkley. Picture: Andrew Roe

“The demographic and trade has changed since I first opened,” Kevin said.

“We used to open in the daytime during the week. We don’t any more.

“I’ve had to scale back the hours because the industries and factories are not here as much as they were. We used to get a steady daytime trade from the workers.”

George Lindars-Hammond has been a Hillsborough councillor for four years. He described the ward he represents as a ‘fantastic’ place to live and work and hopes Wednesday’s recent success on the pitch can benefit the area.

Owlerton Stadium, Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Owlerton Stadium, Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

“There is an interesting mix of people living in the Hillsborough area,” he said.

“We’ve still got the traditional families who have lived here for many years but we’ve got another element of mature students and young professionals in the south of the ward.

“It’s such a fantastic place to live, such a friendly place.

“I think it’s a very popular area with excellent transport links, the dog track and the big leisure centre. There’s so much going on.

“It’s great the football club are doing so well. It can only benefit the area.

“People in Hillsborough are already proud of where they live and the football club’s success adds to that pride.”

Jaja Reynolds, 36, of Malin Bridge, Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Jaja Reynolds, 36, of Malin Bridge, Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Christine McCarthy lived in Hillsborough for more than six decades.

The 67-year-old now lives on Palm Street in nearby Walkley but still has great affection for the area.

“I’d never consider moving from the area. I was born on Penistone Road and I’ve always enjoyed living here,” she said.

“I feel like I’m part of a community. People look out for each other.

“It’s convenient for me being from a big Wednesday family – the ground was always just down the road.”

But she added: “The one thing that’s brought Hillsborough down is the amount of traffic on Penistone Road. It just seems a lot these days.”

Ethel Overend lives in Stocksbridge but has worked in Hillsborough for 31 years.

The 63-year-old said the shopping area desperately needs a ‘revamp’ but praised the people who live in the area.

She said: “There used to be loads of choice of shops but now it’s mainly charity shops and hairdressers.

“It needs investment, It’s still quite popular with people but we need some good shops. It needs a good clothes shop, a good shoe shop and something needs to be done about parking.

“Stocksbridge is getting the Fox Valley development and maybe Hillsborough needs something like that too.

“The customers we get in are ever so friendly. They’re very loyal here in Hillsborough, it’s not something you get in other places.”

Jaja Reynolds is a doctor, a kidney specialist, at the Northern General hospital.

The 36-year-old mum-of-one has lived in nearby Malin Bridge for 10 years and thinks Hillsborough is a good place to bring up a young family.

“I’m originally from Malaysia, came to Sheffield to study and I’ve never left. I really like it here,” she said.

“The people are really friendly, it’s got decent schools, lovely parks and the shops are really convenient.”

Hillsborough resident Alex Nye is a history teacher in Rotherham.

Born in Manchester, the former Sheffield University student has continued to live in the city

“I just like the feel of the place. Sheffield ticks a load of boxes for me,” Alex said.

“I’ve lived in Walkley and Broomhill and Hillsborough’s a great fit for me with the excellent transport links. You can hop on a tram and you’re in town in no time.”

Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Ethel Overend, 63, has worked in Hillsborough for 31 years. Picture: Andrew Roe

Ethel Overend, 63, has worked in Hillsborough for 31 years. Picture: Andrew Roe

Hillsborough Park. Picture: Andrew Roe

Hillsborough Park. Picture: Andrew Roe

Alex Nye, 24, in front of his home in Hillsborough

Alex Nye, 24, in front of his home in Hillsborough