Give us some civic leadership

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Thank you David Youle (June 27) for speaking up for the remains of Sheffield Castle. Here are a few reflections of my own, albeit those of a professional Sheffielder, not a professional archaeologist (or local historian, God forbid).

Is this really a job for Time Team? You’d be surprised at the number of sites in Sheffield that Time Team have been connected with. The last time Tony Robinson came here, he found the archaeology ‘boring’ and showed us a few used hypodermic needles from a site on West Street.

So he owes us one and he certainly would not find Sheffield’s pre-Industrial Revolution archaeology boring in content or lacking in scope. However the castle site is a regeneration project that arguably makes the successful Heart of the City child’s play. You must clear the market buildings, check for owt dodgy (asbestos, toxins, location of the moat) and the excavation has to be done by professional archaeologists with a conservation/display strategy allied to an appropriate planning proposal.

More than a long weekend job, David. As for the prospects for tourism, this is queried by Carl Lee in his personal geography of the city, Home. It’s interesting that the city council has changed its view of the castle site from one of commercial importance to that of one with tourism potential.

The case for opening up the castle site after decades of civic indifference stands by itself and needs no add-ons. What it needs, at a time when Sheffield’s heritage across the board, as Ian Rotherham points out, is under great threat, is civic leadership.

That’s what got us the Heart of the City.

Ron Clayton, on a soapbox, S6