Interesting link to city’s history

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LAST Saturday’s Retro unearthed a curious piece of Sheffield’s past that should figure in its future.

Vin Malone’s piece on the ‘disused and neglected’ Blonk Street public convenience has an intriguing story behind it.

The toilets are a rare example of a ‘gentlemen and ladies’ erected at the end of the Victorian era. It’s a reply to the question ‘What did the council use to do for me?.

Inside it is the finest example of Sheffield’s coat of arms outside of the Town Hall, dated 1898 or 1899.

It reflects Sheffield Corporation’s growing self- awareness, lately acquired compared with other great northern cities. Perhaps it was to commemorate becoming a city or the corporation purchasing market rights from the Duke of Norfolk?

The present day council is aware of this piece of public art and intend it to be used in the markets area regeneration but there is doubt about whether it’s still there or gone AWOL, like several other pieces of Sheffield heritage. However, Weston Park gates have come home, like the prodigal son!

Who actually owns it?

Sheffield is again finding a new identity and it’s appropriate, even in straitened times, to dust off the file.

Ron Clayton, Privy Watch UK, S6

n DON’T miss Retro in The Star every Saturday.