Residents and visitors agree: Dronfield a top place to live

St John the Baptist Church of England, Dronfield
St John the Baptist Church of England, Dronfield
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Dronfield residents aren't surprised their little slice of Derbyshire is considered among the UK's top places to live and work - they wouldn't leave for love nor money.

The town was named alongside others like Norwich and Broadstone in the study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research with the Royal Mail.

Hazel Millward and Marueen Scott meet regularly in Dronfield

Hazel Millward and Marueen Scott meet regularly in Dronfield

It took in factors like schooling, green spaces and average working hours, but there's plenty more aspects of Dronfield to enjoy. You only have to ask someone who lives there.

Hazel Millward moved from Sheffield to Dronfield 30 years ago, and hasn't looked back. She enjoys having everything on her doorstep.

The serenity of the Peak District is a stone's throw away, but you still have all the amenities on hand in Dronfield, Hazel said.

"There's a Sainsburys, Aldi and all the charity shops," Hazel said.

Dronfield's rail links make it easy to get to Sheffield or Meadowhall

Dronfield's rail links make it easy to get to Sheffield or Meadowhall

Her and husband Bob have been meeting Sheffield friends, who live near Meadowhall, in the town for years.

The easy transport links makes those meetings possible.

"There's a train straight to Meadowhall," Hazel said.

"It's a big bonus, that train station," Bob said.

Shirley Allsopp and Derek Watson are long-time Dronfield residents

Shirley Allsopp and Derek Watson are long-time Dronfield residents

Hazel and Bob's friend Maureen Scott, who lives at Wincobank, said she wouldn't mind moving to the area to escape Sheffield.

"I love it, I'd love to live here," she said.

Derek Watson has seen plenty of changes in his town. He's lived there for more than 60 years.

Derek, 86, moved into his Barnes Lane address with wife Mary in the 1960s.

Frank Fisher's butcher is an institution in Dronfield

Frank Fisher's butcher is an institution in Dronfield

Mary passed away in 2001, after 47 years of marriage.

Derek still comes to town once a week to pick up a corned beef and potato pastie, and, if he's lucky, 'a kiss and a cuddle' from the ladies at Cooplands Bakery.

He said development was a part of progress, but Derek still yearns for that town he lived in all those years ago, with the love of his life.

"It's over-developed, I think," he said.

"There was virtually nowt here, but that's progress, isn't it?

"Sometimes, when you've lived in a place for a long while, it loses something."

Derek still enjoys the short drive to Hollingwood to meet his mates from the Chesterfield Canal Trust.

He goes down there, he said, to escape the rat race.

"It's back to nature, the wildlife," he said.

The beauty of being in the trust, he said, is that it won't get in the way of your other commitments.

Not that Derek has too many, barring his pasty trip every Thursday.

He said he had never been a sportsman.

"I think they get paid too much," he said.

"Sport's been ruined by brass."

Shirley Allsopp, who serves Derek his pasties, also enjoys getting away from it all in the Peak District.

Shirley walks in the Peak District with her rescue dog, an alsation named Sheba.

The pair's favourite locations include Chatsworth, Bakewell and Matlock.

Shirley. who lives at Orchard Square, lived in Doncaster briefly, but had to return to her birthplace.

"I had to come home," she said.

There's always enough happening in the town, and Nottingham and Leeds aren't far away.

"You're centralised," Shirley said.

Like Derek, she said she had also noticed the changes in the town.

"When I first lived here, it was a little village," she said.

"It's grown."

Fisher and Son is a Dronfield institution. A sign at the front of the shop on Church Street says it was established in the reign of Queen Anne in 1702.

The shop has been in Frank Fisher's family since 1852. He and his father Percy took it over from grandfather William James in 1956.

Frank, who is 86, has been there ever since, and said he wouldn't be anywhere else.

"It's too late to change now," he said.

"It's a way of life, as much as anything."

Frank said the town isn't as 'old time' as it used to be.

"It's very cosmopolitan," he said.

"There are people from all over the world here now."

He likes to recount the story of his most famous client: Michael Caine.

The star of The Italian Job used to come in about once a month to buy his meat, when he briefly lived nearby.

Frank didn't know who it was at first but he soon worked it out.

"A couple of girls spotted him an came across with their autograph books," Frank said.

That isn't the only brush with fame that Frank has had.

He recalled meeting the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso on the steps of Sheffield City Hall one day.

It was during the meeting of the World Peace Council in the Steel City in 1950.

"We exchanged a few short words," he said.