Sheffield as we knew it

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Sheffield, as we of a certain age knew it, is now well and truly dead. The markets area as we walk down Haymarket, Exchange Street and Castlegate have all but disappeared.

The last section of the Castle Market stands defiant and alone on the corner of Exchange Street awaiting the last swing of the wrecking ball that will send the tower tumbling to the ground ending 1,000 years of trading on the site and surrounding area.

A little further down the hill we cross over Lady’s Bridge onto the Wicker. This is now devoid of the street life that made this famous stretch of Sheffield a unique experience with its nine pubs, cinema , Army and Navy stores, travel agents, as well as a multitude of small shops and businesses .

This has been replaced by tacky takeaways with no sign of customers, making one wonder what purpose they serve or how they manage to keep open without the passing footfall of days gone by.

The once thriving Moor is undergoing a facelift, even though this main artery into town with its pubs, trams, cafes and street life was cut off by the gigantic Manpower building that ended the hustle and bustle that was the Moor forever.

Today on that street the town planners are wetting themselves as they look at the failure of the new market.

This failure will be a thing of the past, they say, when the new cinema is built just up the road, to replace the ones that stood within a few hundred yards and were themselves considered not needed or not profitable enough.

The planners seem to think that this cinema, along with a possible Primark store, will bring the footfall streaming into the market, which closes at 5pm.

They must think that cinema-goers will be shopping for wet fish, crabs and tripe before calling to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster just up the road. I can smell the ambience now.

And so we come to the area that is Cambridge Street, fronted by Pinstone Street and backed up by Barkers Pool.

This area is steeped in Sheffield history with iconic pubs and bars standing side by side with some of the finest Victorian architecture in Sheffield.

This includes the Salvation army Citadel, (crying out to be turned into a little theatre with its lovely stage area), and then the Pepperpot building, standing sad and neglected on the next corner.

Also let us not forget the little mesters shops and Henry’s bar also part of this unique part of our city.

This is now the latest historical piece of the city that the planners have decided needs upgrading into a shopping mall, completely ignoring the fact that in so doing they are taking away the character that along with the Wicker, Markets and Moor areas was the very backbone of Sheffield’s life, streets and areas that breathed every day sounds and sights and were what we all loved.

The John Lewis Store fronting Barker’s Pool is another building our city guardians have their eyes on, pleading with the John Lewis management to go along with their plans to pull the store down and replace it with another one.

Can anyone explain just what is wrong with the present store, it is attractive to walk around, light and airy without being sterile and plastic as most new buildings of that size invariably are?

So change for change sake without thought or reason to Sheffield’s past, the same mistakes repeated over and over again.

Judd Newton

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