Its surprising how over the years I have become passionate about places I have never really been part of.
None more so than the remains of one of the most loved, written-about districts of Sheffield and yet one whose identity is steadily still being eroded – Wadsley, S6.
Your’s truly was once such a delicate flower that the old folks were told that they might not raise me and that, in the still industrial and smokey steel city of the fifties, the family ought to move to somewhere higher where the air was clearer.
So my figurative years were spent up Ben Lane on the sadly changed Sutton Estate – now so anonymous with palisades as opposed to garden fences.
Ben Lane – well within Wadsley – not Hillsborough now that the Dial House Club has gone – is a shadow of its former self. At least the House, dated 1802 and its sundial is being restored though minus the original stone slates.
Now they are going to build on Spider Park– the ‘top field’ to us kids growing up there in the Sixties. With its bomb craters and old farm labourers’ pipe stems it was a magical place especially when it snowed.
Sevenfields old folks home is going to go and the name will vanish just like the De Wadsley family crest vanished from my old school badge of yellow and black.
Vanish just like the crumbly, damp, whitewashed cottages with one door and their brambly and Anderson Shelter-bedecked gardens bounded by straggling locally quarried stone walls and its old chapel, sexton’s house, school, shops which would have given envirionmental health the screaming ab dabs yet where the old ’uns lived to be just that and nobody got poisoned or ate horse meat unknowingly.
Vanish like the manor house without a comprehensive photographic record.
Look at the place now still with its village pubs though now echoing to customers long gone in some cases – part sports campus swallowed up in the great maw of one of Sheffield’s 100 district.
Its only frontier – the Common – being swallowed up by birch and infighting where Highland cows will not tread – is vanishing like the stone dog kennel from Wadsley Hall.