Take Two with Colin Drury

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How depressing that Sheffield city centre has dropped out of the UK’s top 50 retail locations.

The city, as reported in this paper, is ranked 63rd according to annual research by Oxford University and the Local Data Company. The report reckons we don’t have the variety of retailers which would make it an interesting place.

Which is clearly nonsense: there surely can’t be a better range of charity shops anywhere in the country.

* Still, at least we have our children’s hospital – and (stating the obvious) what a great institution it is.

That’s clearly the view of city-folk, too.

Nearly 300 people took part in a special day of fund-raising events- called Make It Better – to raise money for the upcoming £40 million development and modernisation of the centre, in Western Bank.

Children danced, workers walked and youngsters took part in singsong sessions, as reported in The Star. Even Theo The Bear – that’s the mascot who’s so cute he makes Pudsey look like a Grizzly – got in on the act with a wander down the Eccy Road.

And for those wondering if it was a success, the answer’s simple: does Theo like to, er, sit in the wood?

* And we complain about our summer weather these days? It was a bit worse in 1843, it seems.

Exactly 170 years ago this week a hailstorm a mile wide blew in from the south of the town with such force that 5,700 squares of glass were broken in the Botanical Gardens while every single window of the Surrey Street Music Hall were smashed. A performance was in progress at the time.

The storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, lasted just five minutes on July 5 but caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Surveying the scene the next day, The Independent newspaper noted: “We doubt whether there will be enough glass in Yorkshire for necessary repairs.”

Enough to make you thankful for just a light drizzle.