Don’t drop The Bomb

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Sheffield'Picture shows the CND march which went through the centre of Sheffield - 14th April 1984
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Sheffield'Picture shows the CND march which went through the centre of Sheffield - 14th April 1984
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Bodies everywhere, a mysterious cash benefactor and a mixing of cultures ... remember the mass CND protests of the 1980s?

As far back as December 1959, members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament applied for permission to keep a 12-hour Christmas Eve vigil outside the Town Hall - it was turned down.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Sheffield'Sheffield Youth CND - April 1984

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Sheffield'Sheffield Youth CND - April 1984

However as many as 2,000 heard David Blunkett address a rally in Norfolk Park in April 1982. “We want to make Sheffield take a lead for peace, as we did after the war,” he told them. We are looking at ways of making a reality of being a nuclear free zone and we hope to declare Sheffield a peace city, and South Yorkshire a peace county.”

Then there was the mysterious benefactor from the Sheffield steel industry who launched national anti-nuclear advertising campaigns.

The secret sponsor paid for a £3,000 advertisement in a national newspaper in June 1982, urging people to join CND.

A national CND spokesman said: “He doesn’t want his name known and we are respecting his wishes. It is quite possible that this person has contracts with government organisations or he could want the anonymity for business reasons.

“There is also a possibility that if his identity was discovered, he would get all sorts of organisations crawling to his door.”

And, irony of all ironies, was the bomb scare which rudely interrupted a peace rally in October 1982.

Here’s how Stephen McClarence reported on it for The Star: “With nice irony, one bomb scare held up another at Sheffield City Hall on Saturday night.

“After an hour of speeches on the menace of nuclear weapons and the threat of The Bomb, a 1,000-strong peace rally audience was ordered out of the hall. Someone, the City Hall authorities had been told, had planted a bomb. So out everyone trooped into Barker’s Pool, and the (mostly young) peace campaigners stood on one side of the City Hall steps, and the (mostly middle-aged) ballroom dancers from downstairs stood in their silver shoes on the other.

“It could have been a historic meeting of two cultures - but 20 minutes on a Saturday night is hardly long enough to forge major cultural links.”