New beginnings as Sheffield children go back to school

The new term is starting for many of our children either last week or next. It is a great change for many, either with a new class, new classmates and friends, or even a new school entirely.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 9:58 am
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 9:59 am

In comparison to today, my new school terms always seemed to be straight forward; I went to school in the 70s and 80s.

The school process seemed quite simple then.

I went to Ellesmere Primary, then Burngreave Middle then what should have been Earl Marshall Secondary.

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I had three older brothers and sisters, and I'd seen them take the same route.

However slum clearance which had been ongoing for decades changed that.

We had to move from our home on Petre Street to a new home in the Norwood area of town. This upheaval was not just unique to me.

I’d see loads of my friends and many more people I didn’t know, up sticks and have to move to another part of town, some gleefully some maybe not so.

Goodbye to outdoor toilets, rattly sash windows which froze on the inside during the winter months, and gardens instead backyards.

The newer houses had indoor plumbing – bath night would never be the same – central heating and fitted carpets, plus much more.

Some went from having an outdoor toilet to having one indoors, sometimes even two, one upstairs and one down.

This may have meant better housing, but did it mean better homes and communities?

Many went from a street or road where everyone knew each other or who their neighbours were.

Many parents on the same road worked at the same place – locally – and drank in the same pubs and clubs on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, before meeting up at work the following Monday.

Many children went from having grandparents, aunties and uncles and lots of cousins, on the same road or nearby, to having a road where relatives were now a bus ride away or more.

The compulsory moves meant a new beginning for most which they had to embrace like it or not.

Higher standards and opportunities for many with households having fitted carpets for the first time, central heating throughout the house which heated every room.

Modern furniture – albeit on the never never or tic – with old fashioned sideboards burned on bonfire night or left behind.

My new area meant an opportunity to explore and make friends, finding out where the best places to go to get a game of football, or play “delavio” everyday was an adventure, with new parks and play areas to discover.

A good thing, for me, was some of my friends from Pitsmoor had also moved in and around the same area, this in some instances helped break the ice and made things a little easier.

I was introduced to large parks and woods to play in, houses with front and back gardens.

Our new home had gardens front back with three lawns.

We, as children, were introduced to cutting lawns and cutting hedges with a mechanical lawn mower and hedge clippers, no electric equipment, but this didn’t bother us as we knew no difference, hedge clipping and cutting lawns were a big novelty then regardless of method, a big difference from a asphalt backyard.