Favourite Things with Sheffield origami master Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson has enjoyed a varied career, including working in a chip shop, a steelworks, as a teacher, a photographer, paper artist and musician.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Gaining a BA (hons) at Sheffield Polytechnic, he worked at Weston Park Hospital before launching a career in music, signing to Polydor Records with Typhoon Saturday and upsetting the Bishop of Sheffield (amongst others) with his atheist band Dig Vis Drill.

The arrival of two children obliged him to seek more conventional employment as an adult education tutor, then less conventionally as a professional paper-folder or origamist .

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This left-field career choice has seen him write over 85 books on the subject, possibly becoming Sheffield’s most published author?

Nick Robinson at home - with his very own blue plaqueNick Robinson at home - with his very own blue plaque
Nick Robinson at home - with his very own blue plaque

He’s also travelled to America, Japan, Dubai and all around Europe teaching and demonstrating origami. Nick’s website is at http://www.origami.me.uk and he also has a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/nicksorigami

He is still active musically, performing solo as a ‘live looper’ and with his band Das Rad, whose second album Adios Al Futuro was recently released to critical acclaim.

Nick writes: “It’s very tricky to cover my many special Sheffield places in a short article, so sadly I’ve had to rule out Bishop’s House, Bramall Lane, the Lantern Theatre, Sheffield Castle, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Beauchief Abbey ponds, Lees Hall woods, Bardwells electronic shop, Rare and Racy, Record Collector, Stag Works and many others.”

Brincliffe Edge

Nick Robinson's picture of Queen guitarist Brian May, taken when the band played Sheffield City Hall in 1974Nick Robinson's picture of Queen guitarist Brian May, taken when the band played Sheffield City Hall in 1974
Nick Robinson's picture of Queen guitarist Brian May, taken when the band played Sheffield City Hall in 1974
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As a child growing up in Nether Edge, this stretch of woodland offered endless fun and plenty of places to hide from the world. The narrow road itself has barely changed since my youth and I can still feel my imagination being engaged when I revisit the area.

As I walked home every day from Carterknowle School, a regular haunt was Jennings’ sweet shop at the foot of Archer Lane, where you could buy a single Black Jack (or Fruit Salad) for a farthing – hard to resist! Nearby on Edgefield Road was the home of my cub and later scout troop, 35th St Oswalds.

The Broadfield pub

I started frequenting this pub at the age of 15 with a pal and remember enjoying Chico’s Jungle Sound disco.

Chico himself kept an eye on us and warned us if there were any coppers checking for under-age drinkers!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Later on, I sat in many times with the Jazz Brotherhood on a Sunday evening – my jazz ‘chops’ were minimal, but they didn’t seem to mind.

I saw bands such as Def Leppard and the Comsat Angels (whom I later joined for a short spell) play there and played many gigs with my own bands. By this time I had my first (damp) bedsit on Machon Bank and, having got hammered at the Wapentake of a Saturday night, regularly took the hair of the dog in the Broadfield over a game of pool on Sunday lunch.

Sheffield City Hall

Being an avid rock music fan, I went to hundreds of gigs there, including Led Zeppelin Deep Purple, King Crimson, Mott the Hoople and many others.

Tickets were often beyond my pocket money(!) so I used to skive off school and help the roadies carry in the gear. This almost always meant I could then sit on the seats that used to be behind the stage and enjoy the show for free, as well as take some great photographs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The venue was a place of magic for so many people, which is part of the reasons I started the Sheffield Music Archive website with my brother. Over the years, my tastes have expanded to include classical and comedy shows as well as countless music gigs, but the thrill is still there as I enter the doors.

Graves Park

My parents took me there and as a teenager I went to many open-air rock concerts in this fabulous park, which has something for everyone.

We regularly took our children there on the bus, especially after the Rare Breeds Centre opened.

I now live close to the park and regularly visit to see my favourite tree near the sports pavilion.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I worry the council seem prepared to cash in on the park by selling parts of it and urge readers to support The Friends of Graves Park to ensure the future of this amazing space as a public resource.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Nancy Fielder, editor