Memories of Sheffield’s Hole in the Road

The iconic Hole in the Road held many happy memories for a lot of Sheffielders between the 1960s to 1900s, so what do people remember about it?

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 4:45 pm

Once a network of underpasses and shops with a ‘hole’ in the middle, it may be better known as Castle Square roundabout today.

Despite existing for less than 30 years, the Hole in the Road was a popular meeting place for many and provided lasting memories for some.

Stephen said: “Me and my mates used to meet at the fish tank then we’d go for a drink at the pub. I’m still friends with most of those mates, though as I don’t live in Sheffield anymore, I don’t get to see them much, so the Hole in the Road reminds me of those better times when you could actually meet up with people, unlike now with Covid.”

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Hole in the Road and Peter Robinson

Built in 1967, the infamous fish tank in the wall appeared to be a favourite feature for many.

Most children and adults knew what someone meant when they were told to ‘meet at the fish tank’.

Matt said: “I remember when I was a child and my mum used to take me shopping with her, which I hated. My treat would be to go and see the fishes in the fish tank - I loved it. It was also the place where she told me to wait if I ever got separated from her.”

Alison added: “The fish tank certainly holds fond memories - it was where me and the hubby met on our first date. Pleased to say that unlike the fish tank and the Hole in the Road, we have survived and are still married!”

Construction of Castle Square (Hole in the Road), 1967

Besides being a popular meeting place, people also treated the Hole in the Road as a shortcut to a shop or passed through to catch their bus home after a night out.

Some less favourable memories as described by some include the ‘dodgy traders’ and ‘stinky toilets’.

Christmas was a time in which some people particularly looked forward to visiting the Hole in the Road, which would be decorated with Christmas lights and a tree in the centre.

Maggie said: “I loved it at Christmas as it was decked out with all the Christmas lights and stores had their lovely window displays. And then there were the traders trying to sell you random, probably knock off, things too.”

Barrel Organ Phil in the Hole in the Road - April 19, 1977

Leading up to the 1990s, the area surrounding the Hole in the Road became less popular, with some saying it became ‘run down’ and ‘dangerous even in the daylight’.

In 1991, the city learnt that the Hole in the Road would soon be demolished, as plans were approved to make way for a light rail tram network to be built - now better known as the Sheffield Supertram.

The hole was filled in in 1994, supposedly using the rubble from Hyde Park Flats, which had been demolished shortly before.

Although over 20 years have passed, the Hole in the Road remains an important piece of Sheffield’s history for many.

Queue outside a cigarette kiosk in Sheffield's Hole in the Road on Budget Day - March 29, 1977

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Night time view of the 'Hole In The Road', Castle Square at Christmas, 1960s/1970s.