Miners' Strike Anniversary set remind people of a city "not for the faint-hearted"

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Few people who grew up in the Sheffield area in the '80s will need reminding of the monumental event that started 40 years ago next year.

The Miners' Strike was masterminded from the NUM building that stood a few hundred yards up the road from the Town Hall.

One of the defining moments of the industrial dispute - the Battle of Orgreave - took place within the city's boundaries.

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The strike demonstrated how far removed much of Sheffield was compared to the Thatcher Government that was in power for the duration of the decade.

West Street's Limit that provided respite for the youth in the 1980sWest Street's Limit that provided respite for the youth in the 1980s
West Street's Limit that provided respite for the youth in the 1980s

The socialist Town Hall was at loggerheads with Downing Street for much of the 1980s - it's fair to say the Sheffield of those years wasn't a place for the faint-hearted.

Two fashion institutions helped provide a welcome distraction for the city's youth as they dealt with recession, sky-high unemployment, and drowned their sorrows at venues like the Limit, the Leadmill, Marples, and Rebels.

X Clothes and Rebina Shoes were hugely popular in the era.

The former operation started in Leeds before opening its first Sheffield outlet on Leopold Street at the start of the era.

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Punks, goths, and rockers frequented it in their droves, and it was the place to buy 'Crazy Colour' – the Day-Glo hair dye that no assuming alternative fashionista could ever be caught without. The city's goth brigade had truly found their calling - they could now sign on in style.

Rebina Shoes, located just off High Street, became a footwear institution for the entire region. Winkle pickers, brothel creepers, pointed buckle boots, patent leather, cool carrier bags – it could seemingly do no wrong.

Just rack after rack after rack of the coolest shoes in the entire world. The outlet became Sheffield's Gucci of the dole-queue generation, and the Internet message boards are full of Rebina threads to this day.

Susan Porter said, "I remember a girl turned up in some black leather pointed buckle boots to school, which were obviously not Rebina. She was picked on mercilessly. If it wasn't Rebina, it wasn't worth bothering with."

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X Clothes ended up moving lock, stock, and bullet belt to bigger premises at 17 Market Place, directly above the legendary Hole-In-The-Road.

Unfortunately, the once-gleaming subterranean shopping precinct and pedestrian underpass that won a clutch of civic awards in its sixties and seventies infancy had now become little more than a magnet for comatose tramps and warring youth factions (especially at night).

The air of urban decay hung above it for the entire decade as the escalators packed up one by one, and the graffiti artists gave it a makeover. It was an era of unenviable decline for the Hole-In-The-Road.

Jarvis Cocker said of it in the era: "The Hole in the Road had a reputation for late-night violence, which made it a scary place to walk home through in the early hours - and this was not helped at all by the fact that the building's construction gave rise to an effect similar to that of the Whispering Gallery in St Paul's Cathedral - meaning that it was extremely difficult to work out where any menacing noises were coming from."

If you want to read more about the city in the era, you can do far worse than checking out the 'Dirty Stop Out's Guide to 1980s Sheffield' – available from www.dirtystopouts.com for £17.95.