Remembering the Saturdays of my youth at the Gallery, Woolworths and on the football field in Sheffield

I was recently given an opportunity to briefly visit the remaining part of our, or my, beloved Gallery in Castlegate. And it brought back memories of my time enjoyed in that area and how I would spend my Saturdays as I went through my formative years.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 9:05 am

My family is Christian, and follows the Seventh Day Adventist denomination, which I understand worship God in similar ways to most if not all Chrisitian denominations – I’m not an expert.

However, the main difference I would say is, their day of worship is a Saturday as opposed to Sunday.

This, for me, was quite problematic as in the 70s television wasn’t as it is today.

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Gallery, just before closure

There were no video recorders, catch up TV or DVDs.

As a young boy I perceived - and knew - that Saturday morning TV was the best for children of my age to watch.

I remember Banana Splits and Double Deckers, which was great with a collection of several cartoons such as Marine Boy, Arabian Nights and the Three Musketeers shown in between

It was great TV, for the eight-year-old me.

Sweeny's on the Gallery

But instead I was carted off to church in my Saturday best, which I didn’t see as fun, when all your mates were watching wall to wall children’s TV or going to Saturday morning cartoons at the ABC cinema in town.

As I grew older the TV programmes changed, but also the strictness of me going to church.

As I got older I started at Herries Comprehensive School and was lucky enough to get in the school football team.

We were pretty good even if I say so myself, with several members of the team playing for Shefield Boys.

One of these was Andy Hill, who went on to play professional football for both Manchester teams.

I was the goalkeeper and therefore an integral part of the team, my mother let me play Saturday mornings which stopped me going to church, but also stopped me watching the TV programmes I craved to see.

After leaving school in the early 80s I was pretty much free to do what I wanted on Saturday mornings.

In those days a collection of friends would meander down to town, a look round Woolworths, the markets, record shops and Haringtons clothes store, and buy something if you were lucky enough to have some spare cash.

Maces the pet shop was always popular with many, even if you had no intention of buying a pet, the animals were always interesting to see.

Sadly over the years with the building of Meadowhall and changes in shopping habits, the market area and Gallery also went into decline.

Footfall had fallen over the years, the upkeep of the markets became unviable leading to their demolition, leaving just a small portion of the now unused Gallery.

However memories of the Gallery still remain, with memories for many.

There was always someone to meet or see there, a focal point for many, old and young.

As we got older we would gravitate further up towards the High street and afternoon visits to the Blue Bell pub and Crazy Daisy which had lively Saturday afternoons as well as nights.