Sheffield retro: Back in the day when games were played on the street and a visit to the park was a big trip

I was surprised, but also heartened to see some children playing football on a residential road this week. I was shocked.
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Especially as I was recently thinking roads are too busy for children to play on nowadays, and we would never see the like again. I was wrong.

Ironically, the road was quiet due to the amount of cars parked bumper to bumper on either side of the road, slowing traffic, and allowing the children to have a gentle kick-about.

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I am not sure the numerous car owners on the road would have been too pleased about children kicking a football so near their precious cars.

Sheffield City Museum - Weston Park
The WrestlersSheffield City Museum - Weston Park
The Wrestlers
Sheffield City Museum - Weston Park The Wrestlers

With few cars on the roads, and plenty of notice of cars coming down the road, we played on the roads regularly.

Be it football, cricket, hopscotch, skipping or even marbles,

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These games would come about when we,or some of us weren't able to stray too far away from our homes, so we’d start games nearby.

Millhouses Park boating lakeMillhouses Park boating lake
Millhouses Park boating lake

We played on concrete or asphalt, rarely grass.

We were very used to playing on hard surfaces, scuffed knees and elbows were a regular occurrence.

We would normally play football in Ellesmere primary school playground.

That was until the caretaker would come and chase us off, we rarely went to parks with grass.

In Sheffield we are blessed with great parks.

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I’m sure we all have our favourites, with large grassed areas to roam freely, or wooded areas, ice cream vans or cafes.

As a child I always saw going to our big parks as a real treat or adventure.

My favourite park back then was Millhouses, it was quite a distance from my home then, so I had to go with my big sister, June or my mum and dad.

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Usually my mum would give June our bus fare, and money for an ice cream a real treat back then.

We would get off the bus to be met by the ice cream van parked -strategically- at the park entrance.

After quickly demolishing our 99 ice creams we would play on the playground with the largest – I thought - slide in town.

But when my mum and dad came, we might also get a ride on the boating lakes, although I was a bit apprehensive as I always thought up until recently, the boating lake was very deep.

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What a great day out, I think we must have been easily pleased back then, on the rare occasion if time permitted, we go from Millhouses to Weston Park on the way home.

As many know the park also has a large Museum we liked to visit and marvel at the exhibits, namely the Japanese wrestlers and large Polar bear.

I would stare intently at the wrestlers waiting for them to move-they never did.

Thinking back I always wonder what I would have done if they did?