New social media page putting spotlight on 'adventure' of Sheffield's gennels is on pathway to success

A Woodseats mum has set up social media accounts documenting Sheffield’s ‘gennels’ and wants to champion one from every Sheffield postcode.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 6:00 am

Gennel, pronounced ‘jennel’, is the Sheffield term for a ginnel, or alleyway, if you are so inclined – and now a Sheffield mum has set up accounts documenting the best, and worst, of them that the city has to offer.

Katie Brear, a mature student at the University of Sheffield, set up the Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages to explore the ‘adventure’ of gennels in Sheffield as a ‘silly thing’, but has quickly become popular for reasons only Sheffielders will understand.

Katie, who lives in Woodseats, said: "It came from a silly thought: with gennels, the language-side is like the breadcake debate, people like to say, ‘gennel is what we say in Sheffield’.

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"There is something about gennels that is always ingrained in people in Sheffield because of that.

"When you are walking about, and it’s probably to do with lockdown and walking in areas you haven’t been before, you often see gennels, and think, ‘oh I wonder where that goes to?’

"Me and my boyfriend decided that we would walk down as many gennels as possible to find out where they lead.

"I set up the Instagram account to document the gennels, and thought it was a bit silly, but didn’t know that it would take off. People seem to like it.”

Frog Walk, which links Cemetery Road and the Ecclesall Road areas of Sheffield, is probably one of the city's most well known gennels

The pictures show a range of gennels – from the ‘mundane’, to the ‘Brutalist’, as Katie says – predominantly from S2, S7, S8 and S11, but she wants Sheffielders to send in pictures of their favourite gennels from all across the city.

"I take the picture and put it on but I also like to mention the background and history.

"There’s one post about Frog Walk in S11, and there’s an old gas lamppost there, so I put a little Bram Stoker quote on there.

“Some gennels are quite mundane, but I like them too,” she laughs.

This is a steep one! Terrace Walk, off Junction Road at Hunters Bar

“Some are nostalgic for some people, they used to hang around there when they were younger, because we are Sheffielders and we like this sort of thing.

"We do have a thing, like Henderson’s relish, where its ‘ours’.

‘It’s just a silly account, I think the thing is wondering where it leads to – you want to have an adventure and explore it. Even though it is just a gennel.”

Follow @gennels_of_sheffield on Instagram.

Cobbled Sheaf Walk gennel in S2, by Kate Brear