Every city has its quirks and unusual occurrences, but Sheffield seems to have had more than its fair share of bizarre events and happenings over the years.
- The Leadmill almost hosted Madonna’s UK debut – but pulled the show
She’s one of the biggest names in music, but back in 1983 as an up-and-coming US singer preparing to make her British debut, Madonna didn’t command the same level of prestige she does today.
The young star was booked to play her first ever gig in the UK at The Leadmill but – after a disagreement over money – the bosses pulled her show and she played her debut in Manchester instead.
- A Christmas-themed football programme was published – in August
In 1992, the Premier League as we know it came into existence.
One of Sheffield’s claims to fame is that the first ever Premier League goal was scored by Brian Deane of Sheffield United in a match versus Manchester United on the inaugural match day.
What is bizarre about that historic day was the image used on the programme cover – a festive theme in August.
It turns out that this was actually an inside joke. Critics said that United would be unable to win a match before Christmas, so manager Dave Bassett threw the team a festive party in the summer to up their form at the start of the season.
- The opening of a selfie centre – complete with a ‘bum reading toilet’
Selfies have become a cultural phenomenon and, in 2015, Sheffield became home to the first centre dedicated to the art form.
Speakbook was described as ‘an immersive exploration of selfie culture’ and also featured the world’s largest indoor mural, as well as a toilet that could tell you if you were ill or not by reading your heart rate while you sat on it.
- Cows caused chaos in Crosspool
Residents of Crosspool were shocked in 2015 to find their front gardens and driveways invaded by a herd of cows one Saturday.
The cows in question had escaped from a field and made their way along Redmires Road.
Slightly confused locals shared a fair few pictures on social media before the runaway animals were rounded up and returned home.
- A student travelled from Sheffield to Essex via Berlin to save £8
Everyone likes saving some money on their travel costs, but one cash-strapped student took it to the extreme when he had to travel from Sheffield to Essex in early 2016.
Instead of paying the £47 train fare, he decided to fly from East Midlands Airport to Stansted via Berlin and saved himself £8.
The journey took three times as long as getting the train would have.
- Runners took part in a cancelled marathon
In 2014, chaotic scenes unfolded around the Sheffield Half Marathon.
Just before the start of the race, the organisers found that they had been let down by their water supplier.
They were unable to secure enough water to keep the health and safety officers happy, so the race was called off.
Unfortunately, the cancellation announcement wasn’t loud enough, so many of those taking part couldn’t hear and began to run the race regardless.
Sheffield MPs found themselves embroiled in spat with some of their London counterparts in early 2014 – over Henderson’s Sauce.
During a debate in the Houses of Commons about supermarket own brands, Lewisham MP, Jim Dowd, embarked on a furious attack against the popular condiment and the colour choices of its labelling.
This led to Sheffield Central MP, Paul Blomfield, making an impassioned defence of Hendo’s, complete with an open letter to Dowd and an invite to sample the iconic Yorkshire condiment for lunch.
Dowd later visited Sheffield to eat humble pie (with the sauce) and visited the Henderson’s factory.
- The World Water Bombing Championships
A unique contest held in Sheffield each year allows competitors to make a splash while raising money for a good cause.
The World Water Bombing Championships take place at Ponds Forge, and involve participants in fancy dress throwing themselves off a diving board into a pool.
Contestants are ranked out of ten by a panel of judges, with marks given for the biggest splash, showmanship or bravery.
It’s all in support of cancer charity, Macmillan.
- Someone murdered a tree
In 2012, someone in Sheffield concocted a strange scheme to kill a tree in Hillsborough Park.
A member of staff at Hillsborough Arena found that an unknown individual had drilled around the base of a sycamore and inserted a copper pipe in order to poison it.
Sadly, the tree didn’t survive, and it cost the arena around £1,000 to remove it.