No better place to live in world than Sheffield’s Wybourn

Sheffield Lord Mayor John Campbell and local author Julian Antonio McKenzie.'
Sheffield Lord Mayor John Campbell and local author Julian Antonio McKenzie.'
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IT’S regarded as one of Sheffield’s toughest estates.

And as such it might be considered as a difficult place to spend your formative years - especially if you are a little different to most people living there.

But bus conductor’s son Julian Antonio McKenzie, a member of one of the first black families in Wybourn, would beg to differ.

You can read about Julian’s childhood experiences of growing up in Wybourn in a new book which was officially launched by Sheffield Lord Mayor Coun John Campbell this week.

And Julian’s account of his early life on the troubled city estate, Wybourn Black - Life On The Wrong Side Of Town, is nothing but positive.

Julian’s family thought they were living the Commonwealth dream when they moved across Sheffield from Page Hall to Wybourn.

It was in a time when his mum - a nurse at Fir Vale Royal Infirmary - would keep her youngsters in line by threatening them with her own version of the Bogey Man. Just the very mention of a visit from Uncle Enoch – Enoch Powell, famous then for his Rivers of Blood Speech – was enough to keep them in line.

But racial tension was never a focus of Julian’s life.

He enjoyed a love affair with the sprawling inner city Wybourn estate for nearly 40 years during a time when it was a treat to visit places like Bradley’s Records and Harrington’s clothing stall in the Castle Market.

And he’s hoping his positive experience of growing up as one of the first black families to live in the area will start to give it a better image.

Julian said: “Wybourn has had a lot of bad press over the years but my experience as a first generation black child growing up in the area has been nothing but positive.

“The friendships I’ve built up have lasted decades.

“I really do hope my book shatters a few misconceptions about Wybourn. There’s no better place to live in the world.”

■ Wybourn Black, published by ACM Retro, is available at the Star Shop, priced £10.95.