Sheffield pubs: Punters recall 'best days' at city's 'roughest' boozers, The Magnet and Cannon

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Two Sheffield pubs have been named among the UK's 'roughest'.

But some punters have leapt to their defence, recalling happy times drinking there.

One person said they had spent 'some of the best days' of their life in The Cannon, while many readers also had fond memories of The Magnet.

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The Magnet on Southey Green Road, Sheffield, may have been branded one of the UK's 'roughest' pubs, but those who drank there say it was a 'proper old school pub' where they enjoyed some 'great nights'. Photo: Picture Sheffield/Douglas Edward Axe/Brian Douglas StevensThe Magnet on Southey Green Road, Sheffield, may have been branded one of the UK's 'roughest' pubs, but those who drank there say it was a 'proper old school pub' where they enjoyed some 'great nights'. Photo: Picture Sheffield/Douglas Edward Axe/Brian Douglas Stevens
The Magnet on Southey Green Road, Sheffield, may have been branded one of the UK's 'roughest' pubs, but those who drank there say it was a 'proper old school pub' where they enjoyed some 'great nights'. Photo: Picture Sheffield/Douglas Edward Axe/Brian Douglas Stevens | Picture Sheffield/Douglas Edward Axe/Brian Douglas Stevens

The Cannon, on Castle Street, in Sheffield city centre, and The Magnet, on Southey Green Road, were among the pubs nominated in a search on X (formerly Twitter) for the nation's 'roughest' boozers.

Both have long since closed but old regulars have shared their memories of the two pubs, with one person describing how they spent 'some of the best days' of their life in The Cannon. Others called them 'good' pubs full of 'real' people, as they recalled some of the popular landlords who had worked there.

'Good times' and 'rough diamonds' at Sheffield's Cannon pub

The Cannon may have been forced to close more than a decade ago, after being branded a 'den of iniquity', but many readers felt its reputation was undeserved.

Gwyneth Taff recalled 'good times' there during the 80s, Dean Clarke said he used to love the Friday night disco back then, while Sandra Fox called it a 'great' pub which also did 'good' food.

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The Cannon pub, on Castle Street, Sheffield city centre, in March 2002. Photo: Picture Sheffield/Stanley JonesThe Cannon pub, on Castle Street, Sheffield city centre, in March 2002. Photo: Picture Sheffield/Stanley Jones
The Cannon pub, on Castle Street, Sheffield city centre, in March 2002. Photo: Picture Sheffield/Stanley Jones | Picture Sheffield/Stanley Jones

David Nicholson told how his aunt Linda and Stewart ran the Cannon during the late 80s and it had been a 'great pub' back then. Darryl Mullins said it was the 'best boozer in Sheffield in its day', while Tara Newman commented: "Nothing wrong with the Cannon, real people, good times."

Mick Fox called it a 'top boozer' and said it was his meeting point every Friday at the start of a night out and he would return the following day for dinner. Joanne Staniland called it a 'brilliant pub', adding 'not like they are these days', Liz Smith said she 'loved' the Cannon and 'had some great laughs in there', and Mel Frost commented that it was 'always full of characters'. Zane Sooki said it had been a 'proper pub' full of 'salt of the earth people'.

Ken Jackson told how his dad had been the landlord there in the 60s and he loved the place, which he said 'had some rough customers but many were rough diamonds', calling them 'great people who were generous to a fault'. Marlene Cooper recalled how her brother, Bob Rooney, had run the Cannon for a while, along with other pubs including the Black Swan.

Philip Hilbert wrote: "Used to go in Cannon every dinner time after work for last hour before it closed at 3pm then back in every night. Met some great people in there who are still friends today. It had its hard men and villains but a lot of pubs did. Some of the best days of my life spent in the Cannon."

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The Cannon was an 'eye opener' for former landlords

Some people, however, claimed the Cannon's reputation was deserved, like Peter Bush, who said he only went in once and 'got such a dirty look' that he went straight out'. Loretta Hackleton said it 'might have been rough but you always had a great night', while Mick Barton remembered 'great times' there, joking 'you could get a video recorder (for) a third (of the) price of Dixons'.

Rod Fretwell wrote: "I lived at the Cannon for a couple of years back in the early 60s. My parents were landlord and landlady and it was certainly as ‘eye opener’ for them having never ran a city centre pub.

"Spittoon in the men only bar, Irish builders dancing on the tables on a Friday afternoon, the stories are endless. Oh and the occasional mafia families having a few pints before they crossed over to attend the local courthouse. It was certainly a ‘colourful’ pub."

'Great nights' with 'great friends' at The Magnet

The Magnet was also a hotbed of crime back in the day, according to some commenters, but many regulars had great memories of their times there.

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Deano Fairclough wrote: "Nothing wrong with the Magnet. It was a great pub. I wish it was still open." Shaun Ireland recalled 'great nights and times with great friends' there, Zachary Swann called it a 'proper old school boozer', Patrick Loukes told how he had worked there in the early 80s, when it had been a 'great pub' with 'great lads'.

Lee Bellamy wasn't convinced, though, writing of the Magnet: "Most pubs have plastic glasses when they are a little suspect. The Magnet had plastic windows."

Manor Hotel among other nominations for Sheffield's 'roughest' pub

The Manor Hotel pub on Fretson Road, Sheffield, in May 1983. Photo: Picture SheffieldThe Manor Hotel pub on Fretson Road, Sheffield, in May 1983. Photo: Picture Sheffield
The Manor Hotel pub on Fretson Road, Sheffield, in May 1983. Photo: Picture Sheffield | Picture Sheffield

The Samuel Plimsoll pub at Sheffield's Hyde Park flats was the third old Sheffield pub nominated as one of the nation's 'roughest', and several people felt that was unmerited, though it did not evoke the same memories as the other two watering holes.

There were some more suggestions for 'rough' pubs in the city, with Mark Berriman saying the Roman Ridge pub on the Flower estate had been 'rough back in the day', Mary Leach proposing the Robin Hood and Albion pubs in Pitsmoor, and Marie Lee saying the Market Tavern was perfectly named because 'the lifters would rob the markets, straight into Tavern and sold'.

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But the other pub with the most mentions was the Manor Hotel, which one person said was 'the only pub I’ve been in and a motor bike came riding through, while another person told how there had been 'plenty of scraps in there'.

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