Around Sheffield

I had planned on visiting Brodsworth Hall this weekend, but with the recent floods and some roads still being closed off, I decided to leave that trip for another time. It was a beautiful November morning and I didn’t feel like driving anywhere, so I picked up my camera and had a walk around Sheffield. This is something I have been meaning to do for a while but I have never got around to doing it. I suppose you take things from granted when they are on your doorstep and as I was walking around, I definitely felt a sense of regret that I had not done this years ago as there are many places that are long gone. I think I will do some more posts on Sheffield at a later date as there are many other places that I want to photograph. But for now, below are a few pictures that I took on Sunday, along with a bit of history about the content of the pictures. I welcome people to correct any errors I may have made, or add any information they may wish in the comments.

Bishops’ House, Meersbrook Park.

Bishops’ House is a Grade II Listed farmhouse located in Meersbrook Park. It is open to the public on weekends only from 10am until 4pm. The house was built in around 1500 and was the home of the Blyth family until 1753.

Meerssbrook Hall

There isn’t a great deal of information on the internet about Meersbrook Hall and unfortunately I don’t have the time to do more detailed research as my Masters dissertation is looming. The Friends of Meersbrook Hall have a great website though, with lots of information and history about the hall. The date of construction seems to be unknown but the website states that, “the earliest documentary evidence of a building at Meersbrook Hall are the notes of William Fairbank, of alterations he made to an existing building in 1759″. A plan of the estate in 1770 shows a single building on the site and in 1819, an extension was added. Meersbrook Hall housed the Ruskin Collection from 1890 to 1953.

A view of the city from Meersbrook Park.
Pinder Bros Ltd, Sheaf Plate Works, Arundel St.

Pinder Brothers have been in operation since 1877, and the company has been run by seven successive generations of the Pinder family for over 140 years. They moved to the above location at Sheaf Plate Works on the corner of Arundel Street and Matilda Street in 1939. There is a more detailed history on their website. I think it’s wonderful that they are still a thriving business and I love that the building probably looks much the same as it did in 1939. The building is also home to other craftsmen and women, who rent out spaces for their trades. There is an article that the Star newspaper did back in 2017, which you can read by clicking here.

Biggins Bros Ltd, building location is on the corner of Arundel Street and Newton Lane.

Sadly, this building looks like it’s derelict. I can’t find a lot of information on Biggins Bros. but the sign on the building states they were established in 1856 and were Electro Platers. From what I can gather, they went out of business in the year 2000.

The Rutland Arms, 86 Brown St, was built in 1936.
Butcher Works, Arundel Street.

Butcher Works is a former cutlery works located on Arundel Street. The works were originally founded by William and Samuel Butcher, who began manufacturing steel in 1819. Today, the buildings are Grade II listed for their architectural and historical significance within the city of Sheffield. The buildings were refurbished as flats and workshops partly due to a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. There is a nice cafe located in the works called Fusion Organic Cafe.

More information can be found here https://www.wessexarch.co.uk/our-work/butcher-wheel-sheffield
The old Heeley Railway Station, Chesterfield Road.

I wish Heeley still had a station as it’s just down the road from my house, I believe that this building is now a scrap yard. The station originally opened in 1870, serving the Midland Railway’s line between Chesterfield and Sheffield. It closed on the 10th of June in 1968.

The main entrance to Sheffield Town Hall. The building opened in 1897.
Green Police Box, Surrey St.

This Grade II Listed Police Box is located outside the Town Hall and was installed in 1928, as part of 120 police boxes in Sheffield. It is the only one that remains in Sheffield. More information can be found by clicking here.

The O2 Academy, Arundel Gate, formerly the Roxy. I always wondered what became of the Roxy Disco sign that used to be on the side of the building.

I think this is one of those buildings, like Park Hill Flats that you either love or hate. This may not be the most attractive of buildings, but personally i’m glad it’s still here as much of the old Sheffield is disappearing. In the 1980s and 90s, the Roxy was the biggest club in Sheffield. I remember as a kid seeing the glowing red sign on the side of the building. I’ve not been able to find a lot of history on the building itself, but at one time it was owned by a guy called Barry Noble, who advertised the club with the catchphrase “is that alright fyuzs”. Noble owned other amusement arcades and nightclubs, including the Astoria in Nottingham. He allegedly died in 1985, but there seems to be some ambiguity surrounding his death. The Roxy attracted performers such as Kyle Minogue, Jason Donovan and New Order, who played there in 1987. It was also the location of the TV show, Hitman and Her from 1988 until 1992. The Roxy remained a club until 1998-1999 (I can’t find the exact date). Later in it’s life, the building was home to St. Thomas’ Anglican Church before it became the Carling Academy in 2008, and then the O2 Academy when Telefónica Europe became the new sponsor of all Academy venues.

Statue of Poet, James Montgomery by the Cathedral.

James Montgomery was born in Scotland in 1771, but moved to Sheffield in 1792. He made his name as a poet and achieved some fame with The Wanderer of Switzerland, which he wrote in 1806. He died aged 82 in 1854. I have to admit, I had never heard of him until I took this photograph. If you want more information on James, you can find it by clicking here.

Grade II Listed Buildings at Paradise Square.

I always associate Paradise Square with solicitors offices (most of the buildings are office spaces today), but at one time it a place where people came to hear preachers speak or for public meetings. The Sheffield Society for Constitutional Information formed here in 1791 and it was said to be the only square where all major political meetings of all types were held. More information can be found by clicking here and here.

Physician David Daniel Davis, lived at No. 12, Paradise Square from 1803 to 1812.
West Bar Fire Station.

The West Bar Station was built in 1900, and was home to the police, fire and ambulance services. Today, the building is home to the National Emergency Services Museum. I will do a separate post on this museum sometime in the future.

Woollens for Signs
Woollens for Signs
Woollens for Signs

I’ve seen this building many times as you can’t miss the striking signs located on the side, but I have never looked into what it was. From what I have found, Woollen & Co Ltd was established by sign-writer, James Woollen and lithographic printer, Frederick Ibbotson in 1883. The company moved from this location in 2005, and ceased trading in 2008. I have found a Sheffield company that are trading under the name Woollen Group (website here). Their website states they are formerly Woollen Signs Ltd, but were only established in 2007 so i’m unsure as to if they are the same company. Personally, I think it would be great for this building to be refurbished, keeping the wonderful signage on the front in respect of the past.

The Chimney House, Kelham Island is now an events venue. I can’t seem to find much about this building, If you have any info, let me know in the comments.
Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd. Brooklyn Works is now residential apartments and offices. The building was declared Grade II Listed in 1985.

Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd were established in 1839, and were a saw file and tool manufacturers located at Brooklyn Works on Green Lane. In 1967, Alfred Beckett & Sons was purchased by Tempered Spring Company Ltd. Tempered Spring was founded in 1895, as a subsidiary of Laycocks. It seems that they dissolved in 2015.

Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd. Brooklyn Works is now residential apartments and offices. The building was declared Grade II Listed in 1985.
Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd. Brooklyn Works is now residential apartments and offices. The building was declared Grade II Listed in 1985.
Wharncliffe Works, Green Lane. Grade II Listed.

Wharncliffe Works was built in c1861 for Steel & Garland, manufacturers of stoves, grates and fenders. If you want to read more, click here.

Sign for Wilson & Murray at Wharncliffe Works.
George Barnsley & Sons Ltd, Cornish Works.
George Barnsley & Sons Ltd, Cornish Works.

George Barnsley & Sons were founded in 1836. They moved to Cornish Works (pictured above) in 1849. Their main focus was the manufacture of files and cutting tools for leather workers and associated industries. Today, they are still in operation, however, they have moved from Cornish Works to Mowbray Street and are a subsidiary of Mowbray Manufacturing Co Ltd. When I walked past Cornish Works it looks like the building is currently being refurbished. I hope they keep the old signage. There are some amazing pictures on the website Behind Closed Doors of the inside the building.

A H Smith & Co. LtdDon Brewery, 4 Penistone Road, Sheffield

All that remains of Don Brewery is this sign. A H Smith & Co. Ltd were founded in 1828. They were acquired by Tennant Brothers Ltd of Exchange Brewery in 1915. A H Smith closed in 1917 and their buildings were sadly demolished in 1994. Tennant Brothers Ltd were Acquired by Whitbread & Co. Ltd in 1961. However, they closed the brewery in 1993. The Exchange Brewery buildings remain, but have been mostly converted to offices.

Paul Waplington ‘Steelworker’, 1986.
W.W. Laycock & Sons Limited. Suffolk Road

W.W. Laycock & Sons Ltd. were silversmiths and suppliers to the metal finishing trade. From what I can gather, they are still operational, but I don’t think they are still in Sheffield. The building above on Suffolk Road is now the premises of Student Roost. There are some great images of what the building looked like before it was refurbished here.

Thomas Boulsover Memorial outside of the Library.

Thomas Boulsover (1705 – 1788) was a Sheffield Cutler who famously stumbled upon a process that became known as Old Sheffield Plate in 1743. He served an apprentice as a cutler until 1726, and in around 1740, set up his own workshop on the corner of Tudor Street and Surrey Street. There is another memorial to Thomas at Whiteley Woods on the hillside between Wire Mill Dam.  

Thanks for reading. Please add any more information, or correct any errors that I may have made in the comments :).

Amsterdam as a Tourist

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  This is partly due to because I’ve not really been anywhere and partly because I’ve been uninspired to write or take photographs. However, back in August, I visited Amsterdam for a weekend break and thought I would write a brief post about what I got up to whilst I was there. 

This was my second visit to Amsterdam, my first visit was back in the winter of 2013. This time, I only took my point and click camera, not my DSLR due to only taking hand luggage on the flight.  The weather all weekend was beautiful and it was wonderful just to mosey around the city and enjoy the atmosphere.

Getting there and Getting Around

We flew from Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) and paid about £75 each for return flights with Flybe. This price included hand luggage only, to check in a bag will cost you extra, in fact, it costs almost as much as the flight itself (£25 each way). As we were only going for a few days, we managed just fine with hand luggage. The only downside to this was that I could not take my large camera as you only get 10kg. Bear in mind at the airport they were checking some bags (not all) to make sure they weren’t too large or heavy. We saw at least two people that had to check their bags in as they were over the size or weight limit. Remember, cheap airlines will try and get as much money as possible out of you so be sure to measure and weigh your bag before you leave home. Doncaster airport does have parking, however, it was going to cost us £75 to leave our car for 3 days, OUCH! So we took the bus from Sheffield, which was £7 one way and got my partner to collect us when we returned home. The flight was only about 45 minutes long and it was quite comfortable as flights go. You have to pay for everything on the flight so take your own water and snacks on board should you need them. When we got to Amsterdam, we took the train into the center of the city, one way, it cost about € 9.00. We got off the train at Amsterdam Centraal and took the bus to our hotel. To get around, we purchased the Unlimited GVB Day/Multi-Day Ticket, 96 hours (4 days) which cost €24.50. We also used this ticket to get back to the airport at the end of our trip.

One of the many canals, photograph taken with Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Accommodation

We stayed at the WestCord Art Hotel.  The hotel was basic, and did not come with breakfast.  I booked through eBookers and paid £340.86 for a twin room for 3 nights. Breakfast is available to purchase for EUR 16.5-20.5 for adults and EUR 8.25-10.25 for children.  The location of the hotel is a short bus ride from the city center, we did walk it a few times but it was a good 3-4km each way. If I visited Amsterdam again, I would stay closer to the heart of the city, just to be more in the hustle and bustle of things. If you like to be in a quieter location, then this hotel is perfect.

Rooms were clean and basic and did have a Nespresso machine and a fridge.  I’m not a fan of Nespresso so I took a walk each morning to get coffee from elsewhere.  There weren’t many local places, so I walked about 1.5 miles to Haarlemmerdijk where there were plenty of different options for nice coffee.

One of the many canals, photograph taken with Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Things to do

Like most tourists, the Red Light District was something I wanted to see, but whilst walking down the streets and alleyways, looking at all the women in the windows, I felt a sense of guilt for looking at women as commodities.  Some of the women looked incredibly young and were very beautiful and it made me wonder why they choose to work in such an industry.  As soon as I returned home I purchased a book by Sarah Forsyth called Slave Girl.  The book is about an English girl that was unknowingly trafficked into working as a prostitute in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.  After reading the book (although I’m not overly convinced the story is 100% true, parts of the story don’t add up or make much sense), my opinion is that, in a progressive society, where we as women are fighting for equal rights, women in windows for the pleasure of men seems a little backwards.  Perhaps most are willingly there and I understand they are only trying to make a living like the rest of us, but my personal opinion is that something needs to change.

The next thing I did in Amsterdam was to visit Ann Frank’s House.  I’ve wanted to do this for a while, most people are familiar with the story of the Frank Family, but visiting the actual apartment really brings it home, especially as there are still personal touches in the house left by the family. For example, there are pictures of movie stars that Anne’s sister put up as she wanted to be an actress.  Photography is not allowed in the house but we booked the tour with the introduction beforehand.  A guide talks you through the story, which lasts about 30 minutes. Here you can take pictures of some of the artifacts and the pictures that are on the walls.  To visit Anne Frank’s House you have to book tickets in advance online.  Still expect to queue to get into the house, but it’s well worth it.

The front of the house where the Frank family hid , photograph taken with Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
The Frank timeline can be seen if you book the introductory program , photograph taken with Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

The next place that I visited was the Jewish Historical Museum. Entry is €17 for Adults and €8.50 for students.  The ticket covers five locations: the Jewish Historical Museum, the JHM Children’s Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, and the National Holocaust Museum.  The only other place on that list that I went to was the National Holocaust Museum.  This museum, I think is relatively new and they are just developing it.  There isn’t a great deal to see at the moment, but it’s worth a look as it’s free once you have your ticket. 

National Holocaust Museum
National Holocaust Museum

The next museum I visited was Rijksmuseum.  Adult entry is €20 and they do not offer a student discount.  The museum was very busy and there is a lot to see, but I personally was not overly impressed by it. After reading rave reviews online, I thought it was a little disappointing. Perhaps I unfairly comparing it to the British Museum, which is wonderful and free.

The last two museums that I visited were the Sex Museum and the Erotic Museum.  My advice would be to just visit the Sex Museum (Sexmuseum de Venustempel), I thought the Erotic Museum was rubbish in comparison and it was more expensive at €7 with the Sex Museum only being €5. 

Sexmuseum de Venustempel, photograph taken with iPhone

Food and Drink

Although I don’t smoke, I thought Barneys Uptown was really nice if you do want to smoke and drink (usually you can only do one or the other). They also serve food, the menu is not huge, but the food was nice and reasonably priced. For breakfast, the Breakfast Club was my favourite place.  I think they have a few locations in the city. For dinner, we ate at an Italian restaurant called Van Speyk, the food was mediocre, service under par and prices were expensive.  This isn’t somewhere I would recommend, nor return to. It felt like one of those places that simply was there to rip off tourists. We also ate at a placed called Cafe Broer “Brunch, Dinner & Drinks”, which I thought was really nice. Service was friendly, the menu wasn’t massive but the food was really good and very reasonably priced. It also felt like it was more of a local place than one geared towards tourists.

Heertje Friets, photograph taken with iPhone

Overall, Amsterdam is a really nice city to visit, I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. I had read the odd article online that said Amsterdam is corrupt and the police are on the payroll of the underworld, but I don’t know how true this is, I certainly did not feel like I was in a corrupt city. I felt much safer walking around Amsterdam than I do in London. I definitely want to return with my DSLR, maybe next summer, but my next trip is to New York in November.

Happy exploring!

One of the many canals, photograph taken with Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
One of the many canals, photograph taken with Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Sculptures at Westerpark, photograph taken with iPhone