Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2010/01/22 Hospitals and Health I

Sheffield FridayNightRide report
Hospitals and Health I
Friday Jan 22 2010

A cloudy, dampish night did not deter 12 nightriders gathering in the West End Car Park. A miniscule flurry of drizzle and that was it for the evening as, after a warning about potholes and skidding on grit, we set off up Glossop Rd and an almost immediate right into Claremont Terrace where we dawdled round the one way system stopping to contemplate the “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis” motto (from the original medical school) in the wall, chatted about the views from the Hallamshire and what an awful building it was. Ian knew his way across the roof – ask him when you see him next!

Then out past the Dental Hospital and the new Jessop’s Wing up to Whitham Rd and down past the Weston Park Cancer Hospital, stopping for an instant to look at the sculpture on the front wall. Continuing past the Children’s Hospital we cut through the University and down Leavygreave Rd to the dead end cycle path and over the tram stop to the other side of Leavygreave Rd and Jessop’s, where a 13th nightrider was waiting to join us. At which point Dan came crashing down (how and why I am not sure but we had a pleasant wait, whilst his lights were repaired, and used it to gaze at the refurbished Jessops Hospital and admire its Victorian splendour and the decrepit but hopefully to be restored gas light on the pavement outside.

Then Paul took us round the site of the Royal Hospital (put on the map) which was between West St and Division St and was replaced by the Royal Hallamshire during the 70s and 80s. From there it was back up to Portobello and down to Figtree Lane to find teh building that was the original Women’s Hospital befoe we set off to the NGH. Left at Castle Market (where we noted the temperature was a balmy 7 deg C as opposed to the zero predicted), onto the Wicker via Waingate, up Spital Hill, through Burngreave Cemetery where we stopped for a bit to gaze at the skyline of headstones, crosses, and ornamental vases on plinths, etched in deep black on a pale orange background of clouds washed by street lights – just like a graphic novel!

Out into Osgathorpe and down past the mosque on Barnsley Rd to pass Crabtree Ponds and get over to Herries Rd and into the NGH. The oneway system took us round the opposite way to planned but we admired the laundry, and noted the infirmary buildings. As we headed round to the original workhouse buildings we got into the car traffic of visitors and staff some of whom drove like they wanted us to go straight to A&E. And then we stopped in front of the splendid workhouse buildings where we all dragged up our history lessons and pieced together the tasks of picking oakum and breaking stones.

Continuing round we got into a maze of roads and lanes, but went immediately past the splendid Edwardian Nurses Home and fortuitously found I believe the last remnant of the orphanage that was established in 1894 before we meandered through car parks and other byways until we were back at the laundry building and out onto Herries Rd again which we crossed to cycle down Norwood Rd.

Going across Barnsley Rd we reached Devon Gdns which we sedately cycled round and then up Abbeyfield Rd, much quieter and safer than Barnsley Rd, we reached the crest of the hill and turned right onto Firshill Rd to get back to Barnsley Rd where once we had all gathered we leapt into the road like migrating lemmings and sped off towards Pitsmoor Rd and right onto Rutland Rd which each of us descended at the pace which suited them. So we gathered again and eventually after one false start went over to Netherthorpe and the Royal Infirmary which we stopped at to note its date (1790s), its grandness and revive our memory of who was on the throne then and speculate on who would have been able to afford to use its facilities. We then toured around the perimeter admiring the buildings and noting there were still NHS facilities on the site as well as other offices.

So a climb up through Netherthorpe to Winter St where we got to the original isolation hospital and Mick told the story of the 1888 smallpox outbreak where the hospital became the seat of the epidemic which had a devastating effect in Netherthorpe and its surrounds mainly because staff failed to change clothes and wash properly after leaving the isolation wards – so poor barrier practices were to blame. Plus ca change! A consequence was the building of Lodge Moor as an isolation hospital well away from the town.

Then down through Broomhall and over into Sharrow to get to Nether Edge, the site of the hospital which ‘grew’ from the original workhouse. Some of us had used it when it was a maternity hospital and one of us had used it when physiotherapy had been there. We parked in front of the fine entrance to the grand main building whilst we used the book Rachel had brought to piece together an image of the buildings as they were in the late 1800s and contemplate the life on a tramp’s ward! By which time we finished and the last six tramps with no rush to get home went into the Union and chatted and enjoyed each other’s company until we were obliged to go.

I cycled slowly home and got in by 1, I think.


Next Sheffield FridayNightRide
Hospitals and Health
Friday Jan 22 2010
Start 6.30 p.m.
Meet West End Pub

Heads up! Just over 13 miles
All on roads or paths so should suit all bikes.
Advice: this ride has hills and hollows but descents are steeper than ascents.
If the cold weather persists (as forecast) we will stick to main roads and bus routes which will be gritted.
Bring lights and locks (and a spare inner tube if you can)

NB: if you’re on your way and want us to wait or if you can’t make the start and want to join some time then PHONE Mick on the mobile number below.
Route: A ride around the City to visit the sites of hospitals and former hospitals in Sheffield. Starting in Broomhill we take in the Royal Hallamshire, Dental Hospital, Weston Park Hospital, Children’s Hospital, former Jessop’s Hospital and then scoot through town and Burngreave (taking in the Burngreave Cemetery (missed out on the FNR Ghouls, Ghosts and Spirits 20/11/09)) and down into Fir Vale to tour around the former Workhouse and Infirmary site at Northern General Hospital (itself the size of a small town) before returning via Pitsmoor, and an exhilarating descent of Rutland Rd to the site of the C18th Royal Infirmary before climbing up through Netherthorpe to Winter St, Crookesmoor (site of the original isolation hospital) and then through Broomhill again down into Sharrow and through Brincliffe to Nether Edge to tour the remnants of the Nether Edge Hospital site that contain the vestiges of the original Ecclesall Bierlow workhouse. From there it is proposed to finish by riding over to Heeley and settling in at the Sheaf View.
Map at,-1.498218&spn=0.018695,0.055575&z=15
Sites and points of interest highlighted with a bit more research to be done – if time!

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