Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2011/02/18 Libraries and Bookshops

Ride Report
Cold, dry night with a touch of gloom still not enough to deter over 30 riders who passed Rare and Racy to descend and do a flash-mob borrow in Upperthorpe Library. From there up to the University to admire the superb library in modern style (opened by TS Eliot) and then up to Broomhall Library in a garnd old Victorain stone detached house. From there down to Endcliffe Park where we all squeezed into Books on The Park for a mass purchase of 2nd hand books. Great bookshop! – and a handy chippy beside it. Then along Sharrow Vale Rd past the site of YSF Books, remembered with great affection, and the admirable Porter Books before splitting into three rides (by the Porter all the way, Porter then roads, or all road route) to get to the new Wetherspoons at Ward’s Brewery, nice bar with great photo of the Sharrow Cycling Club of 1897. All steeldd into quaffing so only four came out. Four went mad on falafel on London Rd then Richard & Simon did come out of the pub, and in pursuit of the main ride – but they must have whizzed past the falafel shop as they made their way to Woodseats in search of more literary moments at Woodseats Rd and the ride had descended into chaos – brilliant. Everybody had a good time.

Map: at
we only did 6 miles as the main ride – slackers!

Next Sheffield FridayNightRide
Friday 18 Feb 2010
Libraries and Bookshops
Meet at Tudor Sq, between the City’s Central Library and the site of the Independent Bookshop
Start 6.30 pm

No definite route yet (still catching up with stuff) but I plan for us to visit Upperthorpe Library so we can have a flash-mob borrowing of books (thanks to Judith for the idea) and then later we will be visiting a bookshop, Books on the Park, where the owner will open up late for us – negotiations under way (thanks to Stacey for that contact)
I also think we may get to Eccesall Library where I think the library is now a pub and a new library was built as a condition of the conversion to a pub (have I got that right?)
Sheffield libraries can be found on this map
Some fine buildings, a bike ride and a social with the gang
Bring your library card we may be taking some books out and bring some money; a bookshop will open late for us
if you want bring a book or something to say about a book or author that visiting a library or bookshop made significant for you
eg 1. From reading Tarka the Otter, Watford Library gave me access to Henry Williamson’s autobiographical books which I found to be a compelling and powerful read – he had been on active duty during WW1 and before WWII had been active in the Mosley’s fascist movement – not that I wanted to emulate him but his writing taught me something about those times; all at the tender age of 15, god, I was a nerd; probably still am
eg 2. in the late 80s/early 90s I bought a copy of book called Science before Darwin from YSF books on Sharrow Vale Rd. I found an obscure paper by Robert Brown on his work on Brownian Motion – I researched this work, even went and got some of Brown’s papers from the 1820s out of archives, and wrote some original historical research on it which involved Einstein as a character as well and developed science activities that were sent to every school in the country – and I got a lecture tour in NZ out of it too
eg 3. From Stacey: Back in the mid 80’s I was studying English at Uni in Sheffield and used to go into the Independent bookshop at lunchtimes which at that time was at the bottom of Shearwood Road, opposite the University Drama Studio. I bought a book of suffragette plays which a group of us decided to stage in the Drama Studio. It was reallly successful production using the original texts alongside some songs specifically written to update the feminist message and sparked a creative relationship between a number of us who went on to form Hogwash Theatre Company under the Enterprise Allowance Scheme. I was with them for two years but the company ran successfully for about 6 touring it’s unique brand of musical cabaret and biopics of women writers locally and nationally. It ultimately led in to a teaching career for me but I often think back to how big things can start with a book.
I also think we may get to Eccesall Library where I think the library is now a pub and a new library was built as a condition of the conversion to a pub (have I got that right?)
Pete Clark writes: You were right about the library, originally in Weetwood House at the bottom of Knowle Lane, becoming a pub. I used to live near it and this is how I understand the issue. The council announced that there was £250,000 of structural repairs required, so they were going to sell it. (All I could see was subsidence on one corner, and in one open letter a builder offered to fix the building for £50,000.) And obviously it didn’t bother Tom Cobleigh as they turned it into the Weetwood House pub in 1995. People then found out that the council had sold a bequeathed facility and there was not even going to be a replacement library. However the pub never did well, and when it was sold years ago and demolished to make way for – you’ve guessed it – flats, the new library was built as part of the deal.
The Ecclesall Library Scandal:
Residents win long battle to get library back:
So some fine buildings, a bike ride and a social with the gang

and Joy Harrison-Roycroft says:
Nearly right, In fact the pub has now gone in favour of some expensive flats. The old library and grounds were left “to the people of Sheffield” however the council took the view that this really meant them and promptly flogged off the plot to a local builder for lots of dosh. Thankfully someone fought hard to remind them that the “we” actually referred to “the people” and that they owed us a library- which we did get after a struggle. Not sure if we ever benefitted from the sale of the land though. I spent (almost) my entire youth sitting on the library wall at Weetwood Gardens (so I consider myself an expert on this topic). I also went in the old library on occasion (my mum made me!!)

Chances of having a map out pretty low now – see you there