Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2012/12/07 Walking tour of Castle Market & SFNR 60s Sheffield

Brief ride report (no reflection on the ride, just my time!) About 15 or 16 people met for the walking tour of Castle market ably led by George and architecture students. All had a chance to point out stuff and marvel at the design, the aspects, the tiles, the mosaics and so on. Then we even got a look at the part of the original castle’s foundations (blown up about 1647) in the basement.
Might try and do another one in the spring!

A cloudy night, 16 people turned up in the middle of Charter Sq, it was v cold and we got wet by the time we got to Pitsmoor so missed out Tinsley viaduct and did all the city centre and around city centre stuff by which time we had dried out. Great to ride between and by the last blocks of Hyde Park Flats. Finished off gazing at the wonder of the ‘Miesian’ Arts Tower and the last 10 of us gathered for drinks and chat in the University Arms – so a good night.

Walking tour of Castle Market
Friday 7 Dec Start 2.00 pm at the Rooftop Cafe
Get a cup of tea before we start. Finish 3.30-ish
To be led by George Holland currently studying at UoS School of Architecture
View it as a ‘taster’ for the SFNR 60s ride in the evening – see below

If you’re coming let me know – a study group from UoSSoA is coming as well
The 1960s Castle Market is to be closed down next year.
Love it or hate it, I think it is a structure worth taking a close, guided look at to appreciate the intention of the design and the realisation of the building.
Me? I admire the surprisingly open design, the fittings, like, the stairs’ handrails and ironwork, doorhandles, panelling on some walls, the mosaics on the walls, the clever ways that stallholders storage was built in, the way that the earlier 1940s food, fish and meat market was incorporated into the design, the aesthetic of the Crittal windows in the offices and staircase above and the views across this basin of Sheffield. Its got a lot of 60s ephemera in it in terms of shop signs and so on
Russ Cavanagh has sent a really affectionate photo essay taken this year

Castle Markets from Russell Cavanagh on Vimeo.

Love it!

Owen Hatherley has written a wonderful defence and hymn of praise to it in the New Ruins of Modern Britain. He lauds much of 60s Sheffield
Much of his argument can be found at
More recent writing of his about Sheffield can be found at

And we visited it as a location for This is Gleadless 88
now experience it as a location for a music video with all sorts as extras – celebrate!

Thanks Jeremy!

Next Sheffield FridayNightRide
7 December 2012
60s Sheffield
Start: 6.30 pm Venue in Charter Square – use the underpasses to get there

Map with some POI at

View 60s Sheffield ( in a larger map

Route – route marked up, POI not in route order yet, but route should also give good POV to get an idea of the scope and aesthetic of the places

Theme: 60s Sheffield, concentrating on buildings and the built environment. I am taking a long view of the 60s and going to say the 60s started about 1955 when the post-war planning really got under way and much of what was planned then was not realised until the 60s. I’ll finish at 1973 when much of what was planned and influenced in the 60s was being completed and it was also the year of the first post WWII global oil crisis – petrol rationing coupons were even issued in the UK – and the booming western economies of the 60s went into recession. That changed the mood.

We will visit some of the gems, for me the Arts Tower being the tops, and also some of the ordinary 60s, the housing, the shops, the office blocks and so on. I want to take in roads as well – the 60s were the decade when the car gained ascendancy and the motorway network was put into place and included motorways in towns with Sheffield’s roads like Charter Row, Arundel Gate, Hanover St, Castle Sq (but by the beginning of the 70s the damage to towns was being recognised with the halting of works like the inner London box road). Tinsley Viaduct is worth a visit, opened in 68, I see it as an amazing structure, maintaining its futuristic look and promise of entering or leaving the ‘open’ road to and from Sheffield – and don’t forget, then, it would have been carrying vehicles like Ford Consuls, Anglias, Mk 1/2 Cortinas, Vauxhall Vivas, Viscounts and Victors – all of which were really unreliable and fell apart with rust. For me the sleek, aerodynamic design of reliable contemporary cars is getting closer to the modernity and longevity of the viaduct. And of course if we do roads we will have to experience underpasses – like Charter Sq.

Aaah, the 60s; “If you remember it then you couldn’t have been there”. And that is a load of tosh. The 60s were an exciting time for many but it was also a time of unequal pay, sex discrimination, racial discrimination, selective secondary education, illegitimacy, illegal abortion, illegal homosexuality, the death penalty, really poor quality housing and so on. Many of these issues were addressed and legislation changed in the 60s, but not necessarily attitudes – and many of those issues are still not resolved in practice, so it was a time of struggle both nationally – and internationally, with civil rights, independence for colonies and also colonial, imperialist wars. For much of the developing world things did not get much better. For me, a lucky baby boomer, it was my formative, schooling years. I entered the 60s as a junior pupil preparing for the 11+ in a beautiful 1950s primary school, living with my Mum and Dad in a new 50s council flat, and ended it as a final year student at the very 60s, concrete brutalist, ‘plate glass’ University of Sussex preparing for taking my finals, living in a flat on the top floor of a 30s house, with my girlfriend and another couple. My Mum and Dad had bought their first house. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

So come on the ride, listen, chat, ponder, enjoy

Thanks: to Simon Chadwick and Steve Parnell, both of whom work at the UoS School of Architecture, for taking the time to talk with me and help me understand the 60s and its influences. Hope they can make it to join us on the ride or meet up with us – and answer any more queries I’ve got or you send in.

Here’s a 60s Sheffielder for you to enjoy, formerly Vance Allard and the Avengers – its a 1968 Joe Cocker (who I saw August 68 at the Reading Festival)

And now Sheffield: City on the Move – made famous by the Full Monty, released in the early 70s, it uses archive footage and its own production. It is a tremendous record of 60s Sheffield and of many places we shall ride to – how did they get so much sun? and you can fondly remember the parrot at the Botanic Gdns, an ‘open’ Bramall Lane; the lidos in Millhouses and Rivelin Park, driving without seat belts, cars parked in Barkers Pool,and celeb spotting with Bob Monkhouse and Matt Monroe. Weep and cringe; weep and cringe.
(Apologies about the bigoted comments on the You Tube site.)

Below is a viewing guide with times for 60s places we may well visit – help with some identifications requ’d.

Sheffield on the Move
Time/s POV

0.00-0.25 Pond St/bus station NB Owen Building, Norfolk Building and Surrey Building & the engineering tiers (demolished: site of the Adsetts Centre,, in, what is now, SHU, Epic development, as it zooms in on the bus station you can see the building site which was to become Sheaf Valley Baths (demolished: site of Electric Works)
0.28 Park Hill flats behind the station with high ride block of Hyde Park flats (demolished) visible just behind.
0.30 AEU Building with office tower block behind (still there, shops on ground floor) Grosvenor Hotel in the background
0.35 Charter Sq with Grosvenor Hotel in the background
0.45 The Moor – as a road with shops
0.52 Furnival Gate – city centre ‘motorway’
3.12 the great and the good coming out of Cathedral 60s extension
5.49 1969 Cathedral extension
6.13 Xmas lights in front of the ‘new’ Cole Brothers.
7.23 town planners and architects with their models for developments
7.39 Oxford Street and Martin Street flats. Ponderosa is in the foreground, the “ski village” hill in the background. These no longer exist, having been replaced fairly recently with low level social housing. Chris O’s dad built these in the 70’s, we used to visit him and climb around the site as kids (lack of health & safety eh?)
7.45 Park Hill with Hyde Park flats behind
7.54 Callow Rd flats – Gleadless Valley?
8.00 Flats at Stannington from the aspect of looking down onto the lower levels and Walkley on the hill in the backdrop?
8.11 – 8.41 Gleadless – we’ve been there!
10.18 Pinstone St in front of Town Hall
10.19 Fargate with fountain (demolished) in foreground
10.20 Fargate , with many 60s stores and offices, form up high on the High St
10.30 – 10.36 Peace Gdns
12.35 Inside Sheaf Valley Baths – I’ve jumped off those boards
14.07 Something groovy in Charter Sq – outside Debenhams?
14.20 Charter Row from Charter Sq
15.00 The Crucible
15.18 Motorway (? I’m not sure I thought the M1 was 3 lane – help?) and then Parkway
16.32 Mosborough township
17.11 Arts Tower
17.49 Back to Sheffield Polytechnic
18.47 Hallamshire – I think the ow rise building, the teaching hospital being opened in late 60s (?)
19.18 Trust House Forte – Hallam Towers – now derelict awaiting demolition
24.30 Castle Market from Waingate and I think also an interior from Sheaf Market (demolished: now a car park)
26.50 view of Grosvenor Hotel from a footbridge over Charter Row
26.53 Charter Sq with underpasses
26.55 – 27.04 Hole in the Road aka Castle Sq looking along Arundel Gate – ooh I forgot the escalators
27.05 Driving along Pond St past the Norfolk Building, the engineering tiers and the Epic Development

What and where are the places in those last aerial shots?
answers to

and lastly here’s an anthem for this ride

Sing along, sing along – get Sheffielders together and put this on- you get a party: or a riot