Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2009/05/29 War and Peace

Sheffield FridayNightRide

War and Peace

Friday May 29 2009

Meet at Castle Market,

corner of Waingate and Exchange St,

6-6.30 for a 6.45 start

Bring lights and locks!

Sheffield’s connections with war and peace are manifold..  Sheffielders have fought, and died, in wars, Sheffield steel has been an instrument of war and the arms trade contributed significantly to the city’s wealth, Sheffielders culture of non-conformism and dissent have stimulated peace initiatives, and Sheffielders have been welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers from wars.

This ride touches on some aspects of war and peace and Sheffield. Not all the notable locations could be visited in one ride so we could revisit the theme another time or on another ride..

For film clip of Picasso in Sheffield at a 1950 Peace Conference see

Heads up! This is a ride on roads or well-metalled paths and should suit all types of bike.  I’ve tried to keep it ‘lower’ down compared to the last ride and starts and finishes in the heart of the city.  It covers many roads we have travelled before but maybe in a different direction or arriving and leaving in a different direction! Total distance is 13 miles

Map at

Route – see the map for more details about the sites and history

We start at the corner of the site of Sheffield Castle, which was a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War and later destroyed by Parliamentarians, and then we follow the TPT to the Wybourn, turn off through Manor Park and enter the City Cemetery from Manor Fields.  There we can ride past a military cemetery, the mass grave from the Sheffield Blitz, a panel of remembrance and a memorial to Belgians who took refuge in Sheffield during WW1. We’ll then head for the west of the city, down through Norfolk Park across Queen’s Rd, past an old TA barracks, and on through Sharrow to Ecclesall Rd where there is still clear evidence of bomb damage from nearly 70 years ago.  Then we go down through Endcliffe Park, riding past the memorial to a USAAF bomber that crashlanded there, and out back to Hunters Bar where we will ride down, past the Polish Club which was started by refugees, to Collegiate Hall which was a hospital in WWI and has the remains of WWII air raid shelters on the lawn.  There will then be a gentle climb up to Weston Park where we can look at the impressive war memorials and work out where the one from the Boer War has gone(!).  Then we cut back through the University, site of some of the meetings for the 1950 Peace Conference and we’ll go across the inner ring road at Broomspring Lane and up to the TA Somme barracks on Glossop Rd, and down into the centre along Portobello, Trippet Lane, Campo Lane where we’ll ride into town to view some of the sites that were devastated in the Sheffield Blitz, to the Town Hall to ride past the memorial to Sheffielders who saw action in the Spanish Civil War, out past Barkers Pool and the City Hall, Sheffield’s main memorial to WWI, and then across Devonshire Green (cleared by WWII bombing) to the Bath Inn on Victoria St. 

Ride report:

12 nightriders gathered at the corner of Castle Market on a beautiful sunny, warm evening (is this Sheffield?) including one new nightrider from Doncaster.

Welcome Paul! who rode over to give himself a run out, joined the ride and the drink in the pub after and then sped back into town and caught the last train home – dedication!

Mick did his tourist guide bit and we sedately rode on the TPT cycle paths under the Parkway and up to Hyde Park flats where we headed up Maltravers Rd through the Wybourn all chatting away and enjoying the view over Attercliffe as we headed up Manor Lane to Manor Park centre, dog-legged through some side streets to arrive at Manor Fields.


From here we could cycle into the City Rd Cemetery and up to the mass grave from the Sheffield Blitz which is a pit where the remains of approximately 135 people were laid to rest in December 1940.  A bit of info about the Sheffield Blitz and then up to the Military Cemetery in the top corner and back down to the panel of remembrance for WWI soldiers who are not commemorated on any other plaques or panels in Sheffield or overseas.  And another nightrider joined us here to make 13 in all! Brilliant.  Finally at this site we pedalled towards Dovercourt Rd and the abandoned RC chapel where there is a cross commemorating those Belgian refugees who died in Sheffield during the Great War. 3000 Belgians took refuge in Sheffield in all.

Then a spin down Dovercourt Rd turn right into Warley Rd, left down Manor Lane and over City Rd to St Aidens Rd and on to Norfolk Park. Fine weather for a fast descent to Norfolk Park Rd through an  avenue of limes and then easy down Park Grange Rd and over Queen’s Rd by B&Q to head up to Edmund Rd and the former TA barracks.

Sticking to low contours all the way we got onto London Rd and then past Waitrose to head round by the back of Norwich Union (soon to be Aviva – have you noticed?) buildings to pick up the cycle path below the General Cemetery and follow the Porter to Stalker Lees Rd.  The peloton headed up Ecclesall Rd as the evening was getting under way with the Sheffield glitterati standing outside Nonnas.  Turn left into Hickmott Rd and then right up Neill Rd to Hunters Bar roundabout and then we climbed up Ecclesall Rd to turn right into Greystones Rd to make a stop. I felt with so many cyclists what can be a daunting right turn on your own was so much more comfortable with strength in numbers

In 1940 the stone built shop on this corner was made unsafe by a landmine falling and blowing up the building on the opposite corner.  The two concrete buttresses which are still visible on the shop were put up during the war to make the shop front safe. They are still there.  Amazing; who could do concrete work of such longevity these days?  OK then down Onslow Rd (?) to Rustlings Rd which we rode along towards the end of Endcliffe Park and then back down through the Park to the memorial to the USAAF bomber that crashlanded there in 1944 with the loss of all 10 aircrew.

Then we sped on to Hunters Bar and down Ecclesall Rd past the Polish Club to Collegiate Hall where the group was informed that this students’ residential building was a military hospital during WW1 and were also shown where there were entrances (now concreted over) to the WWII air-raid shelters on the front lawns.  Then a really pleasant ride through leafy and grand Broomhall, (Collegiate Crescent, Victoria Rd, Broomhall Rd) and up Brunswick St to head up Glossop Rd, right into Durham Rd and then right up Clarkson St to Weston Park where we gazed at the war memorials incl the newly restored Boer War memorial. There we discussed the Crimea memorial which used to be in the Botanic Gdns but presumably is now in storage. 

So after that pause we retraced our route down to Glossop Rd and went straight over the inner ring rd to stop at the Somme TA barracks and the story of the Sheffield Pals (wiped out at the first day of the Battle of the Somme) was recounted.  We moved on to the site of Jessop’s hospital and followed Potobello and Trippet Lane – we must have made a curious site for all the drinkers outside pubs and clubs (they’re probably thinking, ‘what’s in this stuff?’) – and down Campo Lane and through the gennel back onto Angel St and up to Castle Square.  Most of the buildings around this spot were destroyed during the Sheffield Blitz, with the old Hein Gericke building on the corner of Fitzalan Sq being the site of the Marples Hotel which took a direct hit and all inside were killed.  Up the High St to Fargate where we looked at the Cathedral again all the new bits being replacement for bomb damage, and its also the location of the bell from the original 1930s destroyer HMS Sheffield.


Up Fargate to Barkers Pool where Vinnie pointed out the repairs to the columns (little square patches) that covered up bomb damage and Mick described the events of the 1950 World Peace Conference which was an ideological battle between left and right at the height of the Cold War. The then Labour Govt ran the conference out of the country and it reconvened in Warsaw.  Picasso was the biggest celebrity who attended and left a drawing of a dove in Butlers Cafe (now Butler’s Balti House) on Brook Hill.  We think this drawing is now in the City’s collections.  For film clip of Picasso in Sheffield on the steps of City Hall at the 1950 Peace Conference see

Mick forgot to go past the memorial to the Sheffielders who went and fought in Spain against Franco and that involved a detour to Peace Gdns, which were named such by Sheffielders during WWII.  Then back down Division St past all the revellers with their cheery jeering and robust insults of cyclists out over Devonshire Green where the eight surviving nightriders became five to go to the Bath Inn for a drink.  One left for the 10.25 train to Doncaster and the other four poured out gone 11 and I got home around midnight – I think.  Abso- bloody- lutely wonderful. Many thanks to one and all.  See you all on some ride or other!

Map at

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