Five festivals not to miss this autumn in Sheffield

I love the summer in Sheffield but apart from during big events like Tramlines, the city can seem quiet during July and August. Then the holidays come to an end, the students return and before you know it, Sheffield has become home to a run of festivals stretching well into November. Here’s a round up of what’s going on:

Sheffield Food Festival


This three-day festival has moved from July and is now slimmed down from a full week in 2011. There is still lots going on this year, with a themed menu of city centre events for all the family including demonstrations, tastings, workshops and of course an opportunity to gorge on lots of delicious local food and drink.

Don’t miss: The Sheffield Breweries Co-operative (Peace Gardens, Friday 14-Sunday 16 September) Your chance to meet the brewers and drink the beer from nine of our local breweries in a Peace Gardens marquee. Have all our best-loved Sheffield beers ever been available under one roof before?

Festival of the Mind

20-30 September |

This new festival hosted by the University of Sheffield could prove to be one of the stand-out events of the year (I should mention that I have some involvement with it though so I am probably a bit biased.) Sheffield’s creative community and academics from the University are coming together to put on over 50 events. There are some intriguing and wonderful collaborations, including Do It Thissen, a celebration of Sheffield’s post-punk music scene, 50 Ideas for Sheffield and virtual art gallery Computer Love.

Don’t miss: The Arrivals Zone. The brilliant Sheffield Publicity Department hosts a dream tourist information kiosk outside the train station in Sheaf square. Expect more than just leaflets about our galleries and museums.

The Last Laugh Comedy Festival

2-30 October |

Toby Foster is going solo with this year’s comedy festival and it is now known as the Last Laugh Comedy Festival instead of Grin Up North. You probably won’t notice too much difference though: it’s the usual programme of comedy, from performances fresh from Edinburgh to full-blown arena shows.

Don’t miss: My friend who went to Edinburgh this year recommends Pappy’s sketch troupe, nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award this year (12 October, The Greystones) and the excellent storytelling standup Elis James who is charming, engaging and above all, hilarious (19 October, The Lescar).


11-13 October |

South Yorkshire seems to be getting its fair share of BBC events this year, what with The One Show in a very wet Endcliffe park last month, Richard Hawley’s Magna show on 6 Music this weekend and now Radio Five Live is popping over the Pennines for a weekend of events and live broadcasts. Radio Sheffield is involved and the press release says we can expect ‘an eclectic mix of news and sport programming, audience debates and interactive activities in venues across the city’.

Don’t miss: A live audience broadcast of Fighting Talk.

Off the Shelf

13 October-3 November |

At 21 years old, is this the oldest festival in Sheffield that is still running? This festival of words includes the usual mix of more well-known faces (Richard Wilson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Stuart Maconie, Peter Hook and Simon Armitage) and topics closer to home (Tracing the Sheffield Jungle, A Sheffield A-Z, Sheffield Stories, Big Sky – Stories from the Edge).

Don’t miss: Praise or Grumble with SRSB. Did you know the radio football phone-in was invented in Sheffield? Or more accurately, by legendary former Radio Sheffield sports editor Bob Jackson, as he lay sunbathing one summer in Cyprus? The Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind’s Mappin Writers host this event with Bob as guest speaker (Saturday 27 October, 2pm, 5 Mappin Street).

And there’s more

There are also some other festivals taking place over the next couple of months in Sheffield including the fourth Celluloid Screams horror film weekend at the Showroom (26-28 October) and the MADE Entrepreneur Festival (19-21 September).

Although there isn’t too much overlap between the festivals I’ve mentioned, they do seem to be tightly packed over a few weeks. Would it be better to move one or two of them to the spring instead?


Cycling in Sheffield: five things I’ve learned

Back on my bike after 20 years

My dad recently bought himself a new bike and in turn offered me his old one as a hand-me-down. I haven’t really ridden a bike since I was a teenager so was a bit apprehensive but thought I’d give it a go. The good news is that I’m quite enjoying it and of course any excuse to do some exercise and put off the full-on arrival of my middle-aged spread is welcome.

Due to its proximity to the Peak District, Sheffield is a bit of a hub for outdoorsy types and cycling seems to be up there with climbing as one of those things that a lot of people do. Team GB’s cycling success at the Olympics will encourage even more people to take it up. So how have I found my first few weeks of cycling here? Below are five observations about cycling in Sheffield I’ve made since being back in the saddle.

1. Our roads surfaces are rubbish

As a car owner, of course I already knew this. But only when you experience all those bumps, cracks and potholes for yourself on a bike do you truly appreciate the rotten state of our city’s roads. The cycle lane on some is even worse than the car lane, which doesn’t really encourage you to use them. Hopefully this will be addressed by the £2bn highways PFI project, which has promised to make Sheffield’s roads and pavements better for everyone.

2. Sheffield isn’t yet a truly bike-friendly city

University Square roundabout: not great for cyclists

University Square roundabout: not great for cyclists

Although the council has made some effort to make it easy to cycle around Sheffield, more could be done. We have some cycle routes, but they aren’t brilliantly joined up. We have cycle lanes and crossings, but these aren’t always in locations where you need them most, for example trying to navigate – or preferably avoid completely – University Square roundabout. We have a council cycle map PDF, but this would work much better as a proper interactive map, plus I soon realised that many of the cycle parking facilities are currently missing off it. Thankfully the cycling campaign groups are pressuring the council to do more for cycling in Sheffield.

3. The hills are steep

Brilliant for cycling down but not so much fun on the return leg. I live near the top of one, which means that nearly every bike ride ends with a punishing slog back home. I suppose it is better having it this way round, instead of needing to shower at work in the morning. No doubt I’ll eventually find them easier but in the meantime I’m still having to push my bike up some of our hills so when you speed past please do give an encouraging thumbs up.

4. Cycling is different to driving

You tend to see roads and particularly junctions differently when you’re on your bike. I’ve needed to brush up a bit on my highway code and look up some of the advice online regarding things like what a cyclist should do in terms of passing stationary or slow-moving traffic. So far, I haven’t had any run-ins with motorists, touch wood. I’ve also made sure I’ve avoided things like cycling through red lights, which is something that can drive you mad as a car driver. You obviously feel less safe on a bike compared to in a car and if there were to be an accident, it is likely that the cyclist will get hurt, regardless of who is at fault. But so far so good. One bonus of cycling over driving is that you don’t have to pay stupidly high petrol and city centre car park prices.

5. Recycle Bikes is great

The old bike I was given needed some basic repairs and someone recommended that I take it to a social enterprise called Recycle Bikes, based in Heeley, It’s an independent, not-for-profit bike project which is involved in loads of worthwhile stuff including recycling old bikes, running youth and adult training and doing very reasonable repairs using recycled parts. They are part of Heeley Development Trust and I think are definitely worth considering if you need a repair, are looking for a cheap recycled bike or even have an old one to donate.

What are your experiences of cycling or cyclists in Sheffield, ? Is there anything else I should know?

Sheffield on Twitter – July 2012 update

Below you can find the latest additions to the list of Sheffield people and organisations of interest on Twitter.

A directory can be found on the Sheffield Twitter users page. As this page is getting a bit unwieldy, I’m not currently adding to it. Instead I’ll link back to each monthly update page.

We’re now into our fourth list of people and organisations in Sheffield in Twitter. There is also the first, second and third which each contain 500 accounts.

Sheffield Pop Weekender

Abbeydale Brewery

No Frills Food blog

Toast, West Street

Frog & Parrot pub

Devonshire Quarter


Overheard Sheffield

University Arms


Northern Sessions

Knife and Folk creative collective

Noise Heat Power

Mind shop, Devonshire Street

Broomhill Festival

Little Mesters Kelham Island Museum cafe

Sheffield 101010

HMV Sheffield

Tower Block Metal

Give Over Etsy shop


Steel City Riders guided tours

In Touch Care training

Willingness training

Olio Strutt

Origin Broadband

Sheffield Hallam student jobs


23 bar and restaurant

Three charities mountain bike challenge

Structural Interiors

Sheffield Eats

Nosh Networking

Firesuite band

Rutland Weddings

Skills Logic

Under the Stars nightclub

Weston Park wine bar – Tramlines

Semi Detached events

Steel Events

Sheffield Cancer Mafia

Sheffield job centres

Startup Club

Remade in Sheffield research project

Griffin Theatre Arts

Illingworth Library at the Children’s

Banner Cross retailers

Precision Locksmiths

301 Creative

Cindy Design

Carlton Social FC

Phoenix Catering

Sheffield University Mechsoc

Music in the Gardens

Detonate club/promoters

Otteno commercial property agents

SIC independent label

Sheffield University Women’s Cricket

Sheffield University Rowing Club

FURD youth and anti-racism social inclusion project

Spoon Family Bistro

Sheffield Moors Partnership

Sheffield News Now

Little Miss Hungry food blogger

The Seven Wonders

Bloo 88

Spongealicious Bakery

LEP Fitness

La Vava

David Dunn, Sheffield Star journalist

Shakeaway Milkshakes

Premiere People

Lindsey’s Cards

English Consultancy

Sheffield University Politics

The Ball, Crookes

St Marks Broomhill

New Inn Norton

Sheffield Sound

Teatime Vintage – crockery and linen hire

Valley Leisure

A to B Courier

Artists in the Making


Time In Time Out

Itchy Sheffield

Zero Budget Film Festival

Arches Housing

Captured Moments photography

Pokemon society

Away Owls

Perfectly Dressed

Tramlines AV zone

Razorblade Mermaid

.net Sheffield

Longbarrow Press poetry

SIA Gallery

NHSF Sheffield

Pop up pudding club


Noodle Inn, London Road

TM Travel

The Cafeteria design agency

Guns and lives take lives campaign

Beg, Borrow, Steal late bar

Heason Events

Sheffield University Careers Service

Sheffield SAVE

Springs Leisure Centre


The Twin Bears band

Paul Evans contemporary artist

Forge Press Games

Sheffield 24 hour magazine

Amazing Cape Cafe

Wizzy Design

Wortley Hall

Cellar Door

SHU Band Society

Sheffield Residential

Smithereens band

Food by Firefly outside caterers

Aerial photos of 1920s Sheffield

Our city nearly a century ago

The Britain from Above photo archive has some great photos of Sheffield take in the 1920s.

Under the terms of the license I can’t publishing them here, so instead I’ve linked to some of the highlights:

Not in Sheffield, but the archive also contains pictures of Sheffield Wednesday United v Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium.

There are also several shots of suburbs, where some of the housing hasn’t yet been built. Areas featured include Millhouses, Beachief, Meadowhead, the Manor, Whirlow, Totley, Coal Aston, Middlewood, Handsworth, Oughtibridge, Attercliffe, Neepsend, Highfield, Sharrow and Firth Park.

Britain from above Sheffield photos

Our Cow Molly and Sheffield Honey Company video

Welcome to Sheffield, land of milk and honey

This film from @russellcavanagh takes you behind the scenes at The Sheffield Honey Company and Our Cow Molly milk and ice cream.

Watch it to find out the important role that our local, independent food businesses play in Sheffield’s economy and community.

You’ll also see Eddie from Our Cow Molly explain just how fresh their milk is – and why he turned down an offer from Spar to stock their ice cream.

Olympic torch relay route in Sheffield – interactive map

Where to see the torch

If you’re struggling with the council’s PDF downloads of the Olympic torch relay route in Sheffield then you may find this interactive Google map by @beaneee useful. It shows the route for Monday 25 June. The torch also departs Don Valley stadium at 6.45am on Tuesday.

Best place to watch it on Monday? I’d be tempted by The University Arms, where there is live music, a barbeque and their usual choice of good beer. Anyone know if any other pubs on route doing anything special?

Route for Monday 25 June

16:45 arrives at Chapeltown;
The route is then Chapeltown Cowley Hill (A629) then Ecclesfield Road (A6135).

17:05 arrives in Ecclesfied;
The route is then Ecclesfield Road (A6135), Church Street (B6087), Stocks Hill (B6087), Yew Lane (B6087), Chaucer Road (B6087), Chaucer Close.
At this point the torch relay team board the bus and the torch will not be visible to the public.

17:40 arrives at Hillsborough;
The route is then Leppings Lane (B6079), Parkside Road (A6102), Hillsborough Park, Penistone Road North (A61), Hoyle Street (A61), Brook Hill (A57), Clarkson Street, Glossop Road (B6069), Clarkehouse Road (B6069), Brocco Bank.

18:40 arrives at Ecclesall;
The route is then Ecclesall Road (A625), St Mary’s Gate (A61), Eyre Street (A621), Arundel Gate (A621), Norfolk Street, Surrey Street, Leopold Street.
Arrives at the evening celebration in Barkers Pool.
16.00 doors open
17.30 first act
20.00 show closes

A walk up Wincobank hill

Sheffield’s greatest prehistoric monument?

Over the bank holiday weekend I took the opportunity to explore what is described as probably Sheffield’s greatest prehistoric monument by University of Sheffield archaologists.

Wincobank hill is on the north east of the city. It’s the big one behind Meadowhall. The hill is surrounded by ancient woodland and its summit was once home to an Iron age fort. The shape of the fort’s ramparts are visible on this photo on the Friends of Wincobank Fort website.

It is a relatively easy walk up there. The route we followed was from the Walking South Yorkshire book by Rob Haslam. It starts at Firth park car park on Hucklow Road although I think you can probably park closer if you want.

Your ascent takes you through the park, meadows and woodland before you reach the top of the hill. The remains of the fort aren’t that obvious once you are up there but the views are superb.

On one side you look towards Keppel’s column and Rotherham. Walking along the ridge you can then look out across the lower Don valley:

Lower Don valley from Wincobank hill

Lower Don valley from Wincobank hill

(Lower Don valley from Wincobank hill – large size)

Don valley stadium from Wincobank hill

Don valley stadium from Wincobank hill

Keep going and eventually you can see a spectacular view towards the city centre and north west Sheffield.

City centre and north west Sheffield from Wincobank hill

City centre and north west Sheffield from Wincobank hill

(City centre and north west Sheffield from Wincobank hill – large size)

City centre from Wincobank hill

City centre from Wincobank hill

University/Hallamshire hospital from Wincobank hill

University/Hallamshire hospital from Wincobank hill

According to Wikipedia, the fort wasn’t Roman, but instead was constructed by the Celtic Brigantes tribe.

At the top of the hill you’ll also find the location of a gun turret from world war two.

World war two gun turret

World war two gun turret

If you’re interested to find out more about Wincobank hill and how you can support it then try the Friends of Wincobank Hill website.

A guide to Sheffield Music City

Sheffield Publicity Department’s 16-stop photo tour

The Sheffield Publicity Department has already produced loads of good stuff, including their viewpoint guides and a tree rubbing kit. I finally got hold of a copy of their newest publication this week: a musical photo tour of the city.

Sheffield Music City was published in collaboration with Sensoria for this year’s festival. It’s a beautifully-produced guide to notable locations from Sheffield’s rich pop music heritage. Inside you’ll find photos of the defining landmarks and accompanying notes that tell the stories behind the locations – both fact and folklore.

I won’t spoil it for you, but as well as the household names, you’ll also find some of our less well-known music exports, all of which have been influential in their own genre and helped put Sheffield on the map.

You can pick up a copy Sheffield Music City for £5 from Rare’n’Racy and the Site Gallery.

Sheffield Music City by Sheffield Publicity Department

Sheffield Music City by Sheffield Publicity Department

Sheffield on Twitter – May 2012 update

Below you can find the latest additions to the list of Sheffield people and organisations of interest on Twitter.

A directory can be found on the Sheffield Twitter users page. As this page is getting a bit unwieldy, I’m not currently adding to it. Instead I’ll link back to each monthly update page.

We’re now into our fourth list of people and organisations in Sheffield in Twitter. There is also the first, second and third which each contain 500 accounts.

Dam House

Gusto Sheffield

The Viper Rooms

The Red Deer

Threads at DQ

Mud Crab Diner

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group

Sheffield City Centre

The Green ‘Un

The Millhouses pub

Bath Hotel

The Red House

Five Pigeons Press

Valleyside Garden Centre

Richard Smith, chef

Crosspool WI

Weston Park Cancer Charity

Hallam FC

Different Class events

Hallamshire House, Commonside

We Live Here artist

Martin & Co estate agent

KSpace apartments

Sheffield University LGBT

Sheffield University Physics Society

Audacious Art Experiment record label

RB Building

Broomheads’ Homemade

Snig Hill Gallery



SheffTV – music TV channel

601 Boutique, West One

Sheffield Bankers hockey club

Mode magazines

Sheffield Unchained

Institute of Science and Technology

SHU Library

Firms marketing, web design and prnting

Creative Spark photography exhibition

Peter and Paul design agency

Central ward Labour party

South Yorkshire Police Federation

Corner Gallery

Endcliffe Playgroup

Bickerton Skoda

Sheffield City Region

Neighbourhood Live

Bessemer band

Sheffield City centre residents action group

Pete Jones enterprise academy

JC Marketing Events

Positively Sheffield, supporting people affected by HIV

Millhouses Works Cricket Club

Red Hot White band

Staying in Sheffield – University of Sheffield

Hand of Sheffield

Inspiring Women

Party to Go

ASSIST Sheffield

Lobby Toffs hairdressing

Avid Farm Shop

Our Cow Molly Milk

Minor Threat Recordings

Bury the Past band

Sheffield Surgical Society

Sheffield University History Society

Hytec Hydroponics

Hillsborough College Business

English in Europe at the University of Sheffield

Discount Beds

Unwind Yoga

Property Shop

Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind

La Tasca Meadowhall

The Miniskips band

Fluent Communication

Diverse Magazine

Two Minutes

War of the Monster Trucks Wednesday fanzine

Rileys, Sharrow Vale Road

Little Green Pixels design

Holiday HQ

Labour Broomhill

CLL Solicitors


We Were Here theatre company

My Home Sheffield

Tipping Point Music

Split the Bills

Pixelpod design

SIV Fitness

66 Youth Club, Woodseats

Jubilee Food Bank

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Sheffield College alumni

Spa 1877

Sheffield Country Market

Sporting Statues project

Sheffield Tri Club

Davy’s Sporting Club, Darnall

Sheffield ladies wot tek

Electric Starlight

The Beehive pub

Floral Magic Stocksbridge florist

Sheffield Cablevision: the original local TV

Sheffield’s 1970s community cable TV station

There’s been a lot of talk in the last few months about the government’s idea for a network of local TV stations, with plans for 10-20 services in operation by 2015. Sheffield isn’t on this initial list but we’ve been earmarked for the second phase of licensing – assuming the first stations are a success and culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is still in a job to see it through.

What I didn’t realise was that the idea of citywide TV services is not a new one. In fact, Sheffield had its own cable TV station for three-and-a-half years in the 1970s. I found this out via Sheffield sport journalist Alan Biggs’ book, which incidentally is well worth a read if you’re interested in local football or media and is available now from the publishers and Amazon.

Our cable TV station was known as Sheffield Cablevision. It was one of five authorised by the UK’s Minister for Posts and Telecommunications and ran from August 1973 to January 1977. For a couple of hours each evening (plus daytime repeats) Sheffield Cablevision broadcast shows made by the public with help from a professional staff of six from its Matilda Street studios.

Sheffield Cablevision ident

TV Ark has posted a video of the station’s ident, which shows the Sheffield Cablevision logo – presumably the inspiration for the Sheffield Publicity Department visual identity:

Sheffield Cablevision ident

Sheffield Cablevision: watch the ident

Recollections of Sheffield Cablevision

I’m not old enough to personally remember the station, but if you search the internet there is some good stuff to be found. A thread on Sheffield Forum throws up memories of the station, with gerryuk and A.B.Yaffle commenting:

During the daytime you would get a Sheffield city council logo on the screen with Radio Hallam playing in the background. Every hour or so you would get a local news programme aired from some studio centre near Sheffield’s railway station. Can’t remember if they did a 30 minute news programme in the evening. On Saturday morning I can remember them doing some live programmes from the now defunct ABC cinema on Angel Street. It was for kids. I think you had to live in a council house to be able to receive this channel.

The flats on the Hanover estate still have the old sockets on the wall with about 10 holes in which someone told me was for the old cable tv system.

In his book, Alan Biggs recalls the few months he worked for the channel:

I would race off to Sheffield early on a Friday evening to present a weekend sports preview for the 30,000 households subscribing to an experimental piped TV channel. The pioneers who ran it…believed in what was a community project and, on reflection, it wasn’t a world away from today’s so-called reality stuff in that volunteers could come in off the street to help us make programmes.

It does sound like it was run on a shoestring and as a result, relied heavily on the volunteers. Another Sheffield Forumer, Jabberwocky, recalls:

I remember watching it to see if they showed any film of the city and I sat there for an hour one day while a bloke showed how to change a plug.

Videos and photos

I’ve found a couple of videos of possible Sheffield Cablevision output, although I don’t think they were produced by the Sheffield production team and aren’t really proper Sheffield content. This public information film about playing safe when camping and fishing was shown on the channel:

There’s talk on Sheffield Forum of a VHS compilation tape of the best of Sheffield Cablevision. It’d be great to see this online.

Photo wise, there’s a picture of one of the original Sheffield Cablevision cameras on the Museum of Broadcast TV Camera website. But the best place for photos is on the new Sheffield Cablevision Facebook page, where you’ll find a treasure trove of nearly 300 images, including these:

TV Ark says that despite good local viewing figures, politics and the costs were to blame for the closure of Sheffield Cablevision in 1977.

The future of local TV in Sheffield

We’ll have to see what comes of the government’s new plans for community television stations and whether the change in broadcast regulations really does increase their chance of success. Cities in the US which are much smaller than Sheffield run successful local TV stations, so there may be a way of making them work. Certainly there are interested parties intending to bid on the initial new licenses.

But at the same time other community TV experiments in the UK continue to bite the dust, with a Manchester station closing earlier this month, the owners criticising the government’s new plans for not providing the framework they need to deliver a quality service.

Given that more people are buying smart TVs with fully-integrated internet, I can’t help think that using an online platform to distribute local TV content might be a lower cost approach to local TV, with less risk. There was talk of something along these lines being set up in Sheffield a couple of years ago – TV Sheffield – but with the website now offline there doesn’t seem to be much happening with this.

What are your memories of Sheffield Cablevision? Does a city the size of Sheffield need its own TV station? If so, what would you want from it?