Pinstone Street, the home of Sheffield’s independent fast food

The one good thing to come out of the Sevenstone delay?

Fanoush Falafel and the Street Food Chef

Fanoush Falafel and the Street Food Chef

As we wait to find out what the latest talks between the council and Hammerson mean for Sheffield’s Sevenstone retail quarter, an independent food revolution is quietly happening in town.

Pinstone Street is one of the key roads on the edge of the proposed development. In anticipation of demolition and construction work beginning many of the old shops closed down or moved to alternative locations, leaving a depressing row of empty units.

Not for long though. The good news is that a growing number of tasty food outlets have moved in and are breathing life into the vacant shops on Pinstone Street.

The award-winning Street Food Chef arrived first, serving up Mexican street food from tacos, burritos to empanadas. Their breakfast burritos are delicious.

Flurt frozen yoghurt in Sheffield

Flurt frozen yoghurt on PInstone Street

Then Flurt opened a few doors up, offering fat-free frozen yoghurt. A perfect pudding if you’ve got room after your lunchtime burrito.

And this morning Claire from Feast and Glory revealed that Fanoush Falafel is opening next door to the Street Food Chef. Fanoush already have a shop on London Road so it is great to see them opening in town.

What all three of these outlets have in common is that they are independent businesses, offering an alternative to the food chains that you can find in any city. The food is fast, tasty and relatively healthy. They’re definitely worth supporting.

It’s ironic that without Sevenstone these great food outlets may not have opened at all on Pinstone Street. Perhaps the growth of these businesses points to the approach we should take for a city centre retail quarter: if you create favourable terms for people to take on shops in good locations then local, independent businesses can flourish, even alongside the big chains. The city centre needs both.

Make the most of these foodie gems while you can, as a green light for Sevenstone could mean the end of these independent food outlets in prime city centre locations.

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

Top ten Sheffield Christmas presents

Sheffield-themed festive gifts

Stuck for a Christmas gift ideas? This list collects together some of the most popular Sheffield-themed merchandise from the last few months.

  • Pub maps

Explore the drinking dens of the city with this pub stops of Sheffield map by John Coates. It is designed in the style of the famous Henry Beck London underground tube map, which like a circuit diagram, focuses on the order of the locations instead of their exact geographic proximity. Available in mouse mat and poster versions, the designated coloured routes make for all sorts of interesting pub crawl variations. Or if you fancy an alternative pub crawl compass, then you could also try the heritage pub crawl map that you may have seen displayed in various local pubs.

Buy: Sheffield scene shop on Surrey street | zazzle.co.uk (for just the tube map)

Pub stops of Sheffield mouse mat and poster

Pub stops of Sheffield mouse mat and poster

Sheffield heritage pub crawl

Sheffield heritage pub crawl

  • Something Hendo’s-inspired

Is there a better way to impress people when they come over for tea this Christmas than with some Hendo’s-themed memorabilia? There are plenty of options available to help celebrate the city’s favourite condiment: one litre bottles of relish, aprons, illustration prints from Jim Connolly and Kid Acne and if you really want to splash out, a limited-edition set of silver accessories. The final option is a very long-lasting Hendo’s-themed gift that a bride bought her groom as a wedding present…

Buy: Various locations | madeinsheffield.com | archipelago-art.co.uk | kateyfelton.com

Katey Felton's limited edition Henderson's relish silver accessories

Katey Felton’s limited edition Henderson’s relish silver accessories

  • Sheffield illustrations

As well as the Hendo’s prints mentioned above, there are plenty of other local-themed illustrations available. Obviously Pete McKee is one of the most well known (don’t forget his Children’s hospital 2009 Christmas card) and Jim Connolly’s Sheffield superheros screen prints are also popular. The treasured Rare & racy shop on Devonshire street has various other prints, including Jonathan Wilkinson’s excellent We live here series of defining but less-celebrated Sheffield landmarks including the wedding cake, Park hill, the Roxy and the egg box.

Buy: Rare & racy | therealmckee.co.uk | archipelago-art.co.uk | welivehere.co.uk

 

  • Charity voucher book

I’ve already written a post about this charity voucher book, but the premise is simple: spend £50 on a book of local vouchers that includes £1,000-worth of savings. And £15 from every one sold goes to charity. You won’t get round to using them all but after using three within the first month I had made my money back and of course have got a whole load more bargains to look forward to. Be quick though, as most of the vouchers expire in August 2010 so the longer you leave it the harder it will be to cram them in.

Buy: Shop on corner of Pinstone street and Cambridge street | charityunleashed.co.uk

Charity unleashed Sheffield voucher book

Charity unleashed Sheffield voucher book shop

  • Victorian map of Sheffield

People from Sheffield love old Sheffield stuff and this map shows the city in 1849 as ‘a pleasant and organised town…relatively spared the ravages of the early unplanned industrialisation’. One for the toilet door?

Buy: Cheapest from Sheffield scene shop on Surrey street | victoriantownmaps.co.uk

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  • Cooling towers memorabilia

The Cooling towers shop may have been and gone but the Tinsley towers still hold a dear place in the heart for many people and befittingly there are still plenty of souvenirs available by which to remember them. Why not start with this matt photo print from RPG Photo and also these mugs from artist/designer Alice Skelton?

Buy: rpgphoto.co.uk | Mugs available from aliceskelton.com and the Bessimer gallery in the Winter garden

Cooling towers print from RPG Photography

Cooling towers print from RPG Photography

  • Pop books and shop books

There are a couple of Sheffield-related books with a nostalgic tinge that have been published in time for Christmas. Neil Anderson’s Take it to the Limit explores the late 70s and early 80s music scene through the eyes of the Limit nightclub, or Sheffield’s Hacienda as it was know by some. More pop music nostalgia can be found in artist Martin Bedford’s Up against the wall, a book collecting together some of his famous Leadmill posters that he produced to promote visiting bands in the 1980s and 1990s. And starkly contrasting with the city centre that we know today, the Shopaholics guide to 1970s Sheffield looks back to a time when town was the major shopping destination of the north.

Buy: Local bookshops | amazon.co.uk

Sheffield pop and shopping books

Sheffield pop and shopping books

  • I love Sheffield eco bag

Julia Gash bought this local variation of the I love New York design to Sheffield a couple of years ago. She was previously involved with the (now closed) Gash shop on Devonshire street but has since set up a business selling eco bags and the I love Sheffield one has been a huge hit, as you can guess from the frequency that you see them around town. They continue to be particularly popular with students and it looks like some variations on the original design are now available, too.

Buy: Various locations including the Sheffield university students’ union studio shop

I love Sheffield drawstring eco bag

  • A piece of history

The crucible is due to reopen imminently and the theatre’s new carpet is apparently inspired by the distinctive 1970s design of the original. The theatre has been selling off pieces of the old carpet to raise money and at the last count a few of them were still available.

Buy: Sheffield theatres

The Crucible carpet: old (left) and new (right)

 

  • Food discount card

The city may still be up-and-coming in the culinary stakes but progress is slowly being made and there are now some good places to eat out. Chef Richard Smith is the man behind many of the area’s more impressive restaurants and his relax, eat and drink privilage card could be just the gift for a foodie friend or loved one. You get £50-worth of restaurant vouchers, a £25 bottle of champagne, a free meal on your birthday, money off every other meal, free tea and coffees and more. At £100 it isn’t cheap, but when you remember that his restaurants include Artisan, the Cricket inn, the excellent-value Canteen and the imminent Spice market cafe on Ecclesall road, it won’t even take a meal out at each before you earn your money back.

Buy: relaxeatanddrink.com

Has anyone got any more present recommendations?

Creative uses of spaces in Sheffield city centre

Filling the Sevenstone void

With the Sevenstone retail quarter on hold for at least the next 2-3 years, there are empty buildings and patches of land in town earmarked for development but currently not being used to their potential.

The latest scheme to try and address this is the proposed Red square retail area which is featured in the latest issue of Exposed magazine.

This idea would see vacant land on Trafalgar street (see the map below) turned into a hub of 35 small units and workspaces for artists, makers and creative independent new retailers. The shipping container units (‘ship shops’) would be cheap to rent and let on easy-in/easy-out terms. The focal point is a small, central square with a cafe and gallery.

The people behind the idea are looking for feedback on the proposal and also would like to hear from any potential occupiers. At the time of writing, it doesn’t look like the www.red-square.org website is live, but if you are interested or just want more information then email info@red-square.org.

There are also other schemes trying to find creative and worthwhile uses for the available spaces in the city centre.

The excellent Sheffield Swap shop project aims to take on a vacant shop in Sheffield and turn it into a community swap shop managed by volunteers. People will be able to turn up to exchange skills, services and use it for other community-related activities. It looks like Sunwin house is a venue that Swap shop is considering. If you want to get involved, contact Helen Milner.

University architecture students and the council have got together to work on the Empty quarter action project. They will be publishing a report full of creative ideas for the vacant shops, buildings and streets in the city and need your input for the public consultation that will feed into this. If you are interested in contributing to this then read more and email the project.

In addition, the council has also given the empty shop fronts behind Pinstone street a cosmetic makeover and there is ongoing discussion regarding what to do with the empty fire station on Wellington street.

Walking around some parts of town is a bit depressing at the moment so it is encouraging that people are trying to do something about it. It is good to have a mix of grassroots community schemes to get involved with like Swap shop and also ideas such as Red square that could also give a commercial boost and spawn new, independent businesses in the city centre.

What do people think to these schemes? Are there any more going on that I have missed?

The location earmarked for Red square

Support your local record shop

…before Record Collector itself becomes a collectors’ item

Last month I sent a tweet linking to a blog post bemoaning the lack of record shops in town. As predicted by the author Rad, Zavvi has now closed its doors leaving only HMV as the only dedicated record shop in the city centre.

Growing up I remember trawling the record shops of the city centre on a Monday looking for the best price for a new release single or album. Warp, Woolworths, Our Price, Music Zone, Virgin, Zavvi, HMV on Pinstone Street, the wonderful Fopp and more have all been and gone.

Obviously you can still buy your vinyl (and some CDs) from Jacks and I suspect that some of the city centre supermarkets as well as WHSmith are well stocked up on the Duffy album. But compared to a few years ago it is a sad state of affairs.

The way people obtain and consume music has moved on and I’m as guilty as anyone for neglecting high street shops in favour of purchasing music online. So on Monday it felt a bit peculiar to actually go into a record shop to buy a physical copy of a new CD.

The shop I went to was the much-cherished Sheffield institution that is Record Collector in Broomhill. This Sandman article from a few years back gives the history of the store, but in short it is a proper old-fashioned independent record shop; the kind of which is disappearing fast up and down the country.

It has been going for over 30 years and as well as stocking new releases is packed full of thousands of back catalogue CDs across many genres. And there are always special offers on, so you know you’ll always come out with more than what you went in for.

I don’t think that Sheffield can afford to lose another record store, so would encourage you to pay Record Collector a visit. I may be being a bit nostalgic, but surely there are enough people in a city of this size to keep a couple of music retailers in business?

And if you must dig out the best deals online, then at least stop by the Record Collector eBay shop to see what is going.

Record Collector, Sheffield

Record Collector, Sheffield

New Sheffield city centre shopping website

Town battles on as it awaits the arrival of Sevenstone

It is a difficult time for the city centre at the moment. While the promise of the new retail quarter has raised hopes that town will once again become a significant northern shopping destination, walking past the empty shops on the Moor and Pinstone Street is presently quite depressing.

Although it was reported last week that footfall in town has increased by 17,000 people a month, for me the city centre still needs all the help it can get to encourage shoppers.

Seemingly, the council has recognised this and is making some effort to give town its best chance of success before the arrival of Sevenstone, with hoardings displaying images of Sheffield being erected around derelict buildings marked for demolition.

And according to this council email, a new website promoting shopping in the city is in the pipeline:

A new website will be launched in April that shows just what’s on offer for shopping in the city centre. It will show potential shoppers what shops are here, where they are, and what they sell. Retailers will be able to update special offers and events, and talk to other retailers through the site. The aim of the site is to promote Sheffield as a competitive retail destination. It’s a joint initiative between the council, Creative Sheffield and the Chamber of Commerce.

So if these initiatives work, what will people think when they arrive in the town? Some visitors from London commented to me that as an urban environment, parts of the city centre look great (I did take them on a selective route of the city). But some areas look very run-down and we know that for shopping, it still has a long way to go.

With current economic conditions causing more retailers to fold and further shop units to stand empty, I can’t help but feel that it will get worse before it gets better. However, I am also sure that in due course we will once again have a shopping destination of which to be proud.