Monday, 25 October 2021
Sunday, 26 September 2021
Fuchsias were one of the things in the garden I grew up with, so I tended to think of them (I think it was the solidly reliable 'Beacon' variety) as rather ordinary everyday plants. It was only as an adult, after a break from them, that I came to love and appreciate the delicate exoticism of the hardy varieties, and the cheerful blowsiness of the showier ones. Also, they are one of the few plants I can propagate. I have roughly forty different plants in my not very large garden, and that includes eight different varieties of fuchsia; some small in pots, and some threatening to take the place over.
As I have no idea what any of them is called, I've created an index of photos and given each a letter, so that I'll be able to identify my cuttings. And here are those that were in flower last week when I photographed them.
Saturday, 25 September 2021
Hallam Tower(s) redux?
I ought to have a photo of the old Hallam Tower Hotel. I could see it from my window for the four years I lived on Manchester Road. Unfortunately, the one time I posted about it, the photos have disappeared. I mused then on whether it would be demolished, or end up as luxury flats. The one answer I didn't expect was 'both'.
Demolition began shortly after I moved away in 2017. And now it is essentially being rebuilt as flats (sorry, luxury apartments and penthouses), with the bottom two storeys of the original building remaining, and an additional two storeys on top, looking very similar to the old building. I wonder if that is a planning permission thing. I haven't checked, but I'd have thought it unlikely that a building like that, there, would have got permission today - it always did look very out of place - but like for like replacement can't be objected to.
The developers'/agent's pointlessly overengineered website says it is 'set in the heart of one of Sheffield's most exclusive postcodes'. 'One of' is doing quite a lot of work here, as S10 - nice as it is - certainly is not exclusive of students, and I can think of more expensive (and student-free) areas.
Interestingly, the website studiedly gives the impression that this is a conversion of the hotel rather than a new building, with phrases like 'leading architects have considered every detail within this once celebrity-adorned hotel building' and 'the signature luxury style shines throughout the once majestic and renowned Hallam Towers Hotel' (I have read the website so you don't have to). On the plus side, they will have great views.
The CGI interiors have a retro look to them (and an entrance lobby of audacious vulgarity), but I'm not seeing any fluted teak, without which it can never be a worthwhile recreation.
I think this comes under the heading of buildings you might not want to see demolished, but definitely don't want to see rebuilt.
Monday, 16 August 2021
The Odeon, Barkers Pool
And yet, and yet. There is still a pang of regret at the thought of it going. Not for aesthetic reasons - not for me, at any rate - but historic. It is an outstanding example of all that was the most egregious in 1980s architecture, and in a few more decades we may be looking to save such examples.
No architectural style is valued in the decades between its newness wearing off and its appreciation by those as yet unborn. Look how the sixties ripped through the Victorian (look, and weep, at Euston); and how we have only recently come to value and appreciate (if not, perhaps, love) the concrete of the fifties and sixties. The day will come when the mirrored glass and primary coloured steel of the eighties is back in fashion, but it will be too late for the Odeon (latterly 'Embrace'), Barkers Pool.
The Gaumont Building, as it will become known in honour of the cinema which the Odeon replaced in 1987, is not being demolished, merely given a 'facelift' so that it can continue to provide redundant retail space, but with a rather (from the artist's impression) fifties look plus living walls (which sound a bit high maintenance/garden bridge to me).
Sunday, 15 August 2021
Pevsner (p.124) describes the Kendal Works as having 'a pedimented front range of c. 1830 and workshop ranges of the usual Sheffield type with a blank rear wall onto Carver Lane and large windows facing the yard. The rear range was probably a grinding hull. In the courtyard is an early c. 20 scissor forge, single storey with a hipped roof, large casement windows and two hearths. Part restored in 2004.'
A 2013 post on the Sheffield History forum suggests that it was in bad shape again by then - but also alerted me to its Grade II listing, which led me to the Historic England website, where I found a more detailed description of the building, along with a photo that showed it as more derelict in 2001 - prior to the restoration Pevsner mentions. I took a photo from the same angle to compare:
Like many former industrial buildings in the area, it is now a 'cocktail lounge', although how active or viable a one was hard to judge at eleven on a Sunday morning. It wasn't looking very well cared-for.
I did this walk on Sunday August 15th, and it totalled 3.7 miles.
Saturday, 14 August 2021
In the course of landing the four jobs (two fixed term and two open-ended) I've had in HE since 2003, I applied for somewhere in the region of 300, and probably had 20-30 interviews. Once you get to the interview stage you can't help but star to fantasise, and research online, where you might live.
The one that sticks in my mind was when I had an interview for a Philosophy post of all things, at Manchester Met's Alsager campus. The estate agency website's most attractive offering in the area was at 13 Primitive Street, Mow Cop (presumably named for a Primitive Methodist Chapel).
I was reminded of this by this location spotted near Hillsborough Barracks.
Friday, 13 August 2021
The Barracks was built between 1848 and 1854 and was one of the largest in the country. Military presences were common in cities and one of the reasons for the massive contingent in Sheffield was the Chartist riots of 1839. These began when troops were called in from the earlier barracks at Hillfoot to break up an illegal, but previously peaceful, gathering on August 12th that year. The Chartists were a national movement, calling for democratic reform, including the vote for all men over 21, payment for MPs, the removal of the property qualification (the requirement that someone own property of a certain value to be eligible to stand for parliament), a secret ballot, equally sized constituencies, and annual parliaments. Following the 1839 riots, in which the government forces were seen by many to have over-reacted, Chartist membership and radicalism grew in Sheffield, with frequent demonstrations and real and imagined plots to stage riots and take over the Town Hall. Hence the perceived need for a strong military presence, not only in Sheffield, but in many other industrial towns too, as working men agitated for their political rights.
The turreted building fronting onto the Langsett Road was the officers' quarters and mess, with a chapel at the far end.
These blocks of black haven't been painted on; they're where there was a sign, which was in place when the stonework was cleaned but subsequntly removed. I don't know when the cleaning was done, but prior to then, the buildings - all the buildings - were that colour all over.
With the addtion of a little bit of wandering about, this walk was a fraction over two miles, on Wednesday August 11th.
Friday, 6 August 2021
Heeley Station extra
Paul of Waterways routes has found some more old photos of the station so I thought a second post was in order (incidentally the Chertsey blog's 1600th post).
This photo shows the entrance to the subway
You can see where the roof of the entrance 'porch' was. And it looks as if the original low wrought iron railing to the right is still there:
Kevin Smith has recently added four photos from 1987 to his Flickr account - starting here and then going back, two of the front and two of the arches (I'm guessing from the non-road side, accessed from behind the station).
But despite all our best efforts, still no photo of the whole of the front of the building from any time between 1901 and 1968!
While I'm here, here are a few more details from that walk.
Next to the bridge, temporarily fenced off because of what appears to be a small sinkhole in the pavement, is a rather nice information point in the form of a wheel. I only photographed the section pertaining to the station.
Just before I got to the station I found this ghost of a doorstep or entrance porch on the edge of a fenced off lot.
The local press have recently been reporting that Heeley Station and the line its on might re-open. I shall not be holding my breath.
Thursday, 5 August 2021
To be honest, I don't recognise that style, but other aspects were much more familiar from the main Midland Station
Not much to be seen round the back of the building - this was one I definitely couldn't circumambulate.Picture Sheffield shows that it became a breakers' yard quite early on - early 1980s? The current encumbents were established in 1987 and have expanded to take over the whole building.
This probably wasn't the healthiest walk, as much of it was along the A61. But it was six and a quarter miles of exercise on a pleasant, if slightly muggy, morning, on Wednesday August 4th.
Tuesday, 3 August 2021
Bower Spring Furnaces (Franklin Works)
The works themselves, however, are mentioned only in passing. They are long gone - but have left a legacy: the remains of a pair of cementation furnaces. Although there is little of these left, and what there is is overgrown to the point of invisibility, they are sufficiently rare and significant to have been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument by Historic England.
I've written about cementation furnaces before, notably the complete and largely intact one on Doncaster Street, which is the only surviving example in Britain - in their heyday, in the 18th and 19th centuries, there were more than 200 in Sheffield alone. The Hoyle Street / Meadow Street / Doncaster Street site on the corner of which it sits is still abandoned with work barely begun, which may be a blessing.
Building work progresses in other parts of Netherthorpe / Shalesmoor though.poignant images of the pub's interior.
Here's an undated photo from the Sheffield History Forum of both buildings in better days:
Ogley Bros, for example, manufacturers and distributors of metal products including 'steam trapping equipment' don't look at first glance to be prospering - but a second glance reveals a brand new lorry, suggesting business is alive and well.
Anyway, back to the Bower Spring furnaces. Given how overgrown they are this must be the absolute worst time of year to try to view them - although it wouldn't be easy at any time.