Returning from the South Western colour of 2009 to January 2011 was always going to be difficult particularly as the travel diary was looking pretty empty for this month, however I am gently easing myself back into normality with this post. I had contact by e-mail with the organiser of last years Scarborough trip, who came from Sheffield, to share the photographs of the trip. The 8th January was a free day for me after all the snow had gone and I was invited to see what I could do photographically with Sheffield ! At less than two weeks notice, the train fare was the same price as the petrol price so I opted for the more convenient and less restrictive time constraints of the car.
I had visited Sheffield once before within the last 10 years and remember a few interesting things about the place amongst the predominantly shopping area. My guide tried hard to give me the expert tour while I snapped away with the new camera.
|Brightening up the shopping streets|
Unlike other cities I have visited recently, Sheffield had an insignificant early history and only came to prominence following the industrial revolution. The name comes from a settlement that was built in a field next to the River Sheaf and became a town when the Normans arrived.
Sheffield City Hall was the first location after we got the bus in from the suburbs. The 1932 grade II listed building was almost hit by a World War II bomb but miraculously escaped.
We were only allowed to see the ornate ceiling in the foyer of this grand building following a £12.5 million 2005 re-fit.
The next location on the list was the externally austere Town Hall where the council sit and make decisions about the future of the city.
|Henry Fitzalan-Howard unavailable for appointments today !!|
Interestingly enough, when the building was opened by Queen Victoria, she didn't even leave her carriage and the gates were operated by a primitive remote control method. I wonder if she suspected the same greeting that we received or was it just that Mr Fitzalan-Howard had been annoying her for years about it !! Whatever the reason, it was time for us to return outside for some "welcome" sunshine !!
|"Forkocactus Spoonelliflora" & "Barking up the wrong tree"|
Forkocactus Spoonelliflora ( foreground object) was the work of Johnny White and was commissioned by Sheffield Museums in 2008 to celebrate 10 years of operation. It is a kinetically operated sculpture designed for collecting money... very ingenious!! As the coins are dropped into the slot, they make a chime by bouncing of an internal musical instrument. The inspiration for the design is a mix of the nearby Winter Gardens cactus and his first design in 2000 using cutlery in "Barking up the wrong tree".
|"will someone pull these knives out ?, I've got a pain in the neck"or "am I barking up the wrong tree"|
|Relaxation in the city|
The building is state of the art with a heating system that cools in summer and heats in winter 2000 plants from all over the world.
It was time for a bit of lunch in the coffee shop opposite and under the shadow of the Roman Catholic Cathedral church tower of St Marie.
(This was a defining moment of the length of my day out as I was originally going to have something hot to eat here but opted for something lighter due to the recommendation of a local indian curry near my friends house later in the day.)
The Lyceum Theatre was built in 1897 and due to financial difficulties of it's day, closed in 1969 and was nearly demolished in 1975. There were various uses for the venue before restoration by the City Council and the re-opening in 1990. On a side note, the nearby Crucible Theatre hosts the World Snooker Championships during late April to early May every year.
The Sheffield Supertram network was opened in 1994 at a cost of £240 million and carries people to a variety of destinations around the city. At the time It had a difficult beginning as it had to unsuccessfully compete for trade with the local bus companies until it was sold to a major Bus company 3 years later. One of the main stops in the City centre is Cathedral.
The Cathedral is the oldest building in Sheffield. Two churches pre-date the current building which was built in 1430 with additional Chapels and transept extensions constructed in the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. Unusually the church was originally known as and dedicated as St Peter's but following the reformation it is now known as St Peter and St Paul. St Marie eventually became the Catholic Cathedral when it was completed around 1850 thanks to the influence of a local landowner, The Duke of Norfolk.
The Lantern Tower was built inside the modern door to improve light in but the glass was changed during a 1998 refurbishment. It is most unusual to stand inside and observe the mix of architecture at the join. One would think that some of the building was bombed during World War II and later replaced.
|Time to take flight...|
... and leave the City centre behind for that promise of a good Curry...
|Austere building silhouette|
... And then race up the motorway back home with some loud happy music to keep me awake at this late hour !!