Wybourn, Attercliffe, Carbrook

On a recent visit to Sheffield I needed to pick up Mrs. Lestaret from Meadowhall and took the opportunity to get a few images of an area of Sheffield that has undergone a radical transformation in the last thirty years.

I’ll begin in Attercliffe, originally a hamlet mentioned in the Doomsday book, once a thriving rural community famed for it’s orchards, but becoming a highly industrialised suburb of Sheffield by the nineteenth century, taking advantage of the proximity of the River Don to capitalise upon the City’s cutlery trade.

Nowadays, the area is very run down, with little of the industry that once was, although there was plenty of enterprise evident as you will see. John Banners department store has been a major landmark here since the late 1920’s and was the first store to have escalators, and a system of suction tubes to move cash around the store!

Alas, Banners is no longer, but the building has been fitted out and is now home to variety of small businesses. Across the road, are a number of eateries that also tell of the history of the area and it’s large Asian community.

If this place is called Kurrylicious, I ask why it needs a second sign declaring that it is now serving the food that it is named after? I love this!

There are also quite a few shops that are now home to  a growing number of slab-fronted ‘businesses’ like this one. Is the lower sign a direction or an instruction?

There is even a place to park up for your hanky panky! What will they think of next!

Just off Attercliffe Road stands an imposing Victorian red brick building, once a chapel, now a mosque.

On the base of the building there are five foundation stones!

A little further on and down a little side street is the sorry shell of the old Adelphi Cinema:

Sheffield once boasted over 70 cinemas, some grand, some less so, but almost all gone.

The Adelphi had also been a bingo hall and social club, as well as a nightclub at some point, when this neon sign would have been a beacon for dancing, Ward’s Best Bitter and the occasional fisticuff!

On the side of the building was this faded sign.  I wonder if this was put up to warn motorists about the sozzled late-night clientelle or the old biddies leaving after a few ‘eyes down.’

Right next door was this reclaimed estate agents sign. So is it Let, or To Let?

As you travel further away from the city centre, Attercliffe gives way to Carbrook. This area was once filled with steel foundries and associated industries. The real heart of the ‘Steel City.’ There are few remaining steel mills left here which makes the Forgemasters site even more imposing as it is now surrounded by Lilliputian ‘business units’ and retail parks.

In fact the area has been rebranded in recent years and been given a cringeworthy name that I cannot bring myself to say out loud. Or type for that matter. Let’s leave it at that.

Of the few old buildings that survive amidst the redevelopment, most have lost their original purpose. The Pheasant is soon to be another Indian restaurant – I hope that they don’t cover up the old sign.

Now back down into Atterclife, and right next door to the Adelphi – you can only see this as you travel back towards the town. Above the plate glass and acrylic facade (and boarded up) is this beautiful tiled building with it’s original Burtons sign! 

It’s really satisfying to see these old signs still hanging on in there, but equally depressing are the signs that are not holding up so well, like these on the Don Valley Stadium, built in 1991 to host the World Student Games. The temporariness of these signs is in stark contrast to the more structurally designed ones we have been looking at.

As I was taking this shot I decided to walk around the block, just to see if there was anything of interest out of eyesight, and was struck by this sign on the grass in front of a huge shed that now houses a paper shredding company. Danger? Of what? A camouflaged elephant trap?

And on the way home I felt the need to stop and get a shot of this building on the edge of the Wybourn estate. Ghost sign over ghost sign. Now that’s a haunting!

Sheffield Forum Attercliffe
List of Sheffield Cinemas
Wikipedia Sheffield
World Student Games
Shefield Indexers – Banners

It was great to get back into the area that helped give Sheffield it’s Steel City name. I visited a few more areas too, and have more images of typographic Sheffield to share soon.

So what’s in your neighbourhood?

I am putting out a request for contributors for the “my type of… place” section of this blog and would like you to put together your own typographic tour. If you are interested, download the contributors information sheet for more details, ideas and specifications here.