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Errol Edwards


The Burngreave of my childhood (1960s and 1970s)

Black and white photograph of Errol Edwards holding cymbals in front of a band, 1976.
Errol (at the front) and the Sheffield Corps of Drums in 1976. © Sheffield Newspapers Ltd

I was born in 1965 and lived at 32 Petre Street until 1976, with my brother Patrick and three sisters, Veloria, Glenroy and Doreen. A three bedroom terraced house with no bathroom and an outside toilet, we had our baths in the kitchen. We were well known as we were one of very few West Indian or black faces living in that area at the time! My brother Patrick still lives in Burngreave and is a strong member of the community.

Burngreave has seen many changes, too numerous to mention, some good, some bad.
For me I think Ellesmere/Spital Hill is the fastest changing area in Sheffield. Many of the land marks of the time have now been resigned to history, namely All Saints church which stood majestically on the site of the more modern version at the junction of Lyons Street and Sutherland Road. Also Ellesmere Primary School which occupied an area between Maxwell Street and Buckingham Street. Many other buildings and sites of interest have long since succumbed to the bulldozer, such as the playground at the bottom of Sutherland Road, known as 'Wembley' to many. This spot held fond memories for many a child in the area. Now it lies derelict. This is, in part, due to demographics. If you remove houses, you remove the people and communities and therefore the play areas will fall by the wayside if there are no children to patronise them.

It's really nice to see that the Vestry Hall missed the bulldozer and is being restored to its former glory. This was a well used building. I remember lots of wedding receptions been held there in the late '70s and early '80s. The Seventh Day Adventist church, now situated at the top of Andover Street, used to occupy the Vestry Hall every Saturday for worship. I was a reluctant member of the congregation. I also remember the original library which stands at the Gower Street/Ellesmere Road roundabout (now a mosque) and the halal butcher on the corner of Earsham Street and Ellesmere Road actually being a bank, TSB I think.

I often return to Burngreave to see family who live in the area and to go to 'The Mangla' restaurant on Spital Hill. Sometimes, when I mention to friends who have never been here, they say they would like to go 'but isn't it in a dodgy area?.' Some people feel intimidated by the area's reputation but this is unfounded and it is really no better or worse than many areas in Sheffield. Burngreave Road and Barnsley Road have some of the most beautiful houses in Sheffield, one of the best kept secrets of the area. Burngreave has its problems but it also has a lot to offer if only some of the people living there and people from outside would realise it.

Written by Errol Edwards, October 2006.