Notes From My Childhood
With an early evening to spare today, and needing a bit of a walk, I took my two feet and fuzzy head through Nether Edge in a quest to see some parts of my locality I haven’t visited in a very long time.
It’s often the case that the nearer things are, the less likely you are to visit them. I think that explains the conversation I had with some people on Friday night in the pub – people who’d been to South America, Africa, the far reaches of the Earth, but none of them had ever been to Paris (fools).
My first stop was to the old Merlin Theatre site, which, having originally been a Rudolf Steiner school, throughout the 90s was an independent theatre, where I remember seeing a production of Alice in Wonderland as a child, and the Angel Brothers later on.
The current status of the theatre is something of a mystery. It has now been bought back into the Steiner community, and is now owned by the Freeman college. It was empty this afternoon, when I managed to walk in and have a good snoop around the grounds, though sadly new gates meant I was unable to get beyond Tintagel house to the rest of the gardens (where the Green Fair used to be). Local signage still indicates the existence of the theatre, but the internet seems to have swallowed any history up.
The building seems to have been renovated somewhat, but my shots are a little dull I’m afraid.
It seems a little odd that the site is now so nondescript after such vivid memories. I hope that Freeman does the right thing and reopens the theatre for it’s original purpose.
Afterwards I walked up through Nether Edge, towards Brincliffe Edge. On the way I passed Nether Edge hospital, where I was born. It’s now home to CAMHS and the Speech and Language Therapy services. It’s such a grand building I’m quite happy that it was the first place I ever saw.
Outside was an Edwardian Post box. For some reason I always clock the era of each one I see. Sheffield’s are largely modern with a lot of George VI too. This is quite rare, and I love the flourished ‘E’.
Passing some truly stunning stone mansions and cottages (nether edge has the most beautiful houses and streets in Sheffield, by far), I walked up to Chelsea Park, which is known on Google Maps as Brincliffe Tower public park. Brincliffe Towers is in fact a residential care home these days, with some ugly 70s pebbledash flats tacked on to the side. The original part of the building is quite pretty still, and makes the small park look like a front garden.
The park itself, despite being the nearest to where I live, is somewhere I haven’t visited for around 16 years. We used to visit when I was little for their annual bonfire night celebrations, which I believe are still run now. The park is a charming little oasis which is full of dogs and their owners, and has some very old trees and some nice picnicking lawn.
This all felt a bit ‘Secret Garden’.
This statue from the Nether Edge neighbourhood group is one of the nicest pieces of public art I can think of.
It cheered me up, and walking back down Nether Edge road led me to some local veggies from Zed on the Edge. You may be surprised (considering the nature of this blog) that I think localism is bollocks as an ethical or economic model, but it’s nice to be able to get cheaper veg from near where I live (when Tesco is so expensive).
What are the places you all remember from your childhood?