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Notes From My Childhood

September 6, 2011

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?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 5:58 pm

    My blog started out as a craft blog, but has ended up as a blog rediscovering Sheffield and discovering places I never knew existed which are on my doorstep. When I was little, we didnt have a car and lived out in the sticks in a village near Barnsley. My favourite day out was always the day we went by 3 buses to Millhouses Park – i’ll have to post my photos. It was wonderful there in the 1960’s – I loved the paddling pool and it used to get really busy. I can remember the Lido too – I wish it was still there. x

  2. September 4, 2012 9:04 am

    Reading this post made me really nostalgic – I miss the old telephone boxes and the old buses – must go back to my childhood neighbourhood and take some pics..Thanks for the inspiration..

  3. Catherine permalink
    November 1, 2012 10:11 am

    I have just been trying to find information on Merlin Theatre/Tintagel House as I remember going to nursery school there around 1970-71. My memories are fleeting, but I do remember the lovely gardens so it was a pleasure to see the picture of the house and the garden. I also remember hogging a red pedal car, painting on an easel and eating biscuits and orange juice. Happy days, if only there were some photos of the nursery school from back then.

    Diane, I loved Millhouses Park too and I’m sure it must have been sunnier back then as I can remember summer days spent at the lido. Do you remember the long metal rocking horse in the playground?

    Can’t beat a bit of childhood reminiscing!


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