Another foggy, snow-covered day in Sheffield in the early 1980s (did I only ever venture out with my camera when there was Snow on the ground?). Even I don’t need help with the location of this particular photograph: whilst there have been so many changes to this part of the city, the buildings shown on both sides of Trippet Lane still exist today (although their functions have inevitably changed). I am not sure why people seem to be wandering around all over the place: maybe it is the ice on the roads, maybe it was one of the things we did back in the 80s.
Category Archives: South Yorkshire
Colour photographs used to be a luxury. Colour film was much more expensive than black and white film, and home processing was not a cheap option. Family pressure meant that I would have to load my camera with a colour film for holidays, but for when I was wandering around the streets of Halifax, Sheffield or Stoke, cheap monochrome film was the norm. Occasionally, however, I would return from holiday and there might have been a colour film, half-used, in the camera. So, equally occasionally, I would walk around whichever town or city I was living in, capturing it in colour. This photograph shows Infirmary Road and Penistone Road in Sheffield, taken, I think, from the vantage point of the Kelvin flats. The date must have been around the mid 1980s.
I must have take this photograph of the iconic Hyde Park and Park Hill flats in Sheffield when I was living in the city in the 1980s. Some fifteen years earlier – as a young man, I should point out – I remember being part of a delegation visiting the development when it was still comparatively new. It was still being held up as a blueprint for the future, a city in the sky. By the time I moved to Sheffield, it had become old and tired. Since I left the city, a considerable part of the development has been demolished and the parts that remain have been renewed and revitalised
The kids these days have it easy: pick up their smartphones, click the button, and applecadabra they have a photograph which is automatically dated and geolocated to within a metre of where they are standing. When I was a young lad – alright, when I was pushing middle age – you had to be inventive if, in your dotage, you wanted to remember where you took a photograph. You had to find a convenient building with a name on and incorporate that into the photograph. What better than a timeless, solid, signal box. The only problem was, within a few years someone had come along and demolished your geotag, it had vanished like a puff of steam.
More photographs of Sheffield from the 1980s. Looking back at these old photographs of mine, I can’t help but try to identify what has changed, not so much in terms of buildings, but in terms of the feel and the atmosphere. These grainy black and white images are responsible for a lot of the perceived change: just as our real memories fade, our photographic memories loose colour and definition. Although there are plenty of people on the streets – despite the weather – there is also an element of emptiness – the scenes have been drained of objects, leaving only the dirty snow drifts, the misty lines of buildings and the unmistakeable shape of 1980s cars. We can also pick up detailed clues to change: shops that have long gone, services for machines that no longer exist. The photographs are full of steel city snow mixed with a generous helping of grainy nostalgia.
Here is another of my photographs of Sheffield taken back in the 1980s. The common feature of so many of these seems to be that they were taken on rainy days and Mondays, but there were still shops on the streets, cars on the roads and shoppers going about their business. This is Surrey Street, with the Town Hall on the left.
Another set of photographs from the early 1980s in Sheffield. Perhaps it was always snowing in winter in Sheffield forty years ago, but more likely these photographs were taken on the same night as the ones I featured a couple of weeks ago. The weather may have been bad, but it didn’t stop people going out and about, getting their Christmas shopping done.
This was a world before on-line shopping, a world when familiar high-street names seemed as solid as the concrete boxes they inhabited. It was a world of crowded buses and glaring lightbulbs – a world long before LED’s and lockdown distancing.