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Sheffield History

Christmas In Sheffield !

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Christmas in Sheffield has changed over the years.

Gone is Redgates and the chance to play with and buy a million and one different toys (I guess ToysRUs has replaced this magical store)

The lights seem to get more and more sparse in the city centre

But we also have the addition of food fayres and a peace gardens that is lit up like a 'christmas tree' !

In years past Sheffielders would engage with their neighbours and there would be a community spirit around Christmas too - is that still there ?

And what's the best shop you can remember (apart from Redgates !) for Christmas shopping in years gone by?

What's your memories of Santa's grotto's in the department stores ?

Where did you used to buy your Christmas turkey ?

Has what you eat changed over the years ?

Press reply and tell us your memories of Sheffield's Christmases....

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I remember getting all togged up to go and see the lights, Downtown, by Dusty Springfield (yes was Petula Clarke) was on the radio just before we left, and hearing that song 40+ plus years later still brings back the memories.I can remember getting off the bus on High Street and walking presumably up fargate and down the Moor finishing off at the santas Grotto on the piece of waste land at the foot of the Moor, the grotto was a walk through real christmas trees to santa sat in a shed.

On Christmas eve, Grandad would pick us up and take us to see Father CHristmas in the S&E co-op at the bottom of Ecclesall Rd, cant remember ever going anywhere else with grandad, but we went to the S&E every Christmas eve.

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I remember getting all togged up to go and see the lights, Downtown, by Dusty Springfield was on the radio just before we left, and hearing that song 40+ plus years later still brings back the memories.I can remember getting off the bus on High Street and walking presumably up fargate and down the Moor finishing off at the santas Grotto on the piece of waste land at the foot of the Moor, the grotto was a walk through real christmas trees to santa sat in a shed.

On Christmas eve, Grandad would pick us up and take us to see Father CHristmas in the S&E co-op at the bottom of Ecclesall Rd, cant remember ever going anywhere else with grandad, but we went to the S&E every Christmas eve.

I remember the forest at the bottom of the Moor too. Wasn't Downtown by Petula Clark rather than Dusty Springfield? Not dissimilar sound!

In the mid-60's a group of the school choir and orchestra from Firth Park School used to sing and play carols in the middle bit of the traffic island at Firth Park, in the bit where the trams used to run though the middle . (After the trams stopped running that is!)

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I remember getting all togged up to go and see the lights, Downtown, by Dusty Springfield was on the radio just before we left, and hearing that song 40+ plus years later still brings back the memories.I can remember getting off the bus on High Street and walking presumably up fargate and down the Moor finishing off at the santas Grotto on the piece of waste land at the foot of the Moor, the grotto was a walk through real christmas trees to santa sat in a shed.

On Christmas eve, Grandad would pick us up and take us to see Father CHristmas in the S&E co-op at the bottom of Ecclesall Rd, cant remember ever going anywhere else with grandad, but we went to the S&E every Christmas eve.

Yes I remember the same things, listening to Downtown [ Pet Clarke ] which got you in the mood to go down town.

The whole atmosphere of down town was so different to todays. I suppose we're always looking over our shoulder

when we go out today.

Happy days.

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Yes I remember the same things, listening to Downtown [ Pet Clarke ] which got you in the mood to go down town.

The whole atmosphere of down town was so different to todays. I suppose we're always looking over our shoulder

when we go out today.

Happy days.

It was a great feeling wasn't it. Sadly I have to agree, the experience 'down town' is very different now. I only venture there in the evenings to the Crucible or City Hall, and rarely feel comfortable heading back to the car park. Maybe it's just an age thing, but I don't think so.

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Four pictures of Sheffield's Christmas lights.

The first three (at night) are from 1965

The other is from about 1985

My main memory of Christmas in Sheffield is a Grotto on The Moor (I think)

Bryan

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Thanks Brian and welcome! Unfortuately it shows just how the lights have gone downhill over the years. When we first had them they were brilliant.

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In the early or mid 1960s there was a Father Christmas open air grotto at the bottom of the Moor. I recall walking through a 'forest ' of Christmas trees before arriving at the grotto. Somewhere I have a photograph, will try and find it. Anyone else remember going to this grotto?

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In the early or mid 1960s there was a Father Christmas open air grotto at the bottom of the Moor. I recall walking through a 'forest ' of Christmas trees before arriving at the grotto. Somewhere I have a photograph, will try and find it. Anyone else remember going to this grotto?

see posts 3, 4 and 5

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My goodness, Sheffied christmas lights had a truly profound impact on my life. I grew up watching the 1960's and early 70's lights being quite simply the best in the UK. It affected me so much that I made it a career, I now run Blackpools lights, but the Sheffield ones were the ones that fire me up. Hard to remember but back then on a Sunday they used to put most of the cross road ones up as...er..the roads were deserted (no Shops open!).

I have many pics and have collected various bits about them over many years. I even have a bit of one that blew away (not uncommon!) somewhere, possibly near my white coat!

I hope people are aware of the Botannical gardens display next week.

http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/dms-connect/search?dms=13&c1=front&feature=1001&venue=1582526

This event was inspired by the old "council" grotto at the bottom of the moor, remember that (located where the "MSC" as was building now is) an acre of christmas trees "planted" by the Council each year complete with (alternating years- waterfall (changing colour) and fountain and of course the REAL Santa! I would ask everyone to support Kevin and his colleagues help to bring the magic back -go and support him.

I'll try to upload some pics of mine before Xmas. Meanwhile check out these (sorry if people have seen them)...

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x86shy_sheffield-christmas-in-the-1960-s_creation

Enjoy.

Please get more pics posted- happy days !

RR

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My early recollection of Christmas really shows just what kind of social status we and our neghbours had on the Manor in the early fifties. We were more or less all in the same boat, both my parents were working but the wages were very poor, every Christmas we got the Christmas tree out and I have to say it had seen better days Im afraid, we always saved bits of tinsel from previous years to festoon our tree, we didnt have baubels, we just made bells with bits of cotton and the foil tops of the top of our bottles of milk and cotton wool was our snow.. We could not afford lights (AAAH) but it was our tree and it represented Christmas to us whether it was two foot tall or six foot tall. My Mother was an excellent cook she baked jam Tarts, Lemon Tarts and Mince Pies and they were more than superia to the ones that were sold in the shops.

One Christmas Eve I took my stocking up stairs to hang up and it seemed like an age before I fell asleep, Christmas morning arrived I was up like a lark to examine my stocking in it was an Apple, an Orange and three new pennies,fantastic! I couldnt have been more pleased that Santa hadnt forgot me, on going down stairs one more gift awaited me a Rupert the Bear Annual, I couldnt believe it. That book was kept in pristine condition for years. This year described above was a bad one but on looking back it was all my parents could manage and I was thankful for what they did for me especially my Dad, he gave me his love of Sheffield in all its aspects, its buildings, its pubs and its people, now how big would your stocking have to be to get all those things in?

My childhood was a great experience and Christmasses did get better as the years rolled by but I was glad just to just sit with my Dad and listen to him. No son could want for more.

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My early recollection of Christmas really shows just what kind of social status we and our neghbours had on the Manor in the early fifties. We were more or less all in the same boat, both my parents were working but the wages were very poor, every Christmas we got the Christmas tree out and I have to say it had seen better days Im afraid, we always saved bits of tinsel from previous years to festoon our tree, we didnt have baubels, we just made bells with bits of cotton and the foil tops of the top of our bottles of milk and cotton wool was our snow.. We could not afford lights (AAAH) but it was our tree and it represented Christmas to us whether it was two foot tall or six foot tall. My Mother was an excellent cook she baked jam Tarts, Lemon Tarts and Mince Pies and they were more than superia to the ones that were sold in the shops.

One Christmas Eve I took my stocking up stairs to hang up and it seemed like an age before I fell asleep, Christmas morning arrived I was up like a lark to examine my stocking in it was an Apple, an Orange and three new pennies,fantastic! I couldnt have been more pleased that Santa hadnt forgot me, on going down stairs one more gift awaited me a Rupert the Bear Annual, I couldnt believe it. That book was kept in pristine condition for years. This year described above was a bad one but on looking back it was all my parents could manage and I was thankful for what they did for me especially my Dad, he gave me his love of Sheffield in all its aspects, its buildings, its pubs and its people, now how big would your stocking have to be to get all those things in?

My childhood was a great experience and Christmasses did get better as the years rolled by but I was glad just to just sit with my Dad and listen to him. No son could want for more.

Yes tozzin you've said it all. We didn't get much but what we did get was really appreciated.

Kids would laugh today and think what's so special about an apple and orange, well I think that's the only time

we would see fruit. I tell a lie , my dad used to stand outside the pub at the bottom of Dixon Lane waiting for

the fruit to roll off the carts of the market traders, down to the bottom of the road and straight into my dads

brown paper bag [ with a little help ] he he They were a bit battered but it didn't bother us, he had 8 kids to feed.

[ps thanks for the pics tozzin ]

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A CHRISTMAS 322 YEARS AGO. ( This will now be 441 Years ago )

It is well worth a read..

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Saturday, December 24, 1892;

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Ah, Christmas as a kid

I remember the busses not running and my dad donning his "new" bear-skin hat walking to work and back, 4 miles each way to him was a minor stroll.

I remember having to walk uphill both ways to school and back, to a school that never closed because of a bit of snow.

I remember covering my hands with socks when it came time for snowballs and snowmen. Who remembers the longest distance they could make a snowball roll?

I remember "the gang" (us local lads) having sledging competition down Limpsfied Middle School hill to see if anyone could make it all the way to Brightside Lane

What about heading to the hole-in-the-road on the weekend and gawking at the Christmas display next to the fish-tanks, magical times to be sure

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I remember taking my kids to the Co-op at the bottom of the Moor to Santa's grotto in the early 60s. He had a sleigh that you got into and it seemed to move as tho you were being taken to the grotto. My kids loved it. Then we would all pile into the car and drive all round town to see the lights. You could drive down the Moor then although it took forever. The kids were usually asleep by this time. The lights would have rivalled Blackpool in those days.

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In the early 80's I used to help put up the illuminations. The tree on Fargate used to be very tall, over 40 feet. I remember one year we strung the festooning and lights around the tree using 2 hydraulic platforms, the one I had was a 40 footer and at full height didn't reach the top of the tree.

The lights and set pieces were stored at Hillsborough Barracks at that time, we used to start testing them in September, the barracks were the coldest place I ever worked in, even when warm outside it was freezing inside.

Switching on the illuminations was a team affair, at strategic lampposts an electrician would stand with the post door off waiting to throw to switch on his section. The switch on was at the City Hall, but the first thing to be switched on was the tree on Fargate and the Goodwin fountain. The 'star of the show' would organise a countdown, when it reached '1' a worker would bang on the window of he underground gents toilets in the Town Hall, where inside, someone would throw the switches to light the tree and fountain. When that lit it was the signal for the electricians to throw their switched in the lamp posts, and as each section came on other electricians would put on their bit. That's why they came on is a wave fashion and not all at once.

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My memories of Christmas Past start in 1950 when we made our own trimmings from crepe paper we cut into the edges of a strip to make a fringe then twisted it and it was draped across the ceiling. Paper chains were made from strips of coloured paper together and glued with flour and water paste. The Christmas tree was a ratty thing probably from the 1935 when Mum and Dad got married and I can remember we had a few glass baubles that I thought were treasures as we had to be so careful with them. We made more trimmings from milk bottle tops and cotton wool snow. At school we used to make a place mat by folding a piece of paper and cutting shapes out of it and when it was unfolded again it looked amazing ( well it did to me ). My Dad always used to cook Christmas dinner and it was a big chicken that was a real treat as beef was the usual Sunday dinner meal. Christmas presents were an apple orange and a couple of shiny pennies and a rag doll my brothers got a little car. On Christmas morning my big brother who would be 11 or twelve at the time used to go to the Richmond Pub with a tizer bottle and get it filled with beer from the off sales for my Dad while he was cooking the dinner.

Another big treat at Christmas though was what we called a " Big dinner " Dad used to be a grocery manager at the CO-OP and they used to have a firms Christmas dinner one night near Christmas. We used to get new clothes and all get a bus up town and go to the S&E co-op where we would all sit down to an enormous meal then father Christmas would come and give all the children a present this was something we looked forward to for months I think that it was the new clothes that I liked the most.

We never had much money but Christmas was always very special and brings back lots of happy memories I used to love going carol singing with my big brother oh happy days. :)

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In the early 80's I used to help put up the illuminations. The tree on Fargate used to be very tall, over 40 feet. I remember one year we strung the festooning and lights around the tree using 2 hydraulic platforms, the one I had was a 40 footer and at full height didn't reach the top of the tree. The lights and set pieces were stored at Hillsborough Barracks at that time, we used to start testing them in September, the barracks were the coldest place I ever worked in, even when warm outside it was freezing inside. Switching on the illuminations was a team affair, at strategic lampposts an electrician would stand with the post door off waiting to throw to switch on his section. The switch on was at the City Hall, but the first thing to be switched on was the tree on Fargate and the Goodwin fountain. The 'star of the show' would organise a countdown, when it reached '1' a worker would bang on the window of he underground gents toilets in the Town Hall, where inside, someone would throw the switches to light the tree and fountain. When that lit it was the signal for the electricians to throw their switched in the lamp posts, and as each section came on other electricians would put on their bit. That's why they came on is a wave fashion and not all at once.

You might know my husband then he worked there as an electrician from 1966 -2005 ( Richard Hill )

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Another big treat at Christmas though was what we called a " Big dinner " Dad used to be a grocery manager at the CO-OP and they used to have a firms Christmas dinner one night near Christmas. We used to get new clothes and all get a bus up town and go to the S&E co-op where we would all sit down to an enormous meal then father Christmas would come and give all the children a present this was something we looked forward to for months I think that it was the new clothes that I liked the most.

Hi Syl

When was your dad a manager with the S&E co-op, I was a trainee manager in late 1976, getting my own store in 1978 ot 79?

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In the early fifties i lived with my gran and grandad because my parents were in lodgings, but around my way that was pretty much the norm. My way by the way was the top Wybourn near the Windsor where the landlord used to let us pick a chocolate from his tree.

My Christmas gifts consisted of one main toy,meccano or the like,some chocolate coins,a selection box and of course an apple and an orange,but added to that was my special surprise lovingly crafted by my Uncle Tommy,a garage or a bagatelle or a fort and everyone painted in Sheffield Corporation Transport colours on account of him being a fitter there and having access to the paint stores.One year he made me a brilliant sledge and even painted on coachlines to make it more striking,hey presto ,i awoke to a blanket of snow,threw on my clothes and wellies and off out into toboggan heaven,alas the sledge weighed a little more than an elephant and sank whilst refusing to budge one inch,Uncle Tom,to his eternal credit took me down to Wilson and Gumperts in the square and bought me a super sleek lightweight one,chilblane heaven here i came.The sledge did come in handy as sticks to get the fire going.

Another year i asked for and got a casey (leather football),my cup was truly full,i picked it up to go out to play only to be stopped by these words from grandfather "weer tha guin wi that" me "to call for lads an have a game o togger" g/f "not wi that that not,duz tha know how much they are,get some dubbin on and put it away till better weather then tha can tek it in park. I treasured that ball and dubbined it religiously whilst praying for milder weather to play on grass and not ruin it on the ruad and corsey.

Spring sprang and i was allowed to take out my precious cargo to the park with my mates,i resisted all temptation to kick it there knowing there would be a minute inspection immediately on my return home.we chose sides on the way there and finally the moment arrived,we could hardly move the flipping thing,we were used to playing with cheap thin plasticy things or even tennis balls but this was ten times the weight,mainly through the copious amount of dubbibing it had received,that put paid to my dreams of being the next Jimmy Hagan

Ah well....C'Est La Vie as they say in Barnsley...............A happy Christmas.

.

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I remember taking my kids to the Co-op at the bottom of the Moor to Santa's grotto in the early 60s. He had a sleigh that you got into and it seemed to move as tho you were being taken to the grotto. My kids loved it. Then we would all pile into the car and drive all round town to see the lights. You could drive down the Moor then although it took forever. The kids were usually asleep by this time. The lights would have rivalled Blackpool in those days.

I seem to remember the grotto was built on the site of the demolished Travellers pub.

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Christmas in Sheffield to me meant going to see the lights, the forest at the bottom of the moor followed by a trip to father Christmas's grotto at Atkinsons. It was always amazing!

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I remember the early fifties, when Christmas shopping was done only on Christmas Eve.

It took for ages to get past Boots in Fargate where there was a barrier on the pavement.

Boots bargain basement was the place to buy your gifts for less than ten shillings.

I worked at The Telegraph&Star in those days, and I remember standing outside Kemsley House watching the crowds push by. The 'Duke of Darnell' (does anyone remember him ?) directing the traffic underneath the policeman with white sleeves, on a box at Cole's corner. At that time I had a spare job every Saturday afternoon when i finished work at 12.45, playing the piano in the window at Jay's furniture store on the Moor.

Dennis Dewsnap

dd@churchillhotel.com

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My earliest recollection of a Grotto was about 1952 in M&S at the foot of London Road, later the Locarno I think. It was magical walking down a dark twisty tunnels to find brightly lit caves with wonderful scenes of fairys and elves and woodland creatures than finally the big cave where Father Christmas sat. (we didnt have Santas in those days just the real thing).

After chatting for what seemed a really long time he gave me a present which turned out to be a shiny Gold and silver sword ( probably some sort of plastic but I thought it was real) Then out through more magic tunnels, I was 5 then but I think every year about that magic place it was wonderful

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