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The punks/skinheads on the markets

Sheffield History

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Anyone remember in the 80's the punks and skinheads that used to hang around on the markets.

They were mostly on the upstairs 'landing' bit where they could overlook the street and shoppers below.

They were there just about all the time, sometimes misbehaving but most of the time just meeting up and chatting, and spitting on the shoppers below..

Sometimes there were huge numbers too - and I think the mid 80's saw a huge boom in their numbers due to the success of Madness and Ska music in the charts..

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Here's an article from Sheffieldtoday.net by columnist Nick Ward:

Nick Ward Speaking out for people like you

IT'S funny the people you bump into in the Castle Market.

A couple of weeks back Jarvis Cocker was down there.

Yep that Jarvis Cocker, the one time front man of Pulp.

Jarvis worked on a fish stall in the Meat Market as a teenager and he was back with a film crew to meet up with a few old friends.

But what must he have thought?

In Jarvis’ time behind the counter, the Castle was a pleasant place to visit.

A shopping trip to town wouldn’t have been complete without a mooch around the stalls.

The hustle and bustle, the noise and banter, the cries of “mind your backs” from barrow pushing stall holders who made their way slowly through the throng to restock.

And above all the bargains, a chance to pick up everything you need from a new zip for your trousers or a bunch of flowers to a joint of beef for Sunday lunch.

Sheffielders loved the place.But the Castle has fallen. For many the love affair is over.

On most days the crowds have all but disappeared.

There are still bargains to be found aplenty, and many of the characters behind the counters are still around.

But shoppers are put off by the state of the place.

The entire area is now dilapidated and dingy, a crumbling concrete carbuncle.

What makes things worse is the site stands adjacent to a number of Sheffield’s biggest and swankiest hotels.

Guests visiting the city for the first time and choosing to venture from their hotel into town first have to cross a busy duel carriageway.

Past the boarded up furniture shop and the shuttered up Market Tavern, through the corridor of concrete which makes up Exchange Street.

The dilapidated market building to the right, a host of closed retail outlets along the Gallery area to the left.

How welcoming – especially after the first thing visitors see after arriving at Sheffield station is Park Hill flats.

It’s embarrassing to think that for many this will be their first taste of our home city.

Some may venture further into town and discover that it’s not all like that.

But who could blame them for turning back and returning to the comfort of their hotel room?

So who is to blame?

Some would say it’s down to a change in shopping habits, a casualty of the rise of the power of the supermarket.

But surely something could have been done to keep the place in better nick than it is today

For years the council have been telling us the market was going to be relocated and that reinvestment in that part of town was pointless.

Instead, they insisted, the market would have bright future elsewhere.

But this went on and on and on and the area went from bad to worse.

While other towns – Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Chesterfield – invested in their markets, Sheffield allowed its to slowly die.

Then, at last, the announcement that the market is on the move.

A new home down The Moor we are told.

But who knows when the work will even start let alone finish?

In the meantime the Castle Market area will continue to fall into decline.

Lets hope the powers that be redeem themselves by ensuring the new market place, when we do eventually get it, is something the people of this city can be proud of.

The traders will do their bit to make it worth visiting now it’s down to the council to do the same.

And when they finally do get round to developing the Exchange Street area, we’re told it’s ear marked for residential and office development, let’s hope they get that right too.

How long that takes is any body’s guess. But I wouldn’t want to hold my breath.


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I have seen some plans of both the new market just off The Moor and also the development of the current Castle Market area.

They are going to level it all, build one of those ever-popular 'Squares' (again) - however the most exciting part of it for me is that they are going to show some of the old Sheffield Castle ruins.

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