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DaveH

Arbourthorne Playing Fields

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Arbourthorne Playing Fields

A large area of open grassland in the middle of the Arbouthorne estate.

This land was never built on probably due to an underlying stream which flows down towards the Jervis Lum area of Norfolk Park

The only place where the presence of water is obvious in the Arbourthorne Playing Fields area is Arbourthorne Pond, just to the south of the main fields on the opposite side of Eastern Avenue.

There is more about Arbourthorne Playing Field and the Jervis Lum, including additional pictures, in this thread here

Jervis Lum

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As stated above there is a "forgotten" and frequently unused section of these fields to the south of Eastern Avenue, bounded by Eastern Avenue, Arbourthorne Road, East Bank Road and broken up sections of the Erringtons.

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The main field is to the north of Eastern Avenue and is bounded by Eastern Avenue, Northern Avenue and Arbourthorne Road.

The northern edge is open but ends in a steep bank which drops down towards Park Grange Road, overlooking the Norfolk Park Estate and giving a good panoramic view of the City centre beyond

The south eastern corner of this area is intruded onto by the Vic Hallam housing on Algar Road, Algar Drive and Algar Place.

The maps in post #2 and #3 are copyright Google maps.

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At the southern extremity of the fields, bordering on East Bank Road they have built this industrial looking unit in recent years.

I have asked in the Jervis Thread if anyone knows what this installation is, - anyone got any ideas?

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The field itself is long and narrow and sits in a "valley" leading towards the pond

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Immediately behind the pond is the only evidence that there was once a childrens playground on this site.

It didn't last very long due to constant vandalism and arson attacks

There is evidence of the usual swings, roundabout and rocking horse amongst the litter and burnt debris on the ground.

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Just north of this site the ground drops steeply into the lum (a sort of hollow in the ground which can hold water) in which Arbourthorne Pond sits.

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Arbourthorne Pond

The pond has been through alternate periods of neglect and restoration.

It is a frequent target for vandalism and, being open to Eastern Avenue by road, a popular spot for abondoning stolen cars, either by burning them out on the site or just driving them into the pond.

The pond does get a lot of fishermen from local clubs, has recently been fitted with those "levees" that act as fishing platforms and is stocked with fish.

It has always had that small "Robinson Crusoe" island in the middle which as kids we always wanted to paddle across to in a small boat.

Hope this panoramic shot is better than the one previously posted in the Jervis thread, - better weather and higher resolution setting.

Original Panorama

Latest Panorama

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At this point we cross Eastern Avenue onto Arbourthorne Playing Fields proper.

This large area is "landscaped" consisting of relatively flat areas seperated by quite steep embankments.

The flat bits can be marked out with up to 5 football pitches, referred to by such immaginative names as "top field", "northern avenue end", "Fellbrigg end"

The steep embankments were at one time kept mown with the rest of the field so it appeared as one field, but now in common with other areas of this type the steep slopes have been allowed to " go back to nature" which breaks the field up a bit. Footpaths are also a new addition, at one time the entire field was just grass like a very lage lawn.

The entrance has been set up to prevent motorcycle and bicycle access, a bit pointless as at other parts of the field access is open.

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Arbourthorne Playing Fields

As with my panorama of the pond I have totally redone this one, again not being too happy with the original.

Original Panorama

Latest Panorama

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Both of the previous panoramas were taken from a "viewing area" built at the top of an embankment to the west of Algar Drive which had a bench seat and a table looking out over the City centre.

Once again the vandals and arsonists got there first.

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As the terraced Vic Hallam houses on Algar Drive are perpendicular to the road instead of parallel to it (similar yo the Morland Road housing at Herdings) car parking is scarce.

Algar Drive is only built up on one side, on the other where the field is there is a small unused parking area.

Unused because you leave a car unattended here at your peril. There used to be some garages here as well but they are long gone.

Vandals and arsonists seem to spoil everything.

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Algar Drive, looking down towards the field.

Clearly shows the features mentions in the previous post :-

A]

Houses on one side of the road only

B]

Houses built in rows perpendicular to the road

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Similar views UP and DOWN the adjacent Algar Place.

I used to live at the bottom of Algar Place from 1958 to 1966 in the old prefabs that were there before the Vic Hallams.

The new buildings at the top of the UP view are on the site of the Carlton picture palace.

Note that both Algar Place and Algar Drive are cul-de-sac roads ending at the lower part of the field.

Originally both ended with that nice little drive around roundabout island, now only Algar Place does.

UP view

DOWN view

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Unlike Algar Drive, Algar Place has retained its quota of lock up garages. These are in a much more visible position and so are less prone to criminal attacks.

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Above the garages to the east on northern avenue is the (NOW CLOSED) Vulcan public house.

Its large lounge window, to the left of this picture again gave views northwards over the City from this high viewpoint.

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On a personal note, in my "prefab days" (or should that be pre - "FAB" days?) our house used to be just on the right roughly where that first row of perpendicular to the road block of houses now stands.

I have already decided that if my mum can turn up any old pictures of our prefab from the early 60's that I will try to "then & now" them.

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Also in my prefab days you could walk straight out of your back garden gate onto Arbourthorne playing fields.

Seems natural as they are so close, - but look what you get now!

Two amusing bits here,

A sign that says "NO BALL GAMES" just outside a public playing field with up to 5 football pitches on it.

Notice how someone has created a "short cut" to the playing field by "opening up" the fence just to the right of the sign.

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Entrance to the field from Northern Avenue just at the side of The Vulcan

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The football field nearest Northern Avenue.

This pitch was sometimes used by our school, Norfolk which is only 2 streets away. I don't know why we did this as we had a good field on site.

The Northern Avenue pitch once had its own pavillion and changing rooms with a small car park. Sadly these too have gone due to crime.

The "top pitch" on Eastern Avenue is used by a Sunday League team called "Arbourthorne EA" (I assume the EA stands for Eastern Avenue). Once went to watch them with my dad one Sunday morning in the late 1960's only to see them lose 32 -5 :(

The lowest pitch was also used by a Sunday morning pub team from the Fellbrigg, just off the north west corner of the field. I still have a silent 8mm film of them playing a match one Sunday morning in 1984,- great views of Norfolk Park estate tower blocks in the background. Anyone know how to convert and upload an 8mm film all within our 2Mb limit?

Ironically all of these pictures were taken on a Sunday morning.

OK so its out of season for football, but even so, not a soul in sight.

Perhaps everyone had gone to one of the many "boozers turn church" just down the hill on the Norfolk Park Estate.

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One of the most high profile events to take place on Arbourthorne playing fields was an episode of "Its A Knock Out" televised by the BBC in May 1971.

In this match Sheffield wetre beaten and knocked out of the contest by a team from Scunthorpe.

I have no idea why the playing fields were chosen for this venue.

Further details of this event can be found here

It's A Knock Out 1971

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This is the view that inspired a young 5 year old boy way back in 1960.

To leave your back garden gate, turn and run as fast as you can down across that grass, it seemed such a long way for a small boy, seemed to take ages and you were out of breath when you got to the bottom.

In those days those trees and bushes at the bottom of the field weren't there, just an embankment that looked out on this inspiring scene.

A footpath past some ponds and wild plants, a horse in a field, a farm. The path lead to the entrance of Norfolk Park at Arbourthorne Lodge & cottages

No Norfolk Park Estate then.

Beyond that, in those pre clean air act days usually lay a grey smokey mist which obliterated the view beyond.

But just occasionally on a lazy summers day the mist lifted, and there it was, - the City of Sheffield.

I could stand looking at it for ages until I could hear one or other of my parents (usually my mum) in the distance behind me calling me back.

Then there was that very long (or so it seemed) slow walk home.

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At the bottom of Northern Avenue near its junction with Spring Lane is another entrance close to where the "pavillion" once stood

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The site of the pavillion today

In other topics I have used some of my views from the top of the Guildford block at this corner. 2 of these shows this area in better days, one even offers a small view to the extreme right of the pavillion itself.

The pictures are 1973 and 1979 respectively.

As well as changing rooms for football matches the pavillion was also used at one time as a polling station for elections.

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This is the view that inspired a young 5 year old boy way back in 1960.

To leave your back garden gate, turn and run as fast as you can down across that grass, it seemed such a long way for a small boy, seemed to take ages and you were out of breath when you got to the bottom.

In those days those trees and bushes at the bottom of the field weren't there, just an embankment that looked out on this inspiring scene.

A footpath past some ponds and wild plants, a horse in a field, a farm. The path lead to the entrance of Norfolk Park at Arbourthorne Lodge & cottages

No Norfolk Park Estate then.

Beyond that, in those pre clean air act days usually lay a grey smokey mist which obliterated the view beyond.

But just occasionally on a lazy summers day the mist lifted, and there it was, - the City of Sheffield.

I could stand looking at it for ages until I could hear one or other of my parents (usually my mum) in the distance behind me calling me back.

Then there was that very long (or so it seemed) slow walk home.

The nearest I can get to a modern version of the previously mentioned view today.

Those trees and bushes make it impossible to get the same viewpoint so here we are displaced eastwards to the corner of Northern Avenue and Spring Lane.

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