Favourite Things: Sheffield’s endearing traits that never fail to cheer

Kieran Hartley is head of beer operations at New World Trading Company, parent firm of The Botanist in Leopold Square. He is this week's Favourite Things subject and one of his choices is Sheffield's steel heritage and is pictured beside the Women of Steel statue.
Kieran Hartley is head of beer operations at New World Trading Company, parent firm of The Botanist in Leopold Square. He is this week's Favourite Things subject and one of his choices is Sheffield's steel heritage and is pictured beside the Women of Steel statue.

Since opening in October 2016, The Botanist has welcomed thousands of happy Sheffielders to its three-storey space. The happiest of all is perhaps Kieran Hartley, who has been working with the bar’s parent company New World Trading Company for four years, as head of beer operations.

Originally from Coventry, Kieran moved over to Manchester to study Economics and now travels to different sites owned by NWTC throughout the UK presenting ale tastings, researching new beers and sharing his infectious passion with as many people as possible.

He’s just finished his Certified Cicerone exam, a very in-depth beer qualification which involves a five-hour exam as well as a blind-tasting exam, where he’s required to differentiate between 16 different beers without knowing what they are.

When he isn’t living the dream and getting paid to drink ale, he’s exploring the city of Sheffield, enjoying the Steel City Derby and fuelling the breadcake argument.

Being called ‘love’

When I visit Sheffield, I can’t help but notice people call each other ‘love’. Some people dislike the word and find it condescending but I feel it is quite endearing to be called ‘love’ by people I’ve never met - it worries me how somebody could find such a word condescending.

It’s clear that Sheffield is a very friendly city and it’s always nice to finish an ale tasting masterclass and be thanked with ‘Cheers love!’

It’s a direct contrast to somewhere such as London, where it would be considered improper for one to make eye contact with people on the tube – that’s too distant and cold for me.

Sheffield Steel

Sheffield is renowned for its steel industry and it is lovely to see how proud the people are of such a brilliant history.

It is fascinating to think of all the men and women who built their lives around steel – and in some cases moved to Sheffield to take advantage of its thriving industry. It’s saddening to learn about the brilliant craftsmen and craftswomen who are now having to specialise for their business to survive.

Steel City Derby

As a sports fan, I’ve got to have this as one of my favourite Sheffield things!

I love seeing two closely matched teams battle it out in any sport. It’s regarded to be one of the most passionate and hotly contested derby matches in football and it isn’t hard to see why!

I was shocked to learn just how close the two teams win records are, with United being slightly ahead with 45 wins to 42 - and 40 draws! How incredibly close is that!? Fortunately for me I don’t have a favourite team, though I don’t think it’d wise to document here if I did!

‘Gennels’

I love hearing arguments over regional words.

I first heard this term for a narrow path from my friend Rob who I lived with at university. It took a couple of times to catch on that he meant alleyway.

My favourite regional word argument is the word for a bread roll. Bread-cake, cob, barmcake... or, as we say in Coventry, a ‘batch.’ Most people agree that the Coventry term ‘batch’ is the weirdest one.

I do love a good bacon batch though!

Sheffield’s Seven Hills

Like Rome, Sheffield is built on seven hills, which I am told is the true mark of a real city!

This is something the people of Sheffield seem to be massively proud of. I took a walk down ‘Eccy Road’ and stumbled across Seven Hills Bakery – it’s like the city’s ‘in-joke’ as everyone knows what it links to.

Plus it’s great exercise wandering around. I’ve developed legs of steel – no pun intended - conquering all these hilly inclines.

It’s not too fun to drive around though, my hand-brake and first gear took a battering!

Rony Robinson on BBC Radio Sheffield

At the start of the year I had the pleasure of being invited in for a cup of tea and a chat with Rony Robinson on his BBC Radio Sheffield show.

A fantastic show indeed and I was fascinated to learn that his show had been running for 33 years - which is less surprising after witnessing how good he is an interviewing people – nobody has ever made me talk so easily.

He was impressed that I knew about the theatre play he did in my hometown many years ago.