Steel Life Portrait: The Hill is alive, with a view of Sheffield – so go check it out

Park Hill Flats, Sheffield.
Park Hill Flats, Sheffield.

Our out of town columnist dips a toe into the colour and characters of Sheffield.

Although I’m a relative newcomer to Sheffield life on a daily basis, I have of course, set foot on the city’s streets right from childhood.

Shefield artist Pete McKee at his exhibiton 6 weeks to Eternity at Magna Science Centre

Shefield artist Pete McKee at his exhibiton 6 weeks to Eternity at Magna Science Centre

I can recall trips to the legendary Redgates toy store, travelling on bendy buses, the much-missed 2p bus fare and eating at The Golden Egg in my formative years.

As I became a teenager, I’d venture out of Doncaster to visit Sheffield’s much bigger and better record shops, the Virgin store in Orchard Square being a particular favourite.

These journeys were inevitably undertaken by train, rattling through the now abandoned Attercliffe and Brightside stations (remember them?) en route to the big city.

One of my abiding memories of those times is the hulking and somewhat frightening presence of Park Hill, towering over Sheffield station, some concrete carbuncle full of menace and gloom.

As a fresh-faced teen from out of town, its forboding brutalist flanks made it look less like a gateway to Sheffield and more like the entrance to some sort of Soviet era housing complex.

As I exited the station the other day, I realised that in my 44 years, I’d never as much as done anything than cast a glance in its direction, trying to work out the significance of that “I Love You, Will U Marry Me” bridge.

And so, with a few minutes to spare before catching my train, I took a stroll into the maze that is Park Hill for the very first time.

Everyone knows its history and current fresh new look as trendy apartments.

For me, it was just about having a brief look around this mysterious building that always seemed to have played a part in my visits to Sheffield, yet without ever drawing me in enough to explore further. I’m glad I did.

If you’ve never ascended Park Hill, do.

The views over the city, even on a somewhat gloomy day, are excellent and it is easy to see why both in the 1960s and now it still has a vice-like hold, the guardian of the city, an air of superiority.

I know its a place that many Sheffielders hate, but I for one love it. Go and have a look. You’ll not regret it.

A nice cuppa and a slice of Sheffield life

Just around the corner from the Telegraph office, tucked away down a narrow alleyway off the High Street, there’s a cafe by the name of Sarni’s.

It is your archetypal good old British caff - a griddle sizzling with bacon and eggs, steaming hot cups of builders’ tea and sauce bottles on the tables.

Just the kind of place to sit and people watch on a rainy day over a rolled up copy of whatever your favourite daily newspaper happens to be while the world passes by.

I’ve popped by from time to time for a good old bacon sarnie (one of the best I’ve found so far in Sheffield) and there’s another reason it is a great place to stop off for a slice of city life.

And that’s because of the artwork adorning the walls.

People in Sheffield don’t need telling what a legend Pete McKee is.

When he’s not doing his ukulele fuelled comedy covers with the Everly Pregnant Brothers, he’s conjuring up his vibrant and colourful paintings that perfectly capture Sheffield in its every day glory and simplicity.

Sarni’s boasts a few on its walls - something to ponder over while you’re tucking into your toastie (in fairness, it is either that or the plain white wall of the adjoining alleyway which unfortunately is pretty much the only view).

I’m a fan (of the art and sandwiches) and I’ll be hunting down more (0f both).

Sex on TV? Now’s your chance to be a star

I hear that the producers of a new TV show are looking for Sheffield folk to talk about their sexual fantasies on the box.

Bearing in mind the recent custard-related goings on at a certain brothel, the telly types have obviously decided city folk are a bit of a saucy bunch.

However, it could just be footage of a bloke from Wincobank neatly folding his trousers before telling his “lass” to “brace herself...”

Overheard on the city’s streets this week...

What my ears have picked up this week...

“My dad’s getting weirder as he gets older. He told mum that he’s going to start beekeeping the other day.”

“My mate says he saw Richard Hawley walking his dog on Monday night.”

“Not being funny, but All Saints on the bill for Tramlines? It’ll be Little Mix next.”

“Does walking up and down Fargate four times a day count as jogging?”