A survey of Sheffield

Favourite Things 'Mike Hull, managing director of SMC Chartered Surveyors, outside the Record Collector
Favourite Things 'Mike Hull, managing director of SMC Chartered Surveyors, outside the Record Collector

Mike Hull is not the archetypal chartered surveyor. Best known as head of SMC Chartered Surveyors, which he founded in 1999, he is also a keen music fan – and a regular member of the stage crew at Glastonbury Festival.

Each summer, Mike and wife Heather can be found at the annual musical mudbath, working on the sensations seekers’ stage and in the cabaret area.

“My favourite band this year was Eels; I also saw Richard Hawley with Duane Eddy, which was perfect for a sunny Sunday evening. But the best act on our stage was Naked Lunch – two guys dressed as chefs, banging pots and pans, then developing into a competitive striptease act,” says Mike.

His most unexpected pleasure was Lee Scratch Perry, who played at midnight on the G stage: “Spacey dub reggae from a 75-year-old with bright red hair!”

The Record Collector, Broomhill

When I first came to Sheffield to do my degree and I’d paid in my grant cheque, one of the first things I did was hop on a number 52 bus and head for the Record Collector. In those days it was only half the size it is now but it was stuffed full with all sorts of wonderful stuff. I came away with a few Roy Harper LPs that I’d been unable to find anywhere else. Today, I still frequent the Record Collector whenever I can. I occasionally buy stuff on a complete whim. Sometimes I buy the odd stinker but I’ve discovered some great music in that shop. My musical tastes are quite wide-ranging and the Record Collector has large jazz and world music sections and also a massive second hand section. I’m Mr Fifty Quid Man and usually come away with seven or eight CDs and even the odd bit of vinyl. The Record Collector is almost the last record shop in Sheffield and I really hope it will survive for a good many years to come.

The Grouse, Nether Padley

I have simple tastes and the Grouse not only serves a wonderful pint of Deuchars, but it also does an extraordinarily good steak pie with proper rib-sticking pastry, chips, peas and gravy. Heaven, especially on a winter’s evening. The Grouse is also a good place to call in on a walk, as it is close to Longshaw, White Edge and Froggatt Edge.

The Greystones

As you have probably guessed, I’m a bit of a music fan and the chance to combine superb real ales with live music is a winning combination. The Greystones is a brilliant addition to the music scene and for me it is more convenient than going into the city centre. I will happily attend large music events but I prefer music in an intimate setting. There is a far better interaction between the audience and the performers and you can pick up on subtleties that would be lost in a bigger venue.

Walks Around Holmesfield

We have lived in Holmesfield for over 17 years and I particularly like the countryside around the village. It’s rolling countryside with plenty of woodland and quiet paths and lanes. I’ve always enjoyed walking, as it’s both relaxing and good for the soul. I met Heather through walking in the Sheffield Poly fellwalking and mountaineering club, so walking has given me many good things. In 1998, I had a book published called Off Peak Walks and many of the routes were my favourites around Holmesfield. Thankfully, it didn’t sell too well, so I can still enjoy a quiet walk.

Kelham Island

My first experience of Kelham Island was when I discovered the Fat Cat as a student in 1981. Since then Kelham has changed fundamentally. Gone are Tyzacks and Richardsons and many other famous industrial names. Throughout my career as a surveyor, I have witnessed these changes as industry has made way for residential developments and newer businesses. Kelham is still a work in progress but it contains perhaps the best combination of old industrial buildings and some of the better modern residential developments in the city. With a restaurant like The Milestone, Kelham has a real gem.

view from Shrewsbury Road

I first lived at Norfolk Park as a student in 1981 and later we bought a house there. I’ve always thought the view from the end of Norfolk Road where it meets Shrewsbury Road is amazing. There aren’t many places where you can see a whole city centre spread out in front of you like that. Over the last 30 years that view has changed, with a marked improvement in the quality of the buildings. The Cheesegrater, City Lofts, Winter Gardens combo is quite impressive.

Grindleford Café

A regular haunt since 1987, when Heather was unemployed and owner Phil Eastwood offered her a job. Phil’s notices to customers were legendary. One of my favourites was: “Parents be aware. Unruly and unattended children will be sold into slavery”. I was pretty devastated when Phil died but it’s pleasing to see the café going from strength to strength under the leadership of his son.


I attended this year’s Tramlines festival and, as well as enjoying the bands, I found I was looking at our city centre differently. I realised that I’m normally in a hurry and barely notice my surroundings. The variety of venues was brilliant and it was a wonderful use of our city that fostered a relaxed atmosphere for people of all ages.

Urban Deli, Campo Lane

I was involved in valuing and appraising the development of The Chimes in Campo Lane and subsequently my firm has let and managed the commercial units.

Urban Deli has been a regular haunt ever since it opened. Occasionally, I’ll have a meeting there but it is their sandwiches and coffee that keep me going back, as well as the fact that I can just stroll over the road and get some great food.