Favourite Things: Helping Sheffield to step up by celebrating its strengths

Tamar Millen works for Sheffield City Council as the Events Manager at the Year of Making Sheffield 2016, which was officially launched last month. The year-long festival provides a platform to showcase all forms of making that Sheffield is internationally-known for. Its events programme will reflect five themes - music and performance, film and literature, art and design, heritage and placemaking and manufacturing and industry - linking culture and business and providing a legacy for the city. Tamar, aged 45, who lives in Banner Cross, has worked in cultural production for over 20 years and has called Sheffield home since she was 10.

Thursday, 21st April 2016, 7:00 am
Tamar Millen on the staircase inside the central library in Sheffield

The staircase at Sheffield Central Library

The staircase which links the library to the Graves Museum is a beautiful part of an amazing building. I spent a lot of time working in the library’s reading rooms while studying for my A-levels but I’m drawn to the main staircase every time I enter the library.

Climbing up through the heart of the building, it is very peaceful and has amazing acoustics - I have sung on its steps a few times with an art choir I was part of called Juxtavoices. The staircase forms a crucial link between two massively important things in the city - the library at the bottom and at the top, the Graves Gallery, which is a real hidden gem of Sheffield.

Sheffield’s Works

I love the way Sheffield has reused the old “Works” buildings such as Beehive Works, Portland Works and Harland Works. They may have a new function but the people who use them are carrying on the collaborative creative approach of co-working, often around central courtyards. It’s nice to see that idea being extended into some of the new spaces in the city, like Persistence Works and The Roco.

The One O’Clock signal

For me this is the sound of Sheffield and it has been since the 1870s. I love the way that any Sheffielders within earshot of it at the junction of Leopold Street and Fargate carry on almost as if they never heard it, while any newbies who find themselves in the city centre look frightened and also quite a bit puzzled.

Kojo and Lee

This beautifully-styled hidden oasis of calm is where I get my hair cut and it’s the best hairdresser I have ever found. The creative brainchild of the wonderful Nikki Lee, it is found up some stairs through a secret doorway on Division Street. Not a strip light in sight, the interior is full of muted colours and plants and you get the full attention of a creative genius. Everyone who goes in leaves feeling special and relaxed.

Queens Social Club

The best and most important nights out I’ve had in recent years have been at Queens, a Sheffield social club given a new lease of life.

I’ve seen such a wide variety of performances there, from Sheffield’s own ERC with Maxine Peake and the Wet Nuns to performance poet Holly McNish, Japan’s stunning Bo Ningen and the amazing Pecha Kucha talk by my mate Emma.

It hosted the 50th birthday party of a great friend and also held the busiest, loudest and most celebratory wake I’ve ever been to. It’s an old venue with a new heart.

The 75/76 Bus

This bus takes me from where I grew up in Fir Vale through town to London Road and Sharrow where I lived with my partner for years when our kids were young.

The colours, the mix of people, the changes, the food, is all along this bus route. It’s different from the usual perspective of what is modern Sheffield.

If I can, I always try and sit at the front of the top deck of the bus.

Breakfast with friends

at Tamper Sellers Wheel

I regularly get together with a group of busy women friends for early morning breakfast. This meeting is not work, or family, or obligation - it’s choosing to be with these amazing women. It is a chance to catch up with each other, to make sure we have time with each other outside of family, work and study commitments.

These breakfasts usually take place at Tamper Sellers Wheel – with eggs and a long black featuring heavily. We are normally waiting outside for it to open.

railway station and

Sheaf Square

I have worked all over the UK but have always been based in Sheffield, so over the past seven years I have travelled a lot. I think Sheaf Square is a wonderful welcome and it always makes me feel happy to be home, no matter the time or the weather.

I often include the Sheffield Tap as a pit stop – a great place to rest and wait for missed trains.