Holly Smith is environmental impact assessment team leader and regional manager of environmental consultancy Ecus. Brought up in Dronfield Woodhouse, she studied animal and plant biology at the University of Sheffield, before going on to gain her PhD at the University of Newcastle. Holly, aged 37, worked in a number of environmental roles including engineering firms Arup and White Young Green before returning to the city to work for Ecus – a spin-off company from her alma mater in Sheffield. She lives in Oughtibridge with her partner, Chris, as well as their dog, a retired greyhound, and two cats.
Being a bit of a history fan, I can’t believe I only discovered the Antiques Quarter earlier this year but it is now a bit of a staple of my weekend. It’s just a really nice place to be able to amble around on a Saturday afternoon. I love browsing in the various shops and outlets and finding a bargain, mainly older pieces of furniture. And once you’ve finished you can have a lovely lunch and a drink or two in the Broadfield pub on Abbeydale Road.
I really love the city’s industrial history so when I am not picking up some gems in the Antiques Quarter I can often be found having a wander around Kelham Island. I find the 19th century forge works particularly fascinating, as well as all the Little Mesters’ workshops and buildings. Extending out of that area towards the Rivelin Valley, I also like the water wheels and machinery that used to power workshops in the city’s industrial heyday. The pubs around Kelham are also great, especially the Fat Cat, and have some fantastic beer gardens.
Sheffield has some wonderful green spaces and one of my favourites has to be the Botanical Gardens, full of plants and flowers from around the world and beautiful glasshouse buildings. Another favourite, weird as it may sound, is the General Cemetery! I really like the chapel building which was built in a Gothic style, while the grounds have been really looked after and tidied up by the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust and the Friends of the General Cemetery. All their hard work means the grounds are well on their way to becoming a nice green space. And I love to learn about the lives of Sheffield’s former residents!
The changing pace of architecture in Sheffield is something I really admire. From the Victorian buildings of the city’s heritage up to more modern buildings like the Q-Park, better known as the ‘Cheese Grater’ car park on Charles Street. I’m also excited about the University of Sheffield’s new Diamond Building near Jessop West – both of these more modern buildings have been controversial in that they have lots of fans as well as detractors but I like the fact that, while they might not be everybody’s cup of tea, they are definitely buildings which are getting people talking! I am also excited about the redevelopment plans in Sheffield especially the Castlegate area. The council’s plans mean we could see an area of real historical significance regenerated into a green area for leisure - and even have our castle back in the city.
University of Sheffield
I studied here so it is a place that obviously holds great sentimental value for me. But it is also playing a significant role in my present, too, as Ecus, the environmental consultancy I work for, is a spin-off company from the university. I originally came to work for Ecus after completing my PhD, left and worked for another firm – and then a few years later returned to Ecus and have helped it grow into the successful business it is today. Ecus is now a national consultancy but our roots are still very much in the city – the sheaf of arrows in the original Sheffield coat of arms is the emblem on our logo.
I love it here – and so does most of Sheffield, judging by how busy it gets! But if you can find a little nook to grab a seat in, the vibe is lovely and relaxing despite its popularity. Enjoy the interesting pictures on the walls while you tuck into a tasty sandwich or a fantastic cake or pastry made in-house every day and watch the world go by…
VeroGusto restaurant and café
…And on the same street as Marmadukes is VeroGusto - an absolute must if you like Italian food. I was a fan of the café and am happy to say the quality is just as high at the new restaurant on Norfolk Row. It’s family-run, authentic and you really do get a genuine feel of Italy there. Everything about Gusto’s is spot on from the décor to the friendly staff and, of course, the all-important food. Try the ravioli filled with pumpkin – delicious.