'Why Sheffield is the best place I have ever lived' - and the gems that kept us going through lockdown

Phil Long, who is a retired academic, moved to Sheffield from Durham with his wife and twin sons in 1994 to teach tourism management at Sheffield Hallam University.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 8:49 am
Sheffield Doc/Fest visitors.

Phil has also taught creative industries management at the University of Sheffield. ~Since retiring, Phil has contributed as a volunteer with Sheffield u3a, Sheffield Theatres Education Committee, the Sheffield heritage strategy group, and the Sensoria and Docfest festivals. Phil was brought up in Bournemouth and has also lived in London, Bury St. Edmunds, Norwich and Zimbabwe. However, Phil says Sheffield is the best place he has ever lived and here are some of the reasons why.

Live film, theatre and music

There’s a tremendous arts and culture scene in Sheffield. I have really missed live performances at the Crucible, Lyceum and City Hall, volunteering at Docfest and Sensoria festivals, seeing international cinema and having a nice meal at the Showroom and enjoying live music at the Greystones and Leadmill. Roll on their safe return.

Philip Long shares his favourite Sheffield gems, and what kept him going during lockdown

Libraries, museums and theatres

The value of arts and cultural organisations’ work has never been more appreciated and the prospect of being able to return to live audiences never more eagerly anticipated by me. I have been impressed by how much important work has continued throughout lockdown.For example, Sheffield Libraries has provided a critical service for readers of all ages, and they and Sheffield Museums have put on some really good online events, talks and exhibitions. I am proud to support Sheffield Theatres through my participation in their education committee. They are doing some really important work with schools right now and with Sheffield Peoples Theatre and other projects for people of all ages and communities.

Landscapes, walks and the great outdoors

Walking through Ecclesall Woods and to Whirlow Farm and along the valleys of the rivers Limb, Sheaf, Porter, Rivelin and Don has been a real pleasure throughout lockdown. Sheffield’s woodlands, walking routes, parks and gardens fully justify our being called the ‘outdoor city’ and are vital for our physical and mental health as well as for the environment.

The Fat Cat, Alma Street, Kelham Island, is described as 'a cheerfully busy little Victorian pub' with 'up to a dozen interesting beers' and 'bargain food'.

History and community

Sheffield’s industrial and social history is fascinating. I love to explore buildings in the city centre and neighbourhoods and also our museums, galleries and archaeological sites. Our diverse communities embody Sheffield’s history of migration and change. All of this provides an excellent basis for the city’s future. I really look forward to being able to return to fine pubs like The Greystones, Fat Cat, and the Wellington. There are great independent retailers at places like Sharrowvale Road and Abbeydale Road that contribute to a real sense of place. It’s also good to see arts and creative people making use of historic buildings and former industrial sites like Portland Works, Abbeydale Picture House and Yellow Arch Studios. These demonstrate the social and economic value of the city’s heritage and make Sheffield a very special place. It’s great that the recently launched Heritage Strategy for Sheffield has been so well received. This is a strategy for all people in the city and is full of good ideas and sets out a very positive programme for thd future.

Bramall Lane

I’ll always be first, foremost and unapologetically, a fan of AFC Bournemouth football club where, as a child I carried the draw results on a blackboard walking round the pitch at half-time. Since coming to Sheffield in 1994, my sons and I have followed the Blades at beautiful downtown Bramall Lane. It’s looking like the Cherries and Blades will be playing each other again in the Championship in the 2021-22 season. Let’s hope that the lads and I will be able to go.

Sheffield u3a

I discovered u3a on retirement. The u3a is an international movement of retired and semi- retired people who come together to continue their educational, social, creative and health and well-being interests in a friendly and informal environment. No qualifications required!Sheffield’s u3a with nearly 3,000 members is the largest in the country, which I think says something about this city’s great sense of community. We have stayed active throughout lockdowns, with many of our 200 interest groups remaining open, if only online.Throughout lockdown, our regular programme of online talks has attracted audiences of more than 200 members. These talks have included former Lord Mayor, Sylvia Dunkley on the little known story of Sheffield ‘Pal’s’ First World links with Bapaume; Councillor Abtisam Mohamed on her life in education; David Price on the history of migration to Sheffield; Rony Robinson and Sally Goldsmith on their creative lives together; Jo Wingate on the Sensoria Festival; and, Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director Robert Hastie on theatre stage design. Sheffield u3a is pleased to welcome new members. We’re really looking forward to being able to meet again in person. For more information, please visit https://su3a.org.uk/