The new year’s imminent arrival provides an opportunity to look back at events from the past 12 months - as documented in the pages of the Sheffield Telegraph.
January: Schools, birds and Stallone
The first hint of a schools admissions crisis in Sheffield emerged in January when Dobcroft Infants, in Millhouses, was told it would have to offer an extra class to cater for increased demand. The move sparked fierce protest, and later in 2015 a consultation was launched which revealed plans to build two new secondary schools, among other measures. Meanwhile a vigil took place in the city centre in memory of victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, and plans were approved for the £65m New Era Square development of student flats and business space near Bramall Lane. Sheffield also won the rights to stage the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible for a 40th year, the Longshaw Estate in the Peak District launched its Year of Birds campaign and Sylvester Stallone pitched up at Nonna’s on Ecclesall Road in search of dinner following his appearance at the City Hall.
February: Icy spectacle while firms vote
Companies in Sheffield cast their votes in February over whether to introduce a Business Improvement District in the city centre. Firms gave the thumbs-up to the scheme, which will collect £800,000 every year through an annual levy. Proceeds will mostly be spent on making the city centre busier and more vibrant. In the same month, Sheffield flight attendant Rob Smith was crowned winner of the BBC Two series The Big Allotment Challenge and demolition work started on the former Castle Market. Weston Park Museum launched a £1 million appeal to fund its refurbishment and Sheffield Council gave the first stamp of approval to £63m of cuts, which spelled a council tax rise for the first time in five years. Spectacular scenes were also on display in the Peak District, where the 30-metre Kinder Downfall waterfall froze solid in cold weather.
March: Closing the book on shops
Culture was on the agenda at the beginning of March when the Showroom Cinema marked its 20th anniversary by announcing a £250,000 investment aimed at maintaining its status as a hub for arts lovers. Meanwhile the annual State of Sheffield report found the city’s population had grown, and that more people were in jobs - but the local economy was still lagging behind. Campaigners reacted with dismay when councillors approved plans to knock down and replace a much-loved row of shops on Devonshire Street, including Rare and Racy and the Natural Bed Company. The proposals were opposed by nearly 20,000 people through petitions and written representations. The skies darkened over Sheffield during the UK’s first significant solar eclipse in 16 years, and the Make Yourself Comfortable exhibition of contemporary furniture opened at Chatsworth House.
April: Thousands in the running
A huge field of more than 7,500 runners followed a route into the hills of south west Sheffield during the first outing of the city’s new-look half marathon. It was a great success, making up for the woes of 2014 when the race was officially cancelled. Also in April, the Queen visited Sheffield to hand out the Royal Maundy money at the Cathedral, city residents rallied round to help victims of Mount Everest’s worst-ever earthquake, and a new vision was revealed for the planned Sheffield Retail Quarter.
May: Standing firm amid upset
The General Election brought about a political upset on a national scale when the Conservatives won an unexpected majority - but locally, there were few changes. Nick Clegg found himself out of Government but held on to Sheffield Hallam, and Labour tightened its grip elsewhere. Later in the month one of Sheffield’s most opulent residences - Parkhead Hall on Ecclesall Road South - went back on the property market for £2.9 million, and sunny weather brought out the crowds during the Sheffield Food Festival.
June: Trees saga and Peaks success
One of this year’s biggest controversies in Sheffield flared up in earnest during June, after it emerged that lime trees which line Rustlings Road, near Endcliffe Park, were due to be cut down by council contractors as part of highways works. The issue soon spread across the city, where other trees were earmarked for the axe. The Broomhill Festival entered its fifth decade, St Luke’s Hospice revealed plans to expand into a new ‘hub’ in Whirlow, and Bakewell’s Eroica cycling festival exceeded expectations for a second time.
July: Summer fun in the outdoors
July was a month of big events - from Cliffhanger, Tramlines and the Sheffield Sky Ride to Music in the Gardens, which celebrated 10 years in the Botanical Gardens with performances by Paul Carrack, Lindisfarne and The Proclaimers. The Plough pub, at Sandygate, was registered as an ‘asset of community value’ after a campaign, big changes to roads around the Sheffield University campus were approved and the first section of a new bike track at Lady Canning’s Plantation in Ringinglow was officially opened.
August: Property prices make a leap
August started with the 185th Bakewell Show and a strong performance by Sheffield’s top schools in this year’s A-level results. A scheme to put up a building made entirely out of shipping containers in Shalesmoor was first revealed and the prospect of companies fracking for shale gas in the Peak District appeared on the horizon. Signs of an improvement in the city’s property market were also apparent after house prices rose 2.4 per cent in just three months.
September: Thoughts turn to the future
Grosvenor House, a hotel considered in its heyday one of Sheffield’s most luxurious places to stay, was earmarked for demolition in September to make way for part of the New Retail Quarter. The 115-year-old Sheffield Clarion Ramblers also reached the end of the road, and Art in the Gardens came back for a 12th time. Tudor Square was packed for a rally by Jeremy Corbyn ahead of his Labour leadership victory and Sheffield Council plans to lease out moorland on the edge of the city were approved.
October: New twist on old favourites
Henderson’s Relish set its sights on the rest of Yorkshire in October, with a county rose and the ‘Made in Sheffield’ logo being added to the label for the first time. A National Trust campaign celebrating Brutalist architecture - which featured tours of Park Hill - concluded and calls were made to save the postal delivery office on Ecclesall Road from closure. Plans for a research campus on the old Sheffield City Airport site were given the green light and a highly controversial scheme of 90 homes in Stannington was approved.
November: Fresh routes to creativity
Remembrance Day had a special poignancy this year, as it commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. St Nicholas Church, at High Bradfield, was illuminated with a display of floating poppies. Plans were announced to knock down Baldwins Omega and build homes in its place, a consultation began on new 20mph zones in areas including Ecclesall, Parkhead and Greystones, and The Roco arts centre opened on Glossop Road. Events took place around Sheffield to mourn victims of the Paris attacks.
December: Ambition brings a boost
News that construction work will start in late spring on the city’s long-awaited Ikea store came as a welcome boost at the start of December. A report set out a ‘clear strategic case’ for a huge road tunnel linking Sheffield with Manchester, and runners hit the streets during the annual Percy Pud run. Photographer Kevin Wells became an internet sensation after he gave rappers Public Enemy a lift to Sheffield Arena following a signing session at Record Collector in Broomhill and shared the resulting picture online.