Rhymes of Old Sheffield
From Paradise Square to Brightside
A rhyme by Ellen Styring written c. 1930
We’re proud to talk of Sheffield, where we’ve lived so long a time,
The streets are known by such queer names, they’d surely make a rhyme.
‘Tis smoky at the eastern end – of course it must be so,
For where there’s smoke there’s money, in a place like this, you know.
The mantle may be sombre but the fringe is finest gold,
And of our city’s outskirts, true, the half has not been told.
The picture shows variety, but you’ll have a great surprise,
Right in the centre of the town, you find a Paradise.
And just a little further on, there’s and ancient place you know,
Soon after leaving Paradise, you go to Jericho.
St. Stephen near St. Philip’s Road you note with due regard,
And Hoyle Street, little Bethel too – an ecclesiastic ward.
Then through the Nether regions here, a little lower down
You reach a bonny Meadow Street; where can the sheep be found?
Suppose we wander back again, towards the Paradise you’ve seen,
You’ll reach the old Fire Station at the end of Westbar Green.
Nearby a few slums still remain, but a fact that must astound –
Right in the very midst of them, a Silver Street is found.
From old Westbar move westward just up the old Townhead
Where once you saw the Baptist Church, there’s a social club instead.
The trees in Broad Lane Avenue would cast a pleasant shade,
And the fame of Whirlow Hospital, in Hollis Croft was laid.
Then old Red Hill would lead you near St. Luke’s in Holly Street,
But you’d seek in vain down old Corn Hill for barley, oats or wheat.
The place would no doubt flourish when the old Corn Laws were made,
And Daisy Walk a pleasant path was where the children played.
Then Allen Street is proud to boast of ancient Leicester Square,
But do be careful if you seek the charms of Sambourne Square!
A pleasant country district once surrounded Garden Street,
And the old Pea Croft allotments, sure you’d find them hard to beat.
Here Spencer’s find old residence an orphanage became
T’was followed by a Ragged School, till Board and Council came.
Then old School Croft made history, if records you would hear
There stood the old Free Writing School – a Sheffield pioneer,
Our friend Sir Henry Coward here began his life-long fame,
From teacher to Conductor, he’s made a world-wide name.
But when the school had disappeared, a jungle held the ground,
‘Twas followed by a Clinic and the flats appeared all round.
From Campo Lane to old Pot’s Square your client you may meet
Not least is old friend Abraham, at the Head of Silver Street.
Then over bonny Scotland noo, be rough or fine the weather,
Ye’ll still find rare old bargains if ye find nae purple heather.
Sometimes the Moorfield breezes blow across the Scottish hill,
But if the day is bleak and cold, well, go down Furnace Hill.
Then in your Summer holidays, down Snow Lane you might wander,
Although you’re not in sunny Spain, you’ll be in old Gibraltar.
Another Spanish port there is which Britain fairly won,
Up Watery Street you cannot miss – they call it Portmahon.
Now trip towards the fountain, and cross the Bowling Green,
You’ll soon arrive in old Love Lane where no doubt we all have been.
The sylvan glades of Parkwood Springs our fathers would explore,
They’d roam along the old Pye-bank and cross the great Pits-moor.
They’d seek the shades of Southey Wood, and talk in love’s old strain,
Enchantment find at eventide, in the cool of Moonshine Lane.
They’d often take the Barnsley Road, through Osgathorpe they’d roam,
And wander through the old Firth Park towards their cottage home.
Now if we had not rambled so, to follow in their train,
We still should be reflecting there, upon the old Love Lane –
The River Don once boasted trout and salmon in the stream,
And fisherman upon the banks would sit and dream and dream!
Let’s carry on o’er Rutland Bridge, and on the Green Lane linger,
Fore the strangest sight in Neepsend is a Harvest Lane in winter.
Still down t’Wicker over Lady’s Bridge where t’water runs o’er t’Ware,
There’s Corn Exchange throughout the year, and an old Sheaf Market there.
A shopping raid on special days will bring you many a bargain,
For here the inland ‘retinue’ can spot you to a farthing.
Just come along on market days, rare treasures you will see,
There’s infinite variety, and entertainment free.
Beside the banks o’ bonny Don, a fair ground once you’d view,
And oh, those rows of cocoa-nuts – so tantalising too.
You’ve often risen in the swings and felt the air so free,
And then again those cocoa-nuts, you shied them one-two-three.
We seldom have a boat-race now upon the River Don,
But barges on the old canal go proudly sailing on.
You’d scarcely beat our waterways, not even in Berlin,
Our boat is on the Grand Canal, you’d better just drop in.
We’d like to visit Attercliffe, the East-end all aglow,
See Vickers’, Cammell’s, Firth’s and Brown’s and other works we know.
Our stainless steel and armour plates put Sheffield on the map,
Our cutlery has world-wide fame – no contradicting that!
And still we journey eastward O, though smoky be the way,
We’re travelling to a bright Brightside, and darkness flies away.
We’re glad to see the factories – they’re not long out of sight,
However dull may be the day, they brighten up at night.
Let’s ramble next to Meadow Hall, and on the wayside linger.
You gaze upon a well-known bank and lo! it is the Wink(er)!
And now we wander back again before it is too late,
Pass through the Wicker Arches, soon you reach the old Waingate.
We might have travelled easier – no need the path to search,
Just board a Sheffield City car, you’ll reach the Parish Church.
But here our journey we must break, hark how the old bells chime!
We’ll take some light refreshments and resume another time.
We love the old familiar spots, we name them one by one,
And count the milestones on our way, as time goes fleeting on.
The happy scenes of byegone days fond memory will enshrine,
We’ll take another tour some day for sake of Auld Lang Syne.
~ Courtesy of Ann Halford ~
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