24 August 2014


All Saints Church, Rotherham
 What's that phrase? "What goes around comes around" or is it "What comes around goes around"? I can never quite remember. Anyway when you have been blogging for years, there's every chance that you will return to subjects you have already covered. And I know that I have already posted about Sheffield's little brother - the town of Rotherham which is so close to our illustrious  regional metropolis that the two places actually conjoin around Kimberworth, Brinsworth and Meadowhall. See my previous posts here and here.

Last Sunday the weather was somewhat inclement and Shirley had a bad dose of cabin fever. She needed to get out so I suggested a trip to Rotherham - a place she hardly knows at all even though she has lived in Sheffield since the age of sixteen when she arrived at the big city from the wilds of Lincolnshire to take up a pre-nursing course in one of our colleges.
On Main Street, Rotherham
Mmm.. a Sunday afternoon trip to Rotherham. Not exactly a Californian beach or a French chateau - not even an excursion to an archetypal English country town like Bakewell or Matlock. The centre of Rotherham had the lifeblood squeezed out of it by Thatcher's assault on the steel industry and by the erection of the vast Meadowhall Shopping Centre which sucks in visitors from across the region. That's the reason that Rotherham town centre has a deathly feel about it with tumbleweed blowing along deserted streets  - rather like an inland Rhyl.
Doll shop, High Street, Rotherham
But Rotherham has a history that dates back to Roman times and beyond and was once a proud, bustling steel town where there was money and laughter. Unlike Shirley, I have been to Rotherham lots of times over the years  - to see my beloved Hulll City at the old Milmoor ground and simply to walk through its streets. My first South Yorkshire teaching job was within the boundaries of the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham and when my mother was a girl growing up in nearby Rawmarsh she would often visit Rotherham and took up her first office job with the famous steel firm Steel, Peach and Tozers which had its main offices in the town.

We parked near Main Street and wandered around to the magnificent  parish church - now called Rotherham Minster. Not so long ago it was largely obscured from view on its western side by a massive concrete shopping centre and office building. We saw "The Corn Law Rhymer" pub and noticed irksome dolls in a shop window. Most of the shops in the town centre were closed but we spent twenty minutes in a discount store - picking up a few bargain items. The older shop manageress had had her arms immobilised with parcel tape - wrapped around her by a younger employee. A jolly wheeze to stave off a Sunday afternoon boredom caused by the dearth of shoppers.
Chapel in Moorgate Cemetery
Boston Castle, Rotherham
We drove out of Rotherham by Moorgate, There are some grand old houses in that area which counter my assertion that Rotherham is like an inland Rhyl. We strolled around historic Moorgate Cemetery and into the grounds of Boston Castle - an eighteenth century hunting lodge that enjoys magnificent views over the wide river valley that accommodates the rivers Don and Rother.

Shirley had enjoyed her little trip to Rotherham and we both noticed that noble efforts are being made in the town centre to demonstrate a refreshed civic pride, shaking off the depression caused by Meadowhall and the decimation of the local steel industry. After all, there's no mileage in feeling sorry for yourself.


  1. Moorgate Cemetery looks like my kind of place!
    And on the "Body-Tec" airbrush mural, the woman looks as if she is very much disgusted by the bloke's bad breath. Not exactly a good advertisment for the health & fitness club.

    1. You will end up in a cemetery one day - that's for sure Ambassador! As for the airbrushed mural, the young couple have clearly found love within the confines of their "Body Tec" fitness centre. Yorkshire people never have horrible breath. Her breath undoubtedly smells of parma violets and his will smell of peppermint.

  2. There are so many town and cities throughout the UK where the centre of the towns are now virtual deserts because of a desire by the majority to travel by car and shop in the relative 'comfort' of huge shopping malls. In Scotland bus travel is free if one is over 60 and it does allow people to travel into town centres at no cost but even that won't save them from becoming deserts of charity shops, building societies and discount stores.

    1. It's funny how some town centres survive and thrive even as others wither and die. Take the town where I went to grammar school - Beverley. It's as vibrant now as it ever was. They don't all follow the same sad pattern.

  3. You have a real eye for seeing beauty. I would never have thought of driving through Rotherham let alone stopping. I must stop being so jaundiced in my opinions.

    1. Yes my son, The Lord hath left his beauty in the ugliest of places. Seek and thou shalt find.


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