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13 November 2014

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You are in: South Yorkshire > Places > Places features > Memories of an Attercliffe Kid

Andy Moffatt on Chippingham Street

Andy Moffatt on Chippingham Street

Memories of an Attercliffe Kid

Andy Moffatt was born in Attercliffe in 1968. He was the last generation to experience outside toilets and no running hot water. Andy writes about growing up as an Attercliffe kid...

Born at 140 Chippingham Street Attercliffe, my first memories would have been lying in my pram outside staring up at the blue skies and clouds.

It was a big old pram, not the fancy three wheel buggy variety of today but a great big four wheeled monster built like a handcart complete with a retractable creaky hood housing a dirty plastic window. It had a sturdy frame and wheels that any go-kart building kid would die for. This would be parked outside the back door in our yard which was shared by three other houses.

View of Chippingham Street in 2008

View of Chippingham Street in 2008

The two corner houses had kitchens and a bathroom above, then in front of this would be the toilets which were situated back to back so our middle house and next doors faced the canal.

This was a long way for a kid to walk and scary as the wind would travel up the canal and make the trees rustle opposite the toilet door.

It’s amazing as a small kid just what monsters you can conjure up that climb the wall and jump out of the tree. Especially when you had the toilet door open, as you were too scared to have it closed. Sat there trying not to see things with an old bike lamp facing inwards to help matters.

Andy with his brother Graham

Andy and older brother Graham

I suppose this is why we had a special wee bucket in the bedroom as an emergency (it was too dark or raining). Most of the time it had my Sooty and other teddies in it, as my brother would take great delight in throwing them around until they landed in it. I can clearly remember Sooty hanging most weekends by his now long ears on the washing line.

:: Click here to listen to Andy Moffatt speaking with Rony Robinson about his life as an 'Attercliffe Kid'

Our house was a two up/two down with the stairs going between the middle of the rooms. There was also an attic which was a scary place to venture even in the day. I only went up with my brother.

It was always full of junk and disused furniture covered in a thick dust. There was an old trunk under the roof window, which was made up of two pieces of glass and stained through decades of steelworks smoke.

Attercliffe girls, 1970s - by Andrew Lloyd

Attercliffe girls, 1970s - Andrew Lloyd

I remember one item in particular in the trunk which was the top tier of my parents the wedding cake. It must have been about seven years old but we still tried some icing of the top.

And there was my brother’s old hamster cage which had once housed his three legged hamster, but it died so it became a garage for my toy cars.

:: The black and white photos to the right and immediately below were taken by local photographer Andrew Lloyd, who also spent some of his life in Attercliffe ::

Even though we had a best room at the front, all the rooms downstairs had a square of carpet, with lino then stretching to all the corners of the room. Upstairs there was only a rug to put your feet on when you got out of bed, the rest being bare floorboards.

I remember in winter the curtains would stick to the old sash windows, especially when it had been snowing. I would sit on my bed with my elbows pushing them against the window to try and keep them warm staring outside at the frosty bank and frozen canal glittering under the bright moonlight.

Attercliffe, 1970s by Andrew Lloyd

Attercliffe, 1970s by Andrew Lloyd

The only warmth was my paisley pyjamas and the one hot water bottle that I shared with my brother. Unfortunately it was always in my bed first so mine would be cold by the time we went upstairs and he had it the rest of the night (the plight of being the younger brother). Later on we had a bottle apiece which became possible by going through all my mum’s handbags and coats to collect the Co-Op stamps and filling the books out to get them every winter.

Attercliffe was an exciting place for a kid. There were plenty of old houses that had been vacated for demolition to play in. You could find so much in the cellars or attics like old annuals, comics, Dinky cars - the works.

When we were bored of this we would go down the Fox House Pub on Shirland Lane and play in the old cars outside the scrap yard, trying to find one that would roll down the hill or start. Inside the yard were better cars, but this was always protected by the meanest, hungriest Alsatian which we avoided.

Once my brother braved the dog to get a Jaguar car mascot which was the ultimate prize while in the background was the ever present thumping noise of the steelworks drop-hammers and the oily smell in the air which mixed with the smoke from the houses as they were being demolished.

It was like another world at night with the soggy thick night air surrounding our area.

Banners department store

Banners department store

Banners Department store was a great place for a kid, holding my mum’s hand she would take me down to Jackson’s food hall to get the weekly shop.

I remember the big pile of empty boxes at the side of the stairs. We would take one home and make a special box of favourite toys to play with at the bottom of our bed. (Another ploy to get us to tidy our room up).

Downstairs the floor was black and white tiled and worn from years of walking on. Posters were on the end of the aisles and up the stairs were hand written signs showing the latest price cuts.

I don’t remember going to the other departments with my mum, this was left to me and my brother to explore. We would travel up and down the old wooden escalators - reputedly the first in any department store in the UK - and go from floor to floor in the old lifts pretending when the doors opened that we were in another land, we had to explore. It would be a good 30 or so minutes of fun until we were sent out by one of the staff, only to return the next weekend.

There was an old pneumatic tube system that used to fascinate me. Watching the money load and then shoot off to a room above only to be returned moments after with the shoppers change.

I still have a Banners Cheque which was the store’s form of credit you could buy to spend in the store.

Attercliffe library

Attercliffe library

I remember the old library which was the first place in the area to list the local job vacancies.

We would all troop down from Huntsman’s Garden School and pick three books, climbing up the old brass step and turning the circular brass handle which was inset to open the door.

It was always hard to stay quiet when the zigzag pattern floor would creak so much.

Next to this was the Attercliffe Baths, so named as it was a place where you could actually get a bath after a hard day’s work - since most houses didn’t have these facilities in those days.

I remember it as the place I learnt to swim and got my first badge from school. We would all walk down the edge of the pool where the cubicles were lined all the way around, boys would go to the right and the girls left. Then it would be a mad dash to get changed without dropping your clothes on the wet floor.

Before I could swim there was a race to get one of the big rubber rings, as there were only four rings and six chubby kids. More often than not I would end up with one of the smaller flowered ones and have to try harder not to sink.

This place had that special smell of chlorine which stayed in your nostrils for hours after. It had an amazing tiled wall and staircase which was an art in itself.

Attercliffe Baths plaque

Attercliffe Baths plaque

These places are still there but contain offices and small businesses; it’s nice to see a plaque on the outsides to mark its history. It always gives me a warm feeling and makes me reminisce when I visit back home.

The old Radical Working Man’s Club or “Rads” as we called it, was the place to meet where every kid played outside - when the turns or bingo started - in their best clothes which often didn’t stay best for much longer.

Christmas and Easter were great when all the in-laws would meet, each queuing up early with a foil package of sandwiches and pickles to share with each other over tables shoved together. 

Queuing up at 5.30pm to secure your seats was so boring as a kid, but the acts like the “Discos” which mimed all the latest bands and hits were a must to see on Christmas Day.

I remember missing the Six Million Dollar Man film on TV for them one year. We could take one toy with us, and mine was Mr Spock, who after searching around the silver tin foil food parcels accidentally kicked my Dad’s pint over his best flared trouser suit.

Radical Working Mens Club


He had to go home and change and was furious so I took the safe way out and burst into tears to avoid a thick ear.

Mr Spock then spent the rest of the night in Mum’s handbag unfortunately. But it was always a good time when the cockle man came round with his basket and white coat. He must have made a mint. “Best cockles in town” he would say.

We lived in Attercliffe until around 1980 when we were one of the last to move from the street. Me, mum, dad and older brother Graham moved to Barnsley having been given a relocation fee for moving.

Life there was never the same as my old town. I always felt different or an outsider coming from Sheffield. Then the teenage years set in and changed everything. The last time I remember visiting my old house, was as they were stripping the insides out ready for demolition in about 1982. I just wish I had taken some pictures before it was too late. If only I had could go back in time and take pictures - not many exist of Chippingham Street to this day.

Andy Moffatt

Andy Moffatt

Skip forward a couple of years and I’m now in Torquay, South Devon and have been here since 1992. It wasn’t until a few years later on a visit home I went down to Attercliffe and saw where the tram runs right through where my house stood, marking the place where I was born and the canal beyond. All around had changed.

I do miss Attercliffe, Sheffield, it’s the people and a great community to this day. I do plan to move back someday, although I know a lot of things have changed and moved on, my memories still remain and keep drawing me back home every year.

This was the reason for my website, striving to keep my memories and hopefully other people’s alive in a time that seems hundred years in the past, but is only actually thirty or so. 

So many families knew so many other families and it was a good community where most would give you the time of day and a chat in hard times.

It’s nice to see that there is a development of houses growing in this area and that the canal is now a cleaner place, containing fish and not bikes and tyres as it did back then - not to mention most of my dad's tools.

Visiting Atterciliffe today it always makes me feel at home. So much has changed and I feel sad to see most of the old places gone. But it’s encouraging to see a new housing estate built and named the 'Attercliffe Village' complete with an old furnace hammer in the centre.

Also the small and major businesses which have sprung up where the houses were once has kept some of the original shops and community spirit alive.

But on the other hand again it seems that the regeneration was started and then abandoned to be left to ruin, as the walkway aside the Don Valley Stadium has been.

The once trimmed pathways are now overgrown and the large sundial feature smashed and broken. It seems some kids today who have more than we ever dreamed of, find their entertainment in ruining things that are built for the benefit of the community.

I can only hope that it won’t just end here, and that the people with the power and decisions will see the potential and beauty that this town has. I for one would love to see this happen and would be the first to visit and comment.

Attercliffe and Sheffield are always fantastic places in my heart and if not for these memories I would probably be a different person today. I'm proud to be a Sheffielder.

last updated: 26/06/2009 at 11:59
created: 01/12/2008

Have Your Say

What are your memories of Attercliffee, do you love the town as much as Andy?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Richard Smith
Grand Parents lived on Weedon Street, Mum went to Carbrook School, remember going with her to the centenery celebrations in 1974ish, dad went to coleridge road school, all my early years were spent round that area.

Michael Lyons
Hi, I lived at 78 Swarcliffe Road, just about 20 yards from the Fox House pub. I can remember a fabulous 'chippy' in Chippingham Street, forget the name now, but did the best 'fishcakes' around. Just near the canal there used to be a large BRS depot. The railway was near the Fox House pub.

Jacqueline Bullimore
I USED TO LIVE AT SLEAFORD ST, my aunt an uncle had the corner shop near sherland lane and they also had off licence, there names were doreen an henry dad an my uncle had fruit carts on sleaford st, baltic rd and baker st, there names were roy and arnold. my nan an grandad bullimore ran the herbal shop which was taken over by ron bullimore.i attended huntsman garden school.

keith cookson
I used to drive a Baltic Bakery van from the bakery on Baltic road next to Banners. I delivered bread etc. to local shops and pubs.This was in the early 1970`sn when there was still a fantastic community spirit. I was young carefree and had some of the best times around the atttercliffe/brightside area when I later worked at spear and jackson industrial.

Julie Ingram
i lived at Dunlop Street and loved it give me those days back again we used to go to playcentre after school we was safe to stay and walk home on our own everyone helped others we played at terry st rec and believe me you was tired at the end of the day

Michael Pearson
Born 1956 Attercliffe , Fantastic community, all gone since Pricess Thatcher got shut of the steel works. Everyone knew everyone else one big family .. ASll dgone now very sad !

Gamela bakri
Attercliffe was a great place me my sister brother and dad lived at shirland lane i wil always remember this house the children all played together

Chris Adams
Seems only yesterday. I spent my very early years, 64 to 69'ish living on Bray St. which ran from Staniforth Rd to Shirland Lane. My first school, cue the first-day tears, was just across Staniforth Rd. on what is now Ouseburn. Hammerton St. School in those days. In the seventies, because my parents were working, I spent most of my school holidays at my Nan's on Broughton Lane. Most days went to Attercliffe Baths with Nigel from Anne's coener shop and a bunch of other kids. Or collected a bunch of dog's and walked up to High Hazels Park and jumped in the boating lake, or went swimming in the canal just by the old Broughton Lane bridge. Halcien Days.

Mick Sidaway
Thanks for the trip down memeory lane, especially about Banners and it's wooden escalators.I lived in Attercliffe up till mid 70's on Worksop Rd, right next to Brown Bailys- where my dad worked- and in the same yard as Seniors fish and chip shop.It was an education to look in at the melting shop as the ladles were being poured out. My parents moved up to Skye Edge before the estate was fully completed and we had to put up with uncompleted roads and construction traffic for the first 6 months. I now live in a small village just outside Norwich but I still have fond memories of the steel works, pubs and community that was Attercliffe.

kevin shimwell
Hi Andy.. Great memories..I lived on Clairefield rd near the Broughton pub.,Went 2 H.G. Middle school abt 1970..I thought it was a great school and Attercliffe was better than the City Centre...must do some ov my memories ov the Carbrook end of Attercliffe sometime

Julie Millington
I was born on Shirland Lane in 56 and lived there until the early 80s, we had to move as our houses were due for demolision we didnt want to go but we had no choice.I have never cried as much as the day we finally said goodbye to Attercliffe.My only wish is that we had taken photos of Huntsman Garden School and our houses on Shirland Lane never mind i have got my memories and no one can take them away from me.At least i can look through all of the books we have bought about Attercliffe and also thanks Andy for keeping Attercliffe in our hearts

Jack Bowden
What a great place this was i was born in Rotherham St in 1929 have very fond memories with visits t the old Pavilion,Globe, Adelphi.Palace to see the great artiste there some went on to great names,HAPPY DAYS.

Theresa Roche
I lived in attercliffe on Shortridge street for the first 9 years of my life. Those days are nothing but happy memories for me and my 2 sisters and 6 brothers. We didn't have much but i can't remember ever being bored or owt. It was great back then, what fun.

Maxine Harris
Hi Andy what a lovely read brought back a lot of happy memories x thank you

Elaine Smith
Even though I wasnt born in Attercliffe my mom was from there,well Carbrook .We came to live with my gran in 1967 on melville Rd,then moved into a house on Carltonville RdI remember sundays having a roast dinner,then sandwiches with the left over meat,plus jelly & ice cream for tea,then sitting in front of the fire in the tin bath,when everyone had finished it was a task to get it to the back door without spilling it Then tipping it up to let the water run down the yard.Then the outside toilets were a nightmare,during the night we were allowed to use a bucket,then in the morning we had to walk across the yard with it oooh what a shame if anyone walked passedI remember on a sunday morning the salvation army would stand at the bottom of Melville Rd,Ravensworth Rd,Campbell Rd,all the kids would run down and join in singingThen when it was whitsuntide we would put our new clothes on & knock on peoples doors to show off our pride n joys,people gave us money,but where it went ive still no idea.Then there was the rag & boneman on the end of Carltonville Rd Ron Chipchase & his wife lived in the same yardI went to carbrook school which part is still up but is THE PLAYERS,we went to play in the Rec on Terry Street,on the rocking horses,roundabouts & the swingsIn the summer holildays the students came into the rec & games were played tennis football,we even went on outingsThe old baby clinic was there & all the time we were in the rec we heard BROWN BAILEYS HAMMER THUD THUDWhen the shut down weeks in August came ooh it was like heaven,even though it was about 4 or 5 days before we relised it had stoppedI went to Parkhouse Comp Schoolat tinsley,boy did life change when you went to senior schoolWe had trips to London,on the school bargeI would babysit for most of the kids round my roads I remember babsitting for a friend across the road a lad who I will not name but he knows who I mean,would sit in while I was there & nip me,give me chinese burnsbut over the past few years we have been in touch,He has turned out to be the best friend I could have,we have had a lot of heartache between usI think this has helped us through all this sadnessWe always laugh & joke on the phone & texts but know if we need each other we are thereA few weeks ago I was on the phone talking to him when I felt ill he was so calm & talked to me it turned out Id had a mini stroke,but listening to his voice so calm,kind & genuine really kept me calmI would like to thank him from the bottom of my heartI will say this these are real memories that will stay with me even if sometimes I find it hard to put them in order of events due to the mini strokeI would go back there in a shot if I could,dont get me wrong there are bad memories too but the good ones out number them,there is still many morethings Iwould love to mention but Ill have to put into words at a later dateElaine Smith

David D
I was born on Chelmsford St next to Woodbourn Rd in 1947 and I left in 1970 due to 'slum' clearance. I still regard the 'cliffe as my true home. I can relate to everything you've said and have often thought how nice it would be to travel back in time to experience it all again. I remember during the 1950s walking from Staniforth Rd down to Carbrook looking in all the shops with my mother and all my aunties and cousins.

Hi Andy.L just loved your story. I was brought up in Carbrook in the fifties and sixties and have very fond memories just like you. i loved Attercliffe Swimming Baths and Banners we used to think nothing of walking up the Cliff not like todays kids.Take care.Ann

John cartledge
Hi andy i did not live down the cliffe but worked at brown baileys in the melting shop in the early seventies. I can remember getting a bacon butty from the little shop on the side street up by the baths i think it was a drinks shop.There were few pub then and Every pub was full in those days not the same now. "Good old days"

Think I speak for every Sheffielder when I say thanks for writing this.

Andy Moffatt
Thankyou everybody for your comments love reading them. Best wishes Andy MA "Cliffe Kid"

Vin R
Enjoyed reading your very interesting story Andy. My family moved to Sheffield from Gateshead in 1958 - lovely people, salt of the earth! Thanks.

sharon xx
god that brought so many memores back i love to remember the good old days i remember my mum taking me in banners round about the same time ahhhhhhh!! good times x

Fred Wood
Hi Andy nice write up,i worked down the common from 1973 to 2003 so i got to know the area really well we supplied indusrial rubber goods to the steel works etc Brown Bbayleys Dunford Hadfields carbrook dairies etc ,we visit Torguay every year,for hols stay in babbacommethanks again mate

very good andy , i can recall a lot of what you are saying i grew up in darnall and spent a lot of time down cliffe

becky l
really proud of you - so pleased you've put it all together xx

Chris Greaves
Well done Andy.Hope to hear that you will be publishing your book very soon.

Ms. H . Moffatt
Well done our kid, rally proud of you. Once more you brought a tear to yr mums eyes.keep up the good work . x x x

Rod Sockett
Hi Andy, What a great article. I worked at Brown Bayleys in the sixties and seventies so I remember a lot of what you wrote about.

John Trickett
Hello Andy,Great story brought back a lot of memories.I'm a lot older then you and can remember the trams on Attercliffe. Brought a tear to my eye.

Justin Huntington
Hiya Andy. Very moving, parts of which remind me of my own 70's childhood. Enjoyed reading mate.

Carol Collins
Andy.That just made me cry with happiness.

kenny sansby
hi mate well done this is a great article buddy,yorkshire lads rulexx

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