Sheffield has a proud history of radical ideas. Over the last three hundred years, the men and women of this city have come together to try to change the world over and over again: from penning ballads on the cost of bread, to setting up revolutionary cafes; from demanding the right to roam in the land that surrounds the city, to donating land to the city itself.
This short walk, from Weston Park Museum to the Town Hall, aims to introduce you to just some of the individuals, groups and causes that have grown up within our hills. Some are familiar, some are forgotten; some were revolutionary, others were slow and steady; some were successful (eventually) whilst some ended in abject failure. But all are testament to a simple fact: that this small city has seen its fair share of big ideas.
Download the Sheffield Radicals Walk guide and map for a little history behind each of the chosen points of interest along the trail, but for for a whistle-stop tour we've also listed the directions below.
- Start at Weston Park and pass Weston Park Museum (1).
- Walk down through the park, passing the war memorial on your right, and on to the Elliot monument on your left (2), which celebrates Ebeneezer Elliot.
- Exit the park through the gates on your right, then turn left and walk down past Firth Court. At the entrance to Firth Court, you’ll see a plaque to (3) Mark Firth.
- Continue forward down the steps. Walk under the underpass, and keep going straightforward, down the winding path next to the students’ union. On the left of the door facing you, you’ll find a plaque to (4) JG Graves.
- Retrace your steps along the path to the underpass. Turn right up the slope, then walk downhill, to Brook Hill roundabout. Turn right to the pedestrian crossing, cross the dual carriageway, then on the other side, turn left, and carry on around the shiny Jessop West university building. Opposite you, you’ll see Noodlesta restaurant, which was the site of (5) Butler’s Cafe.
- Keep walking down Broad Lane, past the Diamond building, and over the pedestrian crossing at St George’s Terrace. At the next crossing, cross the road. Keep going downhill, then take the next left into Siddall Street, and immediately right onto Solly Street. Walk downhill until you see Garden Street on your right. Climb to the crest of this hill, then follow the street down again. Towards the bottom, on your left, you’ll find (6) Croft House.
- At the bottom of the hill, turn left down to Tenter Street and over Hollis Croft to the pedestrian crossing. Cross over the road, then keep heading down the hill. When you reach Queen Street, stop. On the other side of the road, you’ll see Scotland Street, the site of one of Sheffield’s most radical cafes. This was the (7) Commonwealth Café.
- Turn round and head along Queen Street. The Democratic Temperance Hotel, which was the venue for the inaugural meeting of the (8) Sheffield Women’s Political Association once stood at No.33, which unfortunately no longer exists.
- Continue along Queen Street, over Silver Street and then turn right up the cobbled hill of Paradise Street into (9) Paradise Square.
- Turn left through the gennel called Wheats Lane, onto North Church Street. Cross the road and head diagonally up St Peter’s Close. Continue through the archway onto Campo Lane. Turn right, cross the road, and walk up East Parade, where you’ll find the statue of (10) James Montgomery.
- Cross the tramlines and Church Street, and head slightly to the right, down the narrow Chapel Walk, which leads to Norfolk Street. On the left is (11) Victoria Hall.
- Turn right and walk up Norfolk Street, passing on your right the (12) Upper Chapel.
- On reaching Surrey Street, opposite the Central Library you will see the Millennium Galleries which are home to part of the collection dedicated to (13) John Ruskin.
- Turn right along Surrey Street, and walk to the top end of Fargate. In front of the present Town Hall, at the top of pedestrianised Fargate, stop to consider (14) Joseph Mather.
- The Town Hall was the location of (15) The Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire.
- On the left of the town hall entrance is a commemorative plaque for those who campaigned for access to the countryside, leading to the (16) Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000).
Many thanks to Terry Howard and Dave Sissons for creating this walk, and to Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland (SCAM) as it was them, who rekindled the access campaign in the 1980s. This walk has been developed with support from Inmotion