Portraits of Readers

Photographs of Reading Sheffield participants during a Reading Sheffield social event in the Carpenter Room at Sheffield Central Library during 2014. Photography student Tom Stayte set up his equipment in a corner of the room and produced this series of splendid images documenting readers holding their favourite book or photograph from the 1940’s and 50’s.

Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-2-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-5-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-6-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-10-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-14-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-17-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-21-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-25-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-28-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-30-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-31-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-34-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-38-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-40-copy Portraits_Reading-Sheffield-42-copy

Recent Posts

Wybourn in the 1950s

By Sue Roe

Sue, one of the Reading Sheffield team, has already contributed her reading journey and her memories of the Gloops Club and of loving Enid Blyton. Here she continues her story.

Like our reader Malcolm Mercer, I grew up on a Sheffield Council estate. Up to the age of 10, I lived on Boundary Road in Wybourn, close to Manor. I was an avid reader but we couldn’t afford many books so I was a frequent visitor to Park Library on Duke Street. I was already familiar with it, having learned to swim at the Park Baths. (The baths and the library are in the same complex of buildings opened in 1904, making an Edwardian community hub of the sort planners are fond of today.) Despite my tender age I regularly walked on my own to the library, running the gauntlet of stray dogs and older kids on Wybourn Rec, then taking a short cut to City Road through allotments. I think there were even pigeon lofts there though my memory may be playing tricks. I had an uncle (Ted) who kept pigeons in his back yard in Darnall.

Park Library today
Park Swimming Baths, with the library on the right

The rec (recreation ground) was an attraction in itself: who can forget the Flying Plank, the Spider’s Web, the roundabout and of course, the swings? They all had a special smell – metallic I suppose. I remember standing up on the swing, turning over the seat whilst sitting on it, or twisting the chains round, then spinning in the opposite direction. For the more daring, there was the challenge of jumping off the swing from the highest point.

A Flying Plank

The Flying Plank could seat up to 10; girls or boys stood on either end – holding on to the bars and working it backwards and forwards. There was always someone who would try to jump from the seat to catch the horizontal bar at the top. The toilets were uninviting, and I was afraid of an older, bigger girl, Olga, who I later realised had Down syndrome.

A Famous Five Adventure

The library was a treasure trove for me: I think the children’s section was upstairs. I loved child detectives like Famous Five, the Five Find-Outers and the American equivalent, Nancy Drew. I was only allowed to borrow two or three books and they wouldn’t last me long! When I was 10, we moved to Abbeydale Road so Highfield Library became my second home. Sadly there was no rec to visit on the way there. The nearest one would have been Millhouses Park, I guess, a long way down the road towards Derbyshire. I was reminded of my younger self when I taught a Fresh Start college class at Park Library ten years ago. Sadly I can’t re-visit the rec – it has been built over!

Around Wybourn
Boundary Road, where Sue’s journey began
  1. Jean Compton’s Reading Journey 3 Replies
  2. Tea and poetry (2020) 1 Reply
  3. Love on the Dole in Sheffield: a Unique Story (Part Two) Leave a reply
  4. Love on the Dole in Sheffield: a Unique Story (Part One) Leave a reply
  5. The musical and reading adventures of the Hereford Street gang Leave a reply
  6. Margaret C’s reading journey Leave a reply
  7. Johnny and the Plum Tree Leave a reply
  8. City Librarian Speaks Out Leave a reply
  9. Julie’s reading journey: ‘Manor Library was a daily lifesaver for me’ Leave a reply