Earliest Memory

Written for the red room blog 2010

One of the earliest memories I can recall is of being in a pushchair, with an annoying all encasing (bar small hole for face) nylon rain cover. Amidst a heavy downpour, soaked face looking out, as my 24yr old mother in rabbit furred three quarter length coat (it was all the rage back then) propelled us up and down the steep hills of 1970’s Sheffield.
Another ingrained memory from the era has to be that of riding my super fast trike much akin to Danny Torrance (Shining) round and round my parents floor-boarded front bedroomed home, not long after we’d moved to the housing estate. Must have drove them mad! 😈
The pre-war semi’s and terraced housing of the Cross and Southey were built to house the working classes, to replace the slum housing of the city and the industrialised areas of Attercliffe and Heeley. Rumour has it that the area is/was one of the largest social housing estates in Europe. In the late 1930’s families jumped at the chance to move onto the new development, as each house would have its own front and back garden, toilet, bathroom and porch.
The areas I knew and grew up in has sizeably changed over the years. Although it has received a degree of bad press in regards to high crime and unemployment, since the 90’s the estate is slowly getting back on its feet. Having finally attained redevelopment and lottery funding with a housing reduction plan and new build homes with more green spaces for the community in the pipeline.
I have mixed memories of growing up on the estate but am proud to be from the locality. If there’s one positive thing about my formative years there; kids had their freedom to roam about for hours on end and explore the city’s vast and varied landscape, one of the charms that helps make and keep Sheffield great!
© D.M.Brighton.