Memories of the Hill - send us your memory via the Contact page

A hill with a view
I grew up in Moston, Manchester and in 1967 came to Sheffield University to study Town and Regional Planning. In my first year I was in digs at Hampton Road, Fir Vale.  The first Sunday I was there and not knowing anybody I set off to walk up Wincobank Hill just following my nose.  It was wonderful. What a thing to have in a big city!  The Flower Estate reminded me of similar places where I grew up, not far from home.

After some time away, I returned to Sheffield to work at the City Council dealing with planning applications.  Through personal contacts, I was entrusted with showing a visitor from the USSR around.  He was a journalist writing for a trade union paper with a circulation of 20 million copies. He wanted to know what was happening with jobs and industry in the steel city. I drove him up to the top of Jenkin Road in my old car (a Lada!) inherited from my father, and we walked to the top of the hill with its wide views over the Don Valley.  The decimation of industry could clearly be seen. This was in the 1980's when things were changing rapidly.  He was interested in these problems, and not a little disturbed.

Since then I have returned to Wincobank Hill when the fancy takes me, to enjoy the regrowth of the trees and ponder about the Roman Ridge.  It is a good place to think about the course of history.  People make history, and in the course of so doing remake themselves.  What can be done to redirect the economy into more productive channels, and bring more social justice?  I'm sure there is an alternative.
Peter Latham


Winco Wood Lane white cottages
I was born there 1950 - can't recall a lot as we moved in '54 remember dad telling about the pigs he killed and the landlady reporting him after she got her meat - would like to find out more about the people & cottages.   Yours, Keith Jones


I grew up on HInde House Lane
I lived as a child in Hinde House Lane from being born until 1978.  I often used to go up on Wincobank Hill.
In those days a brick works dumped old bricks on wasteground between our house and the hill and local
children including myself used to make dens. I also recall looking into the valley from there and my dad saying
that half the world's steel was made there, long since gone. My grandparents lived in Popple Street and recounted
an incident in WW1 in respect of the gunstand and searchlight stand on thehill. It would seem that one night a
Zeppelin flew over the hill and towards the city. The gun did not open fire because the officers were in the
pub somewhere so no-one could give orders so it got away. It would appear that there was quite an outcry after that.
Living in Norfolk now

Wincobank in the Winter of Discontent
My first job in Sheffield, starting in Oct 1978, was as part of the STEP (Special Temporary Employment Project - a successor to Job Creation - scheme building paths and planting trees on Wincobank Hill. Despite a varied career in the ensuing 34 years I don't think anything I have done since has lasted in the way that the paths and trees have. The gang I was with built the two-track cobbled path from the very peak of Jenkin Rd to the top of the hill, and planted thousands of trees on the hill itself, overlooking the works, on Jenkin Rd by the bends, and down at the end of Fife Street. All of this was during the Winter of Discontent. The people were fun to work with, and the weather was cold! During the snooker the BBC had a camper van up at the top of the hill with an antenna on top, presumably to 'bounce' the signal over the hill. I will never forget the look of bleary-eyed disbelief from the BBC crew as we woke them up before 8 a.m. as we tramped up the hill with barrows and mattocks, singing 'Heigh Ho....' from Snow White! (Well, we had to do something to keep the cold at bay!)
Nick Parsons

Wincobank Avenue
I grew up in the area, first on Honeysuckle Road number 55 from 1935 until it was bombed in 1941. We moved to 26 Wincobank Avenue I think in 1946. My aunt and uncle Albert and Phyllis Hampson lived at number23 and another aunt and uncle Jim and Edna Hills lived at across the green. I went to Shiregreen Elementary and then to Firth Park Grammar School. After a stint at the art school and Leeds University I graduated from Sheffield University in 1959 and went off to the Colony of Kenya. I returnd for a visit in 1979 and later in 1998, so much had changed. I walked up on The Hill where I had played so many times as a youngster, that too had changed. Now in retirement on the coast of Western Canada I think of the place so often and I am pleased the Friends are doing so much to save what is left. Thank you so much.   
Michael Wilkey    
 

The white cottages on Winco Wood Lane
Here is what my father, D Briggs, told me the other week, about the cottages on Wincobank Hill.
He used to work for a company in Sheffield called Snowite Laundry and in 1950, a year before he did his National Service in the army, he made a delivery to the cottages on Winco Wood Lane. He said they were situated opposite Wincobank Castle, they were Medieval in appearance, had a communal yard with toilets across the yard.  There were about eight cottages, built of stone with stone stabs on the roofs and flagstones as the flooring, no carpets.  He also remembers hens going in and out of the cottages with hen muck all over the place.  Mark Briggs

A May Queen walks down Memory Lane
My childhood was spent playing on the 'hill', attending Sunday school and becoming May Queen (Violet the 2nd)and attending Sally's dancing class(held at the chapel)for many years. I was brought up by my grandparents on Daffodil road. They lived on the flower estate before the war and were blitzed on Clematis road. They moved to Daffodil Road in the 50's. I attended Shiregreen School and moved to Hinde House when the senior school closed. When I was 18 I moved away and in the early 80's my grandparents died. I had not been back since; until earlier this year!! I took my husband down 'memory lane' and the first port of call was the hill. It must be nearly 40 years since I played on it, but managed to find areas and paths used long ago. It has matured so much. I used to walk with my granddad and the dog every Saturday from the bottom of Daffodil road through the wood to the 'bottom' (Grimesthorpe) to put a bet on the horses at the betting shop!! I found the path and came out at the bottom of Daffodil Road to find appartment!!!! I also noticed 'the tip' is totally covered with greenary - you wouldn't know it existed! And all the allotments have disapeared, my grandad used to have one connected at the bottom of the garden and shared it with Mr Stringer. That day brought back memories I had forgotton and a few tears and smiles too!!!     Sharon Burrows nee Parkin

Wincobank Castle
I used to play on Wincobank Hill, when the Castle was there and the farm houses were there, I remember going up there and onto the gun stands, but my brother had a budgie that flew away and the lady who lived in the castle found it feeding with her chickens.  The lady saw the advertisement that we put in the shop and so my mother took my brother up to the castle, so we went inside and the bird was in there and he collected it.

The Gun Stands
I went on Wincobank Hill to play up there and there was the gun stand. There were two of them, one was a light stand, a big light stand and the other one was an actual gun stand.

The Cottages
I lived up here, I was born in '52, so up until the Sheffield Gales, where the roofs were actually taken off the rows of cottages and then they were compulsory purchased by the Sheffield Council…so that were ..  the Gales were '62 or '63 ..I’m not sure.  When the Sheffield Gales came about, they took the roofs off and so the council came and said "we're re-housing ya", with compulsory purchase.  That’s when we moved and we went into council accommodation. I used to live in those cottages. The roofs in the Sheffield Gales were ripped off all across the back and exposed the actual attic areas.

Egg Rolling
Now one of the things, another bit of a story for here, every Easter on Easter Sunday we come here to the chapel and go up to this little bank here and we have egg rolling. So there’s been a tradition of egg rolling, so all ages bring our boiled eggs and roll them down. It goes back a while, I think the Chapel people have been doing this for as long as most people can remember, and whatever we think about egg rolling in these days people will still come.

Halloween Season
In the past what people have done is we’ve made lanterns at the chapel, paper lanterns and then, on the 31st of October, we come here and walk in these woods with our lanterns and tell ghost stories. So this is well lit up at night, on Halloween night, the woods there.  These woods are quite old ancient woods, they're some of the oldest woods in Sheffield.

New Year
...she said "I used to go up on New Year's Eve and dance", I said "ay we all did", and we used to go up on the hill and dance on it...we just used to sing, majority of time…they were happy times, everyone was in the same boat, nobody had a got a camera you know…and then I started playing the accordion so I used to go up and take the accordion and do dances...

Old Man Habajab
He used to have a horse and cart, flat cart, which he used to take down the hill, down onto the Flower Estate to pick up garden rubbish, vegetables, bread, anything that people give them, and the people who gave most at Christmas got the biggest piece of joint cos they use to slaughter pigs separately, that the Ministry didn’t know about, cos they use to mark the pigs and keep them to one side for their own use, to sell, and for their own consumption and reward people who provided the stuff for them...

Flower Estate
I got married to my wife when I was 20, when I came out of the army and she was 19, and the only house they could give us were on here…the Flower Estate…and we come in, and there were fighting in the back yards, and scrapping, and knocking people over railings, and drunk, and hitting people with iron bars and she said "I’m not stopping here!"  So we locked the doors and didn’t come out for a bit.  Then they got arrested and moved out.  Then we got a nice couple in next door, with two babies and we had a boxer dog and they had a little dog, and then it got better and better and better and better…

May Queens
I started coming here in probably about 1954, for Sunday School, we were in this room for Sunday School and then I’d be about 14-15 when I was Sunday School May Queen, Queen Freesia the 2nd, and I was here till I was about 18, and I moved from here and went to Southey Green Baptist Church.

You were voted to be May Queen by the older Sunday School group, sort of peer group. You had to vote for who you wanted to be May Queen each year, so I was voted that year.  It was quite a thing. You sort of spent your life through Sunday School thinking ‘Will I ever be May Queen?’
You had to choose two attendants and a cushion bearer and there used to be a Sunday School May Queen and a Captain, but by the time I was Sunday School May Queen I think the boys were long gone, and probably about a couple of years before that they stopped having a Captain as well, so I think I’ll have to ask. There was probably a Captain sort of intermittently I think, it depended whether there were any boys in Sunday School at the time.
 
The cushion bearer was generally a little boy who would hold the cushion behind you with your crown on.  You processed into the church hall, there would be girls with garlands of flowers making the walkway for you to walk on, and then you’d go onto the platform and sit on a throw and then someone would come, they were always invited, come and crown you. 
It generally took place on two days, I think Thursday and Saturday, and I think traditionally one of those days it would be a past winner Queen who would crown you, and on the other day some invited guests. During your year of office you had to do some sort of fundraising event for chapel funds.  When I was May Queen Sally Carmichael’s dancing group put a show on.