Sheffield: Handsworth and Darnall

Published: June 1, 2005    Last modified: February 4, 2017
Beighton Street, Darnall, Sheffield, Yorkshire 2005

2005/06/05 - Beighton Street, Darnall, Sheffield, Yorkshire

Following on from my detour through Aston-cum-Aughton I decided I may as well complete the trip down memory lane and follow the road towards Handsworth, Sheffield. The road from Swallownest through Fence (I don't remember a sign announcing 'Fence' when I travelled this road as a teenager) and Woodhouse Mill and up towards Handsworth has not changed a great deal, a few more crude housing developments far more parked cars and a far busier road. I of course can remember the trams running to Handsworth terminus and once at the terminus passengers having to tilt the back rests in the opposite direction ready for the return journey.

As we travelled through Handsworth a depressingly familiar inner city environment enveloped us: the result of inept planning, lack of vision and sheer neglect. As we proceeded towards Darnall the neglect became even more apparent.

Circa 1980 my grandmother Ivy JACKLIN (née Ivy DIXON) 1901-1983 was forced to relocate to a local authority flat on an awful development amongst the myriad of awful developments that is 'new' Handsworth. This was brought about when the local authority decided to demolish the terraced houses on Beighton Street and Langley Street. No doubt the local authority had 'grand designs' for the area but I recall that after the houses were finally demolished, the cobbled streets were gradually reclaimed by escaped vegetation, as saplings fought for the open skies. But my most lasting memory is that of the street lights: many years after the houses were torn down the street lights, for whatever reason had avoided demolition and were somewhat eerily still providing light. One can only assume the authorities were obliged to light up the way in order that the ghosts of Beighton Street and Langley Street should have safe passage across the newly created wastelands of Darnall.

It is now 2005 and the area is still to be redeveloped. The loss of community is so overwhelming, I could not muster enough enthusiasm to photograph the dereliction. Maybe next time. As we drove on it became apparent the only real change was the road junction at Darnall; it is wider, grander, more pervasive, but most of all, as congested as ever. The planners have an awful lot to answer for.

Updates:
2015-03-24 Google Earth is still showing Beighton Street and Langley Street as a 'wasteland' though descending to Google Street View it becomes apparent that part of the area has finally been redeveloped. What was Beighton Street is now the location for the 'Darnall Primary Care Centre'.

Darnall Primary Care Centre opened on 26th November 2012 to replace the previous outdated health centre and provides a range of medical services, including GP and nursing services, minor surgical procedures, community therapies and a pharmacy. It also provides accommodation for Darnall Wellbeing and acts as a hub for the local community.

So almost 32 years after my grandmother was forced to relocate, part of the site has finally been redeveloped. How happy she would have been to have spent the last few years of life in her small terraced house on Beighton Street, in the community she knew, rather than on the bleak and forlorn development at Handsworth.

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