I’m looking forward to running the first Bus Ride Round Attercliffe on Sunday April 7th 2019, starting at the former Penny Black pub, Pond Hill, across the road from the Sheffield Interchange.
The idea came from the popular Walks Round Attercliffe that I’ve conducted as part of Heritage Open Days, which continue to be oversubscribed.
The Lower Don Valley – that is, the villages of Attercliffe, Carbrook and Darnall – was the powerhouse of Sheffield’s heavy steel industry and was where many of its workers lived.
Even though some of the remaining historic buildings are inaccessible to visitors, and much has gone altogether, there’s still much to see.
Indeed, because the Heritage Open Day walk takes two hours to cover less than a mile of the Attercliffe Road, I looked for an appealing way of driving around to show people more of the valley’s rich heritage.
The star of the event will be a 1954 Sheffield Corporation Leyland Titan double-deck bus – no 687 (RWB 87) – immaculately restored and part of the South Yorkshire Transport Museum fleet.
From a top-deck seat there’s a grandstand view, on and off the main roads – industrial sites, schools, pubs, places of worship and sites associated with crimes, riots and the Blitz.
There will be stops at the secluded Zion Graveyard (opened 1805), Attercliffe Library (1894) – now a splendid restaurant – and the very modern English Institute of Sport (designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and opened in 2003).
Riding in the sort of vehicle that replaced the trams in the 1950s is itself an experience, because buses have changed so much in half a century.
Colin Morton, who will be the driver, says that driving 687 is much more physically demanding than its 21st-century successors. There’s no power steering and the crash gearbox requires double-declutching, which was once normal procedure and is becoming a lost art.
Colin is a fully qualified PSV driver with decades of experience, and he tells me that the Museum is short of younger volunteers prepared to learn how to manage the heritage fleet for wedding hires and other events.
So if you have time to spare and the patience to learn the skills, driving a 1950s or 1960s bus will keep you fit as well as bring pleasure to passengers of all ages: https://sytm.co.uk/join/volunteer.html.
And if you’d like to explore Sheffield’s industrial and working-class heritage while travelling in style on April 7th, please book here.
Places are limited so that everyone can have a top-deck seat, yet people with mobility and other impairments are very welcome to use the lower deck.
For information about some of the historic buildings that survive in Attercliffe – and some that don’t – please click here.