It’s difficult to advertise a Christmas event that takes place in November.
By the time the event happens it all feels right – the festive season is in full swing. Sheffield’s official light switch-on happens later on that same day, and the TV will have been filled with seasonal wares for a good while.
But at the time of writing, on this drizzly November afternoon, it just seems too early for talk of Christmas.
I’ve always had this rule that it isn’t Christmas until Noddy says it is. Or should I say, until Noddy screams that it is. And I hadn’t heard him yet. So in preparation for writing this article, I went over to Youtube for my Noddy fix, in the hope of getting myself in the festive mood.
Just listen to that scream.
It’s funny that Slade should play such a key role in the marketing of a Burton Street event. They should be familiar with the area.
Two years after the release of Merry Xmas Everybody, the band starred in a movie, Slade in Flame. Much of the film’s opening sequence was shot in the area around Burton Street and Lower Walkley in 1974, during the area’s “slum clearances”.
This particular shot is of High House Road. It was one of many local roads within walking distance of Burton Street school. Lots of ex-pupils lived in these terraced houses. Note the boarded windows; a street awaits demolition.
The slum clearance projects of the 1960s and 1970s saw the demolition of almost the entire catchment area of Burton Street school. Burton Street, Bamforth Street, Cuthbert Bank Road and High House Terrace are still here, but the tightly packed houses that once lined them are long gone. Meanwhile, Anleby Street, Brough Street, Cottam Street, Driffield Street, Eden Street, Rawson Street, Woodgrove Lane and High House Road have been wiped entirely from the map.
No houses meant no kids, and no kids meant no need for education. With the local community dispersed to concrete towers across town, Burton Street school was left to decay.
Thankfully, in the mid 1990s local people took action, and against the odds these wonderful Victorian buildings were saved. Today they stand as a symbol of community and optimism; a far cry from Slade In Flame’s image of dilapidation and despair.
Since 1998 Burton Street has operated as a not-for-profit community organisation. Today around 2500 people come through the doors each week. We employ around 140 people. We have around 250 clients, and 50 local businesses, small charities and community groups call Burton Street home.
This year we turned 20, and we decided to celebrate by raising funds to build ourselves a Hydrotherapy pool. It’s something we’ve been asked to provide for years, and we finally have the space to give it a try. We’ve been raising funds since March, and the total currently stands at just shy of £7000.
On Sunday 18th November 2018 our Annual Christmas Market returns to Burton Street for its 9th year. It will be the last of our 20th Birthday celebrations. Our 8th market raised around £2500 for the foundation. We’re hoping to recreate that success this year, and any funds raised are going to be ring-fenced for the construction of our hydrotherapy pool.
Burton Street is made by the people that use it. We invite you to come and be a part of that continuing story. Join us, eat minced pies, drink mulled wine, buy some gifts, enjoy the music. Let the kids meet Santa. Bring along your friends and family for a day of festive fun, knowing every single penny you spend will be directly invested in maintaining the vibrancy of this once forgotten community space.