What My City Means to Me
SHEFFIELD, SOUTH YORKSHIRE, UK.
I've lived in Sheffield for all of my 19 years and 10 months. I can't imagine being anywhere else. I don't want to imagine being anywhere else. The Steel City is as much a part of my identity as my eye colour or my fingerprint, and I'm fiercely protective of it. Not in the way Batman protects Gotham, or Daredevil protects Hell's Kitchen, but with a solicitous obsession underpinned with heedful optimism. Be it through articles, word of mouth or pictures, I show my respect to Sheffield as the city that nurtured me like Mowgli was raised by the jungle (ish). I'm pretty certain I have a concoction of Henderson's Relish and Yorkshire Tea streaming through my veins. I love Sheffield because Sheffield loves me.
The hefty list of notable Sheffield natives includes music legends such as Joe Cocker, (most of) The Human League, (most of) Pulp, and Arctic Monkeys, the first Briton in space Helen Sharman, sporting champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, and actors Sean Bean, Michael Palin and Dominic West. All showed a deep-seated affection for Sheffield throughout their careers, and many, despite moving to swankier locations such as London or LA, return to visit the city as regularly as possible. A poem written by Jarvis Cocker is etched on the side of a student accommodation block and he has publicly labelled Rare & Racy, a historic bookshop facing demolition, a "global treasure". Alex Turner has a Yorkshire Rose with a 'Sheffield' banner tattooed on his arm, and is usually pictured in local pubs around the time of his birthday and Christmas. Sean Bean donated his Land Rover to raise money for Weston Park Cancer Hospital. In short: the people of Sheffield rejoice in their heritage.
Sheffield has undergone mass changes in the last 50 years, many of which only came to fruition at the turn of the century. Some of the most noteworthy developments include: opening of the Millennium Galleries and Winter Gardens in 2001 and 2003, respectively; the closure and subsequent destruction of Don Valley Stadium; the council's immensely unpopular decision to demolish a strip of Devonshire Street shops that survived the Blitz in order to rebuild the site as yet more luxury student accommodation next year; and, most recently, the council sparked further outrage when they disregarded the city's status as the greenest city in the country and began felling hundreds of street trees without consulting the public, and have since been served a High Court injunction preventing them from felling any more. The fiery passion and relentlessness shown by the protesters involved in both the Save Devonshire Street and anti-tree felling campaigns exemplifies my pride for Sheffield - we're the fourth largest city in the UK, but there's a strong 'big village' consensus that binds everyone together, and woe betide those who dare touch our beloved trees.