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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Alex Woodall

Our Favourite Places would be nothing without our contributors — a massive thanks to all of them!

Tell us about you…

I like being busy, getting out and about, and I enjoy making the most of opportunities flung at me. I love going to gigs and little festivals, the theatre, art exhibitions, the seaside, walking. I work in the world of museums and art galleries, and am currently finishing off a PhD, which (amongst other things) looks at what happens when people rummage behind the scenes in museum stores.

What does Sheffield mean to you?

One of my great grandfathers was a stonemason from Thurgoland just outside of Sheffield. When I am wandering in the countryside, I often wonder whether he built the dry stone walls I'm walking past. My grandfather worked at Fox’s steelworks and my grandmother taught at the infant school in Wortley. So despitegrowing up miles and milesaway in deepest Dorset, I am very proud to have Sheffield in my blood, and after being here since 2005, definitely consider it home. I love its amazing mixture of city, industry, grit, country, village, green, hills, rivers, reservoirs, culture, music, radical independent spirit – and I really love that all this remains a bit of a mystery to the outside world.

What’s your favourite Sheffield place?

Crookes. This is my home. I love the feeling of being aloneon the edge of a cliff on top of the world in the blustery wind on the Bole Hills one minute, and then being in a bustling little village where I usually bump into a friendly face, the next. And there are too many other favourite places to mention but Damflask, Rivelin, Endcliffe Park, the Showroom, the room with Richard Long’s Delabole Spiral at the Graves, antiques and vintage shops, independent cafes, and I can never quite believe that loads of the Peak District also counts as being in the city either.

What would you do to improve the city?

There’s been talk for years about the Graves Gallery taking over that whole building and for Sheffield to have an entirely new library building elsewhere (as in Birmingham) or certainly for that whole space to be revitalised (as in Manchester), and I think we could do with a public space like that. And we need to get rid of the potholes. I once followed a van with a sign on the back: 'Welcome to Sheffield, Britain’s holiest city'.

Latest contributions

Hagglers Corner

Comfy cafe by day, lively music venue by night. Hagglers' bunting-strewn courtyard is also lined with an array of indie businesses, from a yoga studio to a florist to a music school.