Tinsley Time and Travel held a Medieval History Walk last weekend revealing the historical remnants, interesting facts, scary stories etc about Tinsley. Sally Rogers and Charlotte Head from Sheffield Heeley City Farm are the key organisers along with a very knowledgable volunteer, Susan.


As for the relations to the mapping project, the whole process of the walk revealed many hidden aspects of TInsley. These include:-

-Historical memories, stories and anecdotes as well as physical archaeology and existing/demolished architecture.

-Sharing community issues/social problems from constituent parts of the city where they come from.

-Offering help (labour) to serving others during refreshments before and after the work. (My work to help tidy up afterwards).

-Badgemaking process increases one’s comfort to open up to strangers.

-Sharing of Knowledge; ie. Sally wanted to buy a book on ebay, but Susan already owns it and offered Sally to borrow it.

-Everyone (from outside of Tinsley) drove to this event, since walkability to Tinsley is extremely poor, especially towards the Tinsley Roundabout off the M1.

-Warburtons seems to be their main supplier of crumpets.

-Crumpets are a popular amongst the locals.

Warburton Crumpets




-Mr. Hoole’s house was the biggest house in Tinsley and was used as a law court—->closed Pike and Herron Pub

-Firs Farm—>Tinsley Methodist Church

-Manor House (demolished in 1965 in poor state to make way for new school) —>Tinsley Juniors School (now demolished)

-Tinsley Hall Farm (Remnant cottages where demolished in the mid-1960s and were replaced by fully serviced housing, although some locals felt that the council has destroyed an historical heritage.)—>Highgate shops and surroundings

-Toll Houses—>located on Sheffield Road and Bawtry Road, between Tinsley and Rotherham.


Timeline Detail

Corner Foundation of Tinsley Hall Farm

The remains of the corner foundations of Tinsley Hall Farm, which is revealed by pedestrians cutting corners from walking across the grass.



-Women also played dominant roles in society even from the medieval ages.

-Children from the Junior School dug up bits of marble from excavations organised by the school. Social movements organised by teachers and parents can bring sense of fulfilment as well as increasing knowledge of the neighbourhood’s historical significance.

-Back in the medieval period, there was also a social issue of language barriers, where the society spoke English, Latin and French. When the scribe in the law courts cannot write the word in Latin, he will replace the word in English or French. SImilar to Tinsley today with the large influx of asian communities, language barriers are re-emerging quickly, which becomes barriers for social diversity and employment.

-Medieval land laws stated that landowners and tenants has the responsibility to maintain and clean their own plots of land, and the adjacent path or road if their land backs on fronts it. Even in the medieval ages, citizens have the responsibility to maintain their land, and respect public spaces. However, in modern day Tinsley, it has a poor state of littering which initiated a group of volunteers who litter pick the streets regularly. According to Zahira Naz, a trustee member and councillor, their actions has encourage others to remove litter from their plot of land. The community benefits from increasing their pride of the streets. Another example of a collective social movements as a response to economical problems that seem ‘out of their control’.

-Tinsley has always been a ‘boundary’ territory, between Sheffield and Rotherham. In the medieval period, both Sheffield and Rotherham wanted to claim Tinsley but Tinsley Parish rejected both offers. Reflected in present day Tinsley, the M1 seems to isolate Tinsley from the rest of Sheffield. Residents who live towards the south of Tinsley claim that they are from Brinsworth, not Tiinsley. Yvonne Witter also expresses how the Darnall Trust actually includes Tinsley area but the word ‘Tinsley’ is in the official name. There is a loss sense of belonging in which Tinsley seems to continue being a ‘borderline’ territory. Values of the community differ which breaks down the attitudes of being ‘in-common’ as being a community called Tinsley. On the other hand, in the medieval ages, the Tinsley community seems to have a single shared value that they wanted to be independent from Sheffield and Rotherham.

-The event mainly attracted adults of British White Ethnicity, who are solely interested in the history, facts, statistics, typology etc. It also attracted residents from Brinsworth, Wiccobank, and Totley with a few from Tinsley. An migrant mother with her baby and kids decided to take part but went home half way through since her kids said that they were bored. Nevertheless, Sally Rogers says that many migrant families attended the history arts and craft events held at Tinsley Meadows School. One assumption was that it was aimed more towards children, therefore mothers can attend events while their children are occupied and having fun, where as the history walks tend to aim towards adults, which means that children will get bored or if they leave the children at home, there is nobody to take care of them (assuming that fathers are at work). This is one reason why Sally Rogers and Charlotte Head aims to provide a variety of events to cover a broad spectrum of people from the community.


Badgemaking 2

Badgemaking 1

-During the walk, there were ‘external’ observers and participants . Observers were mainly of the asian minority who kept a distance but stared at our group of people but did not interact with use. On the other hand, there were participants who walked out of the houses and asked what we were talking about and what whats their road like in the medieval period and if it had any significance. They were mainly of White British. It seems that there is a racial barrier between the migrants/Islamic community and the white British residents. What can be done to break this barrier within a ethnically diverse community?


-Scary Halloween house on Ferrars Rd. I wonder who lives there? Is it rented out of does the landlord lives there? What does the neighbour’s think?


Halloween house



Earlier this week, I attended the coffee morning at St. Lawrence Church, which is on every Wednesday mornings from 10:30-12:00. It was an unique experience having being able to talk to a variety of local residents who all shared unique stories about themselves living in Tinsley. Anecdotes and unusual moments highlighted the conversations whilst bringing up key themes and issues that Tinsley are currently facing. A frequent activity like this is valuable for the community, since it brings together opinions, laughter and a sense of belonging from just being served a warm crumpet and a cup of tea.

jpeg-coffee table

An unusual incident that happened was the Richard (aka. Dick) who is the church caretaker notices that a picture was missing from the wall. Nobody knew where it had gone whilst some suggested that it might have fallen off the wall and someone must have taken it to get repaired. The ‘mystery’ of the missing picture still remains unsolved…


jpeg-missing picture



—>Since most of the locals drink tea, then why is it called a ‘Coffee Morning’?

—>Will the changes in bus stops change the fate of public interactions? Having initially talked to Irene at a bus stop.

—>With the increasing impacts of climate change, the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable. What are the impacts of automobiles (M1, taxis) and surrounding industry and development such as MTL, BOC and Outokumpu? Who is responsible if it rains at the picnic?

—>The coffee morning provides ‘teatime’ foods and tea/coffee in which the attendants pay a donation at their own will. This transaction is an example of the open outcomes of the alternative economy in which profit is not the objective, but to provide comfort from a buttered crumpet breakfast.

—>Highly processed foods served at the coffee morning being purchased from large supermarkets and owned by food corporations which do not not a ethical ethos, high food milage and are solely revenue orientated. Can other skills from the neighbourhood provide refreshments, such as local mini marts, Tinsley Community Allotment providing organic snacks (berries/fruits)?

—>Mainly all the local residents who join this event are from a White British ethnicity and are Christians, apart from Liane who is from India and Malcolm who is an atheist. The venue and organisers of events may implicitly target certain types of people. So what will happen if we held this event at the old infant school and contact Nusrat to get some people to attend from the mosque?

Key themes/issues:-

-Reduced/diverted bus services made it hard to get the weekly groceries, attending events in and out of Tinsley and visiting family.

-The decrease of events and activities, due to lack of funding and lack of younger/new volunteers to take up current roles

-There is no pub. Pike and Herron is closed and the landlord is just waiting for it to be sold at a higher price.

-Compared to Brinsworth, they have nothing.

-The new school has taken away their only place for community events.

-Current events and activities are targeted towards stay at home housewives.

-The locals at the coffee club say that they are happy to engage with the East European migrants but they would not talk to them and see them as a closed of community.




This Tuesday, I attending an event held at the old Tinsley Infants School. It mainly includes range of arts and craft activities.

Tinsley Time and Travel-Stalls to show old maps and photographs or Tinsley’s unique archaeological history/treasure hunt stall/paper making.

Ignite Imaginations-medieval stamp printing

Bright toys-STEM based experiments.

Community run stalls-Haiku typewriter/crown making/picture colouring.






The atmosphere was boosted in midday by a very entertaining Roma Dance performance!



Even the BBC radio channel came to do some interviews. Since it is the start of the school holidays, the attendance was well received and people were willing to give out personal opinions on posters that we put on the walls.

As for me, I was able to engage and interact with the local neighbourhood community, first hand. An event like this allowed me to communicate with key actors of the community, those who are seen as leaders and social nodes for events and support, such as Yvonne Witter from Darnell Wellbeing and Nusrat Rashid who is seen as the ‘person who knows everyone!’ as well as being able to talk to the agencies opening stalls, various volunteers from the University of Sheffield and local schools, local mums (despite the english barrier) and small children.

In this even, I also saw a lot of familiar faces, people who I have spoken/interviewed before and I felt that I am part of the community when they came over to me to say hello, even though I am not from Tinsley.

As for the Tingas Project of Studio Polpo, this proved that there are definitely people in the community who is not ‘shy’ to attend community events, able to speak out and express their own voices.





This Monday, I had an extremely intriguing conversation with the members of Tinsley ‘Pop Up ‘ Library, which included various volunteers and the person who manages the library from Sheffield City Council.

We began talking about the story of the library, from how it began in the Roundabout Centre, and then due to lack of funding, Sheffield City Council had to rent two shop units at the Highgate  Shopping Arcade for the new Library. 2 years ago, due to city wide budget cuts on library services and a break clause in the lease contract, the Tinsley Library was closed for 1 year and a half until the pop up library was opened in the Tinsley Forum this June, which is a small room located in the Tinsley Forum. Conversations began more interesting as we engaged with the volunteers which revealed ‘hidden’ layers, stories and prominent themes within the social and spatial context of Tinsley which related to their personal lifestyles, habbits and experiences.

Librarian Mapping-3-s

-Council run VS Community Run
-City wide budget cuts from the Council>transformation to volunteer run libraries
-Leasing contracts and tenancy.


-It was not just a place for books, but a community hub for social gatherings and events.

-Language barrier—leads to employment barriers—Need to provide qualifications for low educated residents.
-Ethnical and Religious barrier
-Urban barriers—M1 Motorway/traffic issues
-Food barriers


-Public green space and potential green spaces
-Alternative spaces that COULD have been the new school
-Lack of public spaces for multi-use hire.
-Unpleasant and defensive public private realm.


-New Tinsley Meadows Academy on Tinsley Green
-IKEA on the doorstep
-Outokumpu proposal for 5 new steel distribution plants


-Volunteering as librarians
-Litter Picking


HIDDEN STORIES AND ANECDOTES-(what’s underneath the iceberg?)-reference to JK. Gibson Graham
-School pupils are obliged to go to library afterschool to download worksheets from the internet.
-Local mums gathering petitions to prevent the construction of the New Tinsley Meadows Academy.
-Young litter pickers saying, “we need trolleys”, to put all the litter in.
-Routes, experiences and personal highlights of daily journeys to and from the library.
-The idea of moving the library to the school being rejected by the council.


Librarian Mapping-2-s


One of the main ‘complaint’s’ the local residents have on Tinsley is the reduced bus services and the re-organisation of bus routes that directs towards Meadowhall.  This can have both positive and negative consequences. For example, it encourages locals to increase the amount of walking in their daily routine, which can act as a time for self-contemplation or even fitting an extra chapter of audio book. However, after speaking to elderly local residents, they express that they find it more difficult to do their weekly groceries* shopping since they have to carry heavy bags for longer distances.
Although alterations in local bus services mean that Tinsley residents have longer walking distances to their closest bus stop which may have health benefits to some extent. My current mapping suggests that it has a more negative response than positive from public residents and staff working at the Highgate shops who commute from other areas of Sheffield. In my opinion, since Tinsley is surrounded by large ‘in-human’ scale industries in warehouses on one side and the M1 viaduct on the other, which according to Jeff Speck (2013), it is not very ‘walkable’. Having obliged to walk further to a bus stop in a ‘low walkability’ urban environment with high levels of air pollution does not improve quality of life. On the hand, having necessities such as food, public spaces, recreation etc. in close proximity can improve levels of walking since there is no need for motorised transportation as well as enhancing activities on local streets that improve walkability. From cycling around Tinsley, distances are not far from Meadowhall, Five Weir Walk and Magna Science Centre, but due to the harsh barriers of the M1 viaduct, car orientated infrastructure and lack of street level activity, walkability is extremely low.



Ideas for mutual support:-
Taxi drivers and garages are common jobs amongst the men in Tinsley. Could their be a community based group that collects together taxi drivers who can drive local Tinsley residents for a cheaper rate or even a local carpool? Can garages fix up cheap cars for sale /unwanted cars to make a ‘fleet’ in which drivers who don’t have their own cars take up roles of drivers?


*Since there are no supermarkets within walkable distances from houses, residents either drive or take public transport to the closest supermarket(s); Aldi and Morrison proves to be most popular.



Speck, Jeff. (2013), Walkable City, North Point Press; Reprint edition.



From the 1950s, a part of Tinsley’s residential area was demolished to make way for the M1 Motorway and the two tier viaduct that started construction in the mid 1960s, in which Sheffield locals see Tinsley being dissected from the rest of the city.

VIADUCT-The City Engineering and Surveyor and TownPlanning Office Sheffield


Noise and air pollution have since been an issue for the local residents. With the fighting from the Tinsley Forum in the 2000s, a competition was held for a 5mile noise barrier along the M1 as well as having the local authority to plant trees as a noise buffer and improvement to air quality, despite being surrounded by previously industrial works which have grown into retail/tertiary sectors from the post-industrial period. However, the current health of the trees are poor due to lack of maintenance and inadequate spacing and from

Having spoken to local residents, I have discovered that noise and traffic is not a main problem within the community, since most of them say that ‘they get used to it’. This was similar to the findings in Port Talbot, South Wales, when I embarking on my Masters Architecture Project late last year.


Nevertheless, traffic noise on a Tuesday afternoon (non rush hour traffic), the roundabout on bawtry road racks up to 70-8-dB. In quieter areas, noise levels average constantly around 50db, going down to 40db on rare occasions. In tandem with sound mapping, I carried out a lighting analysis by using a lux meter. Overall light levels were fairly consistent, 2000-8000lux on an afternoon overcast sky, since there are no large structures that may cause intense overshadowing. Although, overshadowing does occur as you get closer to the Tinsley Viaduct, during later in the afternoon and into the evening.



-Is the Tinsley community aware of how serious (or not serious) the issue of noise and air pollution?
-Knowledge of physical and physiological health dangers.
-Should there be more community involvement in mitigating noise and air quality?
-Are there any physical or virtual tools that can be made from existing community skills to aid this?
-Effect on natural ecosystem?
-Automobile orientated infrastructure, causing in-human scale urban grain of surrounding industrial structures, how can bottom up interventions break these barriers?
-Traffic and decrease bus services does not improve walkability, and makes it more difficult for elderly residents. Are their new mutual support groups that can help? Ie. with the abundance of local taxi drivers, can there be a small group of drivers who charge a cheaper fee for Tinsley residents?



History about the M1 Viaduct:

Joynt, Jennifer L. R. and Kiang, Jian. (no date), The integration of public opinion and perception into the design of noise barriers, A case study in Sheffield, [Research paper] School of Architecture, University of Sheffield.


As diverse economies and alternative economies tend to focus on ethical coordinates that respect and sustain our natural ecological systems of our environment, solar panels are considered an example of this?

Over the past few years in which climate change has been more of a concern, renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly common, especially solar panels retro fitted onto vernacular housing, either rented or invested by the homeowner or landlord. This reveals a mixture of intentions between the economic aims of solar panels, which is a combination of gaining a significant return on investment (saving of increasing energy bills) and care for the planet by not using non-renewable energy sources.



Plumwood, Val. (2002), Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason. London: Routledge, 2002.

Roelvink, Gerda and Gibson-Graham, J.K. (2009), A Postcapitalist Politics of Dwelling: Ecological Humanities and Community Economies in Conversation, Australian Humanities Review

Whatmore, Sarah. (2002), Hybrid Geographies: Natures, Cultures and Spaces. London: Sage Publications.



It is amazing how a spending a day in an area (in this case Tinsley, Sheffield) can revel various interesting layers of social, political and economic parameters that fits into J.K. Gibson-Graham’s notion of a ‘diverse economy’, in which our stereotypical ‘mainstream’ capitalist economies are broadened into alternative economies and transactions which have been discussed in conversations in the Tinsley Forum Community Allotment. This will be explored in further detail in future posts.

The mapping process started off by mapping the physical context at different scales:-

>Environmental and air quality
>Infrastructure, connectivity and walkability; barriers, borders, distances
>Necessity networks: i.e. food networks, ecosystems etc.
>Retail and Industrial territories
>Social nodes
>Spontaneous proto-urban conditions


The above is definitely not and exhaustive of ‘physical context’, and as we discover deeper into the undercurrents of Tinsley, new layers will be added and modified as well as intangible layers (such as relationships, memories, transactions, rewards, participation) are revealed through further mapping.


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