Story by Christine White
Spital Hill stretches from The Wicker to Andover Street on one side and Hallcar Street on the other. The word Spital is derived from “Hospital” and it was thought that once travellers could be treated here.
My own memories of Spital Hill are from growing up in the early sixties. We very rarely shopped in town because all our needs were catered for right here. My parents worked but we had a limited budget and if we needed a large item my mother would lay it away and pay for it weekly. My favourite shops were Wigfalls’, where I got my first record player, and Bevan’s drapers and haberdashery numbers 143, 147 and 157 Spital Hill. Bevan’s was filled with display cabinets and from floor to ceiling were
wooden drawers of various sizes. Whatever you needed was hidden in one of these drawers. The shop was spotless and always smelt of polish and lavender. Other establishments there were Blaskey’s Wallpaper merchants, The Motor Cycle Shop, Littlewood Coach Holidays, Boots, Johnson Cleaners, Dewhurst Butchers, The School of Dance and the Coliseum Cinema where I spent many happy hours.
One shop that lasted for a long while was The Tripe Shop. In the early Nineteenth Century Pitsmoor was a village on the outskirts of Sheffield. Towards the end of the Nineteenth Century the area had changed completely. Houses were built for the many workers who relocated to work manufacturing steel and iron goods. Spital Hill was near to the valley which contained most of the largest steel works and became established as a local shopping area.
Many houses on Spital Hill were made into shop premises which can be seen today if you take a good look at each shop. In 1901 there were 48 shop premises which included a newsagent, tea merchant, dental surgeon, pawnbroker, watchmaker and a photographer.
As times change shop premises close and others open to meet the needs of each generation. Today Spital Hill is still a good suburban shopping area with Tesco supermarket and a diverse number of shops, including many eating and meeting places.
The area has been smartened up recently and let us hope that it will continue to thrive.