Atkinsons to honour three of Sheffield’s creative sons
Three of Sheffield’s creative sons join together for a special event at the Moor’s long-standing department store
The Atkinsons department store on the Moor has, for the last 147 years, been one of the most successful and popular shops on the high street. It was established in 1872 as a simple drapery operated by John Atkinson who had begun what was to become an incredibly lucrative career as a store assistant to Cole Brother’s in 1865. Selling everything from fashion to furniture, cosmetics and kitchen ware, Atkinsons has serviced Sheffielders for more than a century and will, more than likely, continue to do so for a century more.
Being one of the oldest and most revered stores in the city it should come as no surprise that generations of people would have fond memories of it. One of those people is none other than Martyn Ware, founder of the synth new wave bands Human League and Heaven 17, and who helped kick-off the careers of other artists such as Terence Trent D’Arby and even helped revitalise Tina Turner after a slump in 1983. This month, Martin returns to his native Sheffield to raise money for the Weston Park Cancer Centre charity, which has partnered with Atkinsons, to give back to the community on 14 October for a special event at the store.
Ware commented on his own memories of visiting Atkinsons as a small boy with his mother in the 1960s, buying records and getting a quick cup of tea in the café. The star was still a regular at the store even when he first hit the big time with the Human League and singles like ‘Being Boiled’ in the late 1970s.
He said: “I used to live in Broomhall flats, so the centre of town, and in particular the Moor, was our stomping ground. In the ‘70s Virgin Records had a store at the bottom of the Moor, and we would regularly pop into Atkinsons to visit the café, or even sometimes to buy records and clothes.”
Ware will be joined by Neil Anderson, author of The Dirty Stop Out’s Guide, a book which celebrates the different night-spots of the city throughout the decades. “I still remember my Grandma recounting the splendid Christmas displays prior to the Sheffield Blitz. And her pride when the present store opened to great fanfare in 1960 – a full 20 years after the original store was flattened by the Nazis. The store is a true survivor and it’s a true honour to have my own products on sale there.”
Matt Cockayne, a local graphic artist who has produced many fine impressions of the cityscape, also has links with the long-standing store and will be there for the same event. “My first job at 17 was working as a pot washer in Massarella’s within Atkinsons. I like the store and the fact it is a part of Sheffield’s fabric.”
Atkinsons store manager David Cartwright added: “#InspiredBySheffield day is all about celebrating what’s fantastic about our city. We’ve been lucky enough to be part of the fabric of Sheffield for the past 147 years and I want to say a big thank you to our customers – old and new – that have been part of that journey. I also want to extend my thanks to our staff, who have played such a big part in our success story.
“The store has been inspired by the fantastic improvements to the Moor and have been updating and improving our store a result. We’re delighted to offer the best names in domestic appliances, cookshop, furniture, beds and other departments and we’re constantly checking out new trends so that we can add more to the store. Make sure you come in to see what’s new.”
The event will take place from 12 noon until 2pm. atkinsonsofsheffield.co.uk