Upperthorpe Perimeter Round Walk: Introduction

Upperthorpe Perimeter Round Walk (2 hours)

Introduction

The exact boundary of Upperthorpe, and of the ‘Upperthorpe Project’, had begun to concern me. Although boundaries are arbitrary, limiting, even harmful as in partition, discussions and postings had taken an elastic view of its shape, and gone round and round in circles.

What better then than to act out this circularity, and thereby have to follow a fixed version of its circumference?

This walk then, uses the invisible boundary of the Council defined ‘Neighbourhood’ of Upperthorpe.

For a map of the Upperthorpe boundary, click here.

So this Upperthorpe also includes a lot of Philadelphia, Birkendale, and over the quietly flowing Don, Neepsend, where nobody seems to live. And inexplicable rectangular street-shaped retreats and annexations.

The map above reveals two images, the distant pseudopodia of Neepsend shaped like a diving fish, the proximal part a straight edged cubist camel.  And indeed they do have very different characters.

It doesn’t include Wardsend Cemetery, Hillsborough, the city morgue on Watery Street, the Barracks, or the Old Royal Infirmary. Not that Upperthorpe has been spared traumatic death. Air-raid victims, down by the river drownings in the Great Sheffield flood; and a recent tragedy right beneath its eyes.

For no particular reason the route is anticlockwise, keeping Upperthorpe always on the left. Circumambulation can be ritualistic, classically in  biblical Jericho, circled six times in silence, with a final circuit of shouting and the blowing of rams-horns, the birth of free jazz. But no ill will is intended in this walk, no education, and no patronization, just voyeurism.

The walk was tested with a companion on the last day of January 2012, mid-morning in cold weather. At other times of day, in other seasons, it could have been very different. We took no cameras, sound recording equipment, notebooks, or sketch-books. We had a street map and a passing interest. And a vague artistic notion.

This guide is entirely subjective and full of inaccuracy.

Eddy Dreadnought   2012

One thought on “Upperthorpe Perimeter Round Walk: Introduction

  1. On reading this, I am reminded of:

    Anselm Kiefer’s early photographic work. He stood on (West) Germany’s border – looking outward. A provocative gesture in an area of Europe where borders have been contested brutally.

    The idea of the ring-road or Périphérique, which takes us around but not into the place. Of particular interest is London’s Inner Ring Road, which, north of the Thames, is a fairly continuous dual carriageway, but in the south (Eltham, Catford, et al.), is a collage of old roads that entwine themselves with the surroundings. A mongrel. A pain in the arse to drive on, but giving a view of the districts it passes through.

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