Banner Cross - Sheffield's garden suburb
PUBLISHED: 13:30 09 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:20 20 February 2013
The garden suburb of Banner Cross looks towards the Peak District – Yorkshire's 'third national park'. Janette Sykes enjoys the view
Sheffield, like Rome, is reputedly built on seven hills and surely one of the best-known, and busiest, is the one that bisects the handily-placed suburb of Banner Cross.
Head downhill, and within minutes you reach the heart of the city, with its bustling shops, remodelled public open spaces with stylish water features, revamped city hall and state-of-the-art Millennium Gallery and Winter Garden. Venture uphill and before you know it, youre amid the heather moors, sweeping hills and valleys and specially-protected landscapes of the Peak District home to Britains first national park, currently celebrating its 60th birthday year.
No less than a third of the city lies in the national park an impressive statistic, given Sheffields long industrial heritage, and much of it skirts the south-western edge, not far beyond Banner Cross.
You can still spot the areas rural roots at Grade II listed Banner Cross Hall built between 1817 and 1821 by the Murray family, and today the headquarters of construction group Henry Boot plc.
And if thats not enough to impress, its just a stones throw away from the recently renovated Sheffield Botanical Gardens and on the fringe of the famous Sheffield Round Walk, which meanders through Endcliffe Park, Bingham Park and Whiteley Woods out to Forge Dam, Porter Clough and open countryside beyond.
Little wonder, then, that its a sought-after residential choice for everyone from university students to senior citizens, with its close proximity to both city and country, good choice of local shops, restaurants and other services, and some of the best schools in Sheffield.
Many people drive through on their way to more rural suburbs like Whirlow and Dore, or to pretty Peak District villages such as Hathersage, Grindleford, Hope and Castleton. Yet it pays to pause and discover whats right on its doorstep before exploring further afield. For many, the heart of a community beats in its pub or church and if thats the case, Banner Cross enjoys rude health.
The Banner Cross Hotel is a traditional pub, popular with customers ranging from 18 to 80, including students, who often use it as their first port of call before heading for a night out in the city, real ale and sports enthusiasts and a core of regulars.
You can either watch sport on the plasma screens or play it in an upstairs pool room or, if you prefer less active pursuits, relax in the lounge or beer garden. Banner Cross Methodist Church is an equally busy hive of activity, with regular events each day for parishioners of all ages everything from Boys Brigade and Brownies to badminton and indoor bowls.
These days Banner Cross whose name is thought to mean cross of prayers or perhaps to derive from the old French word baneur, meaning standard bearer has a bustling, cosmopolitan feel.
Local shops sell everything from luxury Australian sheepskin boots and Italian handbags to award-winning sausages and hand-made skin care products from Cornwall. Closer to home, one of its cafes offers Hot Sheffield Pork Pie and the fortifying Sheffield Brew a full-flavoured loose leaf tea.
Yet back in Victorian times, it was the scene of one of the citys most infamous murders, committed by one of Sheffields most notorious criminals, the inappropriately named Charlie Peace.
Happily, that seems to be the only serious blot on Banner Crosss past landscape. Todays garden suburb is an eminently desirable place to be and with one of Europes greenest cities and the glorious scenery of the Peak District as its playground, its easy to see why.
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