Caught by the River

The Lost Rivers, Streams and Brooks of Sheffield

27th April 2013


A reconstructed map of Sheffield’s watery past, using various techniques and sources.

I like what the folk at Daylighting Urban Rivers have done here, and what with the subject being Sheffield, it brought Jarvis Cocker to mind, in particular his lyrics to the Pulp song Wickerman, and also these words that begin his chapter in our book, A Collection of Words on Water:

“The River Porter is visible at the side of Sheffield’s train station. It runs through a concrete channel for about 20 yards before disappearing into a tunnel. Sometime in the mid-Eighties, myself and some friends decided to follow the river as far as possible. At first we attempted to stay out of the water as it appeared very polluted: large, oily globules the colour of ketchup covered the surface. This soon proved impossible and we waded through the knee-high water, hoping not to contract an industrial disease. Sometimes the river would run through a dirty brickwork tunnel for a quarter of a mile or so (which was quite scary, seeing as no-one had thought to bring a torch) and then it would emerge in another part of town – never where we expected. It seemed quite amazing to discover such an adventure in the middle of the city we had grown up in and which we all professed to be totally bored with.”

Find out more about the Daylighting project at their website here or from their regularly updated Facebook page.