Mohammed and Sakeena Akram's memories of Broomhall

Former residents of Havelock Street look back fondly

Havelock St, c.1988
Photo: Broomhall Centre
Street Sign for Havelock Street. 2015
Photo: Mark Sheridan
Billboard and Broomhall flats, empty before demolition, from Hanover Way. 1985
Photo: Adrian Wynn

Mohammed shared these memories with us:

“Our family lived in Havelock Street until late 90s and I can offer you our recollections of our beloved Broomhall.

In the mid-sixties the area had something of a reputation for the outsiders for various reasons. Some of it may have been true but there was a large element of untruth. What it was proud of was the multi-cultural nature of its residents. Apart from the English people, there were people of Pakistani, Afro Caribbean, Arabic, Indian and some other backgrounds. There was truly a sense of community amongst all living there. This is not to say that there were no issues. There were a few elders from different communities who used to play their part during these times. They used to work closely with the outside agencies such as Police, NHS and city council.

From my perspective the turning point came when the city council raised the idea of demolishing the houses on Havelock Street and building new ones. The majority of the residents were not in favour of this and were ably represented by notables of the community such as Mr. Mohammed  Salim (my Elder brother ), Mr Joe Stevenson and Mr Shah. The latter two have sadly passed away and my brother is in Pakistan at the moment.

Working with the city council and the residents, it was agreed to demolish some of the houses and refurbish the majority of them. The newly refurbished houses and also general improvement in the area seems to have had a positive impact. Some of the original families are still living there but we have had to move to another area due to various reasons. We are still regular visitors to Broomhall because of it community spirit and multicultural nature of its people.

All of our children grew up and went to Broomhall nursery, Springfield school, Silverdale and then universities and on to different professions. They have fond memories of growing up in Broomhall and visit it whenever they have an opportunity”.

Mohammed’s wife Sakeena’s shared her memories with us in her native Urdu. Listen to her interview here, or read the English translation below:

[INTERVIEWER] Can you tell me your name please?

My name is Sakeena Akram

What is your age?

60, 14th of December 1956. My date of birth.

Where were you born?


In which area?


What was your childhood like?

Very nice. I have three brothers and we are two sisters. My brother is older than me and I have a younger sister. When I got married it wasn’t ‘til eight years later that I came to England. My husband was in the Air force and he was posted out to different countries so I stayed in Pakistan. I came here in England after eight years.

Did you come to Sheffield, Broomhall?

Yes, my older brother-in-law lived here. When I came we all lived together in my brother-in-laws house; Saleem’s house.

Where did you live in Broomhall, which road?

Havelock Street

Which number?

26, so when I came from Pakistan, I had one son and one daughter. My son was three years old and my daughter was one.  I enrolled my son at Broomhall Nursery and when my daughter was three years old she also went to Broomhall Nursery. Then my eldest son attended Springfield School as did my daughter.

Do you know what year it was when they went to Springfield School?

I can’t remember.

OK; it doesn’t matter!

So, when my younger son Qasim turned five he also attended Springfield School. When they finished primary school they went to ‘big’ school; Silverdale. My daughter did and my son Qasim did the same.) My eldest son is an I.T. consultant, my daughter is a speech therapist and my youngest son is a doctor. My children were raised here and my children really like this place, Broomhall and we all really miss it.

What is the thing that you miss most about Broomhall?

The things I miss most is that town, city centre, was close to where we lived, because we now live near High Storrs school and we have to always travel by bus. Whilst we were here, I would take my children to school and then walk down to town. And if my children were ill, the hospitals were close by; the Children’s Hospital. I could take my kids there myself and if we were ill ourselves we could go up to the Hallamshire Hospital. My son Qasim was born at the Jessops Hospital.

The old Jessops Hospital?

Yes, the old one. This area is nice, the community is nice.  Everybody will say, “hello” whether they are white or people from my own country. Everybody is nice. And I really miss this area. 

What was Havelock Street like then? Was it different from now? Have there been any changes in Broomhall i.e. buildings, etc?

From what I can remember everything is pretty much the same. The hospitals, the immediate area, is the same. One thing that has changed is near Springfield School. There used to be flats which were very old. I remember watching them as they were being demolished. The building opposite the school is new.

The apartments?

Yes, yes the apartments

Were the flats there?

Yes, flats. There was a passage from below and like a passage above and there were people living in there and they knocked it down.

And when you first came here, did you use the Broomspring Centre for any activities?

Yes, if there were any activities I would bring them 

Like playgroup?

Yes, there was playgroup

And I would attend activities like that and that’s why I come for my exercise class and that’s all.

OK, thank you for your time!

Thank you very much.

Read more about the campaigns to stop the demolition of Havelock Street


This page was added by Jennie Beard on 29/12/2014.

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