Lowedges By Jamie Schofield
‘Lowedges’ aims to bring attention to the poverty and hardship that the outskirts of major cities still face. Sheffield is the UK’s 5th biggest city. Located in the heart of England, the South Yorkshire capital boasts exeptional transport links and has developed massively in the past 10 years. The ‘steel city’ is the home to over half a million people with 7,000 people living in Lowedges. According to Sheffield city council, Lowedges has the highest rate of any neighbourhood for teenage conceptions in Sheffield, significantly high levels of alcohol related hospital admissions, smoking prevalence, and mothers recorded as smokers at delivery. Crime is also significantly higher than average and deprivation levels are worse than the Sheffield average. The book aims to give the viewer an insight into the lives of people in Lowedges and explore their day to day lives. The photographs include multiple landscapes of different buildings in the Lowedges area, including the shops, the youth club and different houses, thus hoping to captivate it’s audience and help them understand the lack of money on the outskirts of cities like Sheffield, as the centre of the city continues to blossom.
Mainly made up of council estates and houses, Lowedges is placed on the border between Yorkshire and Derbyshire. With a school, dentist, fire station, bus terminers and a park, Lowedges should be the perfect place for a family. Seemingly ignored by the goverment, Lowedges is slowly being left behind in terms of development compared to many of it’s neighbouring areas and the rest of Sheffield. Throuhout the book there are children playing with toy guns on industrialised parks ruined by broken garages and bins. Vaclav Havel once claimed that “the salvation of this human world lies nowehre else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.” Is this being ignored in the modern world? What exactly is happening in Lowedges and why is it being overlooked and neglected? Is it the simple fact that the goverment don’t want to help, or are we so concerned with the financial development of our city centres that there simply limited amounts of money left for the development of the outskirts?
“20 years I’ve been here and it hasn’t changed… it’s no different. Parking is the worst here, everyone always nicks my bloody space. If I had the choice, I’d move away as Lowedges is not part of my roots. I don’t feel intimidated here because I don’t walk the streets at night. Saying that, when you live somewhere for so long you get to know people and gain their respect… it’s all about respect. Some people here are okay, not all. What can I say about Lowedges? Well, it’s liveable and that’s about it.”
â€œA friend of mine was living in the flats where the recent murder took place but had been moved only a couple of weeks before because he feared for his life. The guy they think did it was insane, and had threatened the lives of other tenants for ages, and had them all terrified, but the Council refused to do anything about it. My friends pretty shaken up as he reckons, probably correctly that it could easily have been him who got murdered. If they put someone else in that flat, heads should roll.â€?
“I’ve lived on Lowedges for 17 years and I think that it’s getting worse. There’s that place across from the shop that’s just for prisoners, you know that old people’s home... prisoners coming out of prison, they get to live there. The worse thing about Lowedges are chavs, what isn’t wrong with chavs? The best thing about Lowedges is LFC (a chicken shop). If I had the choice to move away or stay here, I’d stay. I’ve lived here all my life, it’s my home town innit. I feel intimidated here because of chavs. Well, some chavs can be alright, depending on if they think they’re hard or not. People like Lyndon, you get beautiful people like Lyndon who are nice. If I had to describe Lowedges in one word… it would be poor.”
“Okay, let’s be honest Lowedges hasn’t got the best reputation, but I’d prefer to live there than most other areas in Sheffield. My nanan lives there and has no insurance against burgalry, she hasn’t been burgled once in her 30 or more years of living there. Lowedges is not as bad as it is made out to be and most of the crime is selling duty free, which is good for the smokers, drinkers, and cannabis users. Most people smoking cannabis do not commit crime while stoned and are on the whole, decent people.”
“I’ve lived here for 19 years, almost 20 years. I personally think that it’s getting better because they’ve got more control over the people on here now and there’s more nicer people moving on to Lowedges. The worst thing about Lowedges are the crimes, you know like stabbings and muggings, house robberies and the bus terminus. The best thing is definitely LFC. If I had the choice, I’d stay. I’ve always said it’s home. I don’t feel intimidated at all in Lowedges because I know the people around, I’ve lived here nearly 20 years so… I run these ends. Some people are alright… majority are alright, you just get your small minority that mess everything up for everybody else… but it’s alright. If I could describe Lowedges in one word it would be home.”
All photographs taken 2016 / 2017
ÂŠ 2017 Jamie Schofield for all photos
Book design: Jamie Schofield Produced in Sheffield, England, UK
p. 22 and p.30 quotes found at: http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/archive/index.php/t-36 html