Chris Hald comes from Danish ancestry, and grew up in the United States.
He now considers Britain his real homeland, having lived in the UK for 27 years, and has recently made Sheffield his home.
His first introduction to life in Britain was living and working in Derbyshire. He was a frequent visitor into Sheffield primarily for a change of scene and a bit of shopping. Over the past 27 years, Chris and his family have moved around the country and even lived in the Channel Islands, but has always returned to the Sheffield area to visit friends and enjoy its open spaces.
Chris has seen, over this time, the city undergoing many changes, but it has always been a draw. He is excited to be back in this area once again, after taking the post of Head of Infant and Junior School at Sheffield High School for Girls and has enjoyed re-familiarising himself with the city. It is a special place for him and his family and offers the ideal work/life balance.
The student vibe
I went to university in Seattle in the US. Seattle and Sheffield have many common factors – the parks, the hills, the culture and the cosmopolitan feel. Seattle is also a university city, like Sheffield. Students bring a vibrancy and excitement to a city. You certainly take note of the new term, and the swell to the city’s population, I see the student foot traffic pass the Junior School along Melbourne Avenue. The universities definitely brings life to the place.
The ‘village’ feel
Sheffield might be a big city but it has a village feel. Living and working in the city means I do get noticed away from my day job. But I like the friendly feel and the fact you regularly see people you know.
I can be at the supermarket and meet students of mine with their parents. Some of them can’t believe I exist outside of my school life, let alone own and wear a pair of jeans! At school we also work hard to build a strong rapport with students and their families – interacting with pupils and parental engagement is important because it’s not all about parents just dropping them off at the school gates.
The city’s museums, galleries and theatres are all something I need to explore, and use more often. We are so lucky to have such a fantastic cultural scene accessible to us. I love visiting the Millennium Gallery – because of the link to Sheffield’s steel history and you see something different every time you visit. I also like sitting in the Winter Garden and take in some peace and quiet.
As I re-familiarise myself with Sheffield, I’ve been exploring the different areas like Broomhill, Weston Park, The Botanical Gardens and Ecclesall Road. It is such a brilliant city for walking and I love the hills – although I’ve had to re-adjust to hill walking. I have been living in East Anglia for the past 13 years which is a flat as Denmark. One of the main attractions of these areas are when you come across a little row of independent shops – where you can get a paper, use a Post Office, buy a loaf of bread or something for your home. These places have a really distinct community feel. I particularly like having a coffee at Remo’s in Broomhill and visiting a chocolate/gift shop called Anise. It has the most delicious Belgian chocolate dipped candied orange peels this side of Bruge…dark chocolate is my guilty pleasures. Another favourite place is the Curzon cinema – my family really love the ‘independent cinema’ feel with the smaller screens and comfy seats. It makes going to the films still a special event.
The green spaces we have in this city, and on our doorstep in The Peak District are amazing. We talk a lot at school about the green gym (the parks) and the blue gym (the sky) and about how important it is to use and enjoy these areas. I have always loved walking and I’m so lucky that I can use Endcliffe Park at the end of the day for some thinking time, or take a 15 minute drive and be out in the Peak District – the Longshaw Estate, Stanage Edge, Castleton and the Derwent Reservoirs are among my best-loved places.
Graze Inn and Cowshed
We have yet to be really adventurous but this is one of our most regular haunts. When you walk through the doors you are greeted by smiling staff and a fun, colourful décor. It has a real family feel and the food, especially the Sunday lunch, is gorgeous. My family also loves the burgers, steaks and rotisserie chicken. The whole experience is based around friendly service, bringing people together and having fun.
The new Sheffield
Having been away from Sheffield and coming back 27 years later I can certainly say that things have changed – for the better. Obviously, I can look back nostalgically to old parts of the city that are no longer there like the Gaumont Cinema and the Hole in the Road but the city has to move on, and I definitely think in the right direction. What has replaced the old Sheffield is a modern, thriving city with developments such as the Heart of the City and the new retail quarter offering Sheffield a promising future.