MY FAVOURITE THINGS: Yorkshire building constructor Richard Conroy shares his passions
Yorkshire man born and bred, Richard Conroy grew up in Holmfirth and went to school in Wakefield.
Today he has moved over the border to Baslow in Derbyshire, and his wife Rachel is a teacher at Dobcroft Junior School in Sheffield. The couple have two children, seven-year-old Elsa and Martha, five. Richard studied surveying at Reading University and then went on to complete his master’s degree in design at Harvard Design School and was the winner 2005 McCue Medal for graduating top of his year. Since 2008 he has been CEO of award winning Yorkshire house builder construction company Conroy Brook - one of the company’s biggest current contracts is the redevelopment of the NUM building in Barkers Pool in the centre of Sheffield on behalf of Quest Property Ltd. The company also recently completed its first Sheffield housing development, the award nominated Forge View in Carsick Hill Road. Richard’s interests include travel, architecture, motorbikes, the outdoors and running. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).
NUM Building in Sheffield
Since we started work on the conversion of the NUM Building in Barkers Pool I have come fascinated by its story. It was completed in the late 1980s as Arthur Scargill’s NUM’s new HQ but never occupied and stood empty and derelict for 25 years. Conroy Brook Construction is main contractor of redevelopment, currently breathing new life into building, with new offices for Grant Thornton, a bar/restaurant at ground level. Completion is planned for mid to late 2017. As a structure it’s a symbol of everything that has happened to mining, now becoming history.
The Climbing Works
For such a big city Sheffield has very strong links to outdoor activity, probably because of its proximity to the Peak District, where we now live. The mini climbing works in Little London Road off Abbeydale is an offshoot of the famous Climbing Works. The mini works is climbing for kids and it’s an ideal bad weather/winter venue. It’s something we can all share as a family - and it’s a good way to work off excess energy.
Sheffield Half Marathon
If you are interested in running Sheffield has so much to offer. The Sheffield Half Marathon was the first ever race I did back in 2012 on the old route setting off from the old Don Valley Stadium (now sadly demolished). It was such a good race with great support all round the route and a great atmosphere. It was very popular with runners of all ability. The route is very different now but I would still highly recommend it.
The grounds at Chatsworth are great for running through and it’s also good to find the time to admire the deer in all seasons. The girls love the Chatsworth farm yard and we all love the gardens with the wonderful art exhibitions. Then there’s the farm shop with excellent high quality delicious things to buy, including great pork pies and local brewed ales - what more can you ask for on your doorstep? .
The children love going up to Curbar Gap in summer to clamber about on the rocks and explore. There are great views from the edges and lots of wildlife in the area, including wild deer, birds, highland cows - and we saw an adder once. The classic fell run along White Edge at sunset in summer with views down to Sheffield on one side and across the Peak District on the other takes some beating. The aptly named Big Moor itself is a fascinating place - it’s managed by the National Trust and the RSPB.
Accelerate Running Shop
You might not expect to find the world’s best running shop in unprepossessing Attercliffe - on road or off road - but right here you can pop in for expert advice, friendly service and endless cups of tea from an enthusiastic team including Debs and Chris. They will even let you try on trainers and take them out for a spin.
Charlie’s Bistro Baslow
This is a small, independent favourite local restaurant of ours, right on our doorstep in Baslow. It’s only got a few tables and quickly gets booked up but it serves very high quality local British seasonal food and it’s outstanding. They only do a short menu but it’s exceptionally good.