“Crookes? Where’s that?”
As a Malaysian student in Sheffield, I receive this question a lot when I tell my fellow Malaysians that I live in Crookes. Crookes may be a popular student area but among Malaysians it is pretty unknown. Most Malaysians choose to live in Broomhall where there is a strong Malaysian community and a shop nearby that stocks fair amounts of Malaysian products and even has a halal butchers.
“Why did you decide to live so far away?’
Is the second question I usually receive when I tell them that I commute to lectures by bus. “But that means you have to leave your house really early to be on time!” is a remark that usually follows. I used to mirror this sentiment. It was the reason I chose City Centre when I applied for university accommodation in my first year at Sheffield. Because I saw that Ranmoor and Endcliffe were 40 minutes walking distance away and I didn’t think I could manage such a long commute. Crookes is not quite that far away but still it has given me a taste of living far from campus that I thought I would hate so much.
If I catch the bus at a good time, it can take only 7 minutes to reach West Street. But generally the trip is about 10-15 minutes long and buses are frequent; about every 10 minutes. When I feel like it, I walk and that takes me less than half an hour to but a little bit more back (Crookes is very hilly and I live at the top of the hill). So really, it’s not all that bad and here are a few more good things I (and my flatmates) can think of about living in Crookes.
1. Cheaper rent.
Generally, the further away from the city centre, the lower the rent.
2. See a different side of Sheffield you would not otherwise see.
This may only apply to international students, but it’s really fun discovering new places in a new country. Even something as mundane as a street looks really cool, especially when it’s a ridiculously inclined street, of which there are plenty. Bole Hill also deserves a mention. I will catch a sunset here one day, I keep telling myself. The Crookes community also holds cute little street markets where vendors sell hand-knitted baby clothes, cupcakes, gluten-free cakes and there was even fresh-from-the-oven pizzas once.
3. A quieter pace of life.
A fair percentage of Crookes’ population is made up of the above 50’s, I’d say. So the atmosphere around here is slower, calmer. A welcome change from loud student predrinks and parties, waking up to vomit on the doorstep and naked men outside the flat (this really happened in Broad Lane Court).
4. The weather.
I can’t find any sources online that mention how high above sea level the peak of Crookes is and how that compares to, say, West Street’s height above sea level and if it’s significant enough to cause a change in climate (it’s probably not) but the weather up here is pretty awesome. On the good sunny days, the sun seems to shine brighter. My flatmates also feel that, perhaps, it snows more here, or it settles a bit better here than it does elsewhere, and that’s something international students from a non-four-seasons country always like to see.