Ron Clayton – Since 1952

Ron Clayton is a professional Sheffielder, wit and raconteur and local historian (a phrase he hates). Being the son of a fishmonger and being allergic to fish himself he spent 37 misspent years in HM Home Civil Service before escaping in 2010. With an Honours Degree in History from the University of Sheffield, a penchant for speaking his mind and 59 years of Sheffield life running through him Ron became a well-known local speaker on most every Sheffield monument and landmark.


Ron working with Radio Sheffield.
Over the years he’s been a regular on BBC Radio Sheffield, a contributor to Sheffield Environment Weeks walks and a sometimes acerbic but humorous regular correspondent to the Sheffield Press. Until recently he produced the Calling Time Feature on Sheffield Public Houses for the Sheffield Star Newspaper. Author of three books on Sheffield local history, he’s been the subject of several features in the Sheffield Star and Telegraph. Previously, Ron has written for BBC Radio 4 on Sheffield’s WW2 Women of Steel from Kelham Island Museum. Ron’s played the ghost of villainous Sam Garvin of the infamous Park Brigade gang, Friar Tuck, as Robin Hood was born in Loxley Sheffield and Cardinal Wolsey. These performances will never win him an Oscar but have seen him acclaimed as a proper Sheffield barmpot.


Ron in full swing during “Blitz Walk – Operation Crucible”. Part of the 70th anniversary commemorations.
Currently he’s the leading campaigner for the opening up of the remains of Sheffield Castle when the Castle Market is demolished and shown below presenting a computer generated reconstruction of the Castle gateway [courtesy of the University Of Sheffield] to the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Sylvia Dunkley.

Ron meeting the Lord Mayor.

Ron’s Talks and Walks on and around Sheffield are not only educational but entertaining.

Ron in the Local Media

“It’s not the steel city, it’s the student city.”

By Charlotte Wilson

Ron Clayton, 63, a Sheffield historian, is fulfilling his lost childhood by taking students on historical tours of the steel city.
Ron was born with bronchitis. As a result, his parents moved from Hillsborough to Wadsley. To get to higher ground and away from the pollution that was so heavily thick in the 50s and 60s.


Ron Clayton profile

Ron struggled with his bronchitis and as a result he couldn’t always keep up with the other kids, particularly during PE classes.

“I just didn’t have the lungs for it. It definitely held me back, I missed out on much of my primary education and I missed out socially as well.”

Ron Clayton younh 





Ron’s school photo aged 10, before he was home schooled. Credit – Ron Clayton.

“I didn’t get to go to Christmas parties at primary school and I had to get home tutored. So I definitely missed out on a lot as a child. In a way, I still feel like a big kid.”

Ron says that he missed out socially while growing up and that it took him a long time to find his passion for history.

“My mum wanted to wrap me up in cotton wool so I was quite naïve about life. I went on to work in the civil service but I’m still trying to find my passion, and that’s why I took more of an interest in history.”

Ron takes students on tours around Sheffield and teaches them about the history of the steel city.

“It’s not the steel city anymore, it’s the student city, and that’s not a bad thing. I don’t have any kids so if I can pass on something to the students of the city, then I’ll feel quite accomplished.”

Wadsley is often referred to as Wisewood. Ron wants to bring the Wadsley identity back to Sheffield and he is bringing to light the Wadsley Arts Festival being held in June at Wadsley Church, as well as the PictureSheffield  website where Ron has an archive of Wadsley.

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Ron has several books to his name. You can click the titles below to read more information and purchase his books:


The Old Queens Head

This pub is the oldest remaining domestic building in Sheffield. Located down by Sheffield Interchange, just off Sheaf street. The now Grade II listed building dates back to at least 1582, with building records as far back as 1475. Its original purpose is shrouded in mystery, it was once claimed to be the lodge for Sheffield Castle or its laundry but now regarded as a probable banqueting hall. Reputedly haunted and with a secret tunnel to the Manor Lodge. Very atmospheric after dark.