FAVOURITE THINGS: Roz Cochrane on why she loves the Black Rock at Christmas, Wah Wah Records and Wakefield Cathedral

Alan Nutton of Wah Wah Records in Brook Street, Wakefield.
Alan Nutton of Wah Wah Records in Brook Street, Wakefield.

Roz Cochrane is the Events Manager at Wakefield Cathedral. She also oversees the programming of everything which takes place in the cathedral be it service, meeting or maintenance work. She is also the writer behind Cathedral Catch-up, a weekly e-bulletin.

My links with Wakefield:

Wakefield Cathedral.

Wakefield Cathedral.

I’ve now lived in the Wakefield area (on and off) for about 40 years and have seen many changes over that time, most of them very much for the better particularly given the economic difficulties of recent years. It’s easy to only see the negative in what surrounds us now, and forget that there were negatives in the past too.

Good solid work has been done by many Wakefield people over the last ten years or so, some very obviously in the public eye, but often by those beavering away behind the scenes to bring about positive changes.

I appreciate that the Hepworth Gallery isn’t everyone’s cup of tea aesthetically (I personally love it...), but there’s no denying the additional footfall it, together with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Chantry Chapel and the National Coal Mining Museum has attracted to the city.

And once those extra visitors get here they discover that there’s much more to Wakefield than the Westgate Run - the Theatre Royal, The Arthouse, Wakefield Museum, free festivals, live music from every genre, it’s all here.

We now have the prospect of an arts complex on the former Rutland Mills site and this week Wakefield BID’s second Community Make a Difference Day took place.

There really is a lot to celebrate about our city.

Places to drink:

I have to confess that as a woman of a certain age, I don’t tend to go out around town as much as I might have done in the past.

The Black Rock pub in Wakefield.

The Black Rock pub in Wakefield.

That being said, there are a number of places I like to visit on a regular basis and importantly, where I feel comfortable if I happen to be on my own (not that I prop up a bar like Billy No Mates very often!). Harry’s Bar and The Black Rock get most of my custom.

I particularly love The Black Rock, pictured below, when their Christmas decorations go up – it’s a real throwback to childhood and being allowed to sit in the corner of a working men’s club with a bottle of blue pop and a bag of crisps.

If I’m wanting to feel a bit more hip I’d head for the Beer Exchange or the Jolly Tap, both of which are really well-run and friendly bars.

Places to eat:

When it comes to eating out, top of my list are probably Iris and Red Chilli 2, and I recently had a great pizza at the relatively newly opened Supper Club, but I have to give a special mention to my favourite chippy, Park Square Fisheries in Ossett – great fish and chips cooked to order, and if I’m feeling particularly lazy they deliver too. I love to cook, so also have to give a shout out to Allums Butchers on Brook Street – they make a mean tomato sausage!

Entertainment:

I spent many Friday nights as a teenager going to gigs in what was then Unity Hall, so it’s been really good to see the resurgence of live music over recent years.

The Cathedral is hosting the headline acts for this summer’s Long Division Festival and I’m so looking forward to seeing The Lovely Eggs, King Creosote and particularly Billy Bragg (I still have my original vinyl of Life’s a Riot with Spy v. Spy) – I will definitely enjoy my job that day.

Incidentally, tomorrow is National Record Store Day so if you’ve still got a turntable, get down to Wah Wah Records, pictured, and see what you can find.

Conclusion:

Wakefield Cathedral, pictured below, is by virtue of location very different to many throughout the country.

We’re in a pedestrianised shopping precinct, not a leafy close in an affluent city.

We see every kind of human life here and our aim is always to be a place of welcome, no different to any of the commercial enterprises listed above.

What’s dawned on me though as I write this article is that it’s all about people - individuals and organisations who want to do a good job and improve their city.

So at the end of the day, my ‘Favourite Things’ are the people of Wakefield - funny, warm, welcoming, not always easy, but real, and up for the challenge of striving for a better future.