The Sheffield Carols

The mass singing in some of the pubs in North Sheffield and North Derbyshire, which takes place in the second half of November and all December, and which is often referred to as ‘The Sheffield Carols’, has been described as one of the most remarkable instances of popular traditional singing in the British Isles.

Local compositions, and Christmas songs that have been pushed out of the mainstream of our national carol repertoire with the adoption of the sanitised and limited group of ‘standard’ carols that now pours from our radios, tv, cd players, shopping malls and churches, have survived in these unofficial places, kept alive by the sheer love of singing of the participants.

Certainly, there are some people for whom the singing of these carols is a part of a Christian faith; but for the large majority of singers of the Sheffield Carols, it is the sheer love of singing, in the company of others, that attracts them. Packed in closer than an old-style football crowd, and with pint glasses in hand, singers roar out the unique repertoire of Christmas songs, sacred and profane, that have become such an essential part of Christmas for many people in the Sheffield area, and for many regular visitors.from around the country and abroad.

Barry Callaghan, 2002.