Gladstone Buildings

This illustration of the Sheffield Reform Club, forming the greater part of the Gladstone Buildings, is from October 1885, and celebrated an important contribution to the public buildings of Sheffield.

Just completed, the Sheffield Reform Club, for Liberal-minded people, was formally opened by Archibald Primrose (1847-1929), 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian, on Tuesday 20 October 1885. (He later served as Prime Minister in 1894-1895).

The club was the tenant of the Gladstone Buildings Company, renting from it that portion shown in the drawing – the two frontages facing to St James’ Row (where the entrance was), and to Church Street.

On the ground floor was a range of shops, the first floor was occupied by the club dining, reading and writing rooms; the second floor the billiard and smoke rooms, and higher still were the domestic apartments.

The whole club had been handsomely furnished, and already had a large roll of members, attracted by the accommodation inside.

Life members paid £30 a year, while ordinary members were charged not less than one guinea on entrance, and an annual subscription of the same. Honorary members were admitted free of charge.

Within its rules, it stated that the term “beverages” did not include tea, coffee or cocoa.

Beverages would only be supplied to members and visitors in the coffee or dining room, club billiard room, smoke room and private dining rooms.

The Sheffield Reform Club’s first president was Anthony John Mundella (1825-1897), reformer and Liberal MP for Sheffield, and its treasurer was Samuel Osborn (1826-1891), steel maker and tool manufacturer.

The club closed in the 1940s, the building later converted into offices, and is now known as 1 St James’ Row, at the side of Sheffield Cathedral.