Buildings Streets

Queen’s Hotel

Photograph by Stephen Richards

The Queen’s Hotel, on Scotland Street, is one of those public houses that has seen a lot of changes over the years.

Scotland Street itself dates from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, built along a former boundary of an open field system. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, small factories, workshops and housing were built in the area, encouraged by an influx of Irish immigrants during the 1840s.

A public house stood here before. Built in 1791, known as the Queen’s Inn, later the Queen’s Hotel, and under the ownership of William Bradley & Co, and subsequently S.H. Wards, which bought it in 1876.

By the 1920s, the Scotland Street area contained some of the city’s worst slum housing, described as “hovels of the aristocracy” and “mansions of the poor.” It prompted Sheffield Corporation to demolish large swathes of terraced houses.

Photograph by Picture Sheffield

Sheffield Corporation set about widening Scotland Street, and in the process purchased land from S.H. Ward & Co, including the site of the nearby Old Hussar public house, and part of the site of the Queen’s Hotel, on condition that they paid the brewery £2,875 towards the cost of rebuilding the Queen’s Hotel.

The new pub, built with stark, simple, exterior lines, opened in December 1928 with guest rooms on the upper floors, a large function room on the first floor and two ground floor bars.

Photograph by Picture Sheffield

It could be said that the new Queen’s Head opened at the wrong time and experienced highs and lows ever since.

In 1934, over 50 shopkeepers from the Scotland Street, Meadow Street and surrounding area congregated inside the Queen’s Hotel, demanding that Sheffield Corporation reduce their rent and rates.

They argued that while a great many of their customers had been removed to new housing estates, their rent and rates had remained the same.

The shopkeepers had suffered bad trade for years because at least eighty per cent of the inhabitants had been either unemployed or on short time, and now they were losing their custom altogether. Now they had been left on the edge of a “desert.”

A long-term lack of investment, and a general state of decline, resulted in the area becoming down-at-heel by the middle of the twentieth century.

Many local factories closed, and the decline accelerated in the 1970s, as did the fortunes of the Queen’s Hotel, not helped by S.H. Wards being taken over by Sunderland-based Vaux Breweries in 1972. The brewery closed in 1999, two years after the Queen’s Hotel had closed its doors for good in April 1997.

Photograph by Sheffielder

As reported a few months ago, plans have been floating around to demolish the Queen’s Head and construct a new residential development comprising more than 220 apartments.

That day has now come, with Rise Homes, supported by DLP Planning and Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson, submitting an application to Sheffield City Council for the new development.

The derelict public house would be demolished as would the former Robert Neil & Co (Sheffield) Ltd building next door.

Photograph by Yorbex/Derelict Places

The new residential development would comprise three blocks of up to ten storeys, with a total of 229 apartments, with 145 one-bedroom and 84 two-bedroom units.

Visitors to the area will agree that this part of Scotland Street is now down-at-heel, within an area of transition, which is becoming characterised by more city centre living.

Planning applications were previously approved in 2005 and 2007 for residential developments that would have retained the pub. However, it has now been determined it is not viable to retain any element of the building.

With the demolition of the Queen’s Head likely to be granted it will be a sad end for the public house, especially when people are now heading back to live here once again.

Photograph by Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson