Never did a street fall out of favour as Orchard Street did. This narrow thoroughfare was once the main route between Church Street and Fargate, bustling with commerce, with horse-drawn carriages and carts squeezing past each other.
Neither did the creation of Leopold Street diminish its popularity, although only a small portion of the street retained its name.
It wasn’t until the 1980s, and the creation of Orchard Square, that it was relegated to become the back door to shops, and a place for lads to have a quick wee on a Saturday night.
It is an incredibly old thoroughfare, though the name Orchard Street wasn’t given to it until comparatively late.
Formerly all the land in the triangle between Church Street and Fargate consisted of orchards and gardens, but warehouses, shops, and cutlery works gradually covered the space.
In the early 1700s, it is referred to as Brinceworth’s Orchard, while in Fairbanks’ Plan of 1777 it was known as Brelsforth’s Orchards, and in the 1787 Directory it is described as Brinsworth’s Orchards. A document of 1763 gives the address of a trader as Brinsford Orchard. Both Brinsworth and Brelsford, or Brelsforth, are old Sheffield names, and possibly the various names indicate changes of ownership of the orchards through which the street passed.
Eventually the personal names were dropped, and the thoroughfare simply became Orchard Street.
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