A lost street underneath Sheffield Town Hall

New Church Street, looking towards Pinstone Street, now the site of Sheffield Town Hall, No 7, Cutlers’ Arms P.H., No 9, Old Green Man, No 11, Henry Bocking, Beer Retailer. Late 1800s. Photograph: Picture Sheffield

Do council officials, working late at Sheffield Town Hall, ever hear strange noises in the stilly night?

Do they listen with bated breath to the sound of prancing horses and the ghostly cries of coachmen?

Or, when all is quiet, does a rich melodious voice, declaiming in grand style, passages from Shakespeare, ever strike their astonished ears?

Or, do council officials ever work late? Or do they work from home now?

If there is any such things as ghosts, Sheffield Town Hall must be peopled with a vast multitude of them.

New Church Street (not to be confused with Church Street, near the cathedral) was demolished about 1890 to provide room for the Town Hall. It lay almost through the middle of the site of the Town Hall, from what is now the (padlocked) main front entrance, to a point in the west wall opposite the Mercure Hotel.

The Cutlers’ Arms can be seen almost in the centre of the picture, with three people near the doorway, and was the terminus for all the Derbyshire coaches.

“It was a great sight to see them coming in from Tideswell, Castleton, Baslow, Bakewell, and other places. Each coach had its name; the only ones I can remember are the ‘Lady Peel’ and the ‘Surprise,’ both of Castleton,” said Ambrose J. Wallis, who owned the photograph in 1931.

“Next to the Cutlers’ Arms were the Old Green Man and the Grapes – three public houses in a row.

“Almost opposite the Cutlers’ Arms was the house of a man who used to engrave memorial plates, one of which was in York Minster.

“His wife kept a theatrical boarding house, where a number of famous actors stayed. The most famous of all was the great Shakespearean actor, Henry Irving.”

At another house, higher up New Church Street, Mr Wallis said, there lived a man called Dunkerley, who was one of the survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade.

All this history now covered up by the Town Hall.

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved