Categories
Buildings

The Electricity Substation referred to as a “citadel” when it was built 

Electricity Substation, at the junction of Moore Street and Hanover Way. Built 1968. Photograph: DJP/2021

Here’s a building that attracts attention from all over the world. Strangely enough, it is a building that frightened me as a child. The cold, harsh, concrete structure overpowers one of the main gateways into Sheffield city centre.

Do we like it?

It seems that disapproval of Sheffield’s Brutalist architecture is reserved for Park Hill flats, and the Electricity Substation, on Moore Street and Hanover Way, seemingly escapes most criticism. And since October 2010, the building has been floodlit with coloured lighting at night-time creating a dramatic artistic focal point on Sheffield’s ring road.

Its history goes back to the early 1960s when electricity distribution in the city called for the use of a 275 kilovolt cable ring around the city centre with transformer and switching substations needed on the ring.

A substation was needed near the junction of The Moor and Ecclesall Road. Back then, this was an area largely occupied by substandard back-to-back housing and small cutlery works and was identified for redevelopment.

The original plan was square in detail, but this was rejected because it would have forced the closure of several small factories. Instead, an L-shaped plan, occupied by back-to-back properties, was devised by the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) to be built in two phases.

The chosen site needed an architectural statement and the CEGB appointed Jefferson, Sheard and Partners of Sheffield and London, led by Bryan Jefferson, as architects to work with the board’s own civil engineer.

The result was this concrete building that housed transformers, switchgears, and busbars on separate floors. Phase 2, forming the other leg of the substation was never built because anticipated demand never materialised.

Vertical circulation is via an external staircase with covered walkway. Photograph: DJP/2021

The Electricity Substation was built by Longden & Sons and completed in 1968. In the same year, it was commended in the Financial Times Industrial Architecture Awards.

Constructed with a reinforced concrete frame with concrete floor slabs, blue engineering facing bricks, and cladding panels of Cornish granite aggregate, it was completed by Longden & Sons in 1968. In the same year, the building was commended in the Financial Times Industrial Architecture Awards.

The ground floor houses two transformers, with switch gear occupying the floor above. It was Grade II listed in 2013, considered to be of special interest, and is still in use, although advanced technology means the second floor is redundant.

Exposed concrete panels are on the upper levels and are illuminated at night. Photograph: DJP/2021

Note: –
Bryan Jefferson founded his practice with Garry Sheard in 1958, and the architects were also responsible for the Cinema and Entertainment complex in Pond Street, now occupied by Odeon Luxe, Tank Nightclub, and the O2 Academy.

The substation is highly unusual for its date as due to its prominent urban position in a post-war redevelopment area the transformers and switchgear are enclosed within an architect-designed building, rather than being located in an open-air site surrounded by security fencing as was the usual form for substations of this period. Photograph: DJP/2021

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

Categories
Companies

The Hadfield Bean. Built with famous Sheffield steels

Hadfield Bean. The steel-maker Hadfields took it over in 1926 but by 1929 it ceased car production. In 1933 Hadfield re-launched the company as Beans Industries, making components for other motor vehicle manufacturers. Photograph: Fluxposure

Hadfields limited of Hecla and East Hecla, Sheffield, founded by Robert Hadfield in 1869, was an established manufacturer of special steels, in particular manganese alloys and steel castings. The company was taken over by his son, Sir Robert Abbott Hadfield (1858-1940) and by 1911 was believed to employ more workmen than any other business in the city. It specialised in the production of war materials but in 1926 agreed to rescue Harper Bean Ltd, manufacturer of Bean Cars, with factories in Dudley, Worcestershire and Coseley, Staffordshire.

The car company traced its origins to two auto component suppliers, A Harper and Sons and Bean Ltd. For a few years in the early 1920s Bean outsold Austin and Morris, the business model relying on high volumes, but its financial troubles resulted in its rescue by Sheffield-based Hadfields which supplied steel for the cars.

The 1928 14-45 H.P. Hadfield Bean with fabric body was featured in magazine articles of the day. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

From 1927, all cars were known as Hadfield Beans, but the last model was launched in 1928 and by the following year production had ceased.

Hadfields eventually merged with Samuel Osborn and after various takeovers came to prominence in the steel strike of 1980 when ugly picket line scenes hit national headlines. It eventually suffered the same fate as much of the British steel industry and was closed in 1983. The East Hecla site is now mainly covered by Meadowhall Shopping Centre.

A 1928 newspaper advert for the Hadfield Bean 14-45 car. Built with Hadfields’ famous Sheffield steels. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

Categories
People Places

The Afghan charm offensive that came to nowt

Amanullah Khan was crowned the Amir of Afghanistan after his father, Amir Habibullah was assassinated in February 1919. Amanullah Khan was fiercely anti-British and wanted to destroy an old agreement which gave the British control over Afghanistan’s foreign policy. The British resisted this move, and so began the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). After a brief struggle, the British were forced to negotiate and in the end surrendered their control over Afghanistan’s foreign policy.
Afterwards, Amanullah became a national hero, and was given the tile Ghazi. He then turned his attention to modernising Afghanistan. Photograph: Britannica

Afghanistan is a country that seems to be in perpetual turmoil. There have been those that attempted to modernise it, thwarted at every turn, and there was a time when Sheffield was going to play its part.

In March 1928, Sheffield welcomed the King and Queen of Afghanistan. People crowded the streets to welcome King Amanullah and Queen Souriya who had travelled at high speed in Rolls-Royce cars from Derby.

The visit was part of a European tour that began in late 1927, taking in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and finally Poland. Amidst the flag waving, it was clearly an attempt by western industries to gain a foothold in a new economy.

Ghazi Amanullah Khan (1892-1960) was the sovereign of Afghanistan from 1919, first as Emir and after 1926 as King. Having wrested control from colonial powers, King Amanullah had set about reforming Afghanistan along Western lines.

The King met the Lord Mayor at Sheffield Town Hall by taking off his hat, shaking hands, and saying “How do you do?” in English.

When King Amanullah entered the Town Hall he noticed Sergeant Harper, an ex-serviceman, in his invalid carriage. He was about to pass when the old soldier held out his autograph album and fountain pen. The King duly obliged by adding his name to the book.

After luncheon, the King and Queen went onto the balcony over the front entrance and waved to the cheering crowds outside.

When the royal party left the Town Hall, Sergeant Harper had hoped to get the Queen’s signature. He held out his autograph book, but she did not see him. However, King Amanullah did, and went over to him, shook his hand again, and placed what was thought to be a £1 note in his hand. Only afterwards did Sergeant Harper realise that it was a £100 note!

Sergeant Harper, the disabled ex-serviceman, to whom the King of Afghanistan gave a £100 note. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

Afterwards, the King and Queen visited Vickers-Armstrong’s River Don Works where they witnessed steel production and visited the gun machine shops. They were shown a demonstration of caterpillar armoured cars, guns, and rifles.

A Bean Motor Car at Hadfields Co. Ltd., East Hecla Works on the occasion of the Royal visit of King Amanullah and Queen Souriya of Afghanistan. Bean cars were manufactured by A. Harper Sons and Bean Ltd who were owned by Hadfields Ltd at the time. Photograph: Picture Sheffield

Next it was to Hadfields East Hecla works, where the strength of its steel helmets and armour was demonstrated by shooting at the figure of an infantryman. Queen Souriya proved to be an accurate shot, hitting the helmet, and was presented with the bullet as a souvenir. On their departure, the King was presented with a Sheffield knife with golden haft, in a Morocco case. In exchange, the King paid the customary halfpenny, and laughed heartily at a quaint old Sheffield custom.

The Royal party inspecting Vickers’ River Don Works. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

The next stop was a tour of Mappin and Webb on Queen’s Road, where they witnessed the depositing of gold and silver, and the shaping of nickel silver sheet metal using power presses and drop stamps. Here he was presented with a silver-gilt casket, with his crest enamelled on the cover.

The Royal Party then returned to the Town Hall for tea and was presented with a canteen of cutlery and a case of scissors as gifts from the city. The King accepted this, and through his interpreter said he would always remember the warm welcome they had received in Sheffield.

King Amanullah and Queen Souriya of Afghanistan with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Sheffield at the Town Hall. The cabinet of Sheffield cutlery presented to them by the Corporation is seen in the centre. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

They left the city for Manchester by royal train, the King and Queen occupying the saloon used by British royalty.

Looking back, it was a day of celebration, and one that might have cemented a special relationship with Afghanistan. However, while the King toured Europe, opposition to his rule had increased back home culminating in a march on the capital where most of the army deserted rather than resist.

There were allegations of corruption, and within ten months of his visit to Sheffield, the King had abdicated and was forced into exile in India before seeking asylum in Italy. Many of the reforms were reversed and Afghanistan remained a troubled state.

The King and Queen of Afghanistan photographed with their suite at the Midland Station when they left for Manchester. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

Categories
People

It started in Sheffield. Keith Barron spent little time off our screens over his 56-year career with over 160 credits

Keith Barron once wistfully explained that he had ‘enjoyed a career of two stages’: in the first, he’d had the luxury of getting many roles that required “Penetration Acting” – having sex on screen (fake, of course); and the second stage was what he called “Heart Attack Acting” – playing older characters whose ‘bedroom antics have cardiac consequences.’ Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

He might not have been from Sheffield, but actor Keith Barron owed his success to the city. He was born in Mexborough in 1934, and left its Technical College with ambitions to be an actor, spending eight years with the Mexborough Theatre Guild.

“I had always been interested in the theatre, but my father had a wholesale provisions business and wanted me to take it over. I found it very difficult, so I used to take off and read film magazines. We had a terrible row, he sold the business, and I went into rep at the Sheffield Playhouse in 1956. I had to start at the bottom, making tea for a pound a week for nine months. It’s valuable experience, it makes you really sure that you want to do it.”

The Sheffield Repertory Company was on Townhead Street and Keith lived on Kenwood Road.

“Visitors to Sheffield Playhouse will be pleased to see Keith Barron making his professional debut in Sheffield Repertory Company’s production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. He has the small part of a porter. Although he has only two lines to say and his appearance does not last more than 30 seconds what little he had to do, he does well.”

His first sizeable role was as the spy in Peter Ustinov’s Romanoff and Juliet, and starred in dozens of productions over the next few years, including amongst many, The Winter’s Tale, Frost at Midnight, Graham Greene’s The Potting Shed, A Touch of the Sun, Toast and Marmalade and a Boiled Egg, An Inspector Calls,  Blithe Spirit, and as the Rev. Guy Saunders in another Ustinov classic, The Banbury Nose.

Like the other men of his generation, Keith Barron was forced to partake in the National Service which stood in the way of his acting dreams. It wasn’t until he had completed his time in the RAF after dropping out of school, that he was able to follow his passion and begin studying acting at what was the Sheffield Playhouse. Photograph: BBC News

In 1959, 25-year-old Keith was described by a newspaper “as a modest, aspiring young man, and standing on the brink of success.”

“There is perhaps, no more impressive moment in a theatre when an audience is moved to spontaneous applause by the sheer power of a player’s acting. This is happening every night at Sheffield Playhouse with Keith Barron in The Ring of Truth,” said The Stage in 1960.

Much Ado About Nothing at the Sheffield Playhouse in February 1958. Left to right. Bernard Archard, Keith Barron, Neville McGrath, Judy Bailey, Kenneth Dight, Anne Godfrey, Julie Paul, Judith Chappell, and Bryan Drew.

Keith was also amongst Sheffield Playhouse actors chosen to record An Inspector Calls for BBC radio for its Saturday Night Theatre slot.

His departure from Sheffield Playhouse in 1961 was regarded as a serious loss. “A sound young actor with a compelling sense of rhetoric: he has held many audiences enthralled by his command of rapid dialogue accompanied by quick stage movements. He is definitely a live theatre actor, but like too many he is going into television.”

Keith Barron enjoyed a ‘long and varied career’, and was survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Pickard(right), and his son Jamie (middle). Photograph: Daily Mail

Keith never gave up on the stage, joined the Bristol Vic, and didn’t want to go to London but television was the future.

He appeared as Detective Sergeant John Swift in The Odd Man (1962-65) and the policing spin-off It’s Dark Outside. His first sitcom success was in The Further Adventures of Lucky Jim (1967) and later in No Strings (1974). He deftly switched from comedy to drama, from the title character in Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton (1965) and as David, in Duty Free (1984-86) about two couples on a package holiday in Marbella and attracted seventeen million viewers.

Duty Free was about two British couples, David and Amy Pearce and Robert and Linda Cochran, who meet while holidaying at the same  Spanish hotel in Marbella and the interruptive affair conducted by David and Linda during their break. It was made by Yorkshire Television. Photograph: BBC News

His other TV roles were prolific, and included Room at the Bottom, Haggard, Prince Regent, The Good Guys, Telford’s Change, Stay with Me till Morning, Take Me Home, Doctor Who, Coronation Street, DCI Banks, All Night Long, Where the Heart Is, Kay Mellor’s The Chase, and Dead Man Weds. And he was in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner on numerous occasions.

Keith died in November 2017, survived by his wife, Mary Pickard, a former stage designer, whom he met in Sheffield and married in 1959, and a son, Jamie, also an actor.

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

Categories
People Places

From Ballifield, Handsworth, to Ballifield, USA

Trenton is the capital city of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. It briefly served as the capital of the United States in 1784

Mahlon Stayce was born at Dore House on the family’s Ballifield estate, Handsworth, in 1638, and married Rebekah Ely in 1668. Both their families were English Quakers, a new religious movement that was treated with suspicion and hostility under the parliamentary rule of Oliver Cromwell following the English civil war. With the return of the monarchy by Charles II, Quakers were subject to persecution for their refusals to conform to the Church of England. Their refusal to pay mandatory tithes meant they faced crippling fines or imprisonment, and many decided to practice their faith in the American colonies.

Mahlon Stayce, a tanner, acquired, as a creditor, a large chunk of colonial soil in West Jersey, America, and his family sailed from Hull in 1678. He established his home on the south bank of the Assunpink Creek and called it Ballifield after his ancestral home at Handsworth.

Ballifield Hall in the late 1800s, rebuilt by Peter Cadman, and for many years previous was the home of the Stacye Family. Photograph: Picture Sheffield

Stacye was given permission to build a new settlement at the side of the Delaware River where he founded a church. The town was originally called The Falls, and later Stacye’s Mill.

Stacye held a large estate, had several business interests, and held many titles in public life.  He died a wealthy and respected citizen in 1704.

By 1719, the town had adopted the name “Trent-towne”, after William Trent, a Philadelphia merchant, who purchased much of the surrounding land from Stacye’s family

This humble settlement, with its Handsworth origins, grew into a big city – Trenton, New Jersey.

Back in Sheffield, Ballifield Hall has gone, the Ballifield housing estate built on its former parkland.

In 1910, the Trenton Chamber of Commerce put out a contest to create the slogan to be put on the bridge. S. Roy Heath was the winner of the contest, making him the creator of “Trenton Makes, The World Takes.”
Categories
Streets

The people lined the street to catch a glimpse of Queen Victoria

Hereford Street, Sheffield. The road was one much wider, lined with shops, houses, and factories. Photograph: DJP/2021

Hereford Street’s greatest moment was when Queen Victoria officially opened Sheffield Town Hall in May 1897 and travelled down here on her way to Norfolk Park. It might be hard to believe now, but let your imagination do the rest.

“To stand on The Moor, at the top of Hereford Street, and look down the latter thoroughfare affords the spectator a great amount of pleasure. A scene is presented of bright flags of dainty and artistic colours, fancy streamers of every description, while other kinds of bunting and bannerettes float out gaily in every direction.

“Venetian masts are erected on either side of the street, 15 yards apart, and are surmounted by large gilt spearheads, while banners, shields, and trophies of flags are fixed to each mast. Every alternate mast has a pedestal covered with crimson cloth and gilt ornamentation, and at the summit of each pedestal is a group of real plants.

“Across the street at intervals are fixed canopies of handsome floral work, and streamer flags of harmonious colours and flower baskets are suspended from the centre of each floral canopy, with lines of streamer flags along the street at either side connecting the masts with the whole design.

“The buildings, too, in Hereford Street have been dealt with in the most artistic manner. Flags float out bravely from the tops of the principal works and houses, and on the fronts are displayed handsome shields, backed up with designs of small flags and other similar trophies.

“As the time arrived for the stopping of traffic, the corner where Hereford Street joins the Moor became so blocked with cars, cabs, and buses that the Derbyshire police, who extended from the top of Hereford Street along part of St Mary’s Road were hard put to it to prevent serious accidents.

“People would still insist on leaving the shelter of the barriers and coming across the road, and then, as likely as not, they were stranded amongst the horses and vehicles, who, being unused to the terrible commotion, were almost frantic and the drivers, but for the efforts of the police, could not possibly have helped running down some of these belated wayfarers.

“However, this was soon cleared, the arrival of the 1st Battalion of the Hallamshire Rifles having a great deal to do with the transformation.

“The men were placed eight paces apart and covered the entire length of Hereford Street and part of St Mary’s Road.

The visit of Queen Victoria. Pictured here on The Moor. Photograph: Picture Sheffield

“The crowd was very orderly, only a few attempting to elude the vigilant eye of the constables, and those that attempted this being in most cases drunk.

“As the time wore on, however, getting tired, perhaps, and some of them thirsty, occasional rows occurred. People attempted to change their positions and their neighbours’ mild remonstrations gradually developed into what may be styled ‘words,’ and again, in some cases, where the sum was particularly irritating, into blows.

“The few fights, however, that did take place soon raised cries of ‘Police!’ and the guardians of the peace immediately quelled the disorder and left the combatants to sing and shout once more with the rest.

“Several cases of fainting occurred, and it was rather unfortunate that at this point of the route there was no ambulance corps, but the gallantry to the ladies of the rough and ready grinders was quite touching, and these were immediately made room for even in the thickest crushes.

“Of course, skits and jokes passed amongst the members of the crowd, but, as a rule, the language was ‘fit for the Queen.’

“Stands, windows, and roofs were all crowded, and the number of people in the street was, as far as can be judged, above the average.

“The procession passed, the military lined up, and the crowd in one huge migration, made tracks, some for the park, and others in order to get another view, if possible, along South Street, Park.”

Looking towards The Moor from Hereford Street. Today, this part of the road is pedestrianised and is occupied by Dempseys, bar and Club and QJ (the former Yorkshire Bank). Photograph: Picture Sheffield

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

Categories
Streets

Hereford Street: two photographs seventy years apart

Aerial photograph of Hereford Street (top to bottom) in 1951
Aerial photograph of Hereford Street (top to bottom) in 2021

Two photographs that show how a Sheffield street lost its identity.

Hereford Street is shown as a wide thoroughfare in 1951, a continuation of Charlotte Road, and intersected by narrow St Mary’s Road, and Porter Street (that became the lower end of Eyre Street). It joined The Moor that continued south towards London Road. Note that Bramall Lane roundabout did not exist.

Seventy years later, the outline of Hereford Street can still be seen but is split by two dual carriageways – St Mary’s Road and Eyre Street. Gone are the factories, houses, and small shops, and the Moor-end is pedestrianised, and this section of The Moor lost beneath the Moorfoot Building.

Sadly, this area has become an unloved part of the city centre with Hereford Street falling on hard times.

Most astonishing is that few buildings appear in both photographs. Most were swept away for road development, factories were surplus to requirement, and old houses and shops deemed unfit for purpose.

St Mary’s Church, on Bramall Lane, does appear in both photographs. In 1951, it was covered in soot and suffered from air pollution, but look how large the churchyard was, and how much was taken away to make St Mary’s Road a dual-carriageway.

Buildings to point out in the modern-day image are the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Headquarters and Moor Markets (left), Decathlon and Deacon House (centre) and, of course, the Moorfoot Building (bottom).

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

Categories
Buildings

History in the wall – From Martins Bank to an eyesore

Former Martins Bank, now listed as Cumberland House, on Eyre Street, Sheffield. Photograph: DJP/2021

History is all around us. Keep your eyes open and sometimes you will see something that reveals something of our past. At the corner of Eyre Street and Cumberland Street, set in the wall of a building, is an old night safe. Unused for forty-eight years, it is marked ‘Martins Bank Limited’.

It is an obvious clue as to the origins of this rather run-down looking 1960s building, and tells us that once-smart buildings can become eyesores if we don’t look after them.

A clue at the building’s former use. Night safes were built on the outside of banks, allowing money to be deposited into the bank’s safe outside of bank opening hours. Photograph: DJP/2021

Martin’s Bank was a London private bank that could trace its origins back to the London goldsmiths. Martin’s agreed to its acquisition by the Bank of Liverpool in 1918, which wanted a London presence and a seat on the London Bankers’ Clearing House; the Martin’s name was retained in the title of the enlarged bank which was known as The Bank of Liverpool and Martin’s Limited. The title was shortened to Martins Bank Limited (without an apostrophe) in 1928.

The bank had a presence in Sheffield from 1927 when the Equitable Bank, at 64 Leopold Street, merged with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins. It outgrew the premises and opened a new branch in the Telephone Buildings at the bottom of West Street in 1930. It wasn’t until 1960 that a Sheffield University branch was opened, quickly followed by this purpose-built bank  – Sheffield Moor – on Eyre Street. (Another, on Bank Street, came later).

This branch opened in 1961 on land that had once been the site of Greer and Rigby, Surgeons, and land left vacant after the bombings of World War Two.

Junction of Porter Street and Cumberland Street (in background). No 118, Porter Street, former premises of Greer and Rigby, Surgeons. Former entrance to Court No. 10 on left. Porter Street later became part of Eyre Street. Photograph: Picture Sheffield
Martins Bank in 1963. It did not occupy all the building, following the Victorian tradition of creating shop and office rental space to generate additional income. Photograph: Picture Sheffield
Martins Bank in 1970. The old buildings adjacent were demolished to make way for Deacon House. Photograph: Picture Sheffield

According to archives, this part of Sheffield was too far from the old commercial quarter to be effectively served by the West Street branch. “A beautiful modern building with interior décor which responds to the full blaze of sunshine most cheerfully, or, on a dark day when the illuminated ceiling has to be switched on, creates an oasis of light, warmth and welcome which makes it a pleasure to step inside.”

The ground floor was shared with Olivetti, typewriters, and office machine dealers, while the British Wagon Company occupied part of the first floor.

Martins Bank was bought by Barclays in 1968 and five years later the Sheffield Moor branch was closed – its existence as a bank lasting only twelve years.

The building itself was used for a variety of purposes, even a gym, and is now sub-divided as office space.

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

Categories
Streets

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

Categories
Streets

Cadman Lane: a city centre street buried underneath modern Sheffield

Cadman Lane ran from Eyre Street (this part of Eyre Street is now Arundel Gate) up to Norfolk Street, opposite where the Town Hall is. Only a small portion of the street remains in the centre of the picture. Photograph: Google Earth

Yesterday, we featured a sketch of Cadman Lane, drawn by Sheffield artist Kenneth Steel (1906-1970). The drawing brought several queries as to the whereabouts of this characteristic old street. Presumably lost? Well, you might be surprised to know that Cadman Lane still exists.

Granted, it is not a street that many wander down anymore. It is a far cry from its heyday when it was a busy thoroughfare lined with factories, workshops, and offices. It survives in truncated form and can be found behind the Graduate public house, running parallel with the Millennium Gallery, and cut short by the presence of the Winter Garden.

How did Cadman Lane get its name?

In the 1780s, there is a story of Thomas Leader walking with the father of T Wilkinson in the field through which Surrey Street was later built. He remarked that the land below had been measured for building. “Yes,” said his companion, “It’s for young Roberts and for a plated manufactory, too.” This was Samuel Roberts, coupled with the mechanical cleverness of his colleague, George Cadman, and “aided by the capital of Mr Naylor, Unitarian Minister, as sleeping partner, and enabled the firm of Roberts and Cadman to outstrip local competitors.”

Cadman Lane looking towards Norfolk Street and Town Hall. This part of the road is now underneath the Winter Garden and the Mercure Hotel. Photograph: Picture Sheffield
Cadman Lane. Then and now. Photograph: Aidan Stones

The most likely candidate for the naming of the street is Peter Cadman, a merchant, who, in 1781 had  houses up the south-east side of Norfolk Street. He died in 1812 in the house which he built next “to the gateway in Norfolk Street.” The gateway in question may well have been the arched entrance to Cadman Lane.

In 1929, Sheffield Corporation bought the block of property with the intention of reserving the land to build new administrative offices or public buildings. However, demolition did not start until the 1960s and the new Town Hall extension (the ‘egg box’) opened in 1977. It was demolished in 2002 and replaced with the Millennium Gallery, Winter Garden and McDonalds (now Mercure) Hotel.

Cadman Lane with the Town Hall in the background, 1967. Photograph: Picture Sheffield
Demolition on Cadman Lane in 1966 with the Town Hall in the background. Photograph: Picture Sheffield

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved