Balm Green Gardens: “We shall always be proud of this garden, because it is not only a gift for all time.”

Design of Covid Memorial willow tree sculpture. Image/Sheffield City Council

If all goes to plan, Sheffield will reveal its official Covid memorial in the spring.

The sculpture will sit within the planted garden at Balm Green Gardens, on Barker’s Pool, and provide a focal point to the space for people to pay their respects and place tributes and memories and be a symbol that people from all cultures can understand and relate to and be accessible to everyone.

The existing Balm Green Gardens will be upgraded alongside this project, including creating better accessibility for anyone with a disability.

The winning commission, chosen out of 14 entries, is by George King, an architect and sculptor, of George King Architects, who submitted a positive and confident application. He will use stainless steel to create a design based on a willow tree and has already begun work on creating the sculpture.

The unique memorial will be a meaningful, long-lasting, and creative tribute to those who have lost their lives, those who have worked above and beyond to keep people as safe as possible and those who have been affected by Covid.

“When we thought about Covid and how the pandemic affected so many people, the willow tree idea was powerful to us,” says George.

“A willow has a strong trunk which symbolises how people worked together to create the strength that was needed at such a difficult time. It is also a flexible and resilient tree, whilst also being delicate.

“When a storm hits, the tree bends with it. Its long branches sweep all the way to the ground and when it rains the droplets fall all the way down the branches like tears to the ground.

“When you stand underneath a willow tree you feel embraced and protected.”

The memorial will be constructed using cast or fabricated metal to reflect the city’s heritage and will include other durable materials. Its design will allow people to connect with it either by reading the stories and messages it holds or by attaching temporary messages or ribbons.

George King. Image/George King Architects

George King is an award winning chartered architect who has worked on projects in Europe, US, Australia, the Middle East, and Russia.

Prior to forming GKA, George was senior architect at Zaha Hadid and has exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Detroit Design Festival, London Festival of Architecture and Sculpture by Sea where his design, House of Mirrors, won the Andrea Stretton Memorial Invitation.

George has taught extensively, both at Undergraduate and Master’s level, leading programs at Lund University in Sweden, The Bartlett School of Architecture in London and Monash University in Australia. He currently runs an undergraduate studio at The University of Greenwich.

Following the House of Mirrors’ successful first showing in Bondi, George King’s sculpture won the Andrea Stretton Memorial Invitation which included an opportunity to create a piece for Sculpture by the Sea in Cottesloe 2015. Image/George King Architects

Balm Green Gardens, also known as Barker’s Pool Garden and Fountain Square, is 400 square yards in size, and would never have been created had it not been for the opening of the City Hall in 1932.

The land was owned by the adjacent Grand Hotel, the plot used as a carpark enclosed with advertising hoardings. But J.G. Graves, that famous city benefactor, thought it was an “eyesore”, obstructing the view of the splendid new City Hall from the Town Hall and the top of Fargate.

His solution was to negotiate the purchase of the land from the hotel and gift it to Sheffield.

“It will, I hope, provide a note of quiet sympathy which will be in harmony with the feelings of those who visit the War Memorial in the spirit of a visit to a sacred place.” – J.G. Graves (1937). The gardens will now provide a sympathetic space of a different kind. Image/Colloco

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


Freedom of the City – Sheffield’s highest honour

Richard Caborn is the latest person to be given Freedom of the City. Born in 1943, he became MEP for Sheffield, MP for Sheffield Central, and held three Ministerial portfolios. He is currently chair of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. Image/Sheffield City Council

It’s three years since the City of Sheffield last conferred the title of Freedom of the City. That was John Burkhill BEM, the man with the pram, for his tireless fundraising efforts, and probably the most popular choice.

But the city’s highest honour has now been awarded to Richard Caborn, former MP, and Minister, who joins his father, George, on a list of over seventy names.

He joins a selective group who have been given Freedom of the City, and includes the Duke of Norfolk, Viscount Kitchener, Field Marshall Douglas Haig, David Lloyd George, Ramsay MacDonald, Winston Churchill, Harold Wilson, and Nelson Mandella.

Lord Kitchener visited Sheffield and received the freedom of the city in September 1902. The drawing of the scene in the Town Hall was published in the Sheffield Telegraph. Image/PictureSheffield

And there have been Freedom of the City awards to local dignitaries such as Sir Frederick Mappin, Sir William Clegg, John George Graves, Harry Brearley, and Sir Stuart Goodwin.

More recently, the likes of Derek Dooley, Michael Vaughan, Lord Coe of Ranmore, and Jessica Ennis have also been granted the honour.

Freedom of the City isn’t confined to individuals and the armed services have received the title as well. These include HMS Sheffield; The Chestnut Troop, 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery; 38th Signal Regiment (Volunteers); 212 (Yorkshire) Field Hospital (Volunteers) and The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding) – subsequently conferred to the Yorkshire Regiment.

But the Freedom of the City can be taken away as well, as was the case with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (Leader of National League for Democracy in Burma) who had it removed in 2017.

Harry Brearley being presented the Freedom of the City. While working in the Brown Firth Research Laboratories in 1913, Harry Brearley was testing low-carbon steels for gun barrels that contained only 12% chromium and found these steels had the abiliy to resist corrosion. He recognised the implication and suggested it could be used for cutlery. Image/PictureSheffield

The procedures for admitting Honorary Freemen originated in the Honorary Freedom of the Borough’s Act 1885 and were included in the Local Government Act 1972.  Certain Local Authorities are empowered to admit as Honorary Freemen persons of distinction and persons who have, in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent services to the Authority.

Honorary Freemen do not enjoy any constitutional privileges but admission as an Honorary Freeman has the deeper significance of receiving the highest honour the city can bestow, and it is conferred sparingly.

The Freedom of Entry accorded to Armed Services gives a right on all ceremonial occasions of exercising the privilege of marching through the City “with colours flying, drums beating, and bayonets fixed.”

The Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill receiving the Freedom of the City of Sheffield. Image/PictureSheffield
John Burkhill, Sheffield’s most famous fundraiser broke down in tears at being awarded the Freedom of the City in 2019. Image/Sheffield City Council

Full list of Honorary Freemen of Sheffield

1899His Grace The Duke of Norfolk, EM, KG1917
1899Sir Frederick Thorpe Mappin, Bart, MP1910
1899Sir Henry Stephenson, Kt1904
1902General Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum, GCB, GCMG, OM1916
1903The Rt. Hon. Sir Marcus Samuel (Lord Mayor of the City of London)1927
1916The Rt. Hon. William Morris Hughes, MP, LLD (Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia )1952
1917Lt-Gen. The Rt. Hon. Jan Christian Smuts, KC (Prime Minister of South Africa)1950
1917Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, GCB, OM, GCVO1935
1919The Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George, OM, MP, DCL, PC (Prime Minister)1945
1919Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, KT, GCB, KCB, KCIE, GCVO, KCVO, CB, ADC1928
1919Admiral Sir David Beatty, GCB, GCVO, KCB, KCVO, DSO, MVO (Admiral of the Fleet)1936
1921The Rt. Hon. W F Massey, LLD (Prime Minister of New Zealand)1925
1922Alderman Sir William E Clegg, CBE, LLD1932
1923The Rt. Hon. W L MacKenzie King, CMG, MA, LLD (Prime Minister of Canada)1950
1923The Rt. Hon. S M Bruce, MC (Prime Minister of Australia)1967
1924The Rt. Hon. Sir Samuel Roberts, Bart, MA, JP, DL1926
1924Alderman Robert Styring, LLD, JP1944
1924Alderman William Farewell Wardley, JP1941
1926Doctor Henry Coward, Mus.Doc (Oxon), MA1944
1926The Hon. J G Coates, MC (Prime Minister of New Zealand)1943
1929The Rt. Hon. James Ramsay MacDonald, MP, LLD, JP (Prime Minister)1937
1929Alderman John George Graves, JP1945
1929Alderman Henry Kenyon Stephenson, DSO, VD, DL, JP, LLD1947
1929Mr Cecil Henry Wilson, MP, JP1945
1930The Rt. Hon. Richard Bedford Bennett, KC, MP, LLD, (Prime Minister of Canada)1947
1930The Rt. Hon. James Henry Scullin, MP (Prime Minister of Australia)1952
1939The Rt. Revd. Leonard Hedley Burrows, DD, D.Litt (First Bishop of the Diocese of Sheffield)1940
1939Sir Robert Abbott Hadfield, Bart, FRS, DSc, D.Met, JP1940
1939Mr Harry Brearley (the inventor of Stainless Steel)1948
1943The Rt. Hon. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, CH, FRS, MP (Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of Defence)1965
1945Alderman Frank Thraves, JP1952
1945Alderman Harold Warters Jackson, LLB1972
1945Alderman Alfred James Bailey, JP1948
1945Alderman Arthur James Blanchard, JP1957
1947The Rt. Hon. Albert Victor Alexander, PC, CH, LLD, MP (Minister of Defence1965
1949Mr Charles William Beardsley, OBE, JP1952
1949Mrs Ann Eliza Longden, JP1952
1959Alderman Charles William Gascoigne, CBE, BEM1967
1959Alderman Mrs Grace Tebbutt, JP1983
1959Alderman Percival John Mann Turner, CBE, JP1969
1962The Rt. Revd. Leslie Stannard Hunter, MA, DD, DCL, LLD (Lord Bishop of Sheffield)1983
1962Alderman Albert Smith1968
1965The Rt. Hon. Harold Wilson, OBE, MP (Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury)1995
1965Alderman Herbert Keeble Hawson1984
1965Alderman Samuel Hartley Marshall, JP1981
1965Alderman James Wilfred Sterland, OBE, JP1992
1965Dr. John Macnaghten Whittaker, FRS, (Vice-Chancellor, University of Sheffield)1984
1968Dr. Albert Ballard, CBE, LLD1968
1968Sir Stuart Goodwin, DL, LLD, JP1969
1970Mr John Burns Hynd, MP (MP for Attercliffe Division of City from 1944 to 1970)1971
1970Sir Peter Geoffrey Roberts, Bart, MA, MP (MP for Ecclesall Division of City from 1945 to 1950 and for Heeley Division of City from 1950 to 1966)1985
1978The Rt. Hon. James Callaghan, MP (Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury)2005
1978County Councillor Sir Charles Ronald Ironmonger1984
1978Councillor Isidore Lewis, LLD, JP1983
1978Mr Stanley Lester Speight, OBE, MIEx(Grad), FIM1998
1981Mr George Caborn1982
1981Prof. Ronald Stanley Illingworth, MD (Leeds) Hon. MD (Sheffield) Hon.D.Sc (Baghdad) FRCP, DPH, DCH, FRPS1990
1991Ms Helen Sharman BSc C.Chem (the first Briton to journey into space) 
1991Councillor William Owen, JP1992
1993Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (President of the African National Congress)2013
1993Mr Derek Dooley (footballer)2008
1998The Rt. Hon. Dr. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, MP (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)2005
1998Dr. Peter Horton, Hon.LittD. BSc2005
2001The Chestnut Troop, 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery 
200138th Signal Regiment (Volunteers) 
2001212 (Yorkshire) Field Hospital (Volunteers) 
2001The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding) – subsequently conferred to the Yorkshire Regiment 
2002106 (West Riding) Field Squadron (Air Support) (Volunteers) 
2005Michael Paul Vaughan (Captain of England Cricket Team) 
2005Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (Leader of National League for Democracy in Burma) – The Freedom of the City was removed on 1 November 2017 
2005Sebastian Newbold Coe OBE, The Right Honourable The Lord Coe of Ranmore 
2006The Yorkshire Regiment (formed by an amalgamation of three historic County Regiments including the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) 
2009The Lindsays (Ronald Birks, Peter Cropper, Bernard Gregor-Smith and Robin Ireland) 
2012Mrs. Tawakel Karman (Yemeni Human Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner) 
2012Ms. Jessica Ennis MBE (Olympic, World and European Heptathlon Champion) 
201464 Signal Squadron (transferring the Freedom from the 38 Signal Regiment owing to the 38 Regiment’s withdrawal from the Army’s Order of Battle.) 
2019John Burkhill BEM – fundraising 
2022Mr Richard Caborn 

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


Royal Bank of Scotland: “A sober mid-Victorian interpretation of the palazzo style.”

Royal Bank of Scotland, Church Street, Sheffield. Image/DJP/2022

Royal Bank of Scotland, on Church Street, closed earlier this year, its use undermined by the growth of online banking, and Sheffield city centre lost its last grand purpose-built bank.

Now it is empty, awaiting a buyer who will have to pay more than £575,000.

An excellent redevelopment opportunity’ with the potential for a wide range of future uses including ‘residential, offices, hotel, retail and leisure’, subject to obtaining planning permission. The building has 9,910sqft of floor space spread across the basement and the ground, first, second and third floors.

Until a buyer comes along, and that might be a lengthy process, the bank will stand silent, dust gathering, and trees growing from the roof. It joins several gracious old buildings that stand vacant on Church Street.

But let us look back to happier times.

The year was 1866, and the directors of the Sheffield and Rotherham Bank had decided to build new premises ‘which should take its place as amongst the first in the town.’

Sheffield and Rotherham Joint Stock Bank, old premises on Church Street, Sheffield. Image/PictureSheffield

The directors invited several well-known architects to submit their plans for a new bank on the site of its old premises on Church Street.

“The aim of the architects is to produce a suitable front, which could take its place becomingly among the other buildings in the same street (the Cutlers’ Hall and the Hallamshire Bank) and be effective and business-like, without excessive decoration.”

The winning design, came from Flockton and Abbott, it was built by Mr J Niell of Bradford and Sheffield, and the wooden interiors were supplied by William Johnson and Son, Fargate.

“The style of architecture selected is Italian. The bank will have a frontage to Church Street of about 70 feet, and the elevation will exceed that of the Cutlers’ Hall. The front will be of Darley Dale stone, and the introduction of sixteen pillars of polished red granite will effectively embellish the design.

“The principal features of the exterior are those suggested by the purposes of the building and are formed mainly by the banking room with its entrance, and the general meeting room on the first floor.

“The banking room (55ft by 34ft and 21ft high) will be a large and lofty apartment, its counter being 50ft long, and especial pains have been taken to arrange it so that every portion shall be thoroughly well lighted with large and lofty windows at each end, and a roof light for the central portion.

“The entrance to the bank is very short and direct. Close by the manager’s seat and under his control is a money safe (9ft square by 6 ft) with an iron safe inside it lined with steel. Adjoining this is another safe for the reception of books. There will be communication between the safe doors and a bell in the resident’s clerk’s bedroom.”

The Sheffield and Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Co. (Limited), Church Street. 1897. Image/PictureSheffield

The bank opened in 1867, but what became of the Sheffield and Rotherham Bank?

There was a time when banks were local businesses, built to serve Sheffield’s people, but they were amongst the first businesses to disappear through national mergers and acquisitions.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Bank was one such, its history going back to 1791 when Vincent Eyre (1744-1801), solicitor, and land agent for the Duke of Norfolk, became a founding partner in Walkers, Eyre & Stanley, a new bank with branches in Sheffield and Rotherham.

Eyre probably provided a significant amount of the original capital, and like his fellow partners, Samuel Walker (a wealthy Rotherham iron merchant) and William Stanley (a prominent Rotherham merchant), probably used the bank to manage and develop his own business activities. The Duke of Norfolk was also an important early customer of the bank.

The business was sold to the Sheffield & Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Company in 1836 and grew rapidly, its main office was on Church Street, with branches in Bakewell (1837), Buxton, Cavendish Circus (1856), Dronfield (1873), Matlock Bridge (1877), Baslow (1892), Darley Dale (1893), Higher Buxton (1899), Parkgate (1899), Attercliffe (1902) and Winster (1904).

The bank had its problems, with major accounting difficulties discovered during the 1840s and bad debts soaring during the local commercial depression of the late 1870s.

In 1907, with a paid-up capital of £256,000, the bank was acquired by Williams Deacon’s Bank Ltd of London and Manchester, which had a strong network of branches in the Manchester area and was looking to expand into South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

Williams Deacon’s Bank later became Williams & Glyn’s Bank and subsequently disappeared within Royal Bank of Scotland.

Williams Deacon’s Bank Ltd., No. 5, Church Street, previously Sheffield and Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Co. Ltd. 1909. Image/PictureSheffield
The Cutlers Hall, postmarked 1903, Williams Deacon’s Bank Ltd., No. 5, Church Street, left, (previously Sheffield and Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Co. Ltd.). Image/PictureSheffield

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


The Big Wheel – from Llandudno to Sheffield

Sheffield’s ‘Big Wheel’ on The Moor. Image/DJP/2022

When it was located on Fargate, we called it the ‘Sheffield Eye’. But this year’s big wheel was relocated to The Moor because the ill-fated Container Park had stolen its place.

It is 21 metres high with 18 fibre-glass gondolas capable of holding up to 108 people, with six passengers to a gondola, and fits snugly between buildings.

For the second year running, the Ferris wheel has been loaned from Llandudno Pier, where it has been dubbed the ‘Llandudno Eye’.

It was commissioned by the pier owner, Adam Williams, at a cost of £1m, built by Italian manufacturer Lamborghini, and was initially unveiled in August 2021.

The wheel looks impressive by day, but after dark, things get even better with over 10,000 lights on the wheel.

During the winter months, the wheel goes on tour. It can be seen, and ridden, at Sheffield Christmas Market until January, before returning to Llandudno Pier in early Spring.

“We’re trying to pump North Wales and Llandudno so that people in Yorkshire who would normally go to Skegness will come here instead,” says Mr Williams.

“Even if we can get 10 per cent of people at the Sheffield market to come, that is a lot of people.”

While some shoppers are pleased about the move from Fargate, many have said they now have a “brick wall view” while on the attraction. Image/DJP/2022
Back home. The ‘Big Wheel’ seen at its Llandudno home. Image/North Wales Live
Short Stories

The strange story of an old snuff box

Manor Lodge. Image/Sheffield Manor Lodge

The following is a true story – well, almost a true story. I stumbled across a newspaper article from 1876 in which a Sheffield boy had dug up an old snuff box. Then followed a week of piecing the story together. But one question remained. Whatever happened to the snuff box? And so, fact meets fiction, embellished by my own hand. But realistically, there is the chance that somebody out there did inherit a tarnished old snuff box.


It was 1584, and Mary Stuart sat in the long grass beneath the shade of her favourite walnut tree. It was summer and everything was green. She gazed down at the castle that she had come to despise, but her eyes were drawn towards the hills, valleys, and moorland that stretched beyond. Soon, the sun would disappear, and the sky would become a sea of red, orange, and then deep blue.

“There you are Mary,” said a voice. She looked up at the solemn face of George Talbot who sat beside her. “I see you are taking a last look at Sheffield.”

“That’s right. This is a view I shall not forget, nor shall I forget the past fourteen years. I am grateful that you allowed me to spend so much time up here and not in that dark and gloomy castle.”

George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, reached into his pouch and pulled out a tiny snuff box. He took a pinch and offered it to Mary who placed a small amount between her thumb and index finger and sneezed after taking it.

“Where am I going?”

“I have come to tell you that you are going to Fotheringhay.”

George thought she looked old and had noticed how unsteady she had become on her feet and summoned two servants to help her back to the lodge.

It was the last time they spoke.

That night, George realised he had left his snuff box underneath the walnut tree and sent his manservants to retrieve it. But there were hundreds of trees, and it was dark, and they were unable to find it.


In 1876, a boy called George Martin, son of a man of the same name, was clearing long grass and weeds beside an old walnut tree that had been felled the day before. His master, Henry Fitzalan-Howard, Duke of Norfolk, had instructed the men to chop down more timber to make charcoal for the melting of iron and steel. But this was walnut, and George knew that this tree would end up in the workshop of a London cabinet maker.

George liked Old Crofts, and he sat on a patch of newly exposed soil to rest. He looked across the valley and was glad that he was here, away from the grime and smoke that belched out below. Once, a strong wind had briefly blown the smoke away and he had seen a glimpse of what lay beyond the rooftops and factory chimneys. There were more hills like the one he was sitting on.

He began chopping at the vegetation again, piled it against the dead tree, and used a pick and spade to loosen the soil. Then he noticed something buried underneath and started digging deeper.


Later, George Martin showed the snuff box to his father who lived on Bernard Street. It was incredibly old, studded with several stones, but they weren’t sure if it was worth anything. His father had a brother who lived in Hermitage Street, who mentioned his nephew’s find to Thomas Jowitt, landlord of the Rising Sun.

Jowitt was interested in antiquaries although professed not to be an expert. He asked to see the old snuff box and it was brought to him at the pub. He inspected it carefully and despite it being tarnished, was convinced that the box was made of gold. He was also of opinion – although upon this point, he was no means certain – that the stones might be precious ones, even – to go a little further – diamonds.

Jowitt bought the box for what he considered a fair sum and cleaned it up the best he could before putting it on the sideboard.


Michael Ellison, the Duke of Norfolk’s agent, was paid a considerable wage to know everything about his nobleman’s estate. One morning, Ellison had become irritated with his master, who had grumbled that the Sheffield newspapers had reprimanded him for the ruinous condition of the Turret Lodge.

He sat in his office at The Farm and went through the notes before him. There were tales of rebellious tenants, trespassers, and poachers. But one thing struck him as being unusual.

There was a note from one of his rent collectors who drank at the Rising Sun public house in the town. It spoke of the landlord who had come into possession of an old snuff box that had been found at the Old Crofts, near to the Turret Lodge.

More peculiar, were the landlord’s claims that the old box had been the property of one or other of the distinguished personages who in ancient times had resided at the Manor.

Ellison summoned the rent collector who repeated the story and added that antiquarians had been profane enough to suggest that the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots may have used its contents to titillate her Royal nose.

“Bring the snuff box to me,” exclaimed Mr Ellison. “Let me have a look at it.”

A day later, the rent collector arrived with the snuff box, but Ellison was too busy and put it aside to be inspected later.

Days went by. Ellison got a cold, then a fever, and was laid up in bed for weeks. In the meantime, his assistant had found the snuff box and asked Ellison what he should do with it.

“Oh! Send it back. Write a note saying that his Grace is not regarding it as a relic belonging to the Howard family, nor anybody else for that matter.”


The snuff box remained on Thomas Jowitt’s sideboard for years afterwards. Occasionally, when drink got the better of him, he would retrieve it and regale customers with increasingly romantic and far-fetched stories about its provenance. His regulars played along and told Jowitt that it might be worth a fortune.

This was lost on a stinky little urchin called Alfred March, who, one day, was surprised to find the back door of the Rising Sun wide open. March slipped inside and stole three bottles of ginger beer but not before pilfering the intriguing old snuff box.

He struggled along Hermitage Street, careful not to drop any of the bottles, and when he reached Porter Brook decided that the little box was more trouble than it was worth and flung it into the water.

And there the snuff box lay, trapped between rocks, until winter snows caused the river to become angry and send raging torrents along its course. It was sent down river, bounced along the stony bed, until it reached the Sheaf and the Don, from which the dented snuff box was lost in the mud forever.

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


A week in Steelopolis

Former Endcliffe Sunday School, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield. Image/Axis Architecture

Food court proposal for old Sunday School

Last year, we looked at proposals to convert the former Endcliffe Sunday School, next to the old Endcliffe Methodist Church, on Ecclesall Road, into apartments and townhouses. Over a year later, the plans have been changed and now designs have been submitted for the alteration, extension, and conversion of the building, to create ‘Founders & Co’ a food hall/street food restaurant, bar, and local enterprise hub, with ancillary retail and business workspace.

The Sunday School was originally built at a cost of £8,000 for the adjacent Methodist Church. It was designed by John Charles Amory Teather, who placed copies of religious and local newspapers, a circuit plan, and a programme of the day’s proceedings in a cavity, when the foundation stone was laid on 6 October 1927.

The vacant Sunday School comprises a central large classroom with a stage to the south that is lit naturally by the rear window. The front of the stage is decorated with a plaster architrave topped with a hood that includes the date ‘1928’, the date of completion.

In later years it was sold to the University of Sheffield and, in 1985, became the Traditional Heritage Museum. The museum closed in 2011 and the building was last used by the university in 2016.

‘Founders & Co’ is a concept developed by Bark Design Studios which has seen the successful rollout of the concept in Swansea and models itself on other food hall operations like Kommune, at Sheffield’s Castle House, although on a smaller scale.

Proposed Founders & Co at Endcliffe Sunday School, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield. Image/Axis Architecture


Meadowhall receives planning permission for leisure extension

Retail as we’ve known it is disappearing, and Meadowhall can see that its future will be leisure-led. Plans for an extension to the shopping centre have been approved and will include a new indoor recreation and leisure hall, shops, food and drink units, extension to the existing cinema, police station and car showroom. The plan has been scaled down twice and includes an agreement to delay building the leisure hall until 2029, to minimise impact on Sheffield and Rotherham centres.


Old Town Hall, Waingate, Sheffield. Image/Sheffield in Ruins/Denzil Watson/2022/Revelations 23 Press

Renewed fears for future of the Old Town Hall

This photo has been doing the rounds this week. It shows a missing floor at Sheffield’s Old Town Hall and is featured in a new book.

Sheffield In Ruins, by Denzil Watson, is a fascinating photographic record of city locations that once teemed with life, but that found themselves empty and unwanted as the city’s story moved on.

Since first exploring the dereliction of Sheffield’s East End in the late 1980s, Denzil Watson has developed a passion for secret spaces that once had a purpose – interiors that are now smashed and trashed, rusting and wrecked, but that have a desperate beauty all their own.

The photo emerges at the same time as Valerie Bayliss, chair of the Friends of the Old Town Hall, urged its owner, Gary Ata, to show he was serious about restoring the ‘great old listed building which has been neglected for too long’. Built in 1808, it has been disused for 25 years.

“In its current state it’s likely to be a drag on the city council’s plans to regenerate Castlegate; it will probably deter other potential investors; and we know its condition is getting worse. We hope the city council is monitoring the situation closely.”

According to David Walsh, writing for the Sheffield Star, “Mr Ata snapped up the site on Waingate for £600,000. He registered a company called The Courthouse Apartments (Sheffield) Ltd and took out two loans which were repaid on November 28 this year. But no repair or restoration work appear to have taken place.”


Site of new Manhatta at Balm Green, Sheffield. Imagee/Ashleigh Signs

A lively addition to Balm Green

Into the city centre, and a lively addition to the normal solitude of Balm Green, next to Sheffield City Hall.

Once upon a time, this was the site of the Grand Hotel, replaced by Fountain Precinct, a brown and neutral tiled office building, built in the 1970s. It ranges from six to nine stories in height across its various wings and is arranged around a central courtyard.

The building has recently undergone major refurbishment, with lots of glass, shared business lounge, external roof terrace, break out areas and upgraded common areas.

Early next year, the ground floor, fronting Balm Green, is to become Manhatta bar/restaurant and says it will be beneficial for both locals and visitors to the area.

The company already operates in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Harrogate, and York.


Castlegate House, Haymarket, Sheffield. Image: DNA Group

Apartment plans for Castlegate House

News of an unusual planning application for Castlegate House at 12-18 Haymarket. Built in the 1960s, the ground floor was once occupied by British Home Stores (BHS) but is now a branch of B&M Bargains.

The application is for change of use on the upper floor from retail (unused) to large ‘housing in multiple occupation’ style letting rooms. The basement will be converted into a gym for residents, while the existing ground floor shop and first floor snooker hall will remain unaffected.

The proposal is to convert the second and third floors into high quality student accommodation. New windows will be included to each room for light and fresh air, with the central part of the building removed to provide a large open space to the central area and light to the inner rooms.

Each room will have its own kitchenette, bathroom, seating and sleeping areas. There is a large communal area in the glazed atrium and a communal kitchen/ dining area on each floor.

Access to the site will be from Dixon Lane and across the walkway bridge to the covered way at Haymarket. Both entrances will have electronic key entry, CCTV cameras, and a video entry system.

It isn’t the most attractive building in the area, but the exterior will be upgraded to include new window openings, while the Haymarket front will be re clad with stylish metal sheeting.

Proposed designs for Castlegate House, Haymarket, Sheffield. Image: DNA Group

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


Sheffield Deer Park – ‘the avenue of walnut trees that stretched from the Lodge to the Castle.’

Sheffield Deer Park. Image: Friends of Manor Lodge

Once upon a time, in medieval England, there were deer parks that stretched across the country. These enclosed areas were bounded by a ditch with a wooden, stone, or brick wall to keep the deer in.

To establish a deer park a royal licence was required, and they quickly became status symbols for the lord of the manor.

At the end of the 15th century there were about 2000 deer parks with most having a range of about one to two miles.

One of the biggest was Sheffield Deer Park, spanning a circumference of eight miles, 2500 acres, established in Norman times by Thomas de Furnival, but is believed to have Anglo-Saxon origins.

At its zenith it contained about three thousand deer (mainly fallow) and some of the largest oak trees ever recorded in England

Turret House, Manor Lodge, Sheffield. Image/Friends of Manor Lodge

According to Friends of Manor Lodge, which provided much of this information, Sheffield Deer Park was a Baronial Castle Park, with the castle located at the edge of the park and extended away like a large balloon

It was referred to as ‘Ye Greate Park,’ and was a place of recreation, somewhere to ride, joust, practise archery, to fish and to boat, and to engage in falconry. It is thought by most scholars that it was not primarily for hunting, but to provide food for the lord of the manor.

The deer were often chased, but the ‘drive’ or ‘bow and stable’ method was used which involved driving the deer into nets or towards archers. The deer were pickled for the winter, because fresh meat was unavailable between November and April.

A forgotten part in Sheffield’s history. Sheffield Deer Park was one of the largest in England. Even now, deer are sometimes seen in parts of the old park, and people are shocked to see them. But this was once their habitat. Image/Shutterstock

“Sheffield Park commenced below the Castle entrance where the Park gates were situated and followed a northerly direction tracing the river Don before turning eastwards towards Attercliffe. After several miles, it ceased following the river Don and turned in a southwards direction tracing a line close to and parallel with what is now the modern Sheffield Parkway.

“On reaching Bowden Housted woods at Darnall, it then turned in a westerly direction following the Car Brook and parallel to what is now the modern Sheffield Ring Road (Prince of Wales Road). On reaching its highest point at what is now called Manor Top, we come across the other main gates, called the Intake gate. Entry through here (private by invitation only) would have led direct to the Park gate. It followed a line parallel to the present City Road and was a superb walnut avenue of trees creating a major landmark in the town.

“From the Intake gate, the edge of the park continued in a southerly direction until reaching what is now referred to as Gleadless Valley and a wooded area called Buck Wood (named Berrysforth Wood in earlier times.)

“This is the most southerly point and then continuing through Buck Wood in a westerly direction we reach Heeley and then on to the outer reaches of the town (as it was then) through to the present Bramall Lane, The Moor, Union Street, Norfolk Street and finishing at the starting point of the Park Gate.”

The Manor Lodge was at the heart of the Deer Park, and it was said that it was possible to travel under the avenue of walnut trees that stretched from the Lodge to the Castle without getting wet.

Sheffield Deer Park provided food in days when most of the land was unenclosed. Deer lived, and thrived, upon the land, but it was said that most of Sheffield’s shops were supplied with venison stolen from the park.

There is a curious record that the Earl of Shrewsbury, who once had a thousand fallow deer in Sheffield Park, graciously allowed ‘a holiday once every year to the apron-men or smiths of the parish, when a number of bucks were turned into a meadow near town, and the men were sent into it to kill and carry away as many as they could with their hands, and would sometimes slaughter about twenty, on which they feasted. Money was given to them for wine. Such is said to have been the origin of the famous Cutlers’ Feast, but it was not until 1624 that the Cutlers’ Company of Hallamshire was incorporated by an act passed ‘for the good order and government of the makers of knives, sickles, shears, scissors, and other cutlery ware.’

Medieval deer hunting. Image/Medievalists

From around the 16th century and into the seventeenth century it ceased to be totally a deer park. Large parts were converted into pasture and arable land with tenants renting strips of land to grow crops. Isolated farmsteads sprang up with other parts for quarrying and a coal mine.

By 1637, Harrison’s survey indicated 1,200 deer in total with the deer park only about 40% of its original size.

“The common people would trespass this park and were allowed certain privileges of coming and going but insisted on taking more. In 1692, the Duke of Norfolk, then Lord of the Manor, brought an action against certain people because of their use of a road between Intacke and Parke Hill and then into Sheffield, pretending that it was a public highway.”

It was a problem that recurred over the centuries.

In 1822, Michael Ellison, Agent to the Duke of Norfolk placed an advertisement in local newspapers warning locals after tenants complained that people had been going over their lands in pursuit of game, or other idle purposes, and had thrown down walls and fences.

“That, with a view to preventing the continuance of such Trespasses, proper Persons have been appointed for the purpose of detecting those who may commit them after this Notice, and all Persons so detected will be proceeded against in the manner prescribed by the Law.”

In 1913, the deer park had long disappeared, and Thomas Wilder gave a lecture in Sheffield:-

“The venerable trees of the Park had gone to build the country’s ‘wooden walls,’ to make charcoal for the melting of iron and steel, to supply ‘kidds of wood’ to the town bakery on Baker’s Hill, and their very roots had been grubbed up for fuel for the blast furnaces. The numerous streams and fishponds had disappeared into the wastes, gobbs and grafs of the ancient coal and ironstone workings with which the Park was honeycombed.”

What made the deer park so special were the thousands of veteran oak trees with some listed in John Evelyn’s 18th-century book ‘Silva.’ Several were mentioned, including the great oak tree situated in the Conduit plain, located above City Road Cemetery in modern times. This tree, its arms stretching 45 feet or more from the trunk, could shelter more than 250 horses under its foliage and there were many other trees with similar magnitude.

All these years later, there is still evidence of the old deer park. Norfolk Park, Buck Wood, Manor Fields Park, and other wooded areas are all remnants of the deer park, and small sections of the wall remain in the most unlikely places.

One of the most unusual sections, virtually unnoticed, is at Manor Top, where old stonework can be seen under a later brick one, beside the road opposite the TA Centre.

Remains of Deer Park wall at Manor Top. Image/David Templeman/Ecclesall Design

Manor Lodge survives and was a ‘standing’ or ‘prospect house’ from which the park could be viewed. An inventory of 1582 suggests that the Hall in the Ponds (The Queen’s Head) was a park banqueting house.

“This great house stood near the middle of Sheffield Park; part of it is very ancient; but one part being brick, with stone corners, is not older than 1500. The Duke of Norfolk, in 1609, destroyed it. This is the place where Cardinal Wolsey, that proud Prelate, when under house arrest for high treason, took the fatal draught whereof he died at Leicester Abbey; and here also Mary Queen of Scots was kept prisoner at large more than sixteen years.” – Extract from a manuscript, written in 1647.

If you discount the Manor Lodge itself there were at least 4 lodges, plus a hunting stand. There’s nothing left of any of them, but some later became farms, the most obvious being Park Farm at Gleadless.

And there is evidence of the old ‘Intacke gate’ that stood at the entrance to the park. This would have been near where the stretch of wall remains at Manor Top. Old wooden gates were replaced with stone ones in 1685 and were later bought by Burrows Trippet from the Duke of Norfolk who moved them to his farmhouse where they stand to this day at Richmond.

See also: Friends of Manor Lodge

Intake Gates. Now positioned at Richmond. Image/HistoryDude/Sheffield History

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


Decision day looms for Meadowhall extension

Meadowhall, Sheffield. Original project drawing. Image/TMM Hybrid Application

Next week is an important one for Meadowhall. The shopping centre will learn whether its planned extension will be approved by Sheffield City Council.

British Land applied in late 2020 for The Meadowhall Masterplan project, and following revisions, the application was scaled down to include an extension to Meadowhall for a new leisure hall, an extension to the existing cinema complex, and additional space for new retail units.

The application will be considered by the council’s planning and highways committee on 6 December and is recommended for approval in an officer’s report prepared for the meeting.

The recommendation has been made despite objections from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, NewRiver REIT (UK) Ltd (which owns most of the land and property on The Moor in Sheffield city centre) and Dransfield Properties (which owns and manages the Fox Valley retail, office, and leisure development in Stocksbridge).

Meadowhall opened in 1990 and is the largest shopping centre in Yorkshire. The site was once the Meadow Hall Iron Works, owned by John Crowley and Co, and later occupied by Hadfields Ltd, known as East Hecla Works, which specialised in steel casting to produce points and crossings for railway track works.

Any development within the site has the potential to disturb buried archaeological remains associated with the former East Hecla Works, Imperial Steel Works, West Tinsley Railway Station, and Brightside Works.

Meadowhall, Sheffield. Original project drawing. Image/TMM Hybrid Application

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


“A favourite playground of the boys of those days and boasted the name of ‘Sow Mouth.”

Pinstone Street, Sheffield. Image/Sheffield Star

I walked through the city centre the other day and remembered an old newspaper article that spoke of Pinson Lane in 1736, and later became Pinstone Street.

The article from 1927 was written by Harold Rowley who suggested that Pinstone Street may have had some connection with Penistone, once a common surname in the district, but had once been called Pincher Croft, which hinted it may have had some connection with Barker’s Pool, being originally Pitcher Croft.

When I got home, I referred to Sidney Oldall Addy’s ‘The Hall of Waltheof’ or ‘The Early Condition and Settlement of Hallamshire’ from 1893.

“We have few ‘lanes’ in Sheffield now. The popular idea seems to be that there is something mean and insignificant in a lane, and hence Pinson Lane now bears the grander name of Pinstone Street.

Old inhabitants of Sheffield speak of Pinson Lane. Gosling writes it Pinson Lane in 1736, and I find a croft called Pincencroft Len in a document dated 1554. 

Pincen is probably the surname Pinson, so that Pincencroft is exactly analogous to Colson Crofts, Sims Croft, Scargill Croft, and Hawley Croft, which are derived from surnames.

The word ‘len’ in Pincencroft Len is not our ‘lane’ but the Old Norse lén, a. fief, or fee, a piece of freehold, or land held in fee simple. Thus, the meaning is Pinson Croft freehold. The croft acquired the name of the person or the family—the Pinsons—who once held it, and then it afterwards became known as the Pinsoncroft ‘len’ or fee.”

Mr Rowley also mentions that the old name for the Fargate end of Pinstone Street was once called Sowmouth, popularly explained because it tapered and grew narrower. However, he says, this was evidently wrong, because Sowmouth meant a door or opening.

I didn’t know this, but I referred to Robert Eadon Leader’s ‘Reminiscences of Old Sheffield: Its Streets and its people’ (1876) and found the following passage from Richard Leonard: –

“Forty years ago, there were one or two trees growing on the property of Mr Withers, in Pinstone Street. A passage leading from Fargate to New Church Street, was a favourite playground of the boys of those days and boasted the name of ‘Sow Mouth.’”

(New Church Street ran parallel to modern-day Surrey Street and was lost underneath the Town Hall when it was built in 1890-1897).

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.


Harmony Works development green-lighted

Canada House, Commercial Street, Sheffield. Image/DJP/2022

Planning consent has been granted for the former gas board offices on Commercial Street.

Sheffield Music Academy submitted full planning and listed building applications to Sheffield City Council earlier this year for the conversion of the grade II*-listed Canada House on Commercial Street.

The building was constructed in 1875 for the Sheffield United Gas Company and continued to be used as offices by the gas board until 1972. It was converted into a nightclub and pub in the 1980s, while the adjoining Shude Hill warehouse wing became Tower Cash & Carry.

In 1990 the building was acquired by Canadian Business Parks of Bedfordshire, and adopted its new name, Canada House.

The plans cover the refurbishment, change of use and extension of the building.

The development would include a performance space for an audience of 300, two rehearsal rooms accommodating 80 musicians, 15 smaller ensemble rehearsal rooms, 20 individual practice rooms and a substantial instrument store.

Office space, a café, breakout spaces and ancillary accommodation would also be provided.

The design was developed by Live Projects, an initiative at the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield.

The proposed ‘Harmony Works’ development, from Sheffield Music Academy and Sheffield Music Hub, aims to create a home for music education in the region.

Sheffield Music Hub is a partnership of education and music organisations, led by Sheffield City Council, which provides music education to 176 schools and 80,000 children across the city. SMA is one of 15 Centres for Advanced Music Training in the UK, funded by the Department for Education’s Music & Dance Scheme.

Sheffield City Council made the following comments after granting the application: –

“The proposed development would being a currently vacant grade II*-listed Building in declining condition in a prominent City Centre gateway location back into beneficial use as a music academy.

“The applicant has revised the proposals to overcome initial concerns in relation to the height of the proposed rear extension and the obstructive effect of the previously proposed accessible ramp to Commercial Street.

“It is considered that the benefits of the proposal would significantly outweigh the less than substantial harm to the heritage asset which would be caused by the proposed listed building works and rear extension.”

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.