St Paul’s 4

I’m sure a few people will remember the demolition of the Empire Theatre, on Charles Street, back in 1959.

The grand old theatre was replaced by shops and offices, bridging the gap between Union Street and Pinstone Street, the most beloved tenant being Sugg Sport that closed in 2000.

They say that today’s buildings are tomorrow’s history.

This will be the case if Manchester-based developer CTP eventually gets the go-ahead for St. Paul’s 4, a 10-storey office block, planned in place of this 1960s building.

The £35million scheme was proposed in June last year, when CTP wanted half of the building pre-let before launching the project. A pre-let – signing a tenant while a building is still on the drawing board – would then trigger a bank or financial institution.

Initial talks had taken place with Sheffield City Council, thought to be supportive of the development, and CTP stated that “demand for the project was so high that they were happy to forge ahead.”

A pre-planning application had been expected last autumn, but has yet to materialise.

The optimism for St. Paul’s 4 was based on Sheffield’s office take-up reaching a ten year high in 2017, when prime office space availability fell to its lowest level on record.

However, the update from CTP is perhaps less optimistic.

With several new office blocks completed in the city centre, the developer has now downgraded its status to “serious tenant enquiries.”

CTP has an excellent track record in Sheffield, being responsible for St. Paul’s 1,2 and 3, as well as the Mercure Hotel, Cheesegrater car-park and St. Paul’s Tower.

It promises that St. Paul’s 4 would “respect the heritage” of historic buildings in the area, and complement an adjacent 32-storey tower block, proposed for the site of Midcity House, at the junction of Furnival Gate, Pinstone Street and Union Street.

CTP has a ‘quasi joint venture’ with Schroders, an asset management company, that owns the land and building on the site.

If St. Paul’s 4 gets off the ground, then it will be one of the most significant changes to Pinstone Street in modern times.


St Paul’s Building

Completing this week’s look around the Peace Gardens, we look at the elaborate building on St. Paul’s Parade, which runs between Pinstone Street and Norfolk Street.

This walkway once ran alongside St. Paul’s Church, demolished in 1938 and replaced with St. Paul’s Gardens, later Peace Gardens, and known as South Parade.

It was renamed St. Paul’s Parade in 1901, largely because of John Dodsley Webster’s new building that had just been completed, the second stage of a development that ran around the corner into Norfolk Street, started by the construction of the Central Hall for the Sheffield Workmen’s Mission in 1899.

Ruth Harman and John Minnis in Pevsner’s Architectural Guide to Sheffield (2004), suggest that the warm-coloured brick with red sandstone dressings, was an unusual combination for Sheffield, where the buff Yorkshire and Derbyshire sandstones were much more common.

The St. Paul’s Building comprised shops, offices and residential flats, along with a gallery and studio, although only the original facades remain following redevelopment behind.

It retains the arcaded shopfronts with carved stone piers and arches, with the faces of lions and rose, shamrock and thistle emblems still decorating the spandrels.

When it was completed, the building was home to James Moore’s Art Classes, which took place in a “beautifully lighted” new studio, its customers promised painting and drawing from live models, portrait and figure compositions, as well as flower and still-life subjects.

Over one hundred years later, the St. Paul’s Building, still retains pretty much the same use, although there have been unsuccessful attempts to have it demolished.

Had it been, the redevelopment of the Peace Gardens as part of the Heart of the City project, might have been very different.

Shops aplenty have occupied the ground floor, the most famous being the Army and General Store, famously sited at its rounded corner with Norfolk Street, later occupied by the Ha Ha Bar, and now Brown’s Bar and Brasserie.

There can be no denying that this area is one of the city centre’s most attractive, St. Paul’s Building sitting comfortably alongside the Prudential Assurance Building, built in 1895 on Pinstone Street.

NOTE: St. Paul’s Building is now referred to as St. Paul’s Chambers. However, when the building was constructed in 1901, St. Paul’s Chambers would have been associated with a completely different building, one that had been demolished to make way for the Town Hall between 1890 and 1897.


Henry Jasper Redfern

It is incredibly difficult to write about Henry Jasper Redfern (1871-1928). Almost forgotten now, his curriculum vitae is almost too long:- optician, photographer, exhibitor, filmmaker, the proprietor of a photographic and lantern business, cinema pioneer, as well as being an x-ray and radiographic innovator.

On reflection, he was a jack-of-all trades, probably master of none, because his business undertakings often ended in financial failure.

Born in Sheffield, Redfern trained as an optician and opened a business on Surrey Street, later opening a photography shop nearby. However, he was more famous in the realms of cinematography, studying the form in its early stages, and became a forerunner in exhibiting moving pictures.

In 1898, Redfern was offering photographic supplies and instruction, Röntgen rays (X-rays), and exhibitions of the Lumière Cinématographe, for which he was one of a number of agents in Britain at this time.

Specialising in ‘locals’, films of interest around Sheffield, Redfern travelled around with Sheffield United during 1899, photographing at least four major matches, climaxing with the Cup Final at Crystal Palace, when Sheffield United played Derby. He entitled the series Football Events. He also filmed local cricket matches.

The following year he seems to have made a tour of Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria), making travelogues, and eventually went wholeheartedly into the moving picture business with his ‘World Renowned Animated Pictures and Refined Vaudeville Entertainments’.

These package shows eventually led to his owning and operating a seaside summer show at Westcliffe, ‘Jasper Redfern’s Palace by the Sea’, the ‘Grand Theatre of Varieties’ in Manchester, while also operating the Theatre Royal, Windsor, and the Public Hall in Barnsley.

Together with Frank Mottershaw, he made the first outdoor films in Sheffield, producing A Daylight Robbery in 1905.

In the same year, Redfern took over the lease of the Central Hall in Norfolk Street, built in 1899 for the Sheffield Workmen’s Mission. Here, he showed his own work, opening with ‘The Royal Visit to Sheffield in its Entirety.’

Redfern was also famous in x-ray work. In its infancy, he travelled from hospital to hospital around the country with portable apparatus, subsequently joining the Army during the Great War where his expertise was used to treat wounded soldiers.

Afterwards, Redfern was a radiologist at Grange Thorpe Hospital, Manchester, but had lost use of most of his fingers due to x-ray work. He died from cancer, thought to have been accelerated by the effects of radiation poisoning.

Redfern died in comparative poverty and obscurity, aged 56, leaving a widow and four children, and his collection of motion picture memorabilia was presented to the Science Museum.


Marina Lewycka

Not strictly a Sheffielder, but somebody who chose to settle in the city. She is Marina Lewycka, British novelist of Ukrainian descent.

She is the author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (2005), a million-seller, Two Caravans (2007), We Are All Made of Glue (2009), Various Pets Alive and Dead (2012), The Lubetkin Legacy (2016) and the soon-to-be-published The Good, the Bad and the Little Bit Stupid (2020).

Lewycka was born in 1946 at a displaced persons camp in Schleswig Holstein in Germany. Her family subsequently moved to England, where she attended Gainsborough High School for Girls and Witney Grammar School, Oxfordshire, later graduating from Keele University and the University of York.

In 1985, Lewycka moved to Sheffield with her husband, who worked for the National Union of Mineworkers. She became a teacher and afterwards a lecturer of Media Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, retiring in 2011.

She now splits her time between Sheffield and London and is aware of the north-south divide. “When I get off a train (in Sheffield) you can just see how poor everybody is.”


The Bankers Draft

This building stands in one of Sheffield’s most historic parts and survives in an area that has changed considerably in the past eighty years. Thanks to the Blitz, the Hole-in-the-Road and Supertram, the environs show no resemblance to the day it was constructed.

These days we know it as The Banker’s Draft, a Grade II listed building, in Market Place, one of the first J.D. Wetherspoon pubs to open in Sheffield, but its origins goes back to the turn of the twentieth century.

In the old days, the three landmarks of Sheffield were the Castle, the Market Place and the Parish Church. When tradesmen recognised the Castle as less than a means of protection, they started clustering around the Market Place (or The Shambles), a place where they could face anyone proceeding towards the church, by means of High Street.

Markets had been held here since 1296, and its original buildings were replaced with picturesque timbered latticed gabled properties about 1752, and again around 1812.

Once, amidst the atmosphere of drapery, leather, grocery and hats, the place had a banking tradition, one that repeated itself later. Hannah Haslehurst and Son, departing from ancestral grocery, founded The Sheffield Old Bank on this spot, but it collapsed in 1785.

In 1901, the Market Place area was described as ‘an aching void,’ sharing the fate of similar early 19th century buildings, the homes of humble traders, that were demolished to make way for the York City and County Bank.

The bank was designed by Walter Brierley (1862-1926), a York architect, described as being the ‘Yorkshire Lutyens’ or ‘Lutyens of the North.’ He created 300 buildings across the north between 1885 and his death, mainly family mansions, churches, schools and banks. Brierley was also architect for North Riding County Council and the Diocese of York.

Construction started in 1901, the contractor being Sheffield-based George Longden and Son, and was finished in 1904.

Described as being Edwardian Baroque, built in Aberdeen granite and Italian marble, its interiors were lavish. A parquet floor was laid by the Acme Wood Flooring Company of London, with furnishings supplied by Goodall, Lamb & Heighway, manufacturers of high quality furniture, upholsterers and carpet warehousemen from Manchester.

Quite forgotten, is that the York City and County Bank had bought more land than it really needed. It rented out offices on the first, second and third floors, as well as the spacious basement (where remains of old stables can still be seen).

However, it was also proposed to build a first-class hotel next door, also designed by Brierley, that was never erected, probably the result of a long dispute with the council over its alcohol licence.

The York City and County Bank (established 1830) amalgamated with the London Joint Stock Bank in 1909, which itself merged with the London City and Midland Bank in 1919.

Despite the area being mostly destroyed during the Sheffield Blitz, the Midland Bank (as it became) survived unscathed, and remained open until 1989, before relocating to the end of Fargate.

Standing empty for a while, it was bought by J.D. Wetherspoon, operating as The Banker’s Draft ever since.

Walter Brierley was the architect who designed several buildings in the village of Goathland, North Yorkshire, that were seen during the opening credits of ITV’s Heartbeat (1992-2010).

Market Place is now commonly known as Castle Square. However, Market Place is officially the paved area running in front of The Banker’s Draft, between High Street to Angel Street.


Carin’s Chambers

We pass this building on Church Street and probably don’t give it a second glance. This Grade II-listed property is looking unloved these days, its condition deteriorating. Look at the windows left open to the elements, and the tree growing out of the chimney pot. A sad reminder that this was an impressive and important Sheffield building.

Cairn’s Chambers was built between 1894-1896 by Charles Hadfield, of M.E. Hadfield, Son and Garland for Henry and Alfred Maxfield, solicitors. It was built in scholarly Tudor-style, a favourite of Hadfield’s, featuring decorative stonework by Frank Tory Sr.

The structure was described in Builder in 1897, as “very quiet and self-restrained, it also remarked that “this architect’s detail is always markedly good, particularly in the matter of scale.”

In 1916, Wilfrid Randolph, an architectural critic, considered Cairn’s Chambers as being one of Hadfield’s finest pieces. “Its quiet composition and detail, stands as an admirable application of traditional English forms to present day purposes, unspoiled by the straining after effect which mars so much contemporary street architecture.”

Henry and Alfred Maxfield occupied a large suite of offices, but it was also built to accommodate other businesses, a common trait of Victorian entrepreneurship.

The offices were used for almost 40 years by Charles Hadfield’s own company, C & C.M. Hadfield, architects, and later by Hadfield and Cawkwell. It was also where John Dodsley Webster, another Sheffield architect, had his office with an entrance at the back, on St James’s Street. Another long-serving tenant was Septimus Short and Co, a Sheffield agent for the Sun Insurance office.

The Hadfield company remained until World War Two, leaving after the building was damaged by a German bomb in 1940. The rear of the property was almost destroyed, but the decorative front survived.

Afterwards, Cairn’s Chambers became a branch of the District Bank, subsequently becoming NatWest until its closure.

The building stood empty for 15 years before the ground floor was taken over by Eua De Vie Leisure Ltd, which opened it as Cargo Hold in 2018, a seafood restaurant.

Alas, Cargo Hold closed earlier this year, the Cairn’s Building empty once again, and craving for a new occupier.

Buildings Sculpture

Cairn’s Chambers

We’ve already had a look at the history of Cairn’s Chambers on Church Street, a Grade II-listed building that has been empty for most of the past sixteen years.

Built between 1894-1896 by Charles Hadfield for Henry and Alfred Maxfield, an established Sheffield firm of solicitors.

Almost unnoticed these days, are the decorative features that emblazoned the building, and which survived a Second World War German bomb.

The stone carvings, at the front, were the work of Frank Tory and Sons, Sheffield-based architectural sculptors, operating from the early 1880s until the 1950s, consisting of Frank and his twin sons Alfred Herbert and William Frank.

The crowning glory of Cairn’s Chambers was the statue of Hugh McCalmont Cairns (1819-1885), 1st Earl Cairns, an Irish statesman, and Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. He became a Q.C. in 1856, Solicitor-General in 1858, and was knighted in May of the same year, becoming Attorney-General in 1866.

The statue looks extremely miserable these days, weather-beaten, covered with dirt, and with some parts missing.

As well as the statue of Cairns, the building also features a sundial, and the heads of the then Prince and Princess of Wales, later Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.


Gladstone Buildings

Sheffield’s grandest street is in a state of crisis. Once a prosperous hub, the magnificent buildings around Church Street are at midpoint, as the shift in shop and office space moves towards the Moor and the edges of the city centre.

But things are cyclical, and these buildings will most likely prosper again.

One such building, caught in the transition, is 1 St James Row, a Grade II listing building, better known to generations as Gladstone Buildings.

This tall late Gothic block was built in red brick with sandstone dressings by Hemsoll and Smith in 1885.

To understand its history, we must acknowledge William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), British statesman and Liberal politician, who served for twelve years as Prime Minister, spread over four terms beginning in 1868, and ending in 1894.

In 1882, it was announced that a new Sheffield company had been formed. The Gladstone Buildings Company Ltd was set up with a share issue of £15,000 (later rising to £25,000), with the purpose of buying land and erecting a “central, inexpensive and convenient club” for Liberal-minded supporters.

The Sheffield Reform Club, as it would be called, would pay an annual rent of £150 to the company, contributing to the upkeep of the building, further supported by office space on its top floors and shops at ground level.

The company bought a plot of land for £5,000 at the corner of the Parish churchyard (now the Cathedral) and requested four designs to be drawn up. The chosen plan was by William Frederick Hemsoll and Joseph Smith, a Sheffield-based architectural partnership between 1881-1891.

Described as being “Domestic Gothic of 15th century-style,” its steep slate roof had a fine arrangement of dormers and spiky turrets with wrought-iron finials and cresting.

There were arcaded ground floor openings for shops, two floors with double-mullioned and transomed windows for the principal club rooms – a dining room for 100 people, reading and writing rooms, a reference library, billiards room and members lounge – with offices above.

One commentator from the time had high expectations:

“Politicians, if my experience goes for anything, are clubbable people; and the discussion of political questions is made none the less interesting when accompanied by creature comforts, and in a well-furnished, well-ventilated and well-lighted room.”

Construction started in 1884 and moved at rapid pace, blighted by the death of John Hodgson, a 17-year-old crane driver, who died when his chain suddenly stopped causing the crane to collapse. He fell onto an iron girder in the cellar, the crane falling on top of him.

Gladstone Buildings was completed in 1885, set back to allow a carriageway from St James’ Row into St James’ Street, and was officially opened by the Earl of Rosebery on Tuesday 20 October.

The Sheffield Reform Club continued until 1942, its demise no doubt putting financial pressure on The Gladstone Buildings Company, which was voluntarily wound up in 1946.

Gladstone Buildings was adapted for additional office space whilst retaining much of the old club and became a listed property in 1973.

It wasn’t enough to save it from threat of demolition three years later, thankfully averted and rebuilt as offices behind the façade by Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson and Partners.


Gladstone Buildings

This illustration of the Sheffield Reform Club, forming the greater part of the Gladstone Buildings, is from October 1885, and celebrated an important contribution to the public buildings of Sheffield.

Just completed, the Sheffield Reform Club, for Liberal-minded people, was formally opened by Archibald Primrose (1847-1929), 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian, on Tuesday 20 October 1885. (He later served as Prime Minister in 1894-1895).

The club was the tenant of the Gladstone Buildings Company, renting from it that portion shown in the drawing – the two frontages facing to St James’ Row (where the entrance was), and to Church Street.

On the ground floor was a range of shops, the first floor was occupied by the club dining, reading and writing rooms; the second floor the billiard and smoke rooms, and higher still were the domestic apartments.

The whole club had been handsomely furnished, and already had a large roll of members, attracted by the accommodation inside.

Life members paid £30 a year, while ordinary members were charged not less than one guinea on entrance, and an annual subscription of the same. Honorary members were admitted free of charge.

Within its rules, it stated that the term “beverages” did not include tea, coffee or cocoa.

Beverages would only be supplied to members and visitors in the coffee or dining room, club billiard room, smoke room and private dining rooms.

The Sheffield Reform Club’s first president was Anthony John Mundella (1825-1897), reformer and Liberal MP for Sheffield, and its treasurer was Samuel Osborn (1826-1891), steel maker and tool manufacturer.

The club closed in the 1940s, the building later converted into offices, and is now known as 1 St James’ Row, at the side of Sheffield Cathedral.


Gladstone Buildings

No. 1 St James’ Row, better known as Gladstone Buildings, near the Cathedral, opened as the Sheffield Reform Club in October 1885. It was designed by Sheffield architects Hemsoll and Smith for the Gladstone Buildings Company.

At the time, a correspondent said that, “The Liberals of Sheffield were entitled to feel proud of the club, for it was in every respect of high-class character.” The club was altogether distinct from the company which it paid rent, though only a small amount.

The Gladstone Buildings Company had been formed in 1882, chiefly through the exertions of Mr Batty Langley, to provide accommodation for a Reform Club, and to be the headquarters of the Liberal Association.

Alas, following the threat of demolition in 1976, much of its original configuration was lost during late twentieth century renovations, with much of the interior converted into office space.

The rooms of the Reform Club were taken over by Mr J.C. Skinner and the association, soon after completion, and formally opened by the Earl of Rosebery.

The catering arrangements were in the hands of Herman Gadje, the steward, with previous experience of leading clubs in Newcastle, Birmingham and Bradford, the cooking in the charge of a capable chef from London.

A tariff was prepared by which members had the choice of dining at the “table d’hote” or ordering whatever they wanted at fixed prices.

The Reform Club was entered from St James’ Row, through a handsome portico, which communicated by folding doors, with the principal porch, lofty and well-lit. Around the walls of the hall was a dado of Cork marble, edged with polished black marble, and the archway which divided the hall, was enriched with marble pillars.

On the left side of the entrance hall was the porter’s room, and on the right the lavatories and cloakrooms, fitted with every convenience, including private lockers for the members. There was also a letter box in the hall, with the club negotiating with the postal authorities to secure all day collections.

The staircase up to the first floor was lit by lantern and windows – with stained glass soon replacing the semi-opaque windows originally installed. The stairs were covered with Brussels carpet, and the balustrade was wrought-iron and Spanish mahogany.

It reached the dining-room (45ft long by 23ft wide), again carpeted, the walls being decorated with a dado picked out in two colours, and able to accommodate about one hundred people. It was well lit with oriel windows and two large Siemens lights hanging from the roof. A serving room adjoined the dining room and was connected by a serving lobby.

The reading room, adjoining the dining room, had an angled oriel window, with sweeps across the whole of Church Street, the Churchyard, High Street and St James’ Row. It had originally been planned that a balcony might be added around the window, from which political addresses might be delivered.

It was fitted in similar style to the dining room, except that the lighting was affected by several gas brackets fixed to the walls, the furniture including easy chairs, armchairs and settees, whilst the tables were covered with Morocco leather.

Both rooms were separated by a “felted” ornamental revolving partition, carved in panels from solid wood, which could be removed to form one grand banqueting room.

A writing room adjoined the reading room, from which it was divided by a glass partition with a door in the centre, and with a separate entrance from the staircase.

To the left of the staircase was a waiting room, and a smaller room used for telephonic purposes.

Passing upstairs, the visitor reached a mezzanine floor (between the first and second floors) containing two rooms that were used as private dining rooms.

The chief features of the second floor were the billiard and smoke rooms, the former being 45ft long by 23ft wide, also with an oriel window at the centre. The original intention had been to place three full-sized billiard tables (made by Cox and Yeman) here, but due to possible overcrowding, the third table was instead sited in the smoke room.

Adjoining the smoke room was a smaller room, to be used for smoking and card purposes, and eventually used as the reference library, supplied with all the leading daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines.

The mezzanine floor also contained a committee and secretary’s room, and a steward’s room, with a safe to store silver plate and valuables.

The third floor contained a bathroom, dressing room, and bedrooms for the use of members; also, steward’s apartments and kitchens.

The kitchens were fitted with ranges of special construction with two large hoists communicating with every floor in the building, with service lifts to the dining and other rooms. The large kitchen , larders and servants’ hall were put on the upper floor, and by a system of ventilation, allowed odours to be eliminated into the open air.

The Reform Club was heated by a high pressure hot water system, together with open fireplaces in the principal rooms, and electric bells fitted throughout.

The furnishings for the club, costing about £2,000, were supplied by Johnson and Appleyard of Leopold Street (as were the carpets), working to special designs submitted by the committee, all being in Gothic design, unvarnished oak, upholstered in hog skin and dark olive green tint, to match the building, including tables, chairs, armchairs and settees.

The building was illuminated with gas lights, provided by Guest and Chrimes, of Rotherham, with exception of the billiard room, where fittings were supplied by the Sheffield Gas Company.

Its members enjoyed the best cutlery, supplied by Brookes and Crookes, glassware by Webb and Sons, Stourbridge, and the dinner and tea service (with monograms of the club) by Doulton and Company of Burslem. Of course, the club enjoyed the best silver plate, manufactured by Otley and Sons, of Meadow Street, Wilkinson and Company, Norfolk Street, and George Warriss, based on Howard Street, providing the spoons and forks.

The Blind Institute fitted the club with mats and brushes, the ironmongery was by Chas Woollen and Company, with fire grates supplied by W.G. Skelton, and the fenders from Thomas Hague, both of Bridge Street. The hot closet in the serving room was made by J. Wright, and the ranges in the kitchen were by Newton Chambers and Company.

The Reform Club’s committee now reads as an historical list of local worthies: –

The Right Hon. A.J. Mundella, MP, was the President. The Vice Presidents were the MPs, Frederick Thorpe Mappin, Francis J.S. Foljambe (East Retford); the Hon. Henry Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, and William Henry Leatham (South West Riding); Lord Edward Cavendish, John Frederick Cheetham (North Derbyshire); the Hon. Francis Egerton, Alfred Barnes (East Derbyshire), and also Cecil Foljambe, of North Nottinghamshire.

The Treasurer was Samuel Osborn, with trustees made up from Thomas Wilson, John William Pye-Smith, Frank Mappin, Henry Ashington, and Robert Renton Eadon. The Honorary Secretary was George Walter Knox.

The club closed in 1942, with the Gladstone Buildings Company wound up in 1946.

It all seems such a long time ago, and today No.1 St James’ Row comprises shops and offices, many available to let, and upper floor apartments.