Radisson Blu

Photograph by Sheffield City Council

Here’s news of an important development in Sheffield’s Heart of the City II programme.

Radisson Blu has been selected by Sheffield City Council as the preferred hotel brand for its flagship Heart of the City II hotel on Pinstone Street, overlooking the Peace Gardens.

The hotel will anchor the new Heart of the City II scheme which is already home to global bank HSBC, and which will shortly welcome prominent international law firm, CMS, who are occupying 45,000 sq. ft of office space later in the year.

Part of Block A in Heart of the City II, the hotel will be housed in the striking Victorian architecture towards the top end of Pinstone Street, adjacent to the Barclays building on the corner. It is expected to feature over 150 rooms and will have a prominent location with views of the Peace Gardens.

Developed by Sheffield City Council and its strategic delivery partner, Queensberry, Block A sits between Pinstone Street, Burgess Street and Barker’s Pool. Providing a key gateway to the Heart of the City II district from the east, Block A will also feature premium retail units at street level and 45,000 sq. ft of office or residential space.

Radisson Blu is an international chain of 328 ‘upper upscale’ hotels operated by the Radisson Hotel Group. Its origins go back to 1960, with the opening of the SAS Royal Denmark Hotel in Copenhagen, the group rebranded from Radisson SAS in 2009.

At present, the nearest Radisson Blu hotels are in Derby, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and York.


Area Sheffield

To our kids, this mirrored glass and garish red steelwork building on Burgess Street is just another nightclub. This is what it’s been on-and-off for twenty-five years, much longer than the function it was originally built for.

It was constructed by the Rank Organisation in 1986-1987 as a brand new Odeon Cinema, a replacement for the outdated, but much loved Gaumont Cinema (originally the Regent Theatre) demolished in 1985.

The Odeon opened in August 1987 with two auditoriums seating 500 and 324 people apiece.

Making use of the Gaumont’s footprint, the entrance on Burgess Street was approximately where the old Gaumont stage once stood, allowing the space in Barker’s Pool to be used for retail units.

The building itself was hated by locals, its only saving grace being a giant mural on the main staircase, painted by local artist Joe Scarborough depicting the history of Sheffield.

However, its days were numbered when a seven-screen Odeon opened at the redundant Fiesta nightclub on Arundel Gate in 1992. The bosses at Rank quickly realised it wasn’t cost effective to run two cinemas in the city centre, and one had to go.

The Burgess Street premises were closed in 1994.

But what happened to Joe Scarborough’s mural?

After standing empty, it was later converted into Kingdom nightclub, later known as Embrace, now Area. And locals still detest the building.


Sheffield Citadel

This photograph says it all. Trees and bushes growing out of the brickwork of the Grade II-listed Salvation Army Citadel on Cross Burgess Street, Sheffield. A favourite of urban explorers, this remarkable looking building has stood empty since the Salvation Army moved to Psalter Lane in 1999. The building’s future looks a little brighter, with Tandem Properties currently awaiting a planning decision to turn it into a bar and restaurant, the development forming part of the Heart of the City 2 project.

The Salvation Army arrived in Sheffield during 1878 and within three years had four halls attracting attendances of over 4,000 people. It was obvious that a bigger venue was needed for the No. 1 Corps which had previously met in a small building on Thomas Street. The London headquarters of the Army promised to fund the construction of a new meeting hall on the understanding that there would be a local contribution of £2,000. A piece of land on the junction of Pinstone Street and Cross Burgess Street was bought from Sheffield Corporation at a cost of £7,812.

The architect William Gillbee Scott (1857-1930), who had conceived the Gower Street Memorial Chapel in London, was asked to design the new Citadel along with shops and offices alongside. The foundation stones were laid in September 1892 with construction completed by the end of 1893. Its fortress-like appearance, with battlements and towers, lived up to the Citadel’s name. Completed at a cost of £25,000, the building consisted of a large hall, various rooms and apartments, with three large business premises on Pinstone Street, which were let almost immediately.

The main hall in the Citadel had seating for 2,000 people. At one end was a theatre-like platform with an orchestra behind. A main gallery occupied three sides of the hall with boxes sited at each end. An upper gallery was also situated at the back. In addition, there were ante-rooms, a band room for use of the brass band, and a large room under the orchestra accommodating another 300 people.

The Salvation Army Citadel opened in January 1894, spoilt by heavy rain, forcing the planned outdoor event to be adjourned inside. The ceremony started when the order was given to fire a volley, followed by a rousing rendition of Hallelujah.

The Citadel survived for 105 years, its popularity waning in time, resulting in its final departure to smaller premises at the end of last century. Admired by many, but seemingly unable to attract the right kind of developer, the building has been subject to several unsuccessful redevelopment plans.


Barker’s Pool House

We’re about to lose a city centre landmark, although one we barely notice these days. Planning permission has been submitted to demolish the link bridge between John Lewis and Barker’s Pool House, on Burgess Street.

The bridge was built in 1973, linking Barker’s Pool House, built about 1970, with John Lewis (then Cole brothers), constructed ten years earlier, and serving as office access for the department store.

The link bridge is no longer required, with Barker’s Pool House forming part of Block A in the Heart of the City II project, a new construction, designated for retail and leisure space, a hotel, with residential above.

The link bridge was designed by architect R.D. Cook, and made of primary castellated beams, which carry the floor and roof structure, with glazed cladding. Its deck stands about 12 metres above street level, 16 metres in length, 2.5 metres wide, and a height of 3.4 metres.

Once planning permission is granted, likely to be a formality, the access space from both buildings will be made good.