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Buildings

Reuben Thompson’s City Mews

Work is in progress to demolish the interiors of 30-42 Pinstone Street (as well as the adjacent Palatine Chambers) to create a new hotel. (DJP/2021)

The hoardings are up, contractors are in, and Nos. 30-42 Pinstone Street (as well as Palatine Chambers), are about to be resurrected as part of a Victorian frontage to a brand-new Radisson Blu Hotel. The old facades will remain, but everything behind it, including Barker’s Pool House, on Burgess Street, will be demolished and rebuilt.

Until the 18th century, Pinstone Lane (as it was called) crossed fields and rough grazing land. As Sheffield grew, it became a twisting, close, and sinister-looking passage. In 1875, Sheffield started a street widening programme, and Pinstone Lane was transformed into a 60ft wide thoroughfare to match the magnificence of the proposed new Town Hall.

In 1892, Reuben Thompson, of Glossop Road, an established operator of horse-drawn omnibuses, cabs, and funeral director, gave up his lease on premises at Union Street, and purchased a plot of vacant land opposite St. Paul’s Church (now Peace Gardens) from the Improvement Committee, along with adjoining property at the back towards Burgess Street.

The Salvation Army had already started building its Citadel on Cross Burgess Street as well as three large business premises at its corner with Pinstone Street. Thompson bought the land alongside this, and employed Flockton, Gibbs, and Flockton to design a red brick building, with handsome stone dressings, comprising ground floor shops, and offices and flats above.

An old sketch that shows Reuben Thompson’s City Mews to the left. The sign is visible on top of the building. (PIcture Sheffield)

In 1895, he purchased an additional plot of land to build three additional shops. This extended the length of the original building and incorporated an entrance tunnel from Pinstone Street through to stabling and carriage sheds behind, the carriages lifted from floor to floor by a hoist.

It extended the range to fifteen bays, and across the top of the building ran an enormous sign – ‘Reuben Thompson’s City Mews – and was completed in time for the opening of the new Town Hall.

This is the building we still see, although the advent of the motor car, and high petrol prices during the 1930s, saw Reuben Thompson Ltd vacate a property that had become far too big. It consolidated on Glossop Road and Queen’s Road and focused on its funeral business.

Looking up Pinstone Street. Reuben Thompson’s City Mews are on the right of this old photograph. Once again, the large sign is visible across the top of the building. (Picture Sheffield)

Those of a certain age will be familiar with the shops that have occupied this prime location on one of Sheffield’s most prestigious streets.

The Pinstone Street entrance to City Mews, where horses and carriages once passed, was filled-in, and later lost in the frontage of Mac Market (later to become International, Gateway, Somerfield, Co-op, Budgens, and finally, as a temporary home for WH Smiths).

The construction of Barker’s Pool House on Burgess Street in 1969-1970 (on the site of the former stabling and carriage-houses) linked both properties and altered much of the original Pinstone Street interiors. These too will be lost in the latest stage of the Heart of the City II redevelopment.

An old building plan shows Reuben Thompson’s City Mews, with stabling and carriage sheds located at the back of the Pinstone Street premises and stretching through to Burgess Street. This would later become the site of Barker’s Pool House, soon to be demolished. (Goad Insurance Plan 1896/British Library))
In the 1970s, Mac Market occupied three of the old shop units on Pinstone Street. The original carriage entrance passed underneath the offices above and was located where the central window is here. It remained a supermarket until fairly recently. (Picture Sheffield)
A recent image of 30-42 Pinstone Street. All the shops frequently changed hands. The former Mac Market was most recently used as a temporary shop for WH Smith. In 1970, Barker’s Pool House was built behind, and shoppers were able to use an alternative entrance on Burgess Street. Useful for Cole Brothers staff before and after work. (Google)
Proposed principal east elevation (Pinstone Street) for the Radisson Blu Hotel. Fifteen bays once formed Reuben Thompson’s City Mews. Palatine Chambers occupies twelve bays to the right. (Montagu-Evans)

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

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.

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Buildings

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.

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Buildings

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.

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Buildings

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.