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Buildings

Apartments plan at former Boys’ Charity School

Grade II-listed, No. 14 East Parade. Its front faces Sheffield Cathedral, with a side elevation on Campo Lane, and the rear on York Street. Note the former playground on the roof. Photograph: Google.

A Planned and Listed Building Consent application for 17 shorthold tenancy apartments has been submitted by Pinebridge estates for No. 14 East Parade. It was built in 1825 as the Boys’ Charity School and has been empty for several years.

The actual date of the Boys’ Charity School (or ‘Bluecoats’ School) was in 1706, and for some time the boys were taught in a room at the Earl of Shrewsbury’s Hospital. But in 1710, premises were built at the north-east corner of the Parish churchyard, and these were rebuilt in 1825, and enlarged in 1889. The school was a home for orphan boys. They were lodged, fed, and educated free of charge, partly out of income from endowments and partly out of subscriptions and donations.

“Who has not seen those neat boys whose conduct is in every way a credit to their master, dressed in their old-fashioned blue cloth coat, buttoning up in front and cut away into tails behind with yellow braid and brass buttons, green corduroy trousers, white bands, and a blue ‘muffin’ cap?” (Sheffield Daily Telegraph – 1911)

Six of the boys were maintained out of the charity of Thomas Hanbey (founder of the Hanbey Charity) and wore the complete dress of a Christ’s Hospital boy. Ten other boys wore the letter ‘W’ on their arm, signifying that they were appointed by the heirs of Thomas Watson, who gave £3,000 to the school. There were a hundred boys altogether.

Both the original school and the larger replacement appear to have been formed from a donation in the will of Thomas Hanbey in 1782. It was built to the designs of Woodhead & Hurst who were a Doncaster-based architectural practice, also responsible for St George’s Church, the Music Hall on Surrey Street, the Grammar School on Charlotte Street, Shrewsbury Almshouses on Norfolk Road, and the enlargement of the Town Hall.

Up until 1830, the boys played in the adjacent churchyard, but after being turned-out, they played cricket and football on the third floor, and in a small open playground on the concreted roof of the building (now described as a roof terrace), both made possible by the generosity of Samuel Roberts, the cutler, and supporter of benevolent causes.

The land on which it stood had been leased to the trustees by Joseph Banks of Sefton, for 999 years, at a rental of 20s. a year, but in 1911, the school transferred to new buildings on Psalter Lane, and it was sold for £7,000 to the Government to be converted into a Central Labour Exchange.

It was later used by the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, and in recent years was used as an Industrial Tribunals Court.

The planning application is for 17 apartments, and as part of the conversion it is proposed to create additional accommodation on the former rooftop playground.


The building was separated into various office units and used by several Government departments. Photograph: Picture Sheffield.

The Grade II-listed building originally comprised two wings with a central linking range where the main entrance was along East Parade and also a rear cour tyard enclosed to York Street with a wall. This open space was presumably a playground for the pupils. By 1855 this courtyard had been infilled with a new central block of the building creating its current planform. Photograph: Stephen Richards.
Proposed East Parade design. Photograph: Pinebridge Estates.
Proposed Campo Lane design. Pinebridge Estates.
Proposed York Street elevation, with roof extension. Pinebridge Estates.

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

William Bush and Sons

Hard times. Built for William Bush and Sons, auctioneers, in 1895. At some point in time a pediment was added to the roofline. (Image: David Poole)

What would our Victorian ancestors think of Sheffield now?

A tree grows out of the roof of this building on Church Street, a sad reminder that over a century since it was built, we’re guilty of turning our backs on impressive architecture.

Times change, and Church Street with its impressive collection of beautiful buildings, has suffered more than most.

In fact, Church Street possesses the finest empty buildings anywhere.

Barely a glance is given to the Sheffield Estate Salesrooms and Auction Mart, built in 1896 for William Bush and Sons.

An artist’s impression of the new William Bush and Sons salesrooms appeared in a Sheffield newspaper in 1895. The Gladstone Building is to the right and Cairn’s Chambers on the left. (Image: British Newspaper Archive)

William Bush was an enterprising individual who started his working life with Schofield and Son, a firm of auctioneers, and subsequently bought the company. He later entered partnership with Charles Dixon (Dixon and Bush) and when this dissolved in 1867 he practised alone.

William Bush traded on East Parade and was joined by his eldest son, George Frederick Bush, in 1884, and by another son, Frank Sleigh Bush, in 1895. Never a public figure, he became Sheffield’s oldest auctioneer, as well as a director of William Stones, the Cannon Brewery.

William Bush, auctioneer (1827-1903). (Image: Picture Sheffield)

Such was the success of William Bush and Sons that in 1895 he commissioned the architect Thomas Henry Jenkinson to build a new salesroom on Church Street.

Built in Italian style of the 16th century period, the outside walls had a surface of red brick pleasantly relieved with Yorkshire stone dressings.

It was constructed by Ash, Son, and Biggin, a large building, covering 6,400 square ft with a frontage of 80ft on Church Street.

A photograph from 1897. The entrance to the salesrooms was alongside access to offices above. Two shops are shown at ground level. (Image: Picture Sheffield)

When completed in 1896, it was an inspiring if not different approach to Victorian architecture, sandwiched between the more imposing Gladstone Building and Cairn’s Chambers (built at almost the same time). However, the auction house interior was typical of the day.

Entering from Church Street through folding oak doors, the visitor found themselves in a bright vestibule with mosaic floor. To the right was the cashier’s office and to the left a telephone room. Through a passage past the cashier’s office were the private rooms of the principals of the firm.

The vestibule reached a well-lit, lofty corridor, constructed to double as a picture gallery, its walls, as in other parts, lined with Austrian wainscot oak installed by Johnson and Appleyard.

A mosaic floor and Austrian wainscot oak panelling lined the main corridor. The main salesrooms were to the left and right. (Image: Picture Sheffield)

Leading off the corridor on either side were two large salesrooms. The right one was the general salesroom and on the left the estate mart. Both rooms took advantage of the best lighting and acoustics under dome-shaped roofs.

The handles on the doors were Italian bronze, representing a dragon’s head, by Charles Green, the artist and modeller.

At the end of the corridor, running at right angles with it, was another salesroom used for the sale of shrubs, trees, and plants, and used as a warehouse for the reception of goods.

A hydraulic lift took goods from the basement, where there were large storerooms fitted out to be salesrooms if required, and a fireproof strong room.

The sales rooms had natural light from above. At some point the building was redeveloped and the glass atriums replaced. An aerial view of the building today shows a plain flat roof. (Images: Picture Sheffield)

William Bush died in 1903, the business continued by both sons, but the popularity of salesrooms had started to wane in the new century.

George Frederick Bush left the business, and it became Frank Bush and Company, subsequently Bush and Company.   

It might be that overheads connected with the building’s construction obliged Frank to look for tenants.

In December 1913, Lloyd’s Bank opened its Church Street branch here, the Bush auctions functioning in the remainder of the building. However, by the 1920s it had been renamed Lloyd’s Bank Chambers, and Bush and Company had relocated to Orchard Place.

Sadly, Frank Sleigh Bush was declared bankrupt in 1927, his reasons being “a change of business premises, slump in trade, illness, and lack of capital.”

The old salesrooms faded into memory, the ground floor sub-divided into shops, but Lloyd’s Bank remained until its recent departure to Parade Chambers on High Street.

Today, the ground floor units are empty, only Amplifon occupies what was the old vestibule, with little sign of life in the offices above, and with post-pandemic uncertainty, it looks like a long road back to glory.

There is a question that intrigues me more than anything.

How much, if anything at all, remains of the old auction house interiors?

Church Street possesses the finest empty buildings anywhere. (Image: David Poole)
The old auction rooms are to the left of the photograph from 1993. Lloyds Bank was still evident. (Image: Picture Sheffield)

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.