While you were sleeping last night. This is a wet and deserted Earl Way, which lies parallel between The Moor and Eyre Street.
If we go back to Norman times, and the time of Thomas de Furnival, this was thought to have been the site of a large ditch at the edge of Sheffield Deer Park, one of England’s largest deer parks, and spanning a circumference of eight miles in total.
Earl Way is modern compared to most Sheffield roads. It was created in the second half of the twentieth century when this part of the city centre was redeveloped. Prior to this, there were three significant roads in the vicinity.
These were Porter Street, that ran diagonally from Hereford Street, towards Moorhead, and Porter Lane, a narrow road that linked it with Union Lane.
Union Lane once ran from Charles Street, near to the Roebuck Tavern, across Furnival Road (now Furnival Gate) and ended at Jessop Street (where the Moor Market now stands). The only surviving section of Union Lane is behind Derwent House, near The Roebuck (think deer).
In this photograph, it would have run along the left hand side where the former Plug nightclub and Kit-Kat car-park stand. Porter Street would have been to the right.
If we could go back in time, right in the centre of the picture, and in the middle of the road, would have been Porter Street School.
There were two reasons why Earl Way came into being.
Up until the 1930s, this was an area of back-to-back housing and designated for slum clearance. Then came World War Two. German bombs caused extensive damage around The Moor, Porter Street, and Eyre Street, leaving the site to be redeveloped afterwards.
Union Lane disappeared, and Earl Way was built as a link road to Earl Street (seen running across the end of the road here).
And familiar landmarks appeared too, including the Pump Tavern, later demolished to make way for the Moor Market, and Violet May, a record shop, run by a pivotal figure in the development of the music scene in Sheffield.
Perhaps the most dramatic modern building is the Kit-Kat car-park, designed by Broadway Malyan in 2008, and sold for £9m last month by joint owners NewRiver and BRAVO Strategies.
Two photographs that show how a Sheffield street lost its identity.
Hereford Street is shown as a wide thoroughfare in 1951, a continuation of Charlotte Road, and intersected by narrow St Mary’s Road, and Porter Street (that became the lower end of Eyre Street). It joined The Moor that continued south towards London Road. Note that Bramall Lane roundabout did not exist.
Seventy years later, the outline of Hereford Street can still be seen but is split by two dual carriageways – St Mary’s Road and Eyre Street. Gone are the factories, houses, and small shops, and the Moor-end is pedestrianised, and this section of The Moor lost beneath the Moorfoot Building.
Sadly, this area has become an unloved part of the city centre with Hereford Street falling on hard times.
Most astonishing is that few buildings appear in both photographs. Most were swept away for road development, factories were surplus to requirement, and old houses and shops deemed unfit for purpose.
St Mary’s Church, on Bramall Lane, does appear in both photographs. In 1951, it was covered in soot and suffered from air pollution, but look how large the churchyard was, and how much was taken away to make St Mary’s Road a dual-carriageway.
Buildings to point out in the modern-day image are the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Headquarters and Moor Markets (left), Decathlon and Deacon House (centre) and, of course, the Moorfoot Building (bottom).
History is all around us. Keep your eyes open and sometimes you will see something that reveals something of our past. At the corner of Eyre Street and Cumberland Street, set in the wall of a building, is an old night safe. Unused for forty-eight years, it is marked ‘Martins Bank Limited’.
It is an obvious clue as to the origins of this rather run-down looking 1960s building, and tells us that once-smart buildings can become eyesores if we don’t look after them.
Martin’s Bank was a London private bank that could trace its origins back to the London goldsmiths. Martin’s agreed to its acquisition by the Bank of Liverpool in 1918, which wanted a London presence and a seat on the London Bankers’ Clearing House; the Martin’s name was retained in the title of the enlarged bank which was known as The Bank of Liverpool and Martin’s Limited. The title was shortened to Martins Bank Limited (without an apostrophe) in 1928.
The bank had a presence in Sheffield from 1927 when the Equitable Bank, at 64 Leopold Street, merged with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins. It outgrew the premises and opened a new branch in the Telephone Buildings at the bottom of West Street in 1930. It wasn’t until 1960 that a Sheffield University branch was opened, quickly followed by this purpose-built bank – Sheffield Moor – on Eyre Street. (Another, on Bank Street, came later).
This branch opened in 1961 on land that had once been the site of Greer and Rigby, Surgeons, and land left vacant after the bombings of World War Two.
According to archives, this part of Sheffield was too far from the old commercial quarter to be effectively served by the West Street branch. “A beautiful modern building with interior décor which responds to the full blaze of sunshine most cheerfully, or, on a dark day when the illuminatedceiling has to be switched on, creates an oasis of light, warmth and welcome which makes it a pleasure to step inside.”
The ground floor was shared with Olivetti, typewriters, and office machine dealers, while the British Wagon Company occupied part of the first floor.
Martins Bank was bought by Barclays in 1968 and five years later the Sheffield Moor branch was closed – its existence as a bank lasting only twelve years.
The building itself was used for a variety of purposes, even a gym, and is now sub-divided as office space.
Two night-time shots of Cumberland Street, Sheffield, sixty years apart. The black and white photograph, looking towards Eyre Street, was taken in the early 1960s, and even though almost everything was demolished, it is still recognisable.
The row of shops down the left became Moor Market, including the tall and imposing General Electric Company building.
The old properties down the right were replaced in the early 1970s, including the addition of the Whetstone Public House, later Moorfoot Tavern, and now El Paso restaurant.
Only one building survives – the former Martin’s Bank at the far right corner of Cumberland Street with Eyre Street.
About halfway down are two roads with contrasting fortunes. To the right, South Lane, then a narrow thoroughfare, but significantly widened. To the left, Cumberland Way, lost during Moor Market construction, and now forming the entrance to the market service area.
In the far gloom was the factory belonging to W.A. Tyzack (built in 1958 and demolished in 1984), and now the site of Decathlon.
Is an outlying part of Sheffield city centre about to be redeveloped?
Theatre Delicatessen and the Forces Support charity shop have been served notice to vacate their premises on Eyre Street by January 2022. Both units were once branches of Mothercare and Staples (later Office Outlet).
It is understood that both properties are owned by NewRiver and Bravo Strategies, which bought The Moor, the adjacent 28 acre estate for £41m.
The former retail park will almost certainly be demolished and there is speculation that it will be replaced with a new Lidl supermarket. Any redevelopment will be subject to planning permission.
Earlier this year, the discounter urged landowners to come forward with the focus on ‘town centre, edge of centre, retail park and metropolitan locations’ which are prominent, easily accessible and have a ‘strong pedestrian or traffic flow’.
Areas of interest included Beauchief, Broomhill, Burngreave, Chapeltown, city centre, Crystal Peaks, Ecclesall, Ecclesfield, Fir Vale, Fulwood, Gleadless, Handsworth, Hillsborough, Holbrook/Mosborough, Meadowhall, Norton and not surprisingly, St Mary’s Gate.
The site was once Ellin Street (still listed on maps) and edges Porter Brook. It was named after Thomas Ellin who had used water power from the Porter where it widened into Bennett’s Dam. Here he founded Vulcan Works with cutlery shops and a steel furnace. The dam, roughly where St Mary’s roundabout is now, was later covered over and the Porter culverted to Leadmill Road.
This is Bungalows and Bears, on Division Street, a popular bar with students, but you might not be aware that in 2028 the building will celebrate its centenary. In Pevsner’s Architectural Guide to Sheffield, Harman and Minnis describe it as ‘bloodless, Neo-Georgian,’ typical of inter-war building. Sadly, it’s not looking its best these days.
This was the former Fire Brigade Headquarters, built in 1928 at a cost of £39,000, and opened by the Lord Mayor, Alderman H. Bolton in July 1929.
It would be interesting to know how much remains of its interior since its conversion to flats and ground-floor bar in the 1990s.
The fire station was designed by the City Architect, W.G. Davies, and was intended as an extension to an adjacent station on Rockingham Street (1883-1884). A row of shops fronting Division Street from Rockingham Street to Rockingham Lane was purchased and demolished.
The new Division Street frontage was 155ft long, of which 60ft was occupied by the engine room, with accommodation for 10 engines. Inside, the engine room had white-tiled walls, tastefully picked out in blue, a floor of terrayo, and huge teak doors that opened onto the road.
Adjoining the engine room was the ‘watch room’ – a private telephone exchange and switchboard, with automatic fire bells for calling out the firemen.
On each side of the buildings were stairways and sliding poles of stainless steel fitted on each floor, enabling the men to reach the engine room from the first and second floor firemen’s quarters. There was a children’s playground at the rear of the first floor, while the third floor housed a recreation hall, gymnasium, and more firemen’s quarters.
Electric clocks were fitted throughout, as well as a lighting system controlled by the watch room that ensured that when an alarm sounded emergency lights were switched on automatically.
Outside the engine house, in Division Street, two solid bronze flamboyant torch-fitting electric lamps were fitted, each consisting of three torch-shaped, red-tinted electric lamps.
At the back was a courtyard with a 70ft high brick tower used for drill purposes with Pompier and hook ladders.
The building work was undertaken by Messrs. Abbott and Bannister, Ltd., general builders, and public works contractors, of Machon Bank, using Stairfoot Double Pressed Red Facing bricks, and stone supplied by Joseph Turner of Middlewood Quarries. A green Westmorland slate roof was installed by W.W. Fawcett of Hale Street.
The next time you go past, have a look for five different carvings on the building. They include the Sheffield Coat of Arms and representations of four of the old Fire Marks, all executed by Frank Tory and Sons, architectural sculptors, of Ecclesall Road.
The fire station survived until 1983 when a replacement building was opened on Wellington Street, subsequently demolished in 2010, with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue moving to its current Eyre Street headquarters. Now used as a car park, the Wellington Street site is earmarked to become Pound’s Park, named after Sheffield’s first Fire Superintendent.
The Story of Dr Mariano Alejo Martin de Bartolomé might be straight from the pages of a novel.
Bartolomé (1813-1890) was born in Segovia, Spain, and came from an old Castilian Hidalgo family, his father being the civil governor of the province.
Aged 8, he became a student at the Artillery College of the Alcazar of Segovia and had lined up a commission in the Hussars. However, Spain was in a state of revolution and the representative system was abolished. Ferdinand VII was restored by the intervention of the French, and the Bartolomé’s were driven out of Spain and their estate confiscated.
They sought refuge in England, eventually taking up residence in Jersey.
It was here that Bartolomé met Mary Elizabeth Parker, the daughter of Rev Frank Parker of Dore, and they married in 1834. He had no profession, but Mary paid for him to become a medical student at Edinburgh University.
Bartolomé studied under Professor Sir Robert Christison, regarded as a brilliant physician and chemist, and gained his medical degree in 1838.
The couple moved to Sheffield taking up residence at 3 Eyre Street, popular with surgeons and physicians, and remained here for 45 years.
In 1840 Bartolomé was elected one of the honorary physicians to the Sheffield Hospital and Dispensary (later the Royal Hospital) and in 1846 joined the Sheffield Infirmary, later becoming senior physician. It was said that he rode there on a fine black horse and to have jumped the gate when he found it closed. By the time he retired through ill-health in 1889 it was estimated that Bartolomé had treated more than 750,000 patients.
In 1846, Bartolomé joined the staff of lecturers at the Sheffield Medical Institution, later the Medical School, delivering over 3,000 lectures and becoming its president.
As president he was instrumental in obtaining funds to build a new building in Leopold Street, finished in 1888, and after merging with Firth College and Sheffield Technical School it was renamed University College Sheffield before becoming University of Sheffield in 1905.
His crowning glory was in 1876 when he was elected president of the British Medical Association (BMA) at a meeting in Sheffield. His presidential address was an exhaustive description of Sheffield, its surroundings, some of its trades, their effects on the health of workers, and suggestions as to future legislation.
Bartolomé was painted by artist Bernard Edward Cammell which was presented to him by the Medical School in November 1888.
“I came amongst you as a stranger and an alien, but you stretched out the right hand of friendship towards me, and I stand before you now one of the oldest Englishmen in the room, having been naturalised long before the majority of you were in existence.
“I wish that my portrait may remain in the midst of its givers – those friends whom I have so sincerely and frequently loved.”
Bartolomé moved his house and surgery to Glossop Road in the 1880s, the building on the corner with Hounsfield Road better known now as The Harley bar.
As well as his medical work, Bartolomé was a freemason at the Britannia and Brunswick Lodges (and laid the foundation stone at the Masonic Hall in Surrey Street) and was founder and president of Sheffield Athenaeum club.
In his last few years Bartolomé suffered from heart problems and was forced to give up a lot of work. In 1890, after waking, he attended his invalid son in an adjoining room and died soon after, supposedly “brought on by dressing somewhat hastily in order that he might visit his son.”
His wife, Mary, died in 1863, and Bartolomé married a second time, Mary Emily Jackson, the daughter of Samuel Jackson, who survived him.
After his death, Bartolomé’s family left the city, but his grandson, Dr Stephen M de Bartolomé (1919-2001), a former Sheffield University student returned to Sheffield to work for Spear & Jackson of which he became chairman.
The Bartolomé Papers – a collection relating to the history of the family through both Bartolomés – is held at the University of Sheffield. As a fitting tribute the former Winter Street Hospital (and then St George’s Hospital) became the School of Nursing for the University of Sheffield in 1997, named Bartolomé House in 1998 after Dr Mariano Martin de Bartolomé, and now the School of Law.