Today, a look at a street in Sheffield city centre that was consigned to history long ago.
In 1874, a plan was produced by Sheffield architects, Innocent and Brown, for the laying out of Leopold Street, and the realignment of Church Street and Bow Street (now the bottom-end of West Street).
About this time, land between Orchard Lane, Bow Street, Orchard Street and Balm Green was covered by old houses in two streets, Smith Street and Sands Paviours.
The site was bought by the Sheffield School Board for building the Central Schools and offices. At the same time, Mark Firth founded Firth College, later part of the University of Sheffield, and this was opened by Prince Leopold in 1879.
The removal of old property between Bow Street and Orchard Lane caused the obliteration of the marvellously named Sands Paviours.
But what had once been a pathway across rural land had become a street of slum housing, workshops, shops, and a public house called the Norfolk Arms. And murder and crime were evident on the street.
According to John Daniel Leader, this little court of houses may have derived its name from Samuel Sands, who flourished in the reign of Queen Ann.
By an indenture dated 25 September 1708, Samuel Sands, a Sheffield cutler, conveyed to George Hawke of Leavygreave, yeoman, for the sum of £100, all that messuage, near the Townhead Cross with a smithy, barn, orchard, and garden, lately in the possession of John Hobson; also, a cottage adjoining, lately in the possession of Mary Wilson, to hold the same for ever of the chief Lord or Lords of the fee. The vendor signed his name ‘Samwell Sandes.”
However, there was another suggestion for it being named so.
In other towns there were streets called Sans Paviours (without paving stones), and it might be that because Sandes’ house was here, that he saw the name Sans Paviours elsewhere, and thought it appropriate for his own property.
The mystery was cleared up when the land was bought by the School Board, and the old deeds showed that it had been in the family called Sandes from 1657 to 1727, and that early mention was also made to Sands Croft and Sands Orchard.
Like many old street names that were adapted over the years, Sands Paviours was also referred to as Saint Pavers.
Remember this the next time you relax in Leopold Square. There is history beneath your feet.
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