Categories
Places

Sheffield’s clean air programme to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary

There is an important anniversary coming up in Sheffield’s story.

In 1972, Sheffield completed its clean air programme, and one person who had cause to feel proud was Joseph Batey, nicknamed ‘Smokey Joe,’ who had just retired as the city’s smoke control officer.

Fifty years on, many of us won’t appreciate the importance of this milestone. We are used to clear skies, (mostly) fresh air, and spectacular views across the city.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Concern over Sheffield’s air quality stretched back at least 400 years. As early as 1608 Sir John Bentley expected to be ‘half choked with town smoke’ while visiting Sheffield.

A traveller’s diary of 1798 said: “We had an excellent view of the town of Sheffield enveloped in smoke.” ; and in 1828: “Others have become so accustomed to regard an increase in smoke as an indication of improving trade that they can see nothing in a clear sky but ruin.”

By the 19th century it was apparent that measures were necessary to reduce atmospheric pollution in urban areas.

In 1819, industrial firms were being fined for undue smoke emissions. And in 1843, the Select Committee on Smoke Prevention issued its report, and locally, the Borough Council’s Watch Committee directed the police to enforce Smoke Byelaws.

“The Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty in Council’ disallowed the city’s smoke byelaws in 1852, but the council tried again the following year and were successful.

The Sanitary Act of 1866 permitted local sanitary authorities to act against smoke nuisances. It was not until 1875 however, with the passing of the Public Health Act, that attempts were made to control air pollution across the whole country.

In 1890, Sheffield’s first chief smoke inspector noted that the average smoke emission of all chimneys observed by his staff was ‘80 minutes smoke an hour.’

The real break-through came with the Clean Air Act of 1956 which established ‘smokeless zones’ in which only smokeless fuels could be burned. Here was a piece of legislation (and the city’s representatives were consulted when it was being drafted) which swept away the old, misconceived notions and gave any city that cared to have a go the chance for clean air for all.

The citizens proved worthy of their heritage. With power to prohibit smoke from domestic premises, now recognised as the biggest smoke producer, and a 40 per cent grant from the Government towards the cost of domestic conversions to smokelessness (a bonus that few Yorkshiremen could resist) the first area, in the city centre, became smokeless on December 1, 1959.

There was a clean wind blowing into the city from the Derbyshire moors, and the strategy adopted was to work for smoke elimination into this clean wind direction, namely into the south-west sector of the city, but there was not a large volume of heavy industry in the south-west, and smoke gauges in the north east sector, where heavy industry was located, only started to show a steady decline in the early sixties as the programme gained momentum in the south west.

Another advantage which accrued from working in what was largely the ‘domestic’ area was that industry was being alerted to the necessity of ‘getting it clean’ and ‘keeping it clean.’ There was little hope of clearing smoke from a house in the industrial belt if an adjacent factory chimney was pouring out smoke. The Clean Air Act of 1968 forced certain industries to use tall chimneys, and the cooperation of most managements was positive.

A final programme of complete domestic smoke control was forwarded to the then Ministry of Housing and Local Government in 1960, showing the completion date as 1972. This programme was adhered to, and the promise kept.

By turning over to smokeless fuels there was a welcome reduction in the sulphur dioxide measurements, using measuring stations.

Fog or smog days disappeared by the late 1960s and Sheffield Transport’s manager stated, in reply to a query regarding bus time-keeping – “I can say that it is the opinion of all my staff that over the years with the introduction of smokeless zones, the problem has almost entirely disappeared.”

The effect on health was carried out at Sheffield University, but few needed convincing that cleaner air, more sunshine, and less dirt, was conductive to good health.

By 1972, the city of 71 square miles with over half a million population, and 186,000 houses, had tamed air pollution in 12 years, even though its basic industry, producing three million tons of steel, was notorious for its pollution problems.

The creation of smoke control areas was so successful that by the early 1980s they covered the whole of the urban parts of the city, and the transformation of Sheffield’s air was thought to have been complete. The 1956 and 1968 Clean Air Acts were repealed by the Clean Air Act 1993, which consolidated and extended the provisions of the earlier legislation.

However, the new threats from traffic emissions became the next clean air challenge.

In early 2023 Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone is due to start. This is a class C chargeable zone for the most polluting large goods vehicles, vans, buses, and taxis that drive within the inner ring road and city centre.

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

Tesco Express to open on Fargate

42-46 Fargate. The site of a new Tesco Express. Image: DJP/2022

We recently looked at 42-46 Fargate, an existing retail unit that was formerly used by New Look. The building has been demolished and redeveloped multiple times, with the present, existing building having been constructed in the 1990s.

This was once the site of the Green Dragon Hotel, built in 1884, with R. H. Ramsden shoe and hat shop occupying the ground floor retail unit. In 1922, it was adapted to become Winchester House, the former hotel rooms becoming offices and studios. During the 1950s and 1960s, Winchester House became offices for the Provincial Insurance Company. In the 1970s, the building was demolished and replaced with a standard 1970s design.

The demise of Fargate and its pending renaissance is well documented, but here comes news that Tesco Express is to occupy the building.

The retail giant has applied for planning permission for the installation of a new realigned shopfront and new aluminium automatic telescopic sliding door, as well as new signage and rooftop plant machinery.

Tesco Express shops are convenience stores averaging 200 square metres (2,200 sq ft), stocking mainly food with an emphasis on higher-margin products, and the necessity to maximise revenue per square foot, alongside everyday essentials. They are in busy city-centre districts, small shopping precincts in residential areas, small towns and villages, and on Esso petrol station forecourts.

A typical Tesco Express store at the Mailbox, Birmingham.

Categories
Places

County lines – the fight to keep Sheffield out

It was 1990, and the Boundary Commission was blitzed by worried Derbyshire ratepayers who feared a big part of their county could be gobbled by Sheffield.

Thousands of householders were issued with specially printed postcards by North-East Derbyshire District Council to send to the commission urging them not to make more than 100 square miles of territory part of Sheffield.

A bid by the city to grab Killamarsh, Eckington, and Dronfield, as well as parts of the Hope Valley in the Peak District, had been withdrawn after a high profile campaign by residents and neighbouring Derbyshire councils.

But despite the climbdown, the commission was still duty bound to examine the possibility of changing the boundary.

The story had begun in 1987 when the Boundary Commission wrote to Sheffield City Council announcing its intention to undertake a review of Sheffield as part of its review of the Metropolitan County of South Yorkshire.

Sheffield City Council made it known that there was a substantial case for extension of its boundary by absorbing the Hope Valley and Dronfield, Eckington, and Killamarsh. It resulted in a petition bearing 16,000 signatures, 800 postcards and 1,500 letters from people living in the areas concerned, opposing any transfer into Sheffield.

The three parishes of Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh had strong links with the city and despite Sheffield’s withdrawal, the Boundary Commission felt obliged to consider the proposal.

However, the Hope Valley, although falling within Sheffield’s travel to work area, and favouring Sheffield for shopping visits, had a large moorland divide, and the Boundary Commission dismissed the investigation.

Historical boundary changes had allowed Sheffield to expand in former years, and some districts that had once been part of Derbyshire, included Dore, Totley, Frecheville, Meersbrook, Hackenthorpe, Norton, Woodseats, and Beighton.

In 1991, the Boundary Commission published its findings, and the three Derbyshire parishes escaped becoming part of Yorkshire.

However, there were minor changes, including the former Lightwood Traffic Training Ground at Norton being transferred to Sheffield and using Bochum Parkway as the identifiable boundary.

It also transferred Birley Wood Golf Course to Sheffield, mainly because it was owned by Sheffield City Council and used by city’s residents.

And there was a stumbling block over land between White Lane and Birley Lane, in which Sheffield Supertram would later travel.  It was argued that the tramway should fall within Sheffield, and unless somebody corrects me, this section of tramway still runs across a tiny part of Derbyshire.  

This might have happened 32 years ago, but as one academic recently said to me, it is only a matter of time before Sheffield expands further into Derbyshire.

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

“The mansion stood in a rural situation within sight of Sheffield, surrounded by farmland.”

It is one of Sheffield’s forgotten big houses, but the future of Mount Pleasant on Sharrow Lane looks much brighter.

Hermes Care, supported by Axis Architecture, has submitted a full planning and listed building application to Sheffield City Council for the conversion of the grade II* listed Mount Pleasant building, together with the partial demolition and retention of the former Highfield School building and new build extensions.

Planning permission is sought for the redevelopment of the site to create a care village offering supported living, assisted living and 24-hour specialist care.

The Mount Pleasant Building would be converted into one-, two- and three-bed residential care spaces, and a new-build 39-bedroom care home would be built on the playground area of the former Highfield School building.

The ground floor of Highfield School would be converted to create communal spaces for the new care home with the remainder providing a communal residential care lounge and day centre. The first floor would be converted into four one-, two- and three-bed residential suites.

The plans also include the demolition of former Highfield School extensions and a three-storey new build extension to the south to create 12 one-bed residential suites.

Artist impressions of Mount Pleasant care village. Image: Axis Architecture

Mount Pleasant is an 18th Century mansion and was built for the Sitwell family by Francis Hurt Sitwell. The house was constructed in 1777 using the architect John Platt (1728– 1810) of Rotherham. When first built, the mansion stood in a rural situation within sight of the centre of Sheffield, surrounded by farmland at the top of a slight gradient overlooking the valley of the River Sheaf.

The Sitwells owned Mount Pleasant for less than 20 years as in 1794 it was sold to Samuel Broomhead Ward. By the 1850s, the family of Thomas Tillotson, a Sheffield merchant, were living at Mount Pleasant, after that the building was utilised for various purposes.

In 1868, the committee of the West Riding County Asylum at Wakefield acquired a five-year lease on Mount Pleasant and used it to alleviate overcrowding at their main hospital. As an asylum, Mount Pleasant accommodated approximately 75 residents, with eight staff, and in 1872, all residents were transferred to the newly built South Yorkshire Asylum at Wadsley.

In 1874, Mount Pleasant became the Girls’ Charity School when it was relocated from its original location in St James Row at the side of Sheffield Cathedral. In 1927, the school was renamed the Mount Pleasant School for Girls.

It was requisitioned for use by the Government during World War II and afterwards the building continued to be used by various Government departments with the Ministry of Works Engineering Department, the Ministry of Fuel and the Ministry of Transport all having office space there.

Mount Pleasant, with former Highfield School to right. Image: Google

Mount Pleasant was designated a listed building in May 1952.

By 1961 there was just the National Assistance Board and the Drivers Examiners Department using the buildings, with the latter using the old stables and coach house buildings as offices.

When the building was vacated by the government, it fell into a state of near ruin during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but was restored by the mid-1970s and converted into a Community Centre with the stables used as a Youth Club known as The Stables Connexions Centre.

Only the Stable Block currently remains in use, by Shipshape Health and Wellbeing Centre, with Mount Pleasant left vacant for several years along with the former Highfield School, which was vacated and relocated to a new school on an adjacent site in 2006.

The Stable Block does not form part of the development proposals, with Shipshape being retained as tenants for the foreseeable future.

Mount Pleasant House, Sharrow Lane (Girl’s Charity School). Established in 1786, the school relocated from St. James’ Row to Sharrow Lane in 1874. Image: Picture Sheffield

The Guardians of Mount Pleasant were granted permission to occupy the Mount Pleasant building to maintain a level of on-site security.

However, the former Highfield School building was left empty and has been badly vandalised and impacted by pigeon infestation, and drug users, although thankfully now, the building is secure and has been cleaned internally by the new owners.

The area has suffered extensively from petty crime and the misuse of drugs, with the limited security to the perimeter of the site compounding matters.

Mount Pleasant, Sharrow Lane, Sheffield, pictured in 1974. Image: Sheffield Star
Categories
Buildings

The mystery behind the Lord’s House

45-47 Fargate, Sheffield. The site of the Lord’s House. Image: DJP/2022

The year is 1815 and a big old town house on Fargate was demolished. It was replaced by a shop and in later years the site at its corner with Norfolk Row was occupied by Robert Hanbridge and Sons, hosier, hatters, and glovers, before becoming Hepworth tailors and finally a branch of Next.

The story of 45-47 Fargate has been covered here already, and the former Next building was recently demolished to reveal its underground secrets. But if we were able to dig even deeper there may be further treasures.

After Sheffield Castle was demolished in 1646, the Manor House remained, and the agent of the Duke of Norfolk, Lord of the Manor, resided here.

In 1706, however, the Manor House was dismantled, and a year later the Lord’s House was built in Fargate, of moderate size and pretensions, for the accommodation of the steward, and the occasional visits of the Lord of the Manor.

In the middle of the eighteenth century Henry Howard, then resident agent to the Duke of Norfolk lived here, and his son, Bernard Edward, who was born in the Lord’s House in 1765 eventually succeeded to the title on the death of his cousin, and became the 12th, Duke. But the Lord’s House was mostly occupied by his agents, the last one being Vincent Eyre.

In 1791, rioters had tried to burn it down in protest at the Enclosures Acts and were only prevented by the timely arrival of the military, which had been summoned from Nottingham the day before.

Towards the end of its life, the Lord’s House became a school where Samuel Scantlebury, the brewer, was a pupil.

View of the Lord’s House, Fargate, demolished 1815. Taken from a pen drawing in the possession of Mr R. Drury (1867). Sketch made 31st October, 1867. Image: Picture Sheffield
The Lord’s House was built in 1707 for the Duke of Norfolk on his occasional visits to Sheffield. It was mostly occupied by his agents, the principal one being Vincent Eyre. It was situated in Fargate, at the corner of Norfolk Row. The house was demolished in 1814. Image: Picture Sheffield

“At the end of Norfolk Row was the building called the old Lord’s House,” said George Leighton in 1876. “It formed the corner of Fargate and Norfolk Row and stood where there are the shops so long occupied by Mr Holden, watchmaker (now Mr Rennie’s, hosier), and the adjacent ones, as far as the Old Red House.

“There was a double flight of steps leading to a balcony on the level of the first floor. Mr Rimmer, the catholic priest, had a small room in the house, used as a chapel. The entrance was from Norfolk Row side, and there were two or three steps up to the chapel.

“About the time I am speaking of (1814-1815), the building was taken down, and the land was quite open from Fargate to the Assembly Rooms in Norfolk Street, and it continued open for years. Mr Rimmer got a chapel built upon the ground, right at the back (in 1816), and that continued to be the Roman Catholic place of worship until the present St Marie’s Church was built (1846-1850). We used to play on the ground, and ‘Old Rimmer’ did not like it, and drove us off. He was a nice old gentleman – a cheerful old chap. For a long time, the ground was unfenced, but ultimately a palisade was put up.”

The Lord’s House was sold in 1814 and dismantled in 1815, but the replacement chapel was short-lived. The palisade in the house’s former gardens was St. Marie’s Roman Catholic Church, better known today as the Cathedral Church of St Marie, Sheffield.

These days we have little visual evidence as to how the Lord’s House looked. However, within Sheffield Archives are two sketches, one of which is a pen drawing that was in the possession of Mr R. Drury in 1867.

Both are remarkably similar, but in Charles Hadfield’s ‘History of St Marie’s,’ published in 1899, he provides another sketch that was taken from a porcelain model, the property of Arnold J. Ward. This model purported to represent the old mansion in Fargate. Mrs Fisher (widow of Henry Fisher, surgeon, Eyre Street) who died in 1881, stated that her father had purchased the model at a sale.

The Lord’s House. From Charles Hadfield’s ‘History of St Marie’s’ 1889. Image: British Newspaper Archive

That the model was a correct representation of the Lord’s House was testified by several residents including Septimus Clayton, John Kirk, George Thompson, James Brown, and William Clayton, well within the recollection of these old men.

In 1931, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph queried the whereabouts of the porcelain model and discovered that it had been presented to the Duke of Norfolk by Arnold J. Ward in 1897 who received an acknowledgement.

The newspaper contacted the ducal seat at Arundel Castle in Sussex and received the following response.

“We have a model in porcelain which might be described as follows: Circular front with door in centre, two round turret towers on either side with battlements around the top of each and with a square tower in centre of model which resembles an ordinary church. There is no record stating that this is the model asked about.”

The description suggests a different property to all the sketches, but there was consensus at the time that the model was the Lord’s House.

And we should also remember George Leighton’s recollections that ‘the Lord’s House had a double flight of steps, leading to a balcony on the first floor.’ Again, this contradicts all the sketches.

Somebody has suggested to me that the sketches might show the rear of the property, and one does show a retaining wall to the left hand side that might have been alongside Norfolk Row.

For now, I have submitted a request to Arundel Castle to determine whether the porcelain model still exists, and whether they have any more information on the Lord’s House.

Catholic Chapel, Norfolk Row (Original St. Marie’s). Norfolk Row to left. Fargate in background. Image: Picture Sheffield

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

.

Categories
Buildings

Channing Hall – “The finest small auditorium in Yorkshire.”

Channing Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield. Image: DJP/2022

It was the summer of 1881, and there were a lot of people in Sheffield town centre. They had come to watch Miss Margaret Jessop, of Endcliffe Grange, lay the foundation stone of a new Unitarian Memorial Hall on newly constructed Surrey Street.

Margaret Jessop was the fourth daughter of Thomas Jessop (1804-1887), steelmaker, Mayor, and Master Cutler, and founder of the Jessop Hospital for Women.

She deputised for her sick father and laid the corner stone with a handsome silver trowel with ivory handle, upon which was the inscription – “Presented to Miss Jessop, of Endcliffe Grange, Sheffield, on the occasion of her laying the corner stone of a Congregational Hall in connection with the Upper Chapel, June 14, 1881.”

The stone also bore an inscription, and in the cavity underneath a bottle was deposited, which contained a parchment setting forth the purposes for which the hall was erected, and the names of the minister, trustees, secretary, architects, clerk of the works, and contractors. Having laid the mortar, she gave the stone a couple of taps with the mallet and declared it well and truly laid.

The hall was completed the following year and called Channing Hall, a name we are familiar with today.  

Channing Hall sits below a row of commercial properties owned and leased by the chapel. Image: DJP/2022
Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, Sheffield. It is connected by a corridor to Channing Hall. Image: DJP/2022

Channing Hall had been commissioned by the Trustees of the Upper Chapel on Norfolk Street and was named after William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), the father of American Unitarianism.

At the time, Rev. Eli Fay said: –

“The trustees some years ago commenced to consider their need of a hall for the promotion of the social life of the congregation, and to enable the Sunday school to realise more fully its own ideals. They did not expect from the trustees anything poor and cheap, but he did not expect that they had given them what had been declared to be the finest small auditorium in Yorkshire, and probably the finest in the north of England.”

The building of Channing Hall and the four shops underneath cost £4200, a new caretaker’s house at the rear £460, the division of the old schoolrooms into classrooms £225, and the total cost, together with the site, was about £7000.

Years earlier, the Chapel had bought property on Pepper Alley (near Norfolk Row) as well as building a Minister’s house on land behind. In the 1880s, Sheffield Corporation had sights on the land these stood on, and gave the trustees £3,870 for it, as well as two pieces of land, one of which was used to build the new hall.

After great difficulty, the Chapel also obtained permission from the Court of Chancery to borrow £714 for themselves. But the rest of the money should have come from subscriptions but raised only £1280 from some 35 or 40 persons. It left the Trustees with a deficit and took years for the debt to be cleared.

The architects were Flockton and Gibbs, the style like that of the old chapel – Italian renaissance – only of a more ornate character.

It was 60ft in length, two storeys in height, with six pilasters on each story, the lower being of an Ionic and the upper an Italian treatment of the Corinthian order, surmounted with a bold cornice and balustrade. The space between the pilasters on the lower story was filled with five arches – the entrance being in the centre arch – and those on the upper story were filled with windows, three of which were arched, and sub-divided with more arches.

The walls of the interior, including entrance and staircase passage, were built of coloured glaze brick, the pilasters being of Indian red colour, the surbase of green and brown, panels of cream colour, and borders of white and French grey.

From the impressive winding staircase hall were doors giving access to the chapel, old schools, chapel-keeper’s house, committee room, and congregational hall. The latter, which was the chief part of the building, was considered a work of beauty.

The congregational is approached by a winding staircase, at the top of which is an hexagonal stair hall, 16ft in diameter, and which is built with brick walls similar to those used in the construction of the entrance passage. Image: DJP/2022
The Victorian contractors were: – Chambers and Sons, masons and joiners; J.E. Elliott, plumber; Marshall Watson, and Moorwood, iron founders; A. Berrisford, plasterer; Staniforth and Lee, slaters; R.R. Gibbs, heating apparatus. Image: DJP/2022

The roof had partly open timbers, and the caps and bases of the pilasters were of the Italian Corinthian order. This was used as a Sunday school as well as a congregational room, and the seating accommodation was for 350 to 400 persons.

The walls were glazed bricks, with surbase of browns and greens, pilasters of Indian red and cream-coloured panels, and with white and French grey. The caps and bases of the pilasters were cement, and of the Italian Corinthian design.

Hollis Hall, at Harvard University, is thought to contain a photograph of Channing Hall. Sent by Upper Chapel in 1936. Image: DJP/2022
The roof is partly open timbered, the ceiling being of panelled Memel wood, the panels coloured in a light blue and relieved with stencilled patterns in white. Image: DJP/2022

Around the room, at right angles with the beautiful caps surmounting the pilasters, was an inscription which stated that the hall had been erected “for educational and social purposes, and for the same religious aims with which the chapel was founded in the year 1700, and on the same broad basis of a free and open trust.”

The wooden floor was 4½ inches thick, laid on concrete, with the joints filled with white lead, with a slight fall to the sides; the object of this to enable the floor to be washed with a hose pipe.

All these years later, people tend to forget that Channing Hall and the Upper Chapel are tangibly connected. Both venues can be accessed by going through the other.

Little has changed since its construction, except the addition of a lift, and Channing Hall, now Grade II listed, is mainly used as a conference and banqueting suite.

Built in 1881-1882, Channing Hall was designed by Flockton and Gibbs. Image: DJP/2022

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

John Lewis becomes a listed building

The former Cole Brothers/John Lewis store. Image: DJP/2022

Interest in the former Cole Brothers/John Lewis store in Barker’s Pool exceeded expectations, wrote David Walsh at the Sheffield Star.

There had been ‘fifteen or sixteen credible and exciting bids; according to Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Co-chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee at Sheffield City Council.

Such was the interest that any decision on the building would be delayed until November while applications were vetted.

The news almost certainly saved the building, and Councillor Iqbal said he favoured retaining or part-retaining the building, although demolition had not been ruled out. He added that the carpark would come down because it was ‘not safe and posed a safety risk.’

But I wonder how many of those applicants will still be interested today.

This morning, Historic England announced that the former Cole Brothers/John Lewis store had been granted a Grade II listing, meaning that it is of ‘special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it.’

“Historic England was asked to assess the former Cole Brothers’ (John Lewis) department store for Listing,” said a spokesperson. “After careful consideration, our recommendation to The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) was that it should be listed at Grade II.

“It is a rare example of a post-war department store – designed by a leading mid-C20 firm of architects – with clean, crisp Modernist lines and a sophisticated layout for shoppers. It stood out from the crowd and contributed to the city of Sheffield’s vision for a vibrant new environment for its residents. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport agreed with our advice and has today granted the former Cole Brothers’ (John Lewis) Department Store listed status.”

Hallamshire Historic Buildings and the Twentieth Century Society had applied for the designation that also included the carpark.

As far as the C20 Society is concerned, it marks the culmination of a 20 year battle to get it listed.

The building was accepted by Historic England as ‘a good example of early Sixties architecture by an important firm of architects’ but initially turned down for listing in December 2001.

Although further acknowledging the store as an ‘important post-war building’, a Certificate of Immunity from listing (COI) was issued in September 2002, but this lapsed in 2007.

Upon consultation for its renewal in May 2022, C20 Society strongly objected and called for the building to be listed at Grade II. 

The change heralds a long-called for thematic investigation by Historic England into the department store as a unique building type, testament to C20’s ongoing Department Stores Campaign and the efforts of other heritage organisations in helping raise awareness of so many underappreciated examples. With the nature of retail and the character of our high streets changing so profoundly in the past two decades, the plight of former department stores has recently become a topic of national conversation.

Designed by prominent post-war modernists, Yorke, Rosenberg & Mardall (YRM) – also behind other big commissions like St Thomas’s Hospital in London, Gatwick Airport and Manchester Magistrates Court – the store was built in 1963.

As for the building’s future, it means that any decision must now be taken between Sheffield City Council, Historic England, and all other stakeholders, including the C20 Society, in helping to define potential use.

This might prove a stumbling block for some of the ’15 or 16’ applicants but will not deter serious bidders (look at Park Hill as an example).

Demolition isn’t ruled out, but it would be a long process, the final decision resting with the DCMS. But it has happened before. In 2013, after a long campaign to save it, the Grade II listed Jessops Edwardian building was flattened to make way for the University of Sheffield’s futuristic Diamond block.

Cole Brothers new store building in 1963. Image: RIBA Pix
Categories
People

The Chinese in Sheffield

New Era Square. Sheffield’s Chinatown. Image: DJP/2022

According to the South China Morning Post there are at least 8,000 Chinese students in Sheffield, as well as other sizeable groups from Hong Kong. The University of Sheffield is said to earn £85m from them, and is one of nine UK universities that rely on Chinese income for a fifth of their revenue.

It hasn’t always been this way. When did the Chinese come to Sheffield?

It seems that Chinese people have been settling in Britain for over 200 years, coming via trading routes such as between Liverpool and Shanghai. Outside of London, the largest Chinese communities are in Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool.

With a rise in demand for Chinese cuisine from the late 1950s, and the collapse of the agriculture sector in rural Hong Kong, many more Chinese came to the UK.

The earliest reference to Chinese settlers in Sheffield can be found in the burial register for St Paul’s churchyard (now the Peace Gardens) for 1855, when A. Chow, son of Too Ki (a magician), was buried.

The next reference isn’t until 1910 – a laundry proprietor named Yun Wong with a business on Abbeydale Road is listed in a trade directory for that year. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that many more Chinese came to settle in the city.

The 2001 census recorded 2,200 Chinese people in Sheffield, with an additional 1,000 students of Chinese origin. By 2011, this figure had increased to 7,400. The highest concentrations of Chinese are found in Highfield, Sharrow, Broomhill, and Broomhall. They have come from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, as well as other parts of Britain.

Now we have New Era Square, dubbed Sheffield’s Chinatown, conceived by UK-Chinese Sheffield businessman Jerry Cheung, and designed by architects Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson.

Categories
People

Johnny Moran – The first voice on Radio Hallam

The death is being reported of Johnny Moran, one of the original BBC Radio One DJs, and the first voice heard on Radio Hallam in October 1974.

His mother was born in Sheffield, and the family emigrated to Australia where he was born.

Johnny Moran began his career on Australian radio before joining Radio Luxembourg in 1964. He worked there for two years until moving to the UK in 1966. At the BBC, he presented Radio One Club, Housewives’ Choice, What’s New, and the pop magazine programme Scene and Heard, which ran for almost six years.

In 1974, while working for British Forces and recording a series of shows syndicated in North America, he met Keith Skues at a party given for singer Barry White, and first heard about the plans for Radio Hallam, the commercial station based at Hartshead in Sheffield.

He came ‘home’ to Sheffield and became a voice of a generation, presenting the breakfast show until the late-1980s.

Categories
Buildings

Replacement chimneys arrive at Pepper Pot building

A chimney stack is lowered into place. Image: Sheffield Star

The Sheffield Star has posted several photographs of ‘fake’ chimneys that are being installed on the Pepper Pot building.

Six historic chimneys were removed as part of Heart of the City reconstruction, with only the façade remaining.

The Pepper Pot building is in Block C, bound by Pinstone Street, Cambridge Street and Charles Street.

Developers had asked for permission to change its original plans, by reducing the number of chimneys – designed by architects Flockton and Gibbs – and replicating only one.

Sheffield City Council’s planning committee overwhelmingly rejected the bid against the advice of officers who warned that refusal would put economic, social and environmental benefits of the scheme on hold and may lead to other cost cutting.

The replacement chimneys are two-tonne, 10ft ‘brick’ stacks, and thought to be made from glass reinforced concrete.

The pre-formed feature was seen on a lorry on PInstone Street ahead of being winched to the top of the Pepper Pot building. Image: Sheffield Star
A replacement a two-tonne, 10ft brick stack. A total of six were removed as part of a total revamp of the building. Image: Sheffield Star