Categories
Places

Little Sheffield

Fairbanks’ Map of Little Sheffield in 1808. South Street became The Moor. The road marked Little Sheffield is now London Road. There are some familiar road names in the top half of the map. (Image: Picture Sheffield)

Once upon a time there was a small hamlet near Sheffield town that went by the name of Little Sheffield.

During the early 1800s, Sheffield’s rapidly growing population needed to expand outside the historical boundaries, and Little Sheffield disappeared.

We know where Little Sheffield was, but its boundaries blurred over time, with experts long contesting where it started and finished. The area has never been clearly defined, like those forgotten places of Port Mahon and Hallamshire.

We must go back to olden days when Sheffield was a town surrounded by fields and countryside. It gradually expanded until its southern edges skirted a gorse-clad swampy common called Sheffield Moor.

Today, we know this marshy land as The Moor with its surrounding streets.

A path was made by throwing up two embankments, between which was a deep ditch, with only a footbridge over Porter Brook.

By the 1760s, travellers had to go down Coal Pit Lane (Cambridge Street) and Button Lane (long disappeared) to Little Sheffield – a group of poor and time-worn cottages. The road to it ran across Sheffield Moor, thence up a sharp rise to Highfield. The only house you came to after passing Moorhead was Mr Kirkby’s, standing on Button Lane (opposite where the ramp to Sainsbury’s car-park on Charter Row now stands). There was one other building nearby, with a bowling green attached to Sheffield Moor. Beyond was Little Sheffield, the outlying hamlet.

By the nineteenth century, the fields around Little Sheffield had been swallowed up for the working classes, a poor and densely populated area, its houses with roofs of stone slabs, low windows, and red brick walls.

Nowadays, we can define Little Sheffield’s northern boundary as being where the Moorfoot Building stands, taking in Young Street, South Lane, St Mary’s Gate, London Road, and surrounding streets like Hermitage Street, Sheldon Street, Hill Street, John Street, and Boston Street (once called George Street), up towards its southern boundary at Highfield.

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Buildings

New Era Square

It is probably Sheffield’s longest-running construction project. New Era Square, at the corner of St. Mary’s Gate and Bramall Lane, seems to be taking an eternity to complete. Construction of the £66million project started in late 2015 with building work still ongoing four years later.

The residential and leisure development is the creation of Jerry Cheung, a UK-Chinese businessman, local property developer, restaurant owner, and chair of the Sheffield Chinese Community Centre.

Cheung is head of New Era Development (UK) Ltd, an international property development company based in Sheffield, founded in 2013 to develop large-scale Chinese-funded projects in the north of England.

Local media have dubbed their first project, New Era Square, designed by Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson Ltd, as “Chinatown” and “Sheffield’s very own version of New York’s Times Square.”

Building work is being undertaken by Derbyshire-based Bowmer & Kirkland with Phase 1 finished last year, consisting mainly of student living space.

Phase 2 is underway after £27million of funding from Barclays, and will include cluster student accommodation, restaurants, retail and office space, all built around a central plaza.

As construction moves towards completion, restaurants are already being lined up to move in.

This week, Oriental fine dining restaurant OISOI announced that it would be moving into New Era Square early next year.

The company is opening OISOI Gathering/The Party Room and The Artisan Patisserie and Bakery, providing a new concept in live music, in-house party bands and state-of-the-art holographic technology.

Categories
Buildings

Velocity Tower

Things didn’t go to plan with the Velocity Tower, near Moore Street roundabout, at the edge of the city centre.

When it was built it should have been 30-storeys high, (an application for 36-storeys was wisely rejected by planners), but construction halted on the 21st floor, as the firm behind it went into administration. A student block alongside would have reached 18-storeys, containing 41 cluster flats, but only the ground-floor podium was completed.

In 2011 the complex went on the market for £10.5million and was eventually snapped up by Dubai-based Select Group.

A few corners had been cut during the initial build, something that Select have been able to rectify as well as completing the unfinished twenty-first floor.

More importantly, it agreed a deal for a £6.5million Ibis Hotel in the footprint of the proposed student block.

Work is almost completed on the seven-storey building, designed by Whittam Cox Architects, and will provide an extra 126 beds for the city centre. A coffee shop will be created on the ground floor along with the reception and (somewhat scanty) 14 car-parking spaces.

Meanwhile, planning permission remains for the 30-storeys at Velocity Tower, although the developer says there are no plans to extend higher.