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.
© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.