The Structure of Sheffield


While it’s said to be the greenest city in England, set amongst a hilly amphitheatre that is flowing with several rivers, Sheffield’s skyline is also brimming with a mix of architecture that gives it its unique and majestic identity.

In his new book, ‘Sheffield in 50 Buildings’, Professor Ian D. Rotherham takes us on a tour of some of Sheffield’s most iconic buildings. From medieval structures to modern architecture, all work in harmony to create the textured backdrop of the mighty Steel City.

Here, we look at five examples of what you can find in Ian’s book.


Carbrook Hall

Whether you’ve passed it, stopped off for a drink there, or heard stories of its ghostly goings on, many people will know of Carbrook Hall that stands spookily in Attercliffe.

While its title as Sheffield’s most haunted pub has propelled it into the public eye, its mischievous spirits may in fact be remnants of its previous owners.

Originally built for the Blunt family in 1176, the current structure was rebuilt in 1462 when it passed to the Bright family, the Lords of the Manor of Ecclesall.

Almost 200 years later, Colonel John Bright was an active Parliamentarian during the English Civil War and used Carbrook Hall as a meeting place for the Roundheads during the Sheffield Castle siege.

Back to the present and the old pub is a shadow of the former hall, being just a stone wing which was added in 1620; the rest of the property was demolished in the 1800s.

However, thanks to its wealthy owner Stephen Bright who became the Bailiff of Hallamshire, Carbrook was notorious for its interiors, being noted as having the best pre-classical design in Sheffield during the 17th century with oak panelling, carved overmantels and a detailed plaster ceiling – all of which drinkers will remember.

Although it has stood the test of time and survived the Civil War, Industrial Revolution, Great Floods of 1864, two world wars, the Blitz, the slum clearance of nearby Attercliffe and the closure of the steelworks, unfortunately the Carbrook called time at the bar for the last time in 2017 and closed its doors for good.


Broom Hall

One of Sheffield’s hidden treasures, Broom Hall in the Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward is a historic mansion that links back to Rotherham.

Thought to have been built in the late 15th century, the first owners of Broom Hall were the de Wickersley family of Wickersley, descendants of Richard FitzTurgis who co-founded Roche Abbey.

Following Ellen de Wickersley’s marriage to Robert Swyft, Broom Hall then passed to the Swifts before being handed over again through marriage to the Jessops in the 16th century who added an extension in 1614.

Whilst in the possession of the Vicar of Sheffield, Reverend James Wilkinson, a Jessop descendent, the east wing was added in 1784. However, Wilkinson landed himself in unholy waters after becoming a major beneficiary of the Land Enclosures Act which took land from the poor to give to the rich. During the protests in 1791, Broom Hall was attacked and set on fire.

During the 19th century Broom Hall was split into three separate accommodations before being brought back together in the 1970s by cutler David Mellor. Mellor used the hall as his home and workshop before selling the property near Ecclesall Road in 1990 for use as offices.


Cutlers’ Hall

With its slightly hidden façade noticeable only by its striking Grecian pillars, Cutlers’ Hall is one of the city’s most splendid buildings.

Sheffield has been synonymous with cutlery for over 800 years. A statement of the wealth and importance of the cutlery industry, Cutlers’ Hall was originally built in 1638 as the headquarters of the newly formed Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.

By the 18th century, the company had become industry leaders and built a new hall in the original’s place in 1725. In 1832, the company drafted in Samuel Worth and Ben Broomhead-Taylor to vision a new building at a cost of £6,5000.

A civic venue used for entertainment, assemblies and feasts, Cutlers’ Hall  three main halls inside with an imperial staircase that was doubled in size in the 1865 extension.

Yet its obscure and confined spot, which stretches back along Fargate, is only visible from Church Street opposite the Cathedral.  However, the Derbyshire sandstone Corinthian style frontage pays homage to the long standing guild and its Master Cutlers of days gone by.


Hillsborough Barracks

Now a large shopping precinct, the stone walled fortress at Hillsborough was in fact once one of the largest military barracks in Britain.

Built in 1848, the site covered 22 acres and was based around a symmetrical Tudor style with crenulated towers. It encased a strong military presence to combat a period of unrest in the city, with many battalions stationed there over the years such as 2nd KOYLI and 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards.

Inside the walled complex sat numerous buildings and structures in a mixture of styles. To the front was the officers’ mess and 40-birth accommodation block with a parade ground. There was also a five-bedroom Garrison commanders’ quarters and married quarters for families.

Army kids would have attended the on-site school, there was a hospital big enough for 58 patients, and even a dental clinic so soldiers could remain in the barracks at all times.

A base for cavalry and infantry regiments, there was also a 260-capacity stable block, gun shed with six field guns, vehicle shed for 26 army cars plus detention cells and an exercise yard.

The barracks closed in the 30s before being turned into a shopping centre some 50 years later. However, it still remains the UK’s only surviving turreted barracks.


Mappins Art Gallery and Weston Park Museum

Many families have no doubt visited Weston Park Museum and tried on the Eskimo suits or seen the range of Sheffield memorabilia inside. But how many people know its roots actually lie in Rotherham?

Now the largest and most culturally significant museum in Sheffield, Weston Park Museum was once a concession within the former Mappin Art Gallery.

Funded through the will of Rotherham’s John Newton Mappin who made his fortune from his Mappin’s Brewery in Masborough, Mappin left 153 paintings to the city on the condition they were used to curate an art gallery; this was further expanded by his nephew, Sir Fredrick Thorpe Mappin.

The original gallery cost £15,000 to build in the 1880s to an Ionic design by Flockton and Gibbs. A southern annexe was added in 1937 to extend the gallery and allow for the nearby museum in Weston House to be added when its own building was demolished.

During the Blitz in 1940, the gallery was almost completely destroyed except for the façade and two front galleries. Although it remained open after the bombings, the gallery was rebuilt in the 60s before being given a facelift again in the 80s.

Since the Millennium, the museum has radically altered following a complete £17.3million renovation in 2003. On its re-opening, very little remained of the MAG, instead replaced by seven galleries depicting the archaeology, natural history, art and social history of Sheffield.


Professor Ian D. Rotherham’s new book, Sheffield In 50 Buildings, is now available to buy from WH Smiths or Amberley Publishing.

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