Buildings and structures in Sheffield

Buildings and structures in Sheffield

Buildings and structures in Sheffield have been constructed over a time-span ranging from the 13th century to the present day. However, the majority of Sheffield's older buildings were built during the Industrial Revolution. Many of Sheffield's medieval buildings were demolished in the 19th century, and some older buildings were also lost during the Sheffield Blitz. Sheffield has only five Grade I listed buildings, two of which are in the city centre.

The oldest structure is Beauchief Abbey which is now a ruin and dates back to the 12th century. The oldest complete structure is Sheffield Cathedral, parts of which date back to the 13th century. The 78 metre Arts Tower is currently the tallest completed building in the city, till the St Pauls tower (City Lofts) project is finished.


Pre 19th century

At the time of the Norman Conquest Sheffield was a small hamlet. It was dominated by a wooden long house occupied by the lord of Hallam, subsequently the site for the 2 castles.

The Domesday Book, which William the Conqueror ordered written so that the value of the townships and manors of England could be assessed, mentions :-

:"LANDS OF ROGER DE BUSLI":"In Hallam, one manor with its sixteen hamlets, there are twenty-nine carucates [~14 km²] to be taxed. There Earl Waltheof had an "Aula" [hall or court] ....

In the 12th century this was replaced with a wooden motte and bailey castle. Beauchief Abbey was built 4 miles south-west of what was now a well established town. When the castle was destroyed in 1260 it was replaced with a stone castle, which would stand until the English Civil War.

In November 2005, the University of Sheffield´s archaeological consultancy, ARCUS, unearthed a medieval well of over three metres in depth in the sandstone bedrock beneath Carmel House on Fargate [] . The Sheffield city centre site was being excavated as part of a redevelopment project.

Pottery found in the well, suggests that it was in use by 1300 AD, and had been filled in around the time of the English Civil War. Medieval pots included jugs made in the Hallgate area of neighbouring Doncaster and other items from the Humber Estuary.

This discovery was said to offer significant evidence relating to the medieval town of Sheffield, still a small market town, before its growth during the subsequent Industrial Revolution. Dating of the well indicates that it was probably dug around the time of the rebuilding of Sheffield Castle in stone, in 1270 and the granting of Sheffield's Market Charter by Edward I in 1296.

Due to the conditions in the well, animal bones, plant remains (possibly including microscopic pollen grains) have been preserved and will be analysed the University's Department of Archaeology laboratories.

Sheffield's second parish church was built in 1280, replacing the previous 11th century structure. This was replaced in 1430 with the core of the current structure. Lady's Bridge, the oldest in the city was built in 1485. The oldest domestic buildings were built at the turn of the 16th century Old Queen's Head pub (1495), Broom Hall (1498), and Bishops' House (c 1500).

Sheffield Manor was built in 1510 as an alternative residence for the Earl of Shrewsbury. The manor was to later become famous when Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there. Sheffield Castle was largely destroyed during the civil war. The manor was also largely demolished in 1706.

Industrial Revolution

A large number of industrial buildings were built during the 18th and 19th centuries. Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is now a grade I listed building and is used as a museum. Other museums in buildings from the same period are Kelham Island Museum and Shepherd Wheel.

20th century

The turn of the 20th century saw a huge amount of residential building which lead to the annexing of large parts of the current city. However, this was followed by a slump and by 1917 house building had ceased altogether. Building of the city hall started in 1920.

The years following the Second World War saw one of the most intense periods of building in the city's history, referred to as the Slum Clearances. Slum housing was replaced with a number of large tower blocks, many of which have since been demolished and replaced with housing once more.

Current developments

The £130 million Heart of the City scheme is centred around the location of the former town hall extension. It includes a hotel, offices, the Winter Gardens, Millennium Galleries and Millennium Square. The 101m St Paul's Tower, which is under construction (2007-2009), will become Sheffield's tallest building.

The £50 million Sheffield Station Gateway scheme has seen improvements in station facilities and the creation of a public space outside with a large sculpture called Cutting Edge. Other improvements leading up to the Peace Gardens will create a pedestrian link to the city centre.

Future developments

The largest scheme due to start is the New Retail Quarter, starting in 2007. The £400 million scheme will create new retail units and pedestrianise the area between Pinstone Street, Leopold Square, Charter Square and the Devonshire Quarter. Charter Square will also be pedestrianised. The £315 million West Bar scheme includes new university buildings, a boutique hotel, residential and commercial developments.


*J. Edward Vickers, 1987, A Popular History of Sheffield, The Amethyst Press, ISBN 0-906787-04-1
*Mary Walton, 1984, Sheffield its Story and its Achievements, Applebaum Bookshop Ltd., ISBN 0-904293-19-X

ee also

*Listed buildings in Sheffield

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