Sheffield Walk

To begin at the beginning – the Eric Mensforth Building former Polytechnic library 1973 by Bernard Warren City Planner and Architect.

Sir Eric Mensforth was a leader of the engineering industry and a pioneer in the development of the helicopter in Britain.

The Polytechnic was formed from the College of Technology and now presents itself as the Sheffield Hallam University.

Gollins, Melvin, Ward & Partners 1953 – 1968.

Much of the original scheme has subsequently been reworked and clad.

Though through this stairwell there is access to an unspoilt elevation.

We now ascend into the Epic Development 1968 – 1969 Jefferson Sheard & Partners.

Home to the Cinecenta Cinema and Fiesta Club.

The Cinecenta Twin cinemas opened on 30th January 1969 located in the Pond Street development in the city centre, below the Fiesta Nightclub. This small circuit of cinemas was operated by Leslie Elliott of the Compton Cameo Group of Companies and the policy was to show films which the major circuits did not show, which of course meant that most of these films carried an ‘X’ certificate.

When it was opened by Keith and Jim Lipthorpe in August 1970, the Fiesta was reputed to be the largest in Europe. The club closed in 1976 following a 17-day strike by the workers who attempted to join the Transport & General Workers Union. It reopened under new management shortly afterwards before permanently closing in 1980.

From here we can see a classic modern pub the Penny Black

Can be a bit of a football pub and quite often there are drunks from other teams in there. I remember when Chelsea were up here a few years ago and one of their fans was so drunk he got in a taxi outside the pub, went round the block and got out again outside thinking it was a different pub. Luckily for him his pint of Guinness that he had left was still on the table where he had left it! 

Beer in the Evening

Once the haunt of postal and telecoms workers – whose buildings form the heart of the area.

Thence to the back of BHS and the rear of former Woolworths 1961 – Thomas and Peter H Braddock

Passing by the home of the Rebels Nightclub, it was previously The Penthouse owned by Peter Stringfellow.

I had my stag night in there in 1972 all I can remember is falling down all those stairs.

BHS opened 1960s – having become little more than a distant folk memory the premises are now occupied by B&M Bargains

BHS’s chief architect at this time was G. W. Clarke, who generally worked alongside W. S. Atkins & Partners, as consulting engineers. The stores – like Woolworth’s buildings – were composite structures, with steel frames and concrete floors. Clarke sometimes appointed local architects. At first, like C&A, BHS retained the narrow vertical window bays and margin-light glazing that had characterised high street façades in the 1930s, but by the end of the 1950s Clarke had embraced a modified form of curtain-walling. This architectural approach became firmly associated with BHS, with framed curtain wall panels – like giant TV screens – dominating the frontages of many stores.

Building Our Past

Around the corner to the Gallery Shops

Onward to the Magistrates’ Court 1978 and Police HQ 1970 – Bernard Warren City Planning Officer and Architect.

The West Bar Police HQ now the Hampton by Hilton

 Architect JL Womersley City Architect 1962-4 

Complementary full English breakfast buffet was nice, however on the second day everything ran out too early! 

To the left the former HSBC/Midland Bank HQ the enormous Pennine Centre aka Griffin House – construction started in 1973 on this immense building and was completed in 1975 – architects Richard Hemingway and Partners.

The tower is 50 m tall and has 13 floors of office space.

Pennine Five – P5 will be a place designed for the modern workforce, offering high quality and adaptable solutions for businesses of any size and sector.

Previously owned by US-based Kennedy Wilson, was sold for £18million to RBH Properties in the spring, which announced plans for flats and shops.

Seen on the walk, these wonderful ceramic panels, situated to the right of the revolving doors.

Around the corner to St James House 1966 Oscar Garry and Partners, another example of a modernist tower block, now refurbished for mixed commercial use.

Finally to the Cathedral – granted status in 1914, mediaeval in origin, though much altered, most recently in the 60s following the failure of Charles Nicholson’s earlier plans and an unimplemented George Pace scheme. Finally overseen by Arthur Bailey of Ansell & Bailey.

George Pace was responsible for the working of St Marks Broomhill.

And St Saviour’s on our Bradford walk next week

Tucked away in the far corner of the Chapel is a unique window by Keith New, created in 1966 in memory of Rowley Hill who was Vicar of Sheffield from 1873 to 1877. Its design is inspired by a vision of the Heavenly city with its twelve pearl gates represented by twelve pearly mosaic circles and the ‘glory of light’ being created by hundreds of tiny coloured Perspex tubes creating jewel colours through which light enters the chapel.


Many thanks to Helen Angell and Sean Madner for their invaluable assistance, knowledge and encouragement.

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