Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Funding boost for derelict town hall and Courthouse in Sheffield

Sheffield Old Town Hall
Image caption The Old Town Hall, built in 1808, is currently for sale with Sheffield firm Fernie Greaves for £3m

A campaign to save Sheffield's derelict Old Town Hall and Courtrooms has been given a funding boost.

Friends of the Old Town Hall campaigned for two years to save and restore the Grade II-listed Waingate building, which has been on and off the property market.

The group has been awarded £7,700 Lottery funding to set up a charitable trust and help preserve the building.

Chairperson Valerie Bayliss said Sheffield's origins were on that site.

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Image copyright Richard Hennessey
Image caption The building has been vandalised inside, with doors and windows smashed

Ms Bayliss said: "The original settlement was down by the confluence of the Rivers Don and Sheaf, with the castle from the 13th to the 17th centuries.

"Old maps show Sheffield began in this patch and spread out over the centuries."

The 42,000 sq ft building, formerly the city's courthouse and town hall, is owned by G1 London Property and is currently for sale with Fernie Greaves for £3m.

Ms Bayliss said the building is in an "awful state" and had been vandalised.

Image copyright Brian Holmshaw
Image caption Friends of Sheffield Old Town Hall said there were "all sorts of possibilities" for the building, including creative and performance community space
Image copyright Brian Holmshaw
Image caption The council moved out to a new town hall on Pinstone Street in 1897
Image copyright Brian Holmshaw
Image caption The 1808 building has been empty since 1996 and was put on the Victorian Society's list of most at-risk buildings in the UK in 2007

"Three big skylights over one of the courtrooms were smashed just before heavy rain in summer, and a lot of doors and panels have been smashed," she said.

"A survey done a year ago though showed the building is structurally sound and it can be brought back."

The Friends would like to see the building used for creative spaces and start-up businesses.

"Imagine performance and rehearsal rooms in the double-height Victorian courtrooms," Ms Bayliss said.

"A restored Old Town Hall would be a wonderful catalyst for Castlegate.

"There could be a community cafe and bar and a school for apprentices learning heritage construction crafts while working on the building."

Sheffield Council plans to rebuild the entrance to Sheffield's former castle as part of the £5m regeneration of the area.

Image copyright Richard Hennessey
Image caption The Friends said funding would allow them to set up a charitable trust, which in turn would help get the building restored and back into use
Image copyright Victorian Society
Image caption The Old Town Hall in Sheffield has stood empty since 1996 and has since fallen into disrepair
Image copyright Sheffield Hallam University
Image caption Sheffield Hallam University has recently transformed the derelict Post Office building on Fitzalan Square into Sheffield Institute of Arts

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