The History of Sheffield Old Town Hall
“The Old Town Hall was built in 1807–8 by Charles Watson, and was designed to house not only the Town Trustees but also the Pettyand Quarter Sessions. The initial building was a five-bay structure fronting Castle Street, but it was extended in 1833 and again in 1866 by William Flockton (1804-1864) of Sheffield and his partner for the project, Abbott; the most prominent feature was the new central clock tower over a new main entrance that reoriented the building to Waingate.
At the same time, the building’s courtrooms were linked by underground passages to the neighbouring Sheffield Police Offices.
The first Town Council was elected in 1843 and took over the lease of the Town Trustees’ hall in 1866. The following year, the building was extensively renovated, with a clock tower designed by Flockton & Abbott being added. By the 1890s, the building had again become too small, and the current Sheffield Town Hall was built further south.
The Old Town Hall was again extended in 1896-7, by the renamed Flockton, Gibbs & Flockton, and became Sheffield Crown Court and Sheffield High Court. In the 1990s, these courts moved to new premises, and since at least 1997 to present, the building remains disused.
In 2007, it was named by the Victorian Society as one of their top ten buildings most at-risk.”
Word by Proj3ctM4yh3m
Under Appreciated and Overlooked
Did you know that the Old Town Hall contains an architectural feature that its designers tried to patent? These are the stairs that led directly from the cells into the docks in the courtrooms. The architects were so pleased with their idea they wanted to protect it for a while. This is one of the unexpected discoveries in an interesting account of the evolution of the building by Kathryn Webb, who carried out her study as part of her master’s degree. You can read her study here.
Sheffield’s Radical History
University of Sheffield student Liam Blackshaw explores, amongst other things, the Old Town Hall’s role in the radical history of the city, in his postgraduate project. Read the full piece here.