Crown Court, Sheffield

“The building was commissioned to replace Sheffield’s first town hall, which had been designed by William Renny in 1699 and opened in 1700. The first town hall was next to the parish church, on a site with little space for extension.

The Old Town Hall was designed by Charles Watson and built in 1807–08. It was designed to house not only the Town Trustees but also the Petty and Quarter Sessions. Initially building was of five bays and faced Castle Street. It was extended in 1833 and again in 1866 to designs by William Flockton (1804–64) of Sheffield and his partner George 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 next year the building was extensively renovated and the clock tower designed by Flockton & Abbott was added.

By the 1890s Sheffield’s administration had again outgrown the building, and the current Sheffield Town Hall was built further south. The Old Town Hall was again extended in 1896–97, by the renamed Flockton, Gibbs & Flockton, and became Sheffield Crown Court and Sheffield High Court. The drinking fountain on the Castle Street side of the building was added at this time. In 1973 the Old Town Hall was made a Grade II listed building.

In the 1990s these courts moved to new premises, and since at least 1997 to present, the building remains disused. In 2008 the Victorian Society named the building as one of its top ten buildings most at-risk. A campaign group, The Friends of the Old Town Hall was formed in November 2014 with the aim of getting the building’s owner G1 London Property to state its intention for its future use. In September 2015 the building was put for sale with an asking price of £2,000,000. The sale brochure was withdrawn from the internet after about ten days.”


Explored: September 2018


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