'A £3m funding deal between Sheffield City Council and regeneration company U+I has been completed, paving the way for the creation of a digital incubator to be opened at Castle House, the Grade II-listed 1960s former Co-op department store at Castlegate.' Yorkshire Post 26.02.18

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As news reaches us of the potential redevelopment of one of Sheffield's finest, we take the opportunity to bring you Sean Madner's extensive photographic study (2014) of the Grade II Iisted  Co-operative department store described by Historic England as  '1964 by George S Hay, Chief Architect for CWS, with interior design by Stanley Layland, interior designer for CWS. Reinforced concrete with Blue Pearl granite tiles and veneers, grey granite tiles and veneers, buff granite blocks, glass, and brick.'

'The Brightside and Carbrook Co-operative Society was formed in 1868. In 1914 it purchased land on Exchange Street for the building of a central stores and offices. Due to the onset of World War I it was not begun until 1927, at which point the remains of Sheffield Castle were discovered as the foundations were dug. It was finally completed in 1938 only to be destroyed in the Sheffield Blitz (13/14 Dec 1940). Sheffield Corporation compulsorily purchased site so Co-op moved to Angel Street/Castle Street corner site initially with a single-storey temporary shop.' Historic England

'Early in 1959 planning permission was granted for a new headquarters building. The new building was designed by G S Hay with a blind wall to the first and second sales floors, the inspiration being Sears Roebuck's Chicago store (Irving Park, 1933) and an un-named department store in Amsterdam. The suspended restaurant ceiling was the second such roof in Europe. The staircase relief mural and interior design was the work of Stanley Layland. The official opening was on May 13, 1964. The shop cost £925,000 including shop fittings.' Historic England

images © Sean Madner: Photos taken on a Sheffield University 'festival of the mind' organised tour, Sept 2014. (Apologies for the poor un-edited photographs, most of which are out of focus. the shop was originally almost entirely lit by artificial light, which is sadly no longer working. parts of the building were unsafe to enter and water was leaking through the glass skylight above the spiral staircase. Sean)


St. Marks Broomhill & Trinity United Reform Church - Heritage Open Day

Informal meet-up

  • Saturday, September 9, 2017
  • 1:00pm 3:00pm

Modernist Friends. This coming Saturday, 9th September, is a Heritage Open Day and some of us are going together to look at St Mark's Broomhill and the Trinity United Reform Church on Ecclesall Road. You are very warmly invited to come join us.

We will meet at St Mark's at 1pm have a look round and then walk down through the Botanical Gardens (20 minutes downhill) to the URC 'Concrete Church' where there is a talk at 2.30. Then we'll go for a sociable drink, probably in The Lescar on Sharrow Vale Rd (which although not Modernist does have nice deco features). Maybe a bag of chips from Two Steps... (timeless).

St Mark's is set back from Glossop Rd just above the Hallamshire Hospital with pedestrian access from St Mark's Crescent or Beech Hill Rd. Closest bus stop is the 120 at the Hallamshire Hospital, a few minutes walk. There is no easy parking.

Any queries or bright ideas, do shout. Look forward to seeing you! I'll be toting a Sheffield Modernist Society tote bag just in case you need help spotting us.

Free event to attend.

Sue Cook

St. Catherine

Mr. Marland is on the mooch again, this time to St. Catherine of Sienna, Hastilar Road South, Sheffield.

Sir Basil Spence 1958-62. . Brown brick. Roof not visible. Slate cladding to entrance block of parish hall. Rectangular nave sweeping around into a semicircular apsed sanctuary .

EXTERIOR: entrance to liturgical south-west and parish hall to liturgical west with vestry. Carved words The Church of St Catherine” to left of recessed entrance. Tower linked to liturgical south-east, and comprising two convex slabs forming a sacristy at ground level and linked by concrete beams above. Patinated bronze sculptural group with crucified Christ affixed to its east side.

INTERIOR: aisleless with vertical slit windows to north and south walls and roof sloping upwards towards chancel, on laminated timbers beams, so that roof deck is separated from the walls by a narrow glazed strip. Light is thrown onto the east wall by a concealed window at the east end of the nave. Sanctuary is raised two shallow steps, and altar was originally raised on two further steps against the east wall. It has now been moved forward. Altar is a black painted metal framed table with a varnished timber top. Font of polished limestone with fossils is in the original position to liturgical south side of sanctuary. Timber lid with schematic metal dove. Large timber cross behind altar, comprising two pairs of overlapping beams, penetrated symbolically by large nails. Timber sedilia on metal supports. Laminated timber pews. Organ above entrance to sacristy . A strongly sculptural design with a powerful presence. British Listed Buildings

St Catherine Sienna is a fine church, sited impressively and standing imperiously on the Sheffield outer ring road, high above the city. Brick curves, a tall detached tower and open for business, serving the outlying post war housing estate of Woodthorpe with regular services and a firm foundation of community activity.

Lit delicately from side slatted windows and higher apertures, the main body is calm and assured, the scale and proportion in harmony with the simple Spence seating and slightly raised altar. The detail of the wooden roof grid perfectly balancing the warm austerity of the walls.

My thanks to Father Phillip for his time and a fine cup of tea.

Stephen Marland

St. Paul

Our roving reporter Steve Marland takes a trip to Ecclesfield 

High above the city on Wordsworth Avenue, Ecclesfield, built to serve the large Parson Cross post-war social housing estate, stands St Paul.

On the day of my visit, more than somewhat windswept and sleet lashed, almost imperious, the church stood steadfast set against the elements.

It is however registered as at risk by Historic England.

Designed by Sir Basil Spence and built by Charles Price of Doncaster Ltd. the church was completed in 1959 and consecrated on24th January 1959.

A large open brick steel and concrete structure, glassed and open at each end, a curved roof with vaulted detail, a detached tower is connected by a concrete cloister. There is an elegant simplicity to the body of the church, which is elevated by the staggered supporting walls.

A plain altar is complemented with ornaments, the gift of Spence, decorated by a frontal designed by Anthony Blee and an embroidered panel by Beryl Dean. A plain slatted wooden screen masks the window to the rear.

The pews - also the work of Spence were not costed in the original proposal, additional funds were found and they remain in use as an integral part of the scheme and worship.

The organ, sited in the gallery, is a later addition of 1962, puchased for £100 from Mount Tabor Church, Holland - integrated into the overall design using slatted wood.

My thanks to John Roch, church organist and lifelong member of the congregation, having attended Sunday School at St Paul on the first day of its opening, for his time and erudite instruction.

Stephen Marland

Spatial Resonances

Sheffield Modernist Society COMMISSION series of short films and music compositions celebrating Sheffield's modernist architecture

"Spatial Resonances was a collaboration between Sheffield School of Architecture MArch and MAAD Students, and Masters of Composition and Sound Art from the Department of Music for the Sheffield Modernist Society.
Celebrating the rich history of Sheffield Modernism, the project produced a series of short films working within five iconic buildings. Together, the films weave a tapestry of the history and use of these buildings through avant-garde composition and unusual venues. A final documentary film was made for the launch of the Sheffield Modernist Society which includes an overview of Sheffield Modernist heritage together with in depth studies of the five iconic buildings and composer commentaries.
Through the films, the architecture students and musicians tell stories of life, lost and found (Park Hill); of music as architectural intervention (the Arts Tower); of repurposing space for performance (the Husband Building); of abandonment and the beauty of decay (Hallam Tower); and of celebrating architectural space through dance (Castle House).

Castle House: A Requiem for Lost Modernism

Additionally, the project produced a document recording the process in a coffee table book for the society. The students also produced art cards and a walking map for the society with icons and information for each major building.
Through out the process the architecture students developed filming, producing and editing skills. Each of the five short films where produced individually within the five sub groups which consisted of two-three architecture students and one composer, this created five different readings of the spaces.
The collaboration allowed the roles of the architect and musician to merge creating a richer creative environment. As architecture students we brought an insight into the spatial detail that each space had to offer that may have been buried within the building, we aimed to highlight and celebrate these through the filming. The music students gave a second sensory perception to the spaces and celebrated this within their compositions. Together the collaboration was able to create a full synthesis of spatial resonances." SSoA

Spatial Resonances is the first project by the recently established Sheffield Modernist Society, a group which aims to celebrate twentieth century architecture and design in the city.

The featured buildings are: The Arts Tower; Castle House; Hallam Tower; The Husband Building and Park Hill.

The Sheffield Modernist Society will host a public screening of the five films in early 2016.

Follow us on twitter @modernistsocSHF

Hallam Tower: Untitled Suite


School of Architecture.

Hugh Armstrong, Alexander Farr, Rangika Fernandopulle, Jonathan Gordon, Sita Jobanputra, Pinxi Liu, Kate Nicholson, Helene Offer Ohlsen
Muyiwa Oki, Lucy Parkinson, Richard Webster, Chencheng Xie, Heng Yan


Carolyn Butterworth