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Thread: Old Town Hall/Courts, Sheffield, September 2018

  1. #1
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    Default Old Town Hall/Courts, Sheffield, September 2018


    1. The History
    The building was commissioned to replace Sheffield's first town hall, which had opened in 1700 next to the parish church. The Old Town Hall was designed by Charles Watson and built in 1807–08. It was designed to house the Town Trustees and the Petty and Quarter Sessions. Initially building had five bays and faced Castle Street, however, it was extended in 1833 then again in 1866 to plans drawn up by Sheffield architect William Flockton (1804–64) and his partner George Abbott. The most grandiose feature was the new central clock tower over a new main entrance. 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 although Flockton was no longer alive to witness its construction.

    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 the courts had moved to new premises just around the corner. Since 1997 the building has been empty and remains in a poor state. In 2004 the building was bought by London-based G1 London Properties Ltd for £650,000. In 2008 the Victorian Society named the building as one of its top ten buildings most at-risk. More recently 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 million. The sale brochure was withdrawn from the internet after about ten days. It’s now currently back on the market again, this time with Fernie and Greaves but, strangely, does not appear on their website.

    It recently appeared for the first time in the annual Buildings at Risk list, a national list published by independent heritage charity SAVE Britain’s Heritage.

    2. The Explore
    This place will be familiar to a lot of you. And as anybody who has been round here in the past will know, entry has always been, erm how shall we put it, challenging to get into this place. The comedy entrance over the roller blind was a thing of urbex folklore. I’ve been watching it for ages and in the past regretted not being in a position to be able to take advantage when the place was presented on a plate. Then the old entrance point was well and truly sealed. I’d effectively admitted defeat, but then one word was out that it was doable. After a bit of intel (big up to you Tbolt) and a bit of a reccie, it looked like it might just be doable again. So, early one morning I set off with two non-forum members to give it our best shot. It was amazing just how busy Sheffield was even on the morning of supposedly the quietest day of the week. There were workman coming and going at the top of the road and cars flashing past. But in we went and at last we’d cracked the courts. We had the place to ourselves and we weren’t disappointed. Despite some of the floors being a bit shady the building appeared to be pretty water-tight and the court-rooms in good nick. It may have been a long time coming but cracking the courts was well worth the wait.

    3. The Pictures

    The glorious street level view:

    Law Courts 23 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    …and a few other externals:

    img9789 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9787 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9788 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9790 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One of the first sights to greet us on the inside:

    img9680 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9679 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Up to court No.1:

    Law Courts 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9731 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9732 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    All about the cupolas here:

    img9726 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9730 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nice to see so many fireplaces in situ still:

    Law Courts 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Law Courts 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9739 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The woodwork in the courts is fab:

    img9741 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Law Courts 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9761 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This medium-sized court has the most intricate carvings:

    Law Courts 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9772 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This is the smallest of the courts:

    Law Courts 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9766 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The rear, newer side of the building isn’t quite as impressive:

    Law Courts 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9744 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    But it allows a view of the roof:

    img9748 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A quick shufty in the clock tower:

    img9755 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Back down to ground level:

    img9780 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And this delightful view:

    img9783 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nice bit o’ egg and dart:

    img9784 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Wonder where this locks/unlocks?

    img9785 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Down to the cells:

    img9682 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9692 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    …and the obligatory ‘knob’ graffiti:

    Law Courts 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The cells:
    Law Courts 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9701 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9712 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The ‘facilities’:

    Law Courts 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Law Courts 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr
    And out again:

    Law Courts 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Law Courts 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr



    Law Courts 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Law Courts 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: andylen, Hugh Jorgan, krela, Locksley, Mearing, Mikeymutt, oldscrote, prettyvacant71, Tbolt
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  4. #2
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    Mind blowing shots as always mate! Wow that place looks like its been decaying for five times longer than it has, must be the northern climate :p
    Awesome shots, thanks for sharing!
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk
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  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
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    That is one lovely looking place captured well. Alas its another that I fear I will never make it to ;-(

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Great set mate so glad you got in here
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanX View Post
    Mind blowing shots as always mate! Wow that place looks like its been decaying for five times longer than it has, must be the northern climate :p
    Awesome shots, thanks for sharing!
    Cheers kind sir! Been a long wait but well worth the while...

    Quote Originally Posted by BikinGlynn View Post
    That is one lovely looking place captured well. Alas its another that I fear I will never make it to ;-(
    Hope you do in the end mate...well worth the trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeymutt View Post
    Great set mate so glad you got in here
    Cheers mate and me too!

  10. #6
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    Nice one Hughie

    Cracking pics mate and it's such a good feeling to nail it after soooooo long aint it?
    Don't panic, be reet!!!

  11. Thanks given by: HughieD
  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tbolt View Post
    Nice one Hughie

    Cracking pics mate and it's such a good feeling to nail it after soooooo long aint it?
    Hey mate ain't it just? And big up to you too!

  13. Thanks given by: Tbolt
  14. #8
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    As if there's still toilet paper in that bog.

    Excellent pics as always mate. Why this place has been left to rot for so long still baffles me. It would make an excellent museum, a la Nottingham's Galleries of Justice.

  15. #9
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    Glad you finally made it to see inside this wonderful place after such a long wait HD and you never even received the "Tbolt bruise for access" either! Great to see the place again,lovely pics, but is this ever going to get redev or is it also on the arson list???
    ...

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