Middlewood church, Sheffield, South Yorks, April 2019

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Regular Member
Jan 6, 2013
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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Middlewood church was built just after the mental hospital of the same name, probably in 1875 at a cost of £6,000. It was stone built in the Gothic style with an interior that could accommodate 700 worshipers. The hospital itself opened three years earlier on the 21st of August,1872. Over the years it has had several names including including the South Yorkshire Asylum, the West Riding Asylum and the Wadsley Mental Hospital. At the height of its operations it had a capacity of with 2,000 beds. The hospital closed its doors in 1996 and developed into a private housing development called Wadsley Park Village. Many Grade II listed buildings avoided demolition. These included the Kingswood Ward which was converted into 85 apartments and the administration and clock tower building which was converted into 38 apartments. And, of course, the church.

The church in its early days:

32801519807_570dcbcdee_z.jpgsheffield middlewood old by HughieDW, on Flickr

The first service at the church was held on Sunday 21st of March 1875 and was conducted by the Reverend C.E. Lamb, Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Bramall Lane, with 500 people in attendance including patients, staff and visitors. The church suffered fire-damage in 1988 but a successful fundraising campaign saw the church restored to its former glories. Despite this it saw its last service on Wednesday 6th of November 1996 around the same time as the hospital’s closure, 124 years on from the hospital’s opening. The church was put on the market shortly after and saw Canon John Browning leave the church he’d been canon at for nearly a quarter of a century. Since then it has been left empty.

Interior shot:

46955606094_51a4385924_z.jpgsheffield middlewood interior by HughieDW, on Flickr

A previous owner submitted applications to convert the church into apartments, and these were granted in November 2004, but planning permission subsequently lapsed. In March 2012 plans were submitted by architectural design consultancy Coda Studios planning to convert the church into a mixture of town houses and apartments. These got nowhere. So, in 2015 another planning proposal was tabled to make alterations to create 10 dwelling houses, 4 apartments and 2 studios. The recommend was refused due to the need to fell mature lime trees, loss of wildlife and the proximity of the church to a playground. The Grade II listed church remains officially on the market with Estate Agents, Knight Frank.

The church in more recent times (1991):

32801520597_3fe3b87482_z.jpgsheffield middlewood 1991 by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
Had my eye on this place for a long time. It’s a fine-looking church but has been pretty much sealed. A tip off that it was doable was received so off I went to investigate. It turned out to be good intel and soon I was inside snapping way with my only company the several pigeons that has made it their how. Very enjoyable explore and despite most of the interior being stripped out, enough original features and stained-glass windows to get a decent set of pictures.

3. The Pictures

Through the bushes we peek:

33838446288_006aebe2d9_b.jpgMiddlewood 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Bell tower:

40749232853_7c1ba86420_b.jpgMiddlewood 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

33840044408_752fbfc6d7_b.jpgimg0586 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And we’re in. Overview looking towards the organ:

47662656162_67c387070f_b.jpgMiddlewood 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the pretty much perfect stained-glass windows at the opposite end:

47662649952_1a3cc49a1f_b.jpgMiddlewood 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Loving this carved sandstone Corinthian-topper column:

47662645582_71621cdd3a_b.jpgMiddlewood 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the tiled floor:

47662642142_5beb388b08_b.jpgMiddlewood 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32772309057_cc7caca60e_b.jpgMiddlewood 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

What’s left of the former organ:

46799345785_86cefa02d4_b.jpgMiddlewood 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And where the organ used to be situated:

40749182013_fa3c74d463_b.jpgMiddlewood 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46800963605_52d2d05077_b.jpgimg0573 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47664020772_dd431d2f76_b.jpgMiddlewood 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

33840121428_21c75f1bd6_b.jpgimg0574 by HughieDW, on Flickr

All the floors have been ripped out:

33839806278_b87d002c32_b.jpgMiddlewood 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But some of the radiators remain:

33839798258_d03fdd6912_b.jpgMiddlewood 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46800938845_7e15073054_b.jpgimg0577 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some more fine stained-glass windows:

47664387712_cbcb18e246_b.jpgimg0559 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47717343251_efb17d0fa7_b.jpgimg0560 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46800978535_3aa7b30a03_b.jpgimg0566 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A few more pictures of the church’s glorious exterior:

33839794728_eeb364fd76_b.jpgMiddlewood 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46800846265_4cfc88c730_b.jpgimg0587 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32773925037_a8e0c07ebc_b.jpgimg0584 by HughieDW, on Flickr


Regular Member
Jan 17, 2008
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Nice, do like the encaustic tiles, they look a bit like Minton Hollins if you're lucky. :)


Regular Member
Mar 19, 2019
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Leeds, West Yorkshire
This place is riddled with anti climb paint now and next to impossible to enter, so unfortunate because this building looks amazing especially for photography :upset:

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