Saturday 25 November 2017

Sheffield United Gas Light Company Offices, Commercial Street Sheffield

The following cutting is from the Sheffield Telegraph dated 20th October 1989

"One of Sheffield's finest buildings" and a "New role for a grand old lady" states the headlines.

"The Gas Company vacated the premises in 1972 and was offered for sale but no buyers came forward. Property developers sought consent to demolish the building and redevelop the site but this was opposed by several preservation societies and in June 1973 it was designated as a Grade II* listed building (later downgraded to Grade II).

An inquiry into the building’s future in 1977 resulted in Sheffield’s Assistant Chief Planner David Cathels stating that the building was considered to be “A vigorous and distinguished example of Victorian architecture which should be retained”. Local businessman Les Vickers paid £110,000 for the building in 1978 with a scheme to turn it into a hotel and conference centre, however these plan fell through and in the early 1980s the building’s lower floor was converted into “Turn Ups” nightclub and “Bloomers” pub. In 1990 Canadian Business Parks of Bedfordshire acquired the building with plans to restore it, but this never happened as the company hit financial problems.

The building continued to deteriorate throughout the early 1990s and in 1996 Sheffield City Council served a legal notice on the owners to effect repairs. However, no maintenance was carried out, rain came in through the damaged roof and period fireplaces were stolen by thieves. The Council in partnership with English Heritage sealed the building against further damage and it was then acquired by English Partnerships, the Government agency for regeneration. The building has been restored and at present hosts the No. 1 Oriental Buffet Restaurant on it lower floor with office space above.

Sadly the building never became "the headquarters of a major prestigous company" but it does host a Oriental Restaurant. Not what Sheffield City Council had envisaged in October 1989  

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