Work is finally now starting on creating a landscaped urban park which will include the daylighting of the River Sheaf and excavation of the gatehouse of the Castle. The workers cabins are on site and initially there will be a few weeks of site clearance and preparation ahead of the main works starting.
We understand the archaeological works to excavate the Castle gatehouse will commence in March/April time and we are hoping there will be the opportunity to both become involved in the dig or at least to view the work being carried out but will confirm this in due course.
We do not know exactly what we will find of the Castle remains until the layers are gradually stripped back, other than what is enclosed in the concrete chamber underground. However, it will be the first time this area of the site will have been excavated since the late 1950’s when the Castle Market was being constructed.
It is anticipated that the works will take 18-24 months to complete. Once the works are complete, the gatehouse will be able to be viewed in the open permanently and the small chamber housing the ‘Courtyard’ remains will also be improved so that access can again be given to the public on a more regular basis.
Members of the Committee are currently heavily involved in several different meetings groups, working with the Council and local stakeholders/community groups. This includes groups on future use of the site, design and art interpretation, River Sheaf, raising funds for future plans/ideas and the archaeological works.
On top of this, we are developing our own ambitions for a visitor experience on site for the longer term. We have already had positive meetings with the Council, Sheffield Museums and other key local community groups who support our vision, and we hope we will be able to advance these ideas during this year.
Exciting times ahead and its great to see everything finally coming together! We look forward to bringing you regular updates on how everything progresses.
Council Press Release: Transformation of the historic Castle site into greenspace begins (sheffnews.com)
A date for your diary is our annual AGM which will be held on Thursday 18th April at the Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street, 6:30pm start. Apart from the usual formalities and update on progress with the group, we hope to have a guest speaker too, so we will let you know more details as soon as we can confirm.
The Market Tavern
You may well have seen that the Market Tavern on Exchange Street is in the process of being demolished and this building of course, backs on to the Castle site. It is disappointing to lose an historic building, particularly its unique façade and whilst attempts were made to save the building in part by Hallamshire Historic Buildings, it was too late and the demolition carried on. The building had been deemed unsafe and parts had allegedly collapsed, certainly the chimneys had fallen down. On a more positive note however, this does mean that potentially, the site entrance to the gatehouse area could be opened up and also there are undoubtedly remains of the Castle moat underneath the building. We will be pushing the Council for more investigations as the project progresses.
Sheffield Museums: City Of Rivers Exhibition
We can highly recommend the current exhibition at Weston Park Museum called the City of Rivers which will run until November this year. The Castle was of course built at the confluence of the Sheaf and the Don, and this features in the exhibition along with many pictures, drawings and maps of all Sheffield’s rivers through time. The exhibition on the Castle is also still running if you wanted to combine the two. See below for more information….
Did you know that on the walls of the City Hall, Barkers Pool, there are the coats of arms of Mary Queen of Scots and the Shrewsbury family? See the attached for proof! Have a look next time you are in the area! Thanks to Ruth Morgan for this fascinating fact!
The Friends of Sheffield Castle Committee