Photo: Chard Remains
I wrote an article in 2011 about Sheffield’s Old Town Hall, highlighting the virtual invisibility of a major public building in the middle of a busy city centre: http://www.mikehigginbottominterestingtimes.co.uk/?p=1285.
Since then, in November 2014, a Friends of the Old Town Hall group has been formed to ginger up support for this splendid, inexorably decaying building, opened in 1809 as a combined town hall and court house, and disused since 1996 when the courts moved to a new building on West Bar.
The original owners, the Sheffield Town Trust, sold it in 2000, and the developer, G1 London Properties Ltd, that bought it in 2004 has since then apparently done nothing to the building.
Its deterioration, primarily through damp and water ingress, is chronicled by a succession of urban-explorer reports, of which this is one of the latest: http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/sheffield-old-town-hall-courts-sheffield-december-2014.t93247#post-1064776.
The Friends point out that the Old Town Hall is only the largest and most splendid of a group of buildings at the heart of the old town-centre.
As a support group the Friends face an uphill task – first, to conceive positive proposals to restore the building; second, to get the owners to respond to their repeated approaches.
Their enthusiasm is bolstered by positive support from Sheffield City Council, which is beginning the comprehensive redevelopment of the adjacent Castlegate area.
The Friends’ growing body of individual members is open to anyone who would like to offer support. There is no subscription, and everyone on the mailing list receives a regular newsletter. The website is at https://friendsofothsheffield.wordpress.com and there is a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OTHSheffield?fref=ts.