St Hilda’s lingers

St Hilda's Church, Shiregreen, Sheffield (September 27th 2013)

St Hilda’s Church, Shiregreen, Sheffield (September 27th 2013)

Last August the scaffolding went up around St Hilda’s Church, Shiregreen, Sheffield, and it was apparent that it would be demolished. I was told that the schedule was to have the site cleared by the end of September 2013. A cheerful crew duly turned up and over a matter of two or three weeks removed the entire roof. Then they went away, and nothing further has happened. The place continues to stand a roofless ruin. My diocesan source tells me that the delay results from “discussion between the Sheffield City Council Planning Department, Church Commissioners, Diocese and the Contractor”. The Church authorities don’t seem to have much luck either with keeping redundant buildings standing or knocking them down. St Hilda’s is now neither one thing nor the other. It’s perhaps mischievous to point out that roofless churches have been preserved against all the odds, such as the Welsh Presbyterian Church, Toxteth, Liverpool [] and the Welsh Baptist Chapel, Upper Brook Street, Manchester  []. Both these examples are listed, and are of undeniable historical and architectural merit. But sometimes even the most unassuming derelict buildings gain a purpose that keeps them standing and restored to good order: Update – March 11th 2014:  The interrupted demolition of St Hilda’s has resumed, and it should be gone within a matter of days. One less twentieth-century suburban church makes the others that remain marginally more valuable. The failed campaign to save St Hilda’s Church, Shiregreen is featured in Demolished Sheffield, a 112-page full colour A4 publication by Mike Higginbottom. For details please click here.

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