Historic Yorkshire pub that is 'the last of its kind' could be demolished

Sheffield Council has delayed a decision on whether to demolish a historic pub that was built to serve Sheffield makers and is believed to be the last of its kind.

If current plans go ahead, the 1863 building on 24 – 26 Cambridge Street – latterly the Tap & Tankard and Chubby’s takeaway – will be knocked down with only the facade retained.

A decision by the council’s planning and highways committee was due in a meeting on October 19.

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An email included in documents on the council’s planning portal show that an agreement was made to delay the decision until November 9. This was put down to staff leave and workloads.

The Tap and Tankard

Clare Plant, director of Nineteen47 – the agent for the application, said they were happy to agree to a short extension in the decision period but noted that “it is essential that a decision is received [as soon as possible] to maintain momentum on the [Heart of the City] project”.

Historian Ron Clayton said the site, which used to be called the Sportsman’s Inn, should be preserved because of its long history and links to Leah’s Yard, the Grade II listed Little Mesters’ workshops it was built to serve.

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He said: “The idea for Leah’s Yard itself is exciting: a return to small-scale artisans and traders representing the very best of what Sheffield can do. But this historic site is not just a good building – it has a great historic setting, too, which the council’s plans will largely erase, reducing it to just a facade.

“The Sportsman’s Inn was built in 1863 for brewer William Greaves. James Morton had his horn works next door and took the opportunity to expand into the space, creating what we know today as Leah’s Yard.

“The Sportsman has undergone some internal alternation, but inside and out it is still recognisably the pub built in 1863, in particular a very fine club room on the first floor.

“Pubs in Sheffield served the town’s industries, which were dusty and hot, causing respiratory illness and dehydration. There used to be hundreds of pubs, as much next to factories as to homes.

“Now it is quite rare to find a pub next to the works it was built to serve, but the Sportsman and Leah’s Yard are special as the only known surviving pub and works that are exact contemporaries.

“The club room was created at the height of the Sheffield Outrages, which led to unions being legally recognised, and hosted regular meetings of plasterers, oddfellows, tailors, lithographers, carpenters and joiners.

“Above all, Cambridge Street itself is the last example of what was once ubiquitous in the city centre development: a rich mix of work, residence, social life and worship.

“Further down the street, the council is keeping many good buildings, but in demolishing the Sportsman – the Leah’s Yard pub – we think they’ve got it wrong.”

The planning application stated the site was “unworkable for modern retail and office uses due to the existing structural wall locations, low head heights, level changes between units, non-compliant stairs and the need to strengthen floors for modern loads”.

Developers said they had extensive consultation with Hallamshire Historic Buildings and similar organisations before submitting the application.