180 years of designing the city landscape

Gas company headquarters -known as Canada House, the grade II listed building on Commercial Street opposite Ponds Forge was erected in 1874 for the Sheffield United Gas Light Company. It has four paired granite columns on the ground and first floor and two figures of Atlas flanking the main door.
Gas company headquarters -known as Canada House, the grade II listed building on Commercial Street opposite Ponds Forge was erected in 1874 for the Sheffield United Gas Light Company. It has four paired granite columns on the ground and first floor and two figures of Atlas flanking the main door.
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It is the company that built Sheffield – and nearly the Houses of Parliament too.

As the oldest architects’ practice in the UK, Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson is behind hundreds of well known buildings in the city including St Marie’s Church, Canada House, No1 High Street, The Royal Hospital and the Cholera Monument.

And the stamp of founding partner Matthew Ellison Hadfield was nearly on the Houses of Parliament after he gained experience in the office of P F Robinson in London in 1835.

Hadfield worked on Robinson’s competition scheme for the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster and legend has it their drawings came second only to the Sir Charles Barry design that is familiar today.

To celebrate its anniversary the firm has organised a series of events including a drinks reception tomorrow evening for 150, including the Lord Mayor and Master Cutler, at the Mercure Hotel. It will feature a display of original hand-drawings – some dating as far back as 1836. Also planned is a guided ‘Sheffield Walk’ on June 24 taking in many of the firm’s significant buildings.

The company has also been delving into a massive archive of often hand-drawn, pen, ink and watercolour designs.

David Peel, pictured left, chairman of HCD, said it had been a pleasure.

He added: “The whole thing is quite incredible really. We’ve lived with this heritage all this time but only really realised the extent when we’ve dug into it.

“The issue for us as a profession these days, being in a design and build world, is that everything is forever being changed.

“In their day, they produced absolutely immaculate watercolours and people were too afraid to change anything.

“If I had to pick a favourite it would be the Pawson and Brailsford building on High Street (now Lloyds bank) – it’s absolutely fantastic.

“The detail is incredible when you look. It’s amazing that it’s survived.

“One hundred and eighty years in business is a major milestone by anybody’s standards and bears testament to our founding partner’s principles of good design, management and very high standards of service delivery.”

Despite the recent recession, the firm, based on Broomgrove Road, is in good health and working on projects throughout the UK and in Europe.

Modern commissions include designing the precast concrete terracing for Wembley Stadium, Bradford Shopping Centre for Westfield and the proposed IKEA near Meadowhall in Sheffield.

Other modern buildings in Sheffield include Nabarro’s Sheffield headquarters and the Home Office building on Riverside.

Projects

St Marie’s Cathedral Church

Norfolk Row. A carving of founding partner M E Hadfield is on the side of the building overlooking the Crucible. Opened in 1850.

Gas company headquarters

Known as Canada House, the grade II listed building on Commercial Street opened on May 3 1875. Built for the Sheffield United Gas Light Company. It has four paired granite columns on the ground and first floor and two figures of Atlas flanking the main door.

Cholera Monument

Grade II listed monument to the 402 citizens of Sheffield who lost their lives in the cholera epidemic of 1832. Stands in Clay Wood, Norfolk Park. Founding partner Matthew Ellison Hadfield’s first commission.

The Royal Hospital

Westfield Terrace. Erected in four phases between 1858 and 1860, extended several times. Closed in 1978. Now demolished.

Pawson Brailsford building

No 1 High Street. Built in 1884 for a Sheffield publisher producing trade catalogues for Sheffield manufacturers. Grade II listed.

Houses of Parliament

Entry for design competition for rebuilding of Houses of Parliament. While working with P F Robinson in London in 1835.