Sheffield City Hall celebrates 80 years with new book

Sheffield City Hall
Sheffield City Hall
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FROM the Beatles to Barbirolli, Brucie and ballroom dancing to big birthday bashes.

The place has staged pop stars, politicians and even Prime Ministers.

Over the years, Sheffield’s City Hall has had the lot - and then some.

Now as this very grand old lady prepares to celebrate its 80th birthday, a new book tells her story.

The Sheffield City Hall birthday book, which hits the shops on Saturday, recalls how the venue was built, survived the war and where the famous Lions from the Oval Hall stage went.

From the pen of local author Neil Anderson, it tells of how Sir John Barbirolli influenced classical music in Sheffield and include amusing anecdotes like where the Beatles had their after-show party.

Included are stories from the popular dances in the Ballroom and how Rock ‘n’ Roll took over the venue as well as the rise of comedy.

In short, the book takes you through the history of City Hall and its patrons with all its highs and lows.

Neil first fell in love with the place when he was a student.

“I was on a leisure management degree course when I gained a part time job working in the City Hall’s marketing department,” he says.

“I further supplemented my income by working as a steward at gigs and got to know the place really well, or at least I thought I did.

“It was only all these years later when I started on the book that I realised there was far more to learn.”

The author, whose mum and dad Patricia and Hayden met at the City Hall, spent a year researching the book.

He said: “I spent so much time in the local studies department at Sheffield Library that you wouldn’t believe it. It was a long but also a very enjoyable journey.

“Many of us have fond memories of the City Hall and it seems only right to put together a book of the stories, dramas and events since opening in 1932.

“As one of the country’s finest civic buildings, the City Hall has played a unique part in the day to day existence of the city and the country since the day it opened.”

Neil’s book provides a unique window on the building since its opening, touching on momentous occasions.

In includes pictures before the City Hall was built, and the controversy surrounding it.

Neil said: “Shops and homes were demolished to make way for the building, which, as you can imagine, didn’t go down that well.

“There was a lengthy debate on the name of the hall as well as its purpose.”

The venue will be remembered by many for staging some of the most iconic gigs.

Few buildings have became such a beacon for popular music in subsequent decades with the city’s own Joe Cocker, Dave Berry, Def Leppard, Human League, ABC, Heaven 17 and others all making the venue their home.

It also hosted global rock stars spanning AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and pop acts from Frankie Goes to Hollywood to One Direction via every possible permutation in between.