Chapel Walk: £250,000 public art for dilapidated Sheffield city centre lane

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It dates back to the middle ages and used to be a bustling alley but its fortunes have plummeted

A quarter of a million pounds is being spent on public art as part of a £1.24m project to make a historic Sheffield passage more attractive and fill empty shops.

Chapel Walk will be brightened up by a ‘public art commission’ as part of revamp to boost the dilapidated route linking Fargate and Norfolk Street.

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The £250,000 contract also includes ‘illuminated pieces and bespoke gates’ for Black Swan Walk, the lesser-known lane off Fargate between Caffe Nero and Star Nails.

Sheffield City Council’s public art officer will now ‘convene a steering group to guide the work’.

Chapel Walk will be brightened up by a £250,000  ‘public art commission’ as part of revamp to boost the dilapidated route linking Fargate and Norfolk Street.
Chapel Walk will be brightened up by a £250,000  ‘public art commission’ as part of revamp to boost the dilapidated route linking Fargate and Norfolk Street.
Chapel Walk will be brightened up by a £250,000 ‘public art commission’ as part of revamp to boost the dilapidated route linking Fargate and Norfolk Street. | national world

Meanwhile, £900,000 of work is due to begin in the next few weeks on improvements to shop fronts and access to upper floors. And in March new ‘conservation lanterns’ will be installed to improve lighting.

The project, from the government’s Future High Street Fund, also includes £90,000 in grants to small and new businesses to pay for fit-out costs.

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Chapel Walk dates back to the Middle Ages and used to be a bustling alley. But due to a shift of retail to The Moor, the rise of online shopping and months of scaffolding in 2019 - which made it a forbidding and gloomy tunnel - its fortunes plummeted.

In July last year the council said it would give the Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust £250,000 to improve its shop fronts and improve access to upper floors.

The trust was set up in Tudor times and owns city centre property. Today it is a charity. Income in 2022 was £1.94m. Expenditure was £1.99m, some 71.5 per cent goes to 'ecclesiastical purposes' including maintaining Sheffield Cathedral.

The Foundry Sheffield, the charity which runs Victoria Hall, will receive £650,000 for its shop fronts, to improve access and reconfigure upper floors at Victoria Hall. It provides facilities for organisations and charities who support vulnerable people including asylum seekers and the homeless.

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Income for the financial year ending June 30 2022 was £309,667. Total expenditure was £328,384 including a £10,000 government grant.

The £250,000 contract also includes ‘illuminated pieces and bespoke gates’ for Black Swan Walk, the lesser-known lane off Fargate between Caffe Nero and Star Nails.
The £250,000 contract also includes ‘illuminated pieces and bespoke gates’ for Black Swan Walk, the lesser-known lane off Fargate between Caffe Nero and Star Nails.
The £250,000 contract also includes ‘illuminated pieces and bespoke gates’ for Black Swan Walk, the lesser-known lane off Fargate between Caffe Nero and Star Nails. | national world

At the time Coun Ben Miskell, chair of the transport, regeneration and climate committee said: “Chapel Walk has a proud history as one of the city centre’s most loved shopping streets and this funding will give a new lease of life to the area, attracting new visitors and providing a boost for businesses.

“By enabling local organisations to upgrade their shop fronts, installing new public art, and providing grants to encourage small and new businesses to move into empty units, this funding will transform Chapel Walk into a fantastic place to visit in the city centre.”

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