'Haunted' Civil War building in Sheffield rises from the ashes to become drive-thru Starbucks

A historic building with links to the Civil War has risen from the ashes to become a drive-thru Starbucks café.

By Robert Cumber
Friday, 09 August, 2019, 11:05

Carbrook Hall in Attercliffe, which dates back to 1176, was used as a meeting place by parliamentary forces during the Civil War, when its former owner played a leading role in the taking of Sheffield Castle in 1644.

The Grade II*-listed former ancestral home on Attercliffe Common, which is reputed to be one of Yorkshire's most-haunted sites, was used as a pub for many years.

Inside the new Starbucks cafe at historic Carbrook Hall, and how the building looked after an arson attack last year

But that closed in 2017 and when arsonists struck at the empty premises the following year there were fears it could be lost forever.

However, Starbucks stepped in to take over the building, the oldest surviving part of which is believed to date from 1620, and it was officially reopened as a drive-thru café this morning following a £1.1 million restoration.

The intricate wood panelling in the main room has been retained, for customers eating in to admire, as has the old stone kitchen.

Starbucks says around 35 people will eventually be employed at the café, which could become the company’s northern HQ once it has finished decorating the rooms upstairs.

Sheffield's lord mayor Tony Downing opens the new Starbucks at Carbrook Hall on Attercliffe Common

Owner Sean Fogg, of West Street Leisure, told how he spent more than £700,000 restoring the building to its original glory, which included removing years of accumulated tobacco stains and repairing pock marks left by stray darts on the antique woodwork. He said Starbucks splashed out nearly £400,000 extra fitting out the interior.

He said: “We’ve achieved what we wanted to by keeping the fibre of the building and bringing it back to life. I’m over the moon with the final result. It looks absolutely stunning.”

Starbucks’ district manager Gemma Barrett said: “It’s a good looking building with an amazing history in a great location and we’re so proud to bring it back into use and to see the incredible transformation.

Sheffield’s lord mayor, Tony Downing, hailed it as an example of how historic buildings can be brought back into use.

Inside the new Starbucks cafe at Carbrook Hall on Attercliffe Common

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It’s a fabulous old building with a great history, and it’s wonderful to see all the historic features restored. I’m sure this will bring lots of people into the building, and hopefully they will learn more about its fascinating past, so well done to Starbucks,” he said.

Starbucks has selected Support Dogs, based just around the corner, as its chosen charity.

Support Dogs trains pooches to improve the lives of people with various medical conditions. The canine companions can help reduce stress for children with autism, assist people with physical disabilities to carry out everyday tasks and warn those with epilepsy up to 50 minutes before a seizure starts.

Laura Baker, who is a fundraiser for the charity, said: “It’s great to get this local support, which will hopefully help us raise extra money and awareness so we can continue making a real difference to people’s lives.”

Fire damage to Carbrook Hall following an arson attack in 2018

Carbrook Hall was once a much larger building, which was the home of the Blunt family in 1176, but the only remaining part is a wing added in 1620.

Its former owners include Colonel John Bright, a leading parliamentarian who played a major role in capturing Sheffield Castle from royalists during the Civil War.

His ghost was said by former pub landlords to be responsible for mysterious goings-on, earning the building a reputation as one of the region’s most haunted places.

Inside the new Starbucks cafe at Carbrook Hall on Attercliffe Common
Carbrook Hall as it looks after being converted to a Starbucks cafe
Carbrook Hall as it looked before being converted to a Starbucks
Dart marks on the wood panelling at Carbrook Hall, which has been restored (pic: Sean Fogg)
The Old Oak Room at Carbrook Hall as it looked when the building was a pub (pic: Mick Slaughter)