Pete McKee: Sheffield's top artist moves gallery into historic workshops in Sheffield city centre

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He will be leaving his longstanding base in Sharrow Vale

Sheffield’s top artist Pete McKee will be the first tenant at historic Leah’s Yard in Sheffield city centre.

He has announced he will be moving his gallery from Sharrow Vale into the collection of little mesters workshops on Cambridge Street, part of the Heart of the City II development.

The match has been described as a "perfect fit".

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Pete McKee at Leah's Yard ahead of it opening next summer.Pete McKee at Leah's Yard ahead of it opening next summer.
Pete McKee at Leah's Yard ahead of it opening next summer.

Pete - who has just opened a new exhibition - said: "The development team has taken great pains to retain as much of the heritage of the building as possible and it looks stunning. I’m incredibly proud of the Sheffield heritage my family, and many others over the generations, have been a part of. So, to be able to place my gallery where once the artisans of Sheffield produced their wares was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.

"I believe in Sheffield and its ability to adapt and thrive and the town centre is currently going through a metamorphosis. Soon, it will be free of the cocoon of scaffolding and building sites and will be able to open its wings once more. 

"But it won’t shine like our famous steel if we don’t support it. That’s why I wanted to move to the city centre to help be a part of our beautiful city’s new beginning – where we forge our own future and don’t look to be a poor copy of our neighbours up the M1 and over the Snake."

An image of how Leah's Yard on Cambridge Street, Sheffield, will look after its renovation as part of Sheffield City Council's Heart of the City II scheme.An image of how Leah's Yard on Cambridge Street, Sheffield, will look after its renovation as part of Sheffield City Council's Heart of the City II scheme.
An image of how Leah's Yard on Cambridge Street, Sheffield, will look after its renovation as part of Sheffield City Council's Heart of the City II scheme.

Grade II* listed Leah’s Yard will have a 'bustling' central public courtyard surrounded by small shops, while the first and second floors will host about 20 independent working studios.

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It will be run by Tom Wolfenden, CEO of SSPCo, which manages the Cooper Buildings on Arundel Street, and James O’Hara, who runs bars such as Public and Picture House Social. 

Pete McKee at Leah's Yard where he will be the first tenant.Pete McKee at Leah's Yard where he will be the first tenant.
Pete McKee at Leah's Yard where he will be the first tenant.

Tom said: "It’d be tough to think of a more perfect partner in this next stage of Leah’s Yard than Pete McKee. A true son of Sheffield, Pete’s artistic journey is a great example of the creativity that is in the bones of this city and to be able to host the next stage of The McKee Gallery is something we’re extremely proud of."

James O’Hara added: "Back in 2009, in my very first bar in Sheffield, we hosted a McKee exhibition and through that I became firm pals with Pete and his brilliant family and team, for Pete to choose Leah’s Yard as his next home feels like the perfect fit in so many ways."

Leah’s Yard is gearing up to open in summer 2024, he added.

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