The Leadmill Sheffield: Looking back to beginnings of city's under-threat legendary music venue

As the future of the much-loved Sheffield music venue The Leadmill came into question this week, we’re looking back to its beginnings.

By Julia Armstrong
Friday, 1st April 2022, 9:54 am

The former derelict flour mill on Leadmill Road opened in 1980 as a response to the lack of cultural facilities in Sheffield, back in the dark days of Thatcherism and mass youth unemployment.

The building’s music history actually dates back to the 1960s, when the Esquire Club played host to stars such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Small Faces on a stage apparently made from two grand pianos with their legs sawn off.

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Staff working on the renovation of The Leadmill, outside the Sheffield music venue's cafe. Pictured left to right in August 1989 are Graham Wrench, John Clapham, Mark Dinnin and Liz Ewbank

The Leadmill began life as an arts and music centre and generations of city students and music lovers have flocked through those huge doors since then.

When the pandemic hit live venues hard, the Music Venue Trust stepped in to raise money for the Leadmill and hundreds of other businesses and has already pledged its help once again.

The Leadmill in Sheffield - it survived a threat to its future as the pandemic hit live venues hard and now it's under question again