Sheffield shops which have closed: Looking back at some of city's most loved stores we have lost

After a conversation with a family friend, who was asking if we still had a John Lewis, or Cole Brothers, as I always called it.
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“No, we don’t,” I replied. “What about House of Fraser in Meadowhall?” they asked, to which again I said ‘no’ and I also mentioned we no longer have a Debenhams in Sheffield. We’ve learned 2022 is no longer a time when losing shops which have been around for decades is a shock.

We read daily of shops closing and pubs disappearing, we all have shops we remember, and loved which have disappeared. When I was in my teens I remember many shops which I always believed would be around forever. In 1979, for instance, had someone come up to me and said ‘all these shops you can see now will be gone within a couple decades’, I would have said they were ever so slightly mad.

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Haymarket in Sheffield, showing the GalleryHaymarket in Sheffield, showing the Gallery
Haymarket in Sheffield, showing the Gallery
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In the late 70s and early 80s I loved going into Sheffield city centre and sampling the atmosphere, and possibly buying something. Saturday afternoons were a great time in my youth, to go into town to pass the time of day. We would head straight to Suggs, either on Castle Street or Pinstone Street. Suggs was a large sports store in Sheffield and I loved it, even though I rarely spent money there.

Suggs would sell all the things young boys loved, such as sports kits and equipment, but we all would gravitate to the knife section where they sold all manner of knives. We, and many children/teenagers owned knives or aspired to own a knife, be it a pen knife or sheath. We would use these knives to sharpen twigs and branches for no apparent reason other than we could. We also enjoyed throwing knives at trees then rapidly ducking when the knife bounced back off the tree towards us. There would always be the possibility someone may be tied up somewhere, and we would need a knife to cut them free – this never happened.

There were numerous shops in the city centre, all vibrant with no inkling of ever closing. The markets were alive with shoppers buying various goods. Couples would go to buy provisions for the week, and the roast for Sunday. There were three large markets and Dixon lane, alive with shoppers as well as the rest of town, also so vibrant.

John Lewis or Coles as many called it. 2012John Lewis or Coles as many called it. 2012
John Lewis or Coles as many called it. 2012

I enjoyed going to the Gallery to spend Saturday afternoons,and meet friends. The Gallery was a ‘walkway in the sky' with access to both the Sheaf and Castle Market as well as Woolworths, the large and popular department stores, which had so many different items on sale, with its famous pic and mix, and latest top 40 chart records.

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Many would go into the Castle market and take a look in Harringtons, the popular clothes shops with the latest fashions of the day at the lowest prices. One of the most iconic shops of this time was the much loved Redgates, a toy store just off The Moor on Furnival Gate. I used to spend hours on Saturdays looking at the latest toys and games it had to offer.

We lost so many shops and stores from that period, it does feel like history repeating itself, in many ways.