The changing face of Sheffield's Peace Gardens - and how it was once an 18th-century churchyard

It’s lovely to see children playing in the Peace Gardens fountains again during Sheffield by the Seaside but the city centre green oasis looked very different in the past.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 1:36 pm

The most recent layout for the gardens next to Sheffield Town Hall, with its five cascades representing Sheffield rivers, was created in 1997, replacing the formal gardens that had been in place since 1938. Before that the space was the graveyard of St Paul’s Church, which dated to the 1720s and was demolished in 1937.

The church was built as an overflow for Sheffield Parish Church – now the cathedral - when the congregation got too big. It didn’t open until 1740 because of a row between major donors.

The Peace Gardens was called St Paul’s Gardens but got its nickname from the 1938 Munich Pact, which was meant to appease Hitler, and it was eventually renamed. The St Paul’s name lives on in the area.

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An overhead view of the old-style Peace Gardens and Pinstone Street, Sheffield in August 1995 - the fountains are near the spot where the little tree stands in the bottom left-hand corner and the Winter Gardens/Millennium Gallery would replace part of the 'eggbox' Town Hall extension
Sheffield by the Seaside opens in the Peace Gardens - there are deckchairs, a beach, rides and entertainment until August 30