Café in Sheffield art gallery closes to make way for 'cultural hub' plan

The café in Sheffield's Graves Art Gallery has shut for good and will instead be used to develop plans to turn the building and its library into a new 'cultural hub'.

Wednesday, 28th February 2018, 4:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th March 2018, 10:30 am
The Central Library and Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield, earmarked for a new 'cultural hub'. Picture: Dean Atkins

The coffee shop, which is inside the gallery, closed a year ago after water leaked from pipework on the roof, meaning repairs were needed.

Council engineers have now fixed the problem. But Museums Sheffield, which oversees the Graves collection, has decided not to reopen the café, opting to use the room as a 'consultation and resource area' as proposals for the hub are worked up.

Last year Sheffield Council announced its intention to upgrade the gallery and Central Library building in the city centre, after the idea of creating a five-star hotel there with Chinese investment money failed to gain momentum.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It is envisaged the art gallery will take over the whole of the Art Deco building on Surrey Street, which dates from 1934, with more works taken out of storage and put on display. A restaurant and space for live performances has also been mooted.

Museums Sheffield, and its chief executive Kim Streets, will be taking the lead with the council’s support, and bids to the Arts Council and heritage bodies are anticipated. The ambition of a ‘Hepworth for Sheffield’, referring to the popular gallery in Wakefield, has been expressed.

The library will move to a new £20 million facility elsewhere in the middle of Sheffield, potentially on the site of the new retail quarter, which now has the working title 'Heart of the City 2'.

A museums spokeswoman said repairs at the café were completed just before Christmas.

"The investigative work was quite a lengthy process as the pipework was behind brick and ran from the top to the bottom of the building, but the council was eventually able to remedy the problem by running a new pipe down inside the old corroded one. Because of the length of the closure period, we decided not to reopen the café and instead are going to use the space to help develop plans for the proposed cultural hub in the building. We’ll be using the space as a consultation and resource area, where visitors can tell us what they’d like to see from the building and we can share progress as the project develops."

The room will open at a later date. Visitors seeking a café are being directed to the nearby Millennium Gallery.