Former museum in Sheffield to become new bar

The former home of Sheffield's Traditional Heritage Museum is to become a new bar.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 4:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 11:57 am
The old Traditional Heritage Museum on Ecclesall Road

The Ecclesall Road building - originally a church hall - has been empty since the museum closed in 2011, when owners Sheffield University said it could not afford the ‘very significant capital investment’ needed to maintain it.

But now a deal is close to being signed off to turn the building into a bar. The name of the new occupant is being kept under wraps for now - however, Matthew Barnsdale, of MJB Commercial Property which has been handling the lease, said the place would be part of a small chain that has around six venues across the country, mainly in the north of England.

"I would say they're an independent," said Mr Barnsdale. "They're not a multinational, or even a national in that sense."

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The 4,945 sq ft hall, plus cellars, was put up for rent more than a year ago on a full repairing lease - where the tenant covers the cost of maintenance and insurance. Annual rent of around £100,000 was being sought.

"A deal has been agreed and is in legals," Mr Barnsdale said. "All being well, subject to planning, it's a bar operator that wants to take it. There will be a planning and licensing application in due course."

The building is next to The Well baptist church, formerly the Horizon Methodist Church, and close to the Pointing Dog bar, Nonna’s and the Porter Brook pub.

"It has a bit of an interesting past," said Mr Barnsdale. "It's a building people know but don't know much about. I think what these guys want to do will get it properly refurbished and bring it into use for the public. I think it's the right use and Ecclesall Road will support something of that nature, particularly that stretch of Ecclesall Road - it's not like the other end which is bristling with bars and restaurants."

The museum opened in 1985, and contained walk-through displays including a replica kitchen from the 1920s and shops from Sheffield’s past. It closed in February 2011 for the university to carry out an assessment of the hall’s condition. The following October the university said it did not have the funds ‘to meet the necessary standards required of a public building’.

Some 46,000 items required new homes when the museum shut. The bulk of its collections went to Green Estate, operators of Sheffield Manor Lodge. Many were used in the site’s World War Two ‘living history’ cottages.