Editor: Time to pick up the pieces of a broken dream… yet again

Dreams can come true… that’s how the song goes. While it is hard to argue that they can – sometimes – isn't it awful when they don’t?

By Nancy Fielder
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 6:51 am
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 6:51 am
Sheffield Stock pic taken from roof of Wilkos Old Town Hall
Sheffield Stock pic taken from roof of Wilkos Old Town Hall

Today’s news about the Old Town Hall is a very bitter pill to swallow. This pandemic has a lot to answer for and, in the grand scale of things, this is far from the worst but it is very sad for our city centre.

It seems like just the other day when we were desperately hoping for good news to stop that beautiful building just crumbling away. How joyous when it arrived, and how terrible that it has gone away again.

Time has passed in a uniquely Covid way since March 2019 and it is no surprise that even the best laid plans are now in tatters – but that doesn’t make it any easier when handling dashed hopes.

Those stone walls capture a segment of Sheffield history that is quite unlike any other. The stories they could tell of political battles and dastardly crimes. What a wonderful impact it could have on the whole of town, if only it could be brought back into use.

Built in 1808, perhaps it would laugh at us for feeling so down about it going back on the market. After all, it has witnessed more of the ups and downs of Sheffield than any of us mere humans.

There could be a new buyer waiting in the wings. Perhaps, post-lockdown funding will provide an opportunity not previously available to the fantastic Friends group who care so much for its future?

I know I’m a sucker for old Sheffield buildings and the heritage of our city in general but how I would love to see this particular corner thrive.

Castlegate has been a thorn in our side for far too long when it should have been the jewel in our crown. In all honesty, while I try to remain optimistic and champion Sheffield, it is hard to think the fortunes of that area will be turned around any time soon. Least of all the spot where our magnificent fortress once stood. There have been improvements and the area along the river is now lovely but, excuse me for repeating myself, we need the whole picture not just pretty dots on a grimy canvas.

So, we’ll keep fighting for new life at the Old Town Hall, just like we have for so long and for so many Sheffield sites that just need somebody (with deep pockets) to realise the dream.