The Big Gun: Sadness as Sheffield heritage boozer and 'nice pub for nice people' to close on the Wicker

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It will bring to an end 233 years of pint pulling on the site

One of Sheffield’s most celebrated heritage pubs is to shut, bringing to an end 233 years of continuous pint pulling on the site.

The Big Gun, which dates back to 1790, is the last boozer on the Wicker and famous for a sign which states: ‘A nice pub for nice people’.

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The lease has ended and landlords Terry and Julie Turner are moving out any day. Meanwhile it continues to trade. 

Glen Small, Carl Foster, Paul Turner and Harry Codd at The Big GunGlen Small, Carl Foster, Paul Turner and Harry Codd at The Big Gun
Glen Small, Carl Foster, Paul Turner and Harry Codd at The Big Gun | National World

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon regulars Carl Foster and Harry Codd are lamenting the impending closure. 

Carl, aged 49, said: “Everyone’s welcome here, it’s a Blades’ pub, but you get both sets of fans in. I’m gutted. Where do we go for a game of pool now?”

The Big Gun, 'A nice pub for nice people'The Big Gun, 'A nice pub for nice people'
The Big Gun, 'A nice pub for nice people' | National World

Harry, who is wearing a Wednesday shirt, agrees. He’s 66 and has been coming since he was 18. 

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Barman Glen Small said there were 12 pubs on the Wicker in the 1980s. The second to last, the Tap and Barrel, on Waingate, closed six years ago.

Terry and Julie's son Paul Turner says the Big Gun was bought in 2021 by a local property owner who plans to convert it into a restaurant and bedsits. The business is ticking over and doesn’t need to close, he adds.

The Big Gun is included in The Campaign for Real Ale’s ‘Sheffield’s Real Heritage Pubs’ guideThe Big Gun is included in The Campaign for Real Ale’s ‘Sheffield’s Real Heritage Pubs’ guide
The Big Gun is included in The Campaign for Real Ale’s ‘Sheffield’s Real Heritage Pubs’ guide | national world

The news was reported on the ‘From Sheffield With Pubs’ blog.

Joanne Baxter responded: "Lots of pubs been closing communities don’t have the locals anymore."

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Richard Buckby added: "It's a shame as sitting tenants they can't extend the lease. Wicker doesn't need anymore food venues."

The blog states the pub's name originates from the English Civil War, when in August 1644 Parliamentarians attacked Sheffield Castle with a demi-culverin cannon. It led to the surrender of Royalist forces and later demolition of the castle. 

It signs off: ‘We'd like to wish Terry and Julie the very best for the future and thank them for the memories we have had in the pub over the last few years’.

Kevin Thompson, of Sheffield CAMRA, said: ‘The last remaining pub on The Wicker, the Big Gun, is closing for good. A sad day for the area that once had around six pubs in the vicinity and was the link to the Attercliffe pub crawl, although the number was so vast at one time, you picked your third of the road to visit.

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‘Unfortunately, The Wicker will have no pubs after the closure, and neighbouring Attercliffe hangs on with only two true pubs, a tap bar (St Mars of the Desert) and a hotel. 

‘As the Attercliffe area may be regenerated in the future, we will hopefully see some bars opening. Sadly, I cannot see the same vision for The Wicker’. 

The pub is included in The Campaign for Real Ale’s ‘Sheffield’s Real Heritage Pubs’ guide, edited by David Pickersgill. It says it is ‘a two-pubs-in-one surprise package’.

The left side is an amalgam of three rooms – tap room, dram shop and snug (all once having their own separate street entrances) – and has Victorian fittings, including the counter. 

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The right side is a narrow saloon bar with late 1960s reconstruction and ‘classy Victorian-style benches’ leading to a glazed-in snug with similar seating and bell-pushes. 

Paul said it was called the ‘best side’ where, traditionally, the same beer was 10p dearer.

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