The secret symbols hidden above a Sheffield city centre shop - but why are they there?

Fargate
Fargate
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It's not often that we're walking down Fargate and stop to look up above the shops.

But, if we did we would notice some symbols and pictures carved into the stonework above H&M.

The carvings above the shop are from around 100 years ago with some panels showing the creation of the world according to the first chapter of Genesis.

These include the creation of the sun and moon, Adam and Eve and a triangle, referring to God.

But, these aren't the only secret symbols and codes that are hidden across Sheffield.

In fact, the Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, the Very Reverend Peter Bradley, once led a Sheffield's Lost Symbols tour through the city.

Speaking about the carvings on Fargate, he said: "The building is a commercial building, probably dating back to the late 19th or early 20th century - yet we don't know why these symbols are there.

"It's a complete system of extraordinary symbolic carvings from around 100 years ago

"It's extraordinary, this masonic treatment is completely ignored by most people who walk along in Sheffield."

Among the many symbols in Sheffield - including the carved Genesis panels above H&M - are various Masons' marks, a pomegranate and Hebrew writing on the door of an old synagogue.

"You can see Masonic symbols on some buildings - it's a rule and set square," Peter added.

"The set square is symbolic of the fact that Masons believe they ought to be 'straight' with one another.

""The Masons wanted their meeting place to be secret but they can't have wanted the secrecy that much otherwise they wouldn't have put anything up there. There are also lots of beautiful classical building moulds of Corinthian columns."

There are also masonic inscriptions hidden in Sheffield Cathedral, including the altar piece.

This depicts Jesus and the disciples, features a compass, signifying God as the creator - who would have used a compass to craft the world.

The cathedral roof is decorated with images of the Green Man, which is a symbol of rebirth, while the 10 choir stalls also feature masonic carvings, including a beehive - representing industry - and the tau cross, an ancient symbol of eternal life.

"The stalls themselves are a memorial to freemasons who gave their lives in the First World War."