IT is an old Sheffield factory with a bustling name – but the only thing which has been busy at the iconic Hagglers Corner complex for the last 10 years are the pigeons.
They’re everywhere, flapping and furious at being disturbed, as you walk round this one time sweet makers, one time ironmongers, one time coal dealers, in Queens Road.
But their time, The Diary can reveal, is coming to a close.
For an ambitious £200,000 plan is set to transform this empty yellow-brick factory, built in 1871, into a series of 12 little mester style workshops, a café, dance and theatre studio, and even a basement micro-brewery.
City artisans including carpenters, chocolatiers, jewellery makers and ceramicists should be based there while a large showroom will sell goods produced on site, creating what developers call a “unique Sheffield shopping experience”.
“This room here for example,” says Sarah Ingolfsdottir ducking under the sudden screech of a flying rodent, “might be a holistic therapist’s or an artist’s studio because it’s flooded with natural light. “What we want to do is create a community of makers and doers but also a place where shoppers can come and buy something a little bit different.”
Sarah, then, is the 32-year-old who, along with partner David Knott, is behind the scheme.
The pair went to the building’s owners, Nether Edge based Capital Investments last year and put the proposals to the firm.
The company liked what they heard and agreed to fund the development – a largely cosmetic make over to improve the appearance and the electrics of the building – if David and Sarah, who both live in nearby Abbeydale, managed it.
“It’s a dream come true for us,” says Sarah, an unemployed photographer and former Tapton Secondary School pupil. “But it will be good for Sheffield too because there’s nowhere quite like what we’re proposing. There are places where crafts people work side by side but what’s different here is there will also be that onsite shop, as well as a café to attract people.”
They hope to have it open by October – as long as Sheffield City Council approve a change of use application put before it last week.
“That’s the major hurdle,” says David, a 34-year-old carpenter originally from Cheshire. “But we think we’re offering a way of reviving a beautiful old building – one that’s currently empty and run down – and turning it into a viable business that would boost the local economy.”
They’ll also be keeping that name, Hagglers Corner – “partly because it somehow conjures up the feeling of a real bustling market,” says Sarah, “partly because we couldn’t think of anything better.”
Individual units, however, will be known as characters from Iclandic fairytales such as Thorgil and Osk.
“I’m half Icelandic,” says Sarah, “and it’s a more original than just calling them unit one, unit two and so fourth.”
Art work, sculptures and plants will be spread around the communal areas to create a nicer atmosphere for shoppers.
Certainly nicer than the one created currently by those pigeons. They’ve had the run of the building for years but Hagglers Corner looks set to once again be bustling with human life.
David and Sarah are now looking for possible tenants for the units. If interested email firstname.lastname@example.org