Retro: Sheffield epic pub crawl around Snig Hill

DTFAP August: The Castle Inn
DTFAP August: The Castle Inn
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Right, before any beer is pulled or quaffed, please keep in mind this is just a pub crawl through the Sheffield pubs that have now gone.

None of the pubs mentioned in this article are no longer with us, just count how many in this short crawl from Water Lane to near Paradise Street and back again to the corner of Bank Street.

DTFAP August: The Strongarm

DTFAP August: The Strongarm

You should be looking through your mind’s eye during these excursions through old Sheffield Town.

You have to stop, look, listen and smell to what the townsfolk experienced every day, the sounds of cart wheels’ steel rims on the cobbles, the horses’ hooves steadily pulling their loads.

Carts are parked on Snig Hill with the ‘snigs’, metal wedges, put under the cart wheels to stop it running backwards down the hill, the children running in the streets either working or just playing.

They are careful not to step in the horse droppings, there’s no traffic lights, no one-way streets, the horse was the only thing available to move things around town, they were slow but they got things done.

Just on Castlegate stood the killing shambles, a terrible stink pervaded the nostrils near this place, the bellowing of the beasts that were herded here to be slaughtered. Blood and other horrible stuff was swept into the Don, giving it a red tinge.

The smells of more than 50 breweries within the town gave us all a smell that was just the start of the beer-making process, these are what you should be imagining.

Can you see the hustle and bustle of what’s going on about us? Let’s begin;

Our first pub is the Castle Tavern that stood at the corner of Water Lane and Snig Hill, It stood at no 1, it was selling to the drinkers of the Town from 1818 up to 1903.

On the issuing the licence, the licensee was Margaret Thackray, she served the public until 1822. The last landlord in 1902 was James Halliday, shortly after the pub was closed then subsequently demolished.

I will stay on the right-hand side of Snig Hill and let gravity take me down the hill, keep in mind it was much steeper in the 1820s.

I meet my two out-of-work friends Mr “spare a penny guv” Dawson and Mr “Ooh mi neck” Sorsby, stood outside 2 Snig Hill which is the Swan Hotel.

This pub is a lovely old drinking place full of strange and amusing characters.

I can’t find just what year it closed but it was opened in 1797. In 1833 the licencee was Sam Crich, sorry its history is a bit vague.

On leaving the Swan we carry on down Snig Hill and the next port of call is the Old Market Inn. This was selling porter and beer from 1797 up to 1898.

Having bought and drunk three halves, we bid good afternoon to mine host and we leave and carry on down Snig Hill to the Three Travellers Inn at no 82.

This pub lasted just 75 years, it opened in 1825 and closed around the turn of the century. In 1879 the licensee was William Badger.

My two friends don’t have a drink here as they are scanning the adverts for workers that seem to be in every pub. From here we walk a short distance down to the Pack Horse Hotel at 2 West Bar. This particular building was very impressive, it stood on a grassy area just close to where the law courts now stand.

It was a very profitable pub because of the coaching and packhorse trade, this trade had more or less diminished by the 1860s.

Berry’s Brewery sold it to the Corporation in 1900 for £25,000 only to be demolished for the alteration of the roads.

One landlord, Frank Howson, put on boxing matches in a large room at the rear of the pub.

Having left the Packhorse, we head for the Crown & Cushion at 2 West Bar Green. This pub was servicing the beer lovers of the town in 1833.

It looks that it met the same fate as the Three Travellers and the Packhorse in the late 1890s.

We now make for the Tramway Hotel at no 16, once again the year of opening is a bit hazy but it did close its door in 1893 again for road alterations.

My two friends an I now make for the Sportsman at 20 West Bar. This was a very popular pub, built in 1797, but by 1893 it had ceased to be, it was an ex-pub.

Sportsman was a very popular name for a pub, mainly because mine host was someone from a sporting background and what better night out to have a chat with a man that’s lived your dream.

Another fine half of beer consumed its time to continue on our trek. The next pub is the Blue Boar at 26 West Bar.

This pub’s name comes from what was the white boar which was part of the armorial of Richard III. Upon his defeat at Bosworth Field the signs were quickly painted blue as the Earl of Oxford had the blue boar as his coat of arms and was a Lancastrian.

Our Blue Boar Hotel stood exactly where the law courts now stand. I can remember it as the warehouse of GT News,

Sheffield boxer Gus Platt’s from 1929 to 1931, this pub was in business from 1774 to 1958.

Walking on West Bar we enter the George at no 56, this particular house had a relatively short life, opened in late in the 1700s and by 1833 it was closed ready for demolition.

We had a fine old chat in here, my two pals seem to have got a start at Newfield Farm for the harvest. Strangely enough at no 60 stood the Royal George, this neat little pub had a very short life, opened in 1853 and was closed in 1893, demolition on the horizon.

Taking a slight detour down Workhouse Lane to no 22, we pop into the Blue Pig, it’s worth a visit, it was also known as the Oxford.

It was given its licence in 1833 and was demolished shortly after 1900. In 1833 its landlord was Thomas Webster, another pub, gone such a shame.

On leaving the pig we set our sights on the Surrey Vaults at no 86, a fantastic pint of Magnet can be bought here.

The Surrey Vaults was built in 1851 as a upper market public house. It was also a theatre, according to Michael Liversage’s book Sheffield Public Houses.

In 1865, just 14 years after opening, it was burnt down. It was left derelict for a further 15 years before it was rased to the ground and a vestry hall built on the site.

We now cross over to the left-hand side and start our walk back to Bank Street. The first one on our way back is the Rose Inn, better known to us as Moseley’s Arms.

It was opened in 1849 and it was quickly became Moseley’s as he was the first landlord from 1849 to 1852. The name the Rose Inn was quickly forgotten and it was Moseley’s up to it closing down. It was closed around 2008 and is now a letting agency.

On leaving Moseley’s we turn to our right cross Paradise Street and find a bit of a crowd outside the Turf Tavern at no 77, seems there’s been a bit of an altercation.

We squeeze past and enter the bar, opened in 1861 and closed in around 1904, the first licencee a Mr Henry Swinscow was in charge for more than 20 years.

Drama over outside, we pop along to the White Swan Hotel at no 75. This old pub was selling beer from 1797 up to April 5, 1903, a comfortable pub but it’s mainly for the workers with sawdust on the floor.

Leaving the Swan, we head for the Eagle Vaults, we nearly get mowed down by a drunken carter in charge of a horse and cart, he’s all over the place.

Safely across North Church Street, we get in the Vaults at no 51, licensed in 1846 and again closed in 1905.

Mrs Ann Harrison held the licence from 1893 up to closure in 1903, again another workers’ haunt.

Just on from here is the Australian Arms. The Arms was opened in 1825 and gave up its licence in 1893. From 1871 to probably when it closed William Barker held the licence.

Leaving the Arms we head for the Sportsman Inn at no 41, open for business in 1828 and closed by the early 1900s. In 1838 the landlord was William Norman.

We’ve had to relieve ourselves as it’s a bit of a pull up the hill now, the next half will be drunk in the Rose and Crown at 31 West Bar.

This is another 18th century pub opened in 1897 and closed like all the others in 1903, roadworks strike again. In 1852 William Toplis had his name above the door.

We now start up Snig Hill proper. Young George is puffing and blowing and John can’t turn his head to look back. We do reach the Strong Arm at 1 Snig Hill.

This little pub opened in 1796 and was also gone by 1904. An unusual feature of the Strong Arm was two bronze arms sticking out from the pub, each holding large lamps.

Such a sweet drink of porter in here, it’s a shame to press on but only two more to go.

The next one is the Black Lion at 3 Snig Hill, serving amber nectar from 1833 to February 19, 1903. The Black Lion may have been the heraldic sign of Queen Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III.

Our last call is the Black Swan at no 1 and affectionally called the Mucky Duck, it started serving the populace in 1774.

It hosted an abundance of soon-to-be recording stars, Joe Cocker, The Clash, The Fortunes, The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks to name a few, everyone loved this pub.

In 1996 or 1997 Herbie Armstrong and his partners reopened the venue as a modern music venue called the Boardwalk but by 2010 it closed, supposedly for refurbishment, never to open its doors again.

I hope you enjoyed this latest pub crawl, did you count the pubs?

Twenty one in total, unbelievable in such a small area, catch me in a month. See ya!