Retro: Sheffield lost pubs crawl

The White Bear getting spruced up
The White Bear getting spruced up
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Hello fellow pub lovers, nice to see you again, today’s meander in and out of Sheffield’s lost pubs kicks off in Commercial Street at no 12 and it’s the Kings Arms.

This very large drinking house was in business in 1825 and served its last pint in the 1970s.

The Bodega on the extreme left - on the opposite side can be seen the present-day Banker's Draft. Notice the shoeless boys selling papers

The Bodega on the extreme left - on the opposite side can be seen the present-day Banker's Draft. Notice the shoeless boys selling papers

I can remember this pub being one of two having a revolving door for its main entrance, the other was the Athol on the corner of Pinstone/Charles Street.

In the sixties the Kings Arms was owned by Higsons, a Liverpool brewery with a long history in producing the amber nectar.

Our next call is to the Nags Head that stood on Jehu Lane. This pub was built around 1790 but I have no info of when it ceased to be. There’s no reference to it still being open in 1893.

Leaving this old pub, we turn to go towards the square and stood on the corner is the Old London Mart. It’s said it was selling beer from 1892 but I can find no indication in my books of it being there in 1893.

It was nicknamed Marples after a well-liked landlord. After it took a direct hit in the Blitz in 1940, killing around 70 customers, it was just left a bomb site. It was rebuilt in 1959 and officially named Marples.

We turn up on to High Street, keeping on the left we cross Change Alley and forgo the lure of the Kings Head Hotel that’s within eyeshot. Dickens stayed here on his visits to the town, Mr Hitler put paid to it in 1940.

We enter the Bodega, supposedly built in 1682, renamed the George & Dragon (not after Mr Dawson and his wife) in 1904, another one lost in 1940, damned war!

Crossing over to roughly where Bon Marche now stands, we find the Cock, this was one of the oldest pubs in the town. It had a couple of other names, the Carlton and The Star.

Leaving for our next swift half, we cross over to the Clarence, selling beer in 1740 but because of the problems of narrow roads it was demolished in 1900 to allows trams to pass more easily.

Leaving the Clarence, we cross the road again and head for the Star Hotel at no 35. This was another old-established pub in business from 1797 and was another casualty of the road widening scheme.

Crossing back to the left-hand side of High Street, we enter the Bay Childers at no 48. Opened in 1761, it stood roughly where Mulberry Street meets High Street.

By 1774 it was renamed the Horse & Cat, then it was named the Bay Horse, then the Queen Victoria around 1839 and finally The Westminster. This was another one that fell to bombing and was demolished after the war.

Leaving this multi-named pub we cross over to no 31 and go “Up’t Passage” or as it was called the Old Blue Bell, built in 1710.

It’s still open today but is indistinguishable from what it was once was. It was called Up’t Passage because it didn’t have a entrance on High Street, you had to go up a passage.

Wiping a build-up of froth from Mr Sorsby’s top lip, we cross over and head for the Victoria Hotel at no 38, open for business in 1796, demolished in 1900.

This pub had one of the oldest savings clubs in the town, this was a time when nobody trusted banks, nothing new there then. It was started by landlord John Beardshaw, giving it the name The Beardshaw Funding Society.

After a call of nature we make a bee line for the Blackamoors Head, this stood at no 25, again another old pub first mentioned in 1675 but by 1787 the name changed to the Grey Horse.

It stood roughly where the over-priced, red-painted secondhand shop now stands. If you look up at the upper windows they look like public house window lintels.

It was famous for the fact that King John stayed here for just one night on his way to York in the 12th century. It closed in 1917.

Leaving the Grey Horse, we turn to our right as we step outside and visit the Spread Eagle at no 19. Opened circa 1794, it was still serving the public in the late 1890s.

In the late 18th century it was owned by James Richardson who also owned the Grey Horse – the licensing trade must have been very lucrative back then.

We now go to the White Bear on the left-hand side of High Street to no 10. It stood more or less where McDonalds now stands, opened in 1750 and by 1811 it had been taken over by Mr Foster as his clothing business. Keeping to our left, we head for Fargate to 2 High Street where we find The Thatched House. I couldn’t find when it was opened but it may have been 1841 and by 1928 it had closed.

This pub was on Crooked Billet Yard, long gone, but we’ve enjoyed our sip of porter here.

Wandering out of the House we dash across the road to the Crown at 1 High Street. It stood where the old bank still stands on the corner of York Street and High Street. This pub was operating from 1710 to 1772.

In the book Sheffield Public Houses by Michael Liversage, it cites that this hostelry was used by the Town Trustees and the Master Cutler also took advantage of the invitation from the landlord John Morton for an evening of food and entertainment.

He also supplied crockery, plates, table linen and pewterware to the Duke of Norfolk.

This is a substantial building with stabling for 24 horses and attracted lots of interest when Mr Morton died and his widow put the Crown up for sale.

We now leave High Street and head to Fargate. At no 3 we see the Black Swan. Sheffielders were enjoying this place in 1797 until the late 1890s.

A reminder of this lovely old pub is that its name can be found as Black Swan Walk that runs alongside the Virgin shop.

On leaving the Swan just a few steps away on the same side is the Sportsman’s Group at no 5. This pub stood on the corner of Chapel Walk.

The Black Swan ends our saunter in and out of Sheffield’s lost pubs, just to be able to write about them gives me a tremendous buzz.

See you next time on Fargate. Hope you’ve enjoyed this one.