Sheffield ancient street name game at Castlegate Festival

A festival celebrating Castlegate, the oldest part of Sheffield, has marked its original street names with temporary signs.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 6:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 2:26 pm
Coun Mazher Iqbal, left, helps to launch the Castlegate Festival in Sheffield

Castlegate Festival, organised by the Castlegate Partnership, looks at the area’s past, present and future.

The last event is a children’s art event, The Big Draw, taking place on October 12 at Exchange Place from 10am-4pm.

Visitors to the National Video-games Museum on Angel Stree can explore a virtual 3D model of Sheffield’s lost medieval castle

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A 1960 view of Victoria Station with Castlegate and Blonk Street in the foreground

Here are the stories behind some of the old street names.

Trueloves Gutter (Castle St/Exchange St)

Perhaps disappointingly the name seems to have come from a family called the Trueloves who lived on either Castle St or Exchange St. The Gutter part probably reflects that most streets in old Sheffield doubled up as drains, which were flushed periodically by opening the Barkers Pool reservoir, removing debris, dead cats and worse to the Don at Ladys Bridge!

Under the Water (Bridge St)

The Sheffield Castle virtual reality exhibition at the National Videogame Museum, Castle House,Angel St, Sheffield

What is now Bridge St was once at a somewhat lower level with steps up to Ladys Bridge and was frequently flooded by the Don – hence the name

The Isle (Estelli Parade)

The millrace or goyt for the Town Corn Mill which formed what became known as the Kelham Island actually ran right into the town rejoining the Don just above the Wicker Weir. So this area was referred to as ‘The Isle’ or sometimes confusingly ‘The Isle of Wight’!

Chandlers Row (Castlegate West)

A drastically different view of Exchange Street to today

For over 200 years the land now known as Castlegate was occupied by slaughter houses and related processes. One of the most important would have been the candle-makers or chandlers.

Castle Orchard (Castlegate)

The area now occupied by Castlegate and Exchange St was once the orchard supplying Sheffield Castle which would have dominated the area on the opposite bank of the River Sheaf.

Sergeants Walk (North Bank)

This probably referred to the favourite walk of the soldiers who garrisoned the castle although some lawyers were sometimes also known as ‘serjeant’

Water Lane (Magistrates Court Forecourt)

What is now the forecourt of the Magistrates Court was once a narrow lane leading down to the Don at Bridge St.

Nags Head Yard/ Shemeld Croft (Commercial St)

Commercial Street is really a ramp built by the Midland Railway Company in 1870 to allow better access to their new Midland Station. Its construction required the demolition of a number of narrow mediaeval lanes mostly named after inns or pubs of which Nags Head Yard was obviously one.

Shemeld is an old Sheffield family name and crofts were old courtyards which became notorious slums in the Victorian period.

Canal Bridge (Exchange St)

When the Sheffield Canal was opened in 1819 it was as the motorway of its age, opening a relatively rapid route for goods and people to Rotherham, Doncaster and the sea, via the Humber Estuary. A new bridge was built over the Sheaf to connect with the Canal Basin. Later the Corn Exchange was built on the right bank of the Sheaf and the Sheaf culverted over to create a new market place, hence the change of name to Exchange St. However this required the demolition of Tennants Brewery which was moved to a site next to Ladys Bridge but confusingly was named Exchange Brewery. This name survives in the name adopted by the redevelopment of the site as ‘Exchange Riverside’

Shambles Lane (off Exchange St)

When Sheffield Castle was demolished at the end of the C17th Civil War the markets which must have clustered around its outer walls gradually took over the site, with the butchers being particularly prominent. Shambles was the name given to streets where the butchers had their stalls, most famously at York.

Castle Fold (Exchange St)

This name has been applied to various lanes around the Castle including Exchange St . It is now attached to the loading bay at the rear of Wilkos which seems a bit sad! However if you look at the big stone wall which forms the back of Wilkos you are apparently looking at stonework salvaged from the Victorian Norfolk Market Hall which stood on the same site.

Pudding Lane (King Street)

Pudding was an old word for offal – hence ‘black pudding’ – reflecting the fact that King St has been associated with butchers and markets for many hundreds of years, including the Fitzallan Market. The street is believed to have been renamed to the more respectable-sounding King Streey in honour of the coronation of either George II or III.