Retro: Long-lost pubs from days before The Moor

The Bazaar Hotel on South Street
The Bazaar Hotel on South Street
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Today we start at Moorhead and wend our way down The Moor to treat our taste buds.

Before we start our pub crawl, I must remind readers that not all of the pubs mentioned were standing or open at the same time – I’m trying to give an insight into the numerous pubs we in Sheffield had and that our great grandfathers knew or frequented.

Ye Woodman Inn on the extreme left at 180 South Street Moor during the laying of the new tramway system

Ye Woodman Inn on the extreme left at 180 South Street Moor during the laying of the new tramway system

I will refer to The Moor by the name of South Street as it didn’t become The Moor until 1922. It was South Street in the 1700s. Before that it was referred to as Sheffield Moor as the single track dissected a moor.

It was a very unhealthy place as footpads and vagabonds were rife here, all intent on relieving you of your goods, money and chattels.

In fact, it was so bad you had to hire an escort to cross the Moor.

Nothing changes here, then!

The Punchbowl on South Street

The Punchbowl on South Street

Our first visit is to the Grapes which stood on the left hand-side of South Street at no 1. The Grapes was opened in 1833 and seems to have closed it doors around 1951. It was incorporated into the Moorhead Brewery.

Sitting watching Mr Dawson and Mr Sorsby squabbling over a bag of bull’s eyes, I’m glad to get the first half down me – so let’s start our crawl...

Keeping on the left-hand side of South Street, the Devonshire Arms is at no 23. This lovely old pub was mentioned in 1825 so you can safely say it was built around this time.

In Peter Tuffrey’s book Sheffield Pubs (Landlords & Landladies), he tells us that John Cadman was brewing his own beer on the premises and a certain William succeeded him for the licence in 1862.

The Pump Tavern on South Street

The Pump Tavern on South Street

This pub met an untimely end during the Blitz when a German bomb ended its service to the drinkers of Sheffield.

Leaving this pub, we make a visit to The Bull’s Head which has its postal address as 2 Matilda Street and 31 South Street. In 1893 Mrs Mary Stork held the licence.

I can list all the licensees of the pubs here but it would fill too many papers. This little pub was selling beer in 1876 and seems to have either closed or been demolished by 1921 – this does need verification.

From here we cross over, dodging the trams and horse traffic, to the Sportsman at 28 South Street, which opened in 1933. Most of our venues have a busy atmosphere mainly because of the cheapness of the beer.

Moorhead Brewery of Thomas Berry and The Grapes Hotel

Moorhead Brewery of Thomas Berry and The Grapes Hotel

In the 1893 Kelly’s Directory this particular pub isn’t listed but Henry Greaves, boot maker, is using no 28 as his business address.

Keeping on the right-hand pavement, our next port of call is the Bay Horse at no 40. This pub was opened in 1822 and its working life ended February 13, 1929. Billy Spencer was mine host in 1893.

This pub was one of nine with the same name in Sheffield in the late 1800s.

We cross over to the left, watching where we step as it’s been raining and the road is in a bit of a muddy state now with the ‘horse apples’ getting mixed up with it. It doesn’t smell too sweet either.

Anyway, into the South Street Hotel at no 71. This pub was selling beer in 1854 and finally closed its doors on August 30, 1920. Another one bites the dust.

As we leave the hotel we walk down South Street to its junction with Earl Street.

The Bazaar Hotel on South Street

The Bazaar Hotel on South Street

The smell of the brewing of beer hits our nostrils, swamping the smell from the street. The Whitmarsh South Street Brewery is just a few yards down Earl Street.

Crossing over Earl Street, we come to the Pump Tavern at 2 Earl Street and 77 and 79 South Street.

The Pump opened in 1825 but I would only be guessing if I put a closure year, even though it was rebuilt further down Earl Street.

Up to a few years before its transformation into the Whetstone, then the Moorfoot Tavern, it had been a men-only bar. It’s now another restaurant – just what we need.

Leaving the Pump, we cross over to the left and the Sheffield Moor Hotel at no 114-116 comes into view.

This large pub was in business in 1876.

Again its closing year eludes me – perhaps someone will enlighten me.

On leaving the Moor Hotel, we walk into the Bazaar Hotel at no 116.

This was plying its wares in 1828 until the early 1890s when it closed. We are now feeling the effect of the beer, even though most of it is from John Smiths Brewery.

On leaving the Bazaar, we cross over to the Pheasant Inn at no 123. This little gem was a favourite of many Sheffielders for its beer and its atmosphere. Opened in 1822, it had closed by the late 1890s – a sad end for a much-loved pub.

We are now nearing the bottom of South Street and our next pub will be the Punchbowl on the corner of Tudor Street and South Street at no 140. This pub was keeping the drinkers of the town happy in 1825 and it continued its good service up to 1938.

A rather sad event was recorded here at an inquest on May 24, 1831 that was held in the pub. John Vardy married his fiancée Mary Richards at Rotherham and they returned to Sheffield to start their married life together.

The new Mrs Vardy went to bed at around 11pm and her new husband joined her shortly after but within 10 minutes of being in bed together, John suffered an attack of apoplexy (a stroke). He died in his new wife’s embrace.

Tudor Street stood between Fitzwilliam Street and Young Street. It joined South Street roughly where the closed-up toilets are at Moorfoot. A few more yards past the Punchbowl stood the Hammer and Anvil at No 152.

This blacksmith-inspired pub opened around 1825 and continued for just 92 years until it closed or was demolished in 1917.

I must digress at this point and say that besides selling beer, the pubs of the town also were job centres of the day.

Any domestic or manual job that was available, adverts were placed in the pub.

As you will appreciate, job centres were not around then so this unofficial but highly efficient way of advertising and getting jobs worked a treat up to the 1950s when we still had an abundance of pubs.

Brickies, steelworkers, cutlery workers and labourers visited pubs where they could ask any men who were working in their particular trade if there were any starts going at their place of work.

This system worked.

Back to South Street, the next pub we come to is across the road. Everybody will know this pub as Billy Lee’s, it’s the Travellers Rest at no 135.

Anyone who remembers The Moor before it was destroyed by planners can relate to Billy Lee’s.

Billy could be found most nights standing in the bar passage, immaculately dressed in a black suit and bow tie and smoking a cigar.

Dressed like this, he welcomed everyone that entered his pub.

There was a very nice concert room here. It had red plush seating with carpets to match and a grand piano.

The only other town pub that had a grand piano was the Athol Hotel on Pinstone Street.

During the war years the Travellers was used by servicemen, from not just England but also Allied servicemen.

Sheffielders got on famously with these brave lads.

The Travellers lasted to the Sixties, then away it went for a monstrosity that replaced it.

On leaving the Travellers we cross over and go up Young Street – just a few yards – where we find The Ball at no 184.

At one time there were 40 pubs with this name. Whether it was a cricket ball or a football or a cannon for that matter, I can’t say, but this pub was selling beer from 1835 up to 1905.

At one time it may have been called the Acorn but it could have just been a nickname.

This pub has seen better days and is clinging on to life, so we drink up and saunter out to our last pub which is on the left-hand side of South Street and its name is Ye Woodman Inn.

This pub was busy from day one in 1833 and as you can see by the photo it was no more than a converted cottage.

It was one of the oldest houses in the district, along with the Rose & Crown at Highfield.

One licencee of the Woodman Inn, John Staniland, was taken to court and fined 40 shillings with eight shillings costs for offences against his licence, probably serving after hours or watering the beer.

He held the licence from 1834 to 1854.

The Woodman Inn finally closed on June 19, 1928.

This is our last taste of old Sheffield beer.

I’ve enjoyed reading, researching and writing about these old pubs and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them.