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Should Castle Market in Sheffield be listed?
Castle Market stands on the remains of the 16th century Sheffield Castle
Castle Market stands on the remains of the 16th century Sheffield Castle

Update: a decision on whether to list Castle Market was taken in December 2010 - click Castle Market listing decision to find out more.

A piece of paper signed by English Heritage would be enough to scupper plans to unearth the remains of Sheffield's 16th Century castle.

An anonymous request for English Heritage to consider Castle Market for listing as a modern Brutalist building has caused worry to Sheffield City Council.

They say that if the building was listed, redevelopment plans on the site around the market would be restricted.

The Council's objections say that proposals are "misconceived, inappropriate and detrimental to the protection of Sheffield's heritage, and that of the country as a whole."

Most of the market buildings in the Castlegate area date from the 1960s. They are made of concrete with walk-ways, stalls on several levels, an office block above the market, and a fish and vegetable market in the middle which dates from the 1930s.

Long-term plans for Sheffield Castle

The Council has long-term plans to demolish the markets and redevelop the Castlegate area, creating parkland around the Castle's remains down to the River Don.

Les Sturch looks after regeneration for Sheffield City Council. He spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield in July 2010 when the council submitted its objections:

Sheaf Markets on Park Square roundabout were demolished in 2002
The adjacent Sheaf Markets on Park Square roundabout were demolished in 2002

"Sheffielders are excited about the prospect of moving the markets to a brand new market hall on The Moor, demolishing the Castle Market buildings and opening up the area for gardens with the Castle remains on the riverside, and regeneration around that," said Les.

"Someone has asked for Castle Market to be considered for listing as a modern Brutalist building - we don't know who but it's come from the public. English Heritage is bound to investigate the requests for listing. They're doing their studies and we're sending our views to help with that."

'One of Sheffield's most important historic sites'

In the 1500s Sheffield Castle was a large stone-built defensive structure which dominated the town. It was owned by the Earl of Shrewsbury and was one of the grandest buildings in Sheffield alongside Manor Lodge. Mary, Queen of Scots spent much of her 19-year imprisonment at Sheffield Castle and Manor Lodge. While the Castle's remains are underneath Castle Market, Manor Lodge turret house still stands off City Road in the middle of Sheffield's Manor estate.

Mary, Queen of Scots (Nicholas Hilliard, 1578-9). She was imprisoned at Sheffield Castle in the 1500s
Mary, Queen of Scots (Nicholas Hilliard, 1578-9). She was imprisoned at Sheffield Castle in the 1500s

Three sections of the castle's accessible remains were Grade II listed in June 1973.

"Castle Market consists of not very attractive, worn-out, not fit-for-purpose market buildings," says Les Sturch. "It's one of Sheffield's most important historic sites and we want to explore and find out what's really under there. If the 1960s Castle Market building was listed we wouldn't be able to demolish the market to make the ruins of the Castle more accessible."

English Heritage consults both sides before putting forward its report on listing status. They say they will consider all representations before finalising a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport.

Paul Scriven, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: "It seems strange that English Heritage are considering this listing now, as Castle Market was rejected as a candidate for listing in 1995.

"We will be doing everything possible to prevent it from being listed. The land it stands on holds the key to regeneration for that part of the city - we believe the remains of Sheffield Castle could become an important tourist attraction in the future."

Your comments

Dee, Sheffield

I cannot say I am that taken by the architectural renders or the exterior, however, the interior looks light and airy which would be an improvement on the dark, dirty and somewhat smelly appearance of the current Castle Market.

Ron Clayton, Sheffield

The first castle was a motte and bailey and then a stone one erected in 1270. Please back the Councils plans.

Edward Ellison, Sheffield

Preservation of this sort of Brutalist architecture is the conceit of the middle classes who do not live with its shadow. Castle Market is a grubby and dehumanizing dungeon but I would be willing to have it listed if, in exchange, they were to allow the people of Sheffield to demolish the comfortable offices of English Heritage in Tanner Row, York.

Edward Mace, Sheffield

I grew up in the market and have lots of happy memories of the place and the old traders, but it was badly designed. The old Castle Hill meat market breaks the law with its suspended ceiling (dust trap over food). But sadly it has had its day along with its sister buildings, the cop shop and courts on Waingate.

They should have repaired the roof on the Sheaf Market instead of wasting cash fighting the builders over mistakes in the city's designs, and converted the Woollies building to recreate the Norfolk Market Hall. The only thing it does is returns a market hall to within a 100 metres of the old Ecclesall market of 1870.

Roger Doonan, Sheffield

Should English Heritage respond to anonymous requests for listing? The so-called public asking for the listing is probably a group of arty architects who don't even live in Sheffield. Uncovering the Castle would transform the way people think about Sheffield's heritage.

Hazel Gibbons, Leeds

I certainly don't think that Castle Market should be listed. I am a Sheffielder myself and I did love the market years ago but looking at it now, it really is an eyesore and typical 1960s shoddy architecture. How can this possibly compare with the wealth of history underneath this awful building? Let us reclaim our heritage and celebrate the magnificent architecture which was Sheffield Castle.

Jeremy Radford, Sheffield

I think we have preserved, and are still using, plenty of examples of 1960s architecture in Sheffield. It may be interesting to thoroughly investigate the ruins of the Castle, especially using modern archaeological techniques.

Kaz, Sheffield

When I came to Sheffield from Japan a few years ago, I was so excited to know this is the place where Mary Queen of Scots was for over 14 years.

At the same time, I was so disappointed with the fact that the Castle is under the Market. I like shopping there, which recalls my childhood, but that building is never to be listed.

Andy Webster, Sheffield

Have people gone mad.... List a dirty, crumbling piece of 1960s thrown-up concrete rubbish rather than have history and an open space back in the city centre... I say bring in the JCBs quick.

Daza, Sheffield

It's got to be the old Castle - the market area is run down and needs changing... get Time Team in and dig it up lol

Poppy, Sheffield

I work in offices above the markets. The building itself is a crumbling mess which is definitely not fit for purpose. All of us who work there were gobsmacked that anyone would think these hideous buildings should be listed. This must surely be a very poor joke by who ever put the suggestion in to English Heritage.

Susan Scholey, Sheffield

I was born in the shadow of Castle Market and learnt to walk in it, but please please don't list it. Let Sheffield have a bit of its history back - in the form of the Castle - otherwise it will be just an eyesore for us and for visitors. You can't tell everyone that is passing through that the building is 'listed' - they will think we just don't care.

Ben, Malaga, Spain

As an ex-Sheffielder I remember Castle Market as a hideous, dirty, labyrinthine place. Get rid.

Mikeybaby72, Sheffield

Get Tony Robinson and The Time Team on the case. We want the Castle - demolish this horrible building!

Paul Whitaker, South Lincs

Countless impressive buildings have been demolished in Sheffield over the years. Why save this horror? I agree - uncover the castle!

Sue, Sheffield

There are much better buildings which deserve to be listed than the dump that is now Castle Markets. I have lived in Sheffield all my life but do I want to see this dump saved - NO I DON'T!

Richard Webb, Sheffield

No!! Castle Market should not be listed. It's an eyesore which should be demolished as soon as possible so that we can see the real heritage of Sheffield Castle beneath.

This area is in desperate need of redevelopment because it's a disgrace to the city, so listing the market would be a disaster.

Neil Anderson, Barnsley

Are you sure that the request for listing wasn't misread? Perhaps it asked for listing for demolition, the only sensible action for such an awful building!

Richard Putman, Doncaster

The market buildings in Sheffield are unwelcomimg, gloomy and outdated. They should be demolished without a second thought.

Roger Whitehouse, Sheffield

Support the Council plans.

Don Buttress, Batemans Bay, Australia

As an ex Sheffielder who visits Sheffield every couple of years. I have found that the city area has been changing remarkably. Not always for the better. The City Council should finish projects it all ready has. Without putting the city into more debt.

Ingrid Fearnehough, Sheffield

The existing 1960s buildings should be demolished without delay. They are very poor examples of modernism and do not merit listing. Uncover the castle and create parkland down to the Don!

Derrick Robinson, Belton, North Lincs

As an ex-Sheffielder who grew up with Castle Market I would like to be the one who presses the button to blow it up. How much do they want me to pay?

BTW - good riddance Town Hall extension & Sheaf Market. Hurry up and flatten The Moor, Park Hill flats and all the other modern monstrosities.

Rob Newton, Hamilton, Bermuda

I was born and raised in South Yorkshire, studied Urban Land Economics at Sheffield City Polytechnic and worked in the commercial property industry in Sheffield for 9 years.

I know Castle Market well and, in my opinion, it is an architectural abomination and nothing about it merits listing. Demolition is long overdue.

Gary J Noble, Thorpe Hesley

Castle Markets are no longer fit for purpose they should be removed and the historic remains of Sheffield Castle should be uncovered so we and our children could visit and learn its unique history.

Julia, Swindon via Sheffield

I think that the market has seen better days and should be demolished. Its time it was brought up to date. The traders deserve that.

Rob K, Sheffield

Sadly there is very little left of Sheffield Castle - it was all taken to build garden walls and rockeries. The council needs to look at protecting the Old Town Hall building (latterly the old Crown Court) and the old central post office building both within a few hundred yards of the castle, both Victorian, both abandoned and covered in graffiti. The former Castle Co-Op building is probably more worthy of listing than the markets. What we don't need are a few token trees and benches in between more tower blocks full of empty offices, we don't want it to look like Leeds.

Kevin Stones, Chesterfield

Although I now live in Chesterfield I am a Sheffielder and I think some of the buildings proposed are uninspiring, especially the new markets on the Moor. Why on the Moor? Surely we need new markets on the old 60's site at the other end of town where they have been traditionally. The old market site needs demolishing and make the old castle foundations a tourist attraction alongside some modern markets for small traders.

The following texts came into Dean Pepall's programme on 6th July 2010.

Texter 314

List Castle Markets? What a ridiculous idea!

Barbara, Base Green

Uncover the Castle!




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Castle Market
14 Jul 10 |  History
New market down t'Moor?
20 Aug 09 |  People & Places
Mary, Queen of Scots in Sheffield
28 Jul 09 |  History


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