Feel particularly privileged to see this building as part of heritage week, as it is currently being transformed into apartments so this was last time public will see it in this state. Part my be turned into bar / restaurant so may be back again!
Henry Byer’s stables is an orange building next to Lady’s bridge in the Castlegate area of Sheffield. The front building is already shops / apartments and was originally flats and offices. The distinctive orange bricks give building Belgium flavour but, we found some of the bricks in the building which were made in nearby Huddersfield.
The tour went in the back bit which was built in 1899 by Henry Byer’s for horses. Byers was a race horse trainer. He also had a contract with the railways to provide horses for them. The railways used horses to transport goods etc out or into the stations. As 19th century turned to 20th century horses were used less and less. The 2nd world war triggered major move away from use of horses in this way because so many people learnt to drive during the war and could be drivers to take goods to and from stations. The building is near where Sheffield’s Victoria station used to be hence the railway arches leading up to the Victoria holiday express and by Victoria Quays. As urban land was expensive, to use less land the building was built up rather than far reaching, with ramps between floors to get animals up. Now most cities are left with multi store car parks that echos ramps of former stables. Sheffield may be last place with these stables as another one near Camden Lock’s burnt down about six years ago. Therefore Sheffield’s is a grade 2 listed building and some of ramps will be preserved.
As the building was originally for horses the windows are high up on floors 2 and 3; at head height for horses. There is impressive ceiling height. The ceiling height however, will be lost when the building becomes apartments as the floor will be raised with electrics etc… under the floor and therefore the windows will be a suitable position for people to look out. The windows could not be moved as this is a grade 2 listed building.
The top floor used to be a hay loft. It feels like a barn conversion with the exposed rafters. There is likely to be two apartments up there, both benefiting from the addition of veluxes and one having a fantastic large arch window.
On the tour we learnt how during World War One horses were required for war work. Therefore to keep businesses going, animals from circuses who were struggling to survive due to war time austerity, weee employed. Thomas Ward, who collected scrap metal to be reused by steel works recruited Lizzie the elephant and she was stabbed in the Henry Byer’s stables. . Lizzie was inspiration for the 2016 Sheffield elephant trail. Less well known is that another business (which a lady on your knew), recruited two camels. I think they would be good inspiration for a future Sheffield trial!
Between wars the building became a Batchlors factory that made mushy peas, from peas bought in from Lincolnshire farms by the railway. In late 1930s it became a furniture shop; Hancock and Lants and remained as such for decades until the recent spell of building being unused.
Another animal that has resided in the building are dogs. Originally the basements was used as a dog home. From this part of s building we could see out to Lady’s bridge and the river Don. Potentially this area will become seating for a bar; I can imagine sitting there in the sun (like it was today), with a beer in hand. From the basement could see out to the Tap and Barrel pub; which has apparently been bought by the organisers of Peddlers market. Additionally we were told the old gents toilets over the next bridge along to Lady’s bridge, is to to be turned into a bar called Two Rivers as it is above where River Sheaf meets the River Don. We also learnt that the roadworks around the building is to pedestrianise opposite of river to the stable and also add planting similar to that around neighbouring cities buildings. The plants will help prevent flooding. Additionally I think they will improve look of area and bring more people into Castlegate and Victoria Quay’s. Potentially as in other cities the Quays may become vibrant area for night life; with a more aesthetically pleasing route to the city than trudging round the market area which felt dark inhospitable at night. As part of the Heritage week, the Old Town hall opposite Wikos has a tour tomorrow, there are tours of grain stores in the Quays (in addition to open days throughout city). During day Saturday, Victoria Quays will be focus of Castlegate festival.
Collage shows few photos from the tour; there is more on Wonderwall360 instragram.