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One of the most delightful and original hostelries in the centre of town is The Grapes which is tucked away in the little backwater of Trippet Lane. Adjoining the pub is a vaguely interesting red-brick building dating back to the 1950s which used to be occupied by Mottrams Builders whose claim to fame was building maisonettes in that era. Let’s not hold that against them. However this corner site looks set to be swept away and replaced by a seven storey block comprising of 63 student bedrooms in 13 clusters. Not much fun for The Grapes. The 7th floor will be set back and the ground floor used for commercial use and the basement for cycle storage.

As this is part of the City Centre Conservation Area there is no doubt that this is gross over-development as Trippet Lane has a lower than average height feel to it.

Would-be developers argue that – Ah well, nearby Grade II listed Morton’s Cutlery Works had a tall block plonked behind it and further down Trippet Lane Grade II Anglo Works had similar treatment. That doesn’t make it ok.

The Conservation Advisory Group felt that the threatened corner site was a gateway to and defined the character of the Conservation Area and was strategic as a marker in terms of its height, massing and form. No justification for its removal has been made.

This little corner of Sheffield has an interesting history as from the 1850s to the 1930s it was largely residential in the form of a courtyard containing eleven houses with their ‘not much fun in the winter’ outside privies (WCs for younger readers). This was a common layout in Sheffield and your postal address would have been Court 1, Court 2 etc. This type of housing stretched all the way down to Broad Lane and would have been occupied mainly by metal trade and cutlery workers. One of the more interesting street names around here was Binge Lane (must research that!).

This particular site suffered bomb damage during the blitz and was finally cleared in the early 1950s to make way for the current building.

Most of Sheffield’s ‘court style’ housing was swept away in the drastic slum clearances of the 1930s, as was the notorious ‘back-to-back’ housing.

Back-to-back housing is now making a come-back and the first ones are making their appearance at trendy Kelham Island.

Everything goes full circle…….

SOUR GRAPES

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