Accountants occupy former NUM headquarters in Sheffield after 27 years empty

The former NUM headquarters in Sheffield will soon be bustling with people again after standing empty for decades.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 8:18 am
Updated Friday, 25th January 2019, 8:23 am
The four-tonne Italian marble frieze of toiling miners has been retained.

Accountancy Grant Thornton is taking all five floors and moving 150 people into the landmark building. Following a £1.1m fit-out workers will take their seats from February 11.

Head of office Paul Houghton said moving the team from premises off Abbeydale Road into “Sheffield’s best office” would be the high point of his career.

Paul Houghton, of Grant Thornton, on the roof terrace of their new city centre offices.

The building opposite the City Hall overlooks the war memorial in Barker’s Pool and has a huge roof terrace with commanding views from the town hall to the Pennine moors.

In a former life it was a stronghold of the National Union of Mineworker, before being abandoned as the once-mighty organisation shrank in influence, members and money.

Now, Grant Thornton, which is joining two existing ground floor restaurants in the building, will consign all that to history.

The fit-out has swept away almost every sign of the NUM, including an old coal-fired heating system and former president Arthur Scargill’s shower room. Only a giant Italian marble frieze of toiling miners remains.

The former NUM building is on Holly Street opposite the City Hall.

Mr Houghton said he decided to move Grant Thornton into the city centre so staff could easily meet clients and other lawyers and bankers.

The firm has also been running a ‘vibrant economy’ campaign for two years to try to “make stuff happen in the economy.”

Bringing a prominent, empty building back to life embodied that, he added.

“It’s been on my mind since I took over as head of office six years ago. Now there’s a palpable excitement.

Paul Houghton, of Grant Thornton, on the roof terrace of their new city centre offices.

“We will have space for clients, people we do business with and city leaders, we want it to be well used. It’s about bringing people together to shape the future of Sheffield.”

The building, which will have GT branding, made a “visual statement.” And the move strengthened the city’s professional services sector: the lawyers, accountants and bankers.

He added: “People can be rude about us but between us we know so much about what’s going on the city, particularly business, and we can link people up.”

There was “immense strength” in firms that were adapting and changing, such as Sumo, Ask4, Jaywing and Twinkl, he added.

And after picking up new clients, Grant Thornton Sheffield was anticipating growth of 10 per cent this year.