When Henderson’s Relish moved across Sheffield to Darnall after 70 years on Leavygreave Road in the city centre, there were fears its familiar, red-brick building would be demolished.
But the building is set to stay put, after Sheffield University confirmed that it is in ‘advanced talks’ to buy the old factory to add to its portfolio.
The purchase would mean the former Henderson’s headquarters would play a novel part in the university’s proposed wide-ranging campus masterplan, which covers the 10 years up to 2025.
The university said talks are nearing the final stage with the Church Burgesses, which owns the old Henderson’s factory.
Director of estates and facilities management, Keith Lilley, said he was optimistic that an agreement would be reached soon.
“We’re very keen to buy the building which sits at the heart of our campus and which is held in such affection by so many people in Sheffield,” he said.
“We recognise that it is an important landmark and we are committed to retaining the original building and using it in a way which will not only benefit our students and staff, but also everyone in the city.”
Godfrey Smallman, of the Balm Green-based Church Burgesses, added: “The Church Burgesses are glad to work with the university in relation to the developments the university is planning to make in this area of the city, where the trust has been a land-owner for generations and has already played a positive part in shaping the Sheffield cityscape.”
One of the earliest priorities under the masterplan is to pedestrianise Leavygreave Road and part of Portobello Street, ready for the opening of the adjoining £61 million faculty of engineering – ‘the Diamond’ – on the site of the fomer Jessop Hospital wing in September next year.
Better paving, seating, and trees and plants are proposed in the area to create a more attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
Earlier this year Howard Greaves, of the Hallamshire Historic Building Society, said it would be ‘a huge shame’ if the factory was knocked down.
Singer and guitarist Richard Hawley once held a birthday party there, and Joe Elliot, the Def Leppard frontman who now lives in Ireland, bought a painting of the building to remind him of home.