Sheffield University has promised it will ‘reuse and recycle’ materials and antique features from the demolished section of the Edwardian Jessop wing - after campaigners voiced fears that salvageable parts of the building have been lost forever.
The site where the building stood, off Broad Lane, is now a pile of rubble as the way is cleared for a new £80 million engineering block.
Demolition started at the end of July following a failed court challenge from local campaigners, Save Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society.
But Howard Greaves, vice chairman of the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, said the bulldozers moved in with ‘indecent haste’.
“This was presumably just in case another injunction preventing demolition was in the pipeline, as building work is supposedly not going to commence until later in the year,” he said.
“Normally when such important buildings are demolished they are slowly and carefully dismantled and not swept away so swiftly and with such brute force.
“Major features are usually retained for posterity and possible re-use elsewhere.
“Jessop possessed many such features both externally and internally.
“Internally it had a magnificent staircase, parquet floors, curved skirting-boards and many other salvageable features.”
Mr Greaves added: “As Thomas Jessop kindly built this building for the citizens of Sheffield, I’m sure that they would like to know if an attempt has been made to salvage some of these top quality features which he used in his philanthropic project.”
Keith Lilley, director of estates and facilities management at the University of Sheffield, said: “In line with the Considerate Constructors scheme, our contractors Balfour Beatty will be seeking sustainable solutions, minimising waste, the carbon footprint and resources.
“Wherever material can be reused or recycled, it will be.”
The engineering building, called Jessop East, is scheduled to open by September 2015.
Campaigners wanted the condemned section of Jessop wing to be incorporated into the new building, but after months of petitions and protests, they lost a bid for a judicial review.
The university said it was not feasible to include the Edwardian wing in the new engineering block.
The Jessop East development is expected to attract around 1,000 extra engineering students to the university.