"Why it is time for Sheffield Castle to finally shine"

The home of football, the capital of beer. A centre of industry. These are just some of the ways in which Sheffield is known far beyond the city limits.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 3:17 pm

But what about its history ? For if this week’s Telegraph had a theme, it would be the heritage edition.

Almost every story contains a reference to Sheffield’s fascinating past, from its radical campaigners mentioned in Favourite Things and the milestone anniversary of a city farm at the back, to standing above the remains of Sheffield Castle and the extraordinary discovery of a long lost chimneypiece brought back to Bishops House at the front.

And then there is the 170-year chapter of shopping that has been brought abruptly to an end with the final closure of John Lewis.

Feature pics on the. site of Sheffield Castle. Martin Gorman (Chair Friends of Sheffield Castle). Picture Scott Merrylees
Feature pics on the. site of Sheffield Castle. Martin Gorman (Chair Friends of Sheffield Castle). Picture Scott Merrylees

It is hard not to think that in any other city, the site of such a ‘precious’ and ancient castle like Sheffield Castle would be a major tourist attraction not just for locals but for nationwide and even global visitors.

Instead it remains a demolition site today – eight years after the Castle Market which stood above it closed, and six years after the market was demolished.

One of the great privileges of being a journalist is getting to go behind the scenes, often to places that others do not go, and standing on what was the drawbridge of the castle on Monday was an exhilarating experience.

This is where the city began, where our story started.

And that is an experience that all of Sheffield should be able to have for themselves.

As Martin Gorman, chairman of the Friends of the Castle, said: “There is such a lot of information about the castle but what we haven’t got is a plan.”

Everyone knows these kinds of projects don’t happen overnight, of course, or even quickly.But with a tongue firmly in cheek, if it goes on much longer you do have to wonder if it might have taken less time to build the castle in the first place.