Robinson in Ruins (2010) at the Showroom

Come and see Robinson in Ruins (2010), the next in Sheffield Civic Trust’s Building Visions film series, which will be shown at the Showroom at 6pm tonight (Thursday 21 July 2011).

Patrick Keiller‘s follow-up to London and Robinson in Space, has his voyeur Robinson released from prison and journeying across the countryside in the South of England. Through Vanessa Redgrave‘s narration, Robinson comments on events that have taken place in that context before speculating on our collective future.

Click here to buy your tickets.

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Love Sheffield? Join Sheffield Civic Trust and make it even better…

If you love Sheffield join us now, become part of the national civic movement and help make our city even better.

Join Sheffield Civic Trust and you’ll be supporting our activities in promoting Heritage Open Days, Design Reviews on major projects like Sheffield Hallam University’s Charles Street development, our fabulous Sheffield Design Awards, which this week confirmed Leopold Square (below) as Sheffield’s favourite new building, and an extensive programme of events for our members throughout the year.

We are presently working with Urban Splash to secure a tour of its Park Hill development for members later this Spring.

Annual membership is only £10 Individuals or £15 for Families.  To join on line please click here. Alternatively, you can pop a cheque in the post (made payable to Sheffield Civic Trust) to our Membership Secretary, Liz Godfrey at Sheffield Civic Trust c/o 22 Endcliffe Glen, Sheffield, S11 8RW.

Sheffield Design Awards 2010

Voting for the Sheffield Design Awards 2010 – Peoples’ Award closed at 5.30pm on 31 January 2011 .

The award, which will confirm Your Best New Building / Renovation in the city since 2005, generated more than 1,500 online votes.  The leading candidates included: the excellent renovation of Leopold Square, the University of Sheffield’s rubber clad, Soundhouse (photo below), the Furnival Building and Jessops West.

The ‘Cheese Grater’ Arundel Gate Car Park won the Citizens’ Award at our Inaugural Sheffield Design Awards in 2008.

Read BBC Radio Sheffield’s article on the Peoples’ Award.

Tom Bloxham MBE of Urban Splash will announce the winners of the Sheffield Design Awards on 16th February 2011 at the Showroom Cinema.  You are all welcome to come along and join us in celebrating the best of developments in Sheffield.

Does Beauty Matter?

To mark Urban Design Week, Sheffield Civic Trust is hosting an Event with CABE (The Government’s Commission of Architecture and the Built Environment), which starts on Thursday 28 October 2010 at 6.15pm at The Circle, Rockingham Lane, Sheffield S1 4FW.

The philosopher and author Julian Baggini will talk about beauty, the subject of new research for CABE conducted by Ipsos MORI in Sheffield.  Julian is editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine, contributes to The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer and the BBC and has been a regular guest on BBC Radio 4’s ‘In our time’.

As part of the study, Sheffield residents were filmed and interviewed about what they considered to be beautiful about their city – where they find it, and how it influences their experience of living in the city. The responses, which can be viewed here, were surprising and touching.

We have invited Sheffield’s planners, practitioners and academics to view the films, listen to the residents’ contributions and join a debate, illuminated by Julian, with SCT’s members and subscribers. We hope to tease out the importance of beauty to the people of this City.

This event will also provide an opportunity to consider the Sheffield Design Awards in the light of beauty. The awards are sponsored by RIBA, ARUP, Creative Sheffield and Peter & Paul.

Places at the event will be assigned on a first come served basis with entry free to SCT members, £5 for non-members and £2.50 for concessions (payable on the evening).

Design Review – Sheffield Hallam University’s Revised Charles Street Scheme

Thanks to Matt Hutton and Bruce Raw from Bond Bryan, Nick Jones from Turner & Townsend and David Holland from Sheffield Hallam University for taking the time to present Sheffield Hallam University’s revised proposals for SHU’s Charles Street scheme to Sheffield Civic Trust’s design review panel and for answering our questions.

NB – This graphic image of the Charles Street Elevation relates to the emerging draft scheme and is produced with Bond Bryan’s permission

The following observations reflect the consensus of the design review panel:

  • The revised proposals have successfully addressed many of our previous concerns by providing a more active and animated ground floor elevation onto Charles Street, respecting Brown Lane and the established grid pattern of streets within this part of the Cultural Industries Quarter (CIQ) and achieving an elegant built frontage onto Charles Street that respects the streetscene on this vital pedestrian route.
  • Greater use of glazed openings at ground level allied with the proposed corner cafe onto Charles Street and Arundel Gate will provide better animation and surveillance of these public thoroughfares to the benefit of pedestrians.  Whilst the operational constraints of the proposed lecture theatre are understood the revised scheme suggests the inclusion of design elements that will provide playful and interesting decorative features.
  • However, the panel was disappointed that previously available views of the ‘sawtooth’ rooftop features may longer exist from Charles Street under the revised proposals, which would be a shame.
  • In addition, the trees shown on Charles Street looked out of place and merely tokenistic rather than well considered landscape additions.  We understand that the City Council is likely to take responsibility for addressing this matter separately nonetheless we would prefer to see the building opening out onto a pedestrianised area with quality hard and soft landscaping akin to what’s been achieved elsewhere in the city centre.
  • The treatment of the brickwork elevations, with the introduction of texture and pattern adjacent to Butcher Works, were also seen as a positive intervention in contrast to panels of brickwork interrupted only by windows.  Nonetheless, in our view the pattern of window openings should respect the gradation of opening sizes exhibited in the neighbouring Butcher Works.
  • The proposed inclusion and treatment of Brown Lane was on the whole well received.  The decision to respect this feature and the commitment to improved materials, including paving and glazed doors, were welcomed.  We also welcome the commissioning of the renowned designer, Corin Mellor, for the footbridge which has scope to be a stunning feature.  As with all schemes appropriate detailing will be key to the success of these proposals.
  • The reduction in the extent of brickwork on the Eyre Street elevation of the building has improved the appearance of the building when viewed from that vantage point.
  • Finally, the panel welcomed the university’s commitment, aspiration and continued appetite to regenerate this derelict site by building a new, high quality, scheme at a time of financial constraint, particularly given the slow pace of other developments in the city.


The design review panel felt the revised proposals had successfully addressed the majority of our concerns about the previous scheme which had been refused planning permission by the City Council.  In particular, the revised proposals will:-

  • provide a more active and animated ground floor elevation onto Charles Street;
  • respect Brown Lane and the established grid pattern of streets within this part of the Cultural Industries Quarter (CIQ); and
  • achieve an elegant built frontage onto Charles Street that respects the streetscene on this vital pedestrian route.

It is vitally important that priority is afforded to the needs of pedestrians along the important route through the Cultural Industries Quarter CIQ, which connects Park Hill and the railway station with the City Centre and the planned gateway to the Sevenstone retail development.

Subject to confirmation of appropriate detailing and concurrent landscape proposals, particularly for the pedestrianised section of Charles Street and Brown Lane, we believe the building has scope to make a positive contribution and support the renaissance of this part of the CIQ and the city centre as a whole.

We understand that the revised proposals will be developed in readiness to support a planning application in the near future.  In these circumstances, we trust that our observations will inform the emerging development proposals.

SCT / Showroom Film Programme

Sheffield Civic Trust is delighted to support a programme of built environment themed films with the Showroom Cinema.

The season opened, with a newly discovered and restored print of Fritz Lang‘s Metropolis (1927), a German expressionist film in the science-fiction genre, at the Showroom.  The film will be screened at 2pm and 8pm from today (Friday) through until next Thursday 23 September 2010 when an additional 11am early bird showing will be available.

This is the first in our ‘Building Visions’ series:  A programme of visually stunning films themed around  ‘Architecture , Place  and Society’  to be screened by The Showroom  Cinema over the next six months as part of an innovative partnership with Sheffield Civic Trust.

Made in 1927 and set in the year 2000, the imagination behind this seminal cinematic visualisation of future cityscapes continues to enthral audiences with its dystopian and highly styled content.

According to Wikipedia, ‘Metropolis was cut substantially after its German premiere, and much footage was lost over the passage of successive decades.  There have been several efforts to restore it, as well as discoveries of previously lost footage.  A 2001 reconstruction of Metropolis, shown at the Berlin Film Festival, was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in that same year.   In 2008, a copy of the film 30 minutes longer than any other known surviving copy was located in Argentina.  After a long period of restoration in Germany, the restored film was shown publicly for the first time simultaneously at Berlin and Frankfurt on 12 February 2010.’

This version of the print is the most complete surviving copy that very nearly restores Metropolis to its full running time of approximately two and a half hours. This is a unique opportunity  to be among the first to see this remarkably preserved find on the big screen where it undoubtedly belongs.

The next film in the programme, Peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982), will also be screened at the Showroom in November.

Demonstration Against Station Closure!

The Residents Against Station Closure (RASC) group are planning a further demonstration at Sheffield Rail Station at 4.30pm on Friday 24th September 2010.  Everyone is welcome to support the demonstration, which has all party support, with speakers including Labour’s Paul Bloomfield MP, Paul Scriven, the Liberal Democrat Leader of Sheffield City Council and Jillian Creasy from the Greens.

The demonstration has been prompted by East Midlands Trains (EMT) increasing the frequency of “human barriers” to block the pedestrian footbridge through Sheffield Rail Station and are provoking local residents, who are increasingly frustrated by their antics.  RASC were appalled to learn that 45 people who were “cautioned” trying to cross the bridge at Sheffield Station on 2nd September.  Press Officer Graham Wroe commented, “EMT’s behaviour is completely outrageous. They have no authority to stop pedestrians crossing the bridge, as Sheffield Station is not a Compulsory Ticketing Area.  It is EMT that should be cautioned for obstruction.

Keith Hayman, chairperson of RASC commented, “We will continue to peacefully assert our right to cross the footbridge. We do not condone abuse of EMT staff, neither do we feel they should abuse the public. Many reports we have received over the months indicate that the abuse has come from EMT staff. We question the role played by British Transport Police who supported EMT staff rather than the public and their rights. We will be writing to them to ensure that in future they take account of the rights of the pedestrians.

The bottom line is, EMT must not be allowed to continue to obstruct our footbridge!”

Sheffield Civic Trust recently made representations to the City Council to support the protection of this vital pedestrian link between Park Hill and the City Centre.  RASC are also lobbying Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, to instruct the Transport Minister to change the franchise agreement with EMT so that the Sheffield footbridge is permanently open to pedestrians.

On Thursday 9th September, the City Council’s Transport Sub committee decided to set in motion the establishment of a Public Right of Way.  Both RASC and Sheffield Civic Trust fully support the City Council’s resolution to permanently protect this vital pedestrian route through the city which has universal support of local residents and, indeed, all other key stakeholders.

CABE Photo Competition

CABE launched a photo competition to find ‘Areas of Outstanding Urban Beauty’.

The idea is to find out what people love about the places where they live.  It could be a single building, a cityscape, a park or a detail like a paving stone. It needs to be in an English town, city or village and, of course, it must be somewhere that is beautiful to you.  So please take a picture in Sheffield, write a few lines and Enter the competition.

Entries closed on Monday 11 October 2010.

SCT joins Civic Voice!

Sheffield Civic Trust want to make an effective contribution to the growing national civic movement and has therefore agreed to join Civic Voice, the national charity for the civic movement
Civic Voice are working hard to make places more attractive enjoyable and distinctive and to promote civic pride across the country. Significantly, Civic Voice was supported by all three main party leaders during the recent General Election campaign.

Commenting on his recent appointment as President of Civic Voice Griff Rhys Jones said, “I am delighted and honoured to be asked. Local communities want and need to have their voices heard. Local people can help in making the places where we all live more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. Because they care. Civic Voice is the national spearhead for a nationwide movement that campaigns for better places and that tremendously underrated value – civic pride.”

A national Civic Day will take place on Saturday 25 June 2011 when civic societies across England will invite people to celebrate their area and discover more about where they live.

Your City’s Planning Policies – Make a difference!

The Sheffield Development Framework (SDF) Draft City Policies, Sites and Proposals Map are available for consultation up to midnight on 31 August 2010.

Amongst other things, the documents propose housing, employment and flexible use allocations in all parts of the city.

SCT is extremely concerned that Proposed or to be improved walking routes on the Proposals Maps do not, at least as yet, include the vital pedestrian link through the rail station which connects Park Hill with the City Centre.

Your comments are invited now.  Don’t lose this chance to register your views!  The documents can be viewed through the City Council’s website or at local libraries.