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English Heritage and DCMS agree not to list Sheffield's Castle Market

Sheffield’s brutalist 1960s Castle Market, designed by JL Womersley and the team behind the city’s Park Hill flats, has been turned down for listing

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport agreed with English Heritage’s (EH) recommendation not to give the city centre indoor market historic protection following an anonymous request.

Drawn up by J. L. Womersley and Andrew Darbyshire at Sheffield Council’s architects department, the 1965 market hall is under threat by proposals to redevelop the area which would see the existing buildings demolished. The move could potentially allow the remains of the 12th Century Sheffield Castle underneath to be excavated.

A spokesperson for EH said: ‘In order to be considered for listing, 20th Century market halls should display a high degree of architectural, technological and historic interest.  

‘Those post-war market halls which have already been listed [such as Coventry] have particularly high levels of architectural innovation and artistic achievement which justify the designation of such late buildings. 

‘This is not shared by Castle Market in Sheffield.’ 

The spokesperson added: ‘Although it was part of the wider radical post-war regeneration of Sheffield, it does not meet the criteria necessary for it to be listed; its construction and detailing are standard for the date it was built and it lacks use of high quality materials or attention to finishes, or significant artwork by a notable artist or sculptor.’

Speaking to the BBC, Sheffield City Council councillor Penny Baker said the listing decision was a welcome boost to the site’s potential redevelopment: ‘We’re hoping to start building the new markets on The Moor in the New Year. Then we can knock it [Castle Market] down and give the archaeologists some time, possibly a year, to find out what we have underneath there, what remains there are from our historic castle.

‘From what we find there we can decide how we can use that heritage to regenerate the whole of that area and enhance our city.”

Baker did not rule out plans for a heritage attraction, potentially funded by lottery grants, as part of the scheme. She added: ‘Perhaps we could do something very adventurous like they’ve done with Jorvik in York.

‘It’s going to take a while for the market to be built. The demolition has got to be sensitive and of course when we start digging, there will be things to be seen and we need to set up an area where we can show any finds so that the people of Sheffield can be involved.’

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