Along with Dave [Scrappy NW] and Katy I finally got to see inside this very well known and photographed icon of abandoned buildings. Luckily entry was rather straight forward if a little awkward.
We spent a few hours wandering around the whole building which included the cells with their white tiles peeling like egg shells and the court rooms amongst others. From previous photographs it was obvious that the building had fallen further into disrepair over the preceeding years. Having said that, the public gallery, benches and dock were still relitively intact, save for the usual signs of neglect.
We made it into the clock tower, the hands long since frozen still before we made our way out. A fantastic building in appearance and history its role as a council chamber and court were still very much visible among the decay yet the years of neglect had changed its appearance into a tired old building in need of serious renovation [if anyone has any inclination to do so].
The building was commissioned to replace Sheffield's first town hall, which had been designed by William Renny in 1699 and opened in 1700. Initially building was of five bays and faced Castle Street. It was extended in 1833 and again in 1866 to designs by William Flockton of Sheffield and his partner George Abbott. The most prominent feature was the new central clock tower over a new main entrance that reoriented the building to Waingate. At the same time the building's courtrooms were linked by underground passages to the neighbouring Sheffield Police Offices. The first Town Council was elected in 1843 and took over the lease of the Town Trustees' hall in 1866. The next year the building was extensively renovated and the clock tower designed by Flockton & Abbott was added.
By the 1890s Sheffield's administration had again outgrown the building, and the current Sheffield Town Hall was built further south. The Old Town Hall was again extended in 1896–97, by the renamed Flockton, Gibbs & Flockton, and became Sheffield Crown Court and Sheffield High Court. The drinking fountain on the Castle Street side of the building was added at this time. In 1973 the Old Town Hall was made a Grade II listed building.
In the 1990s these courts moved to new premises, and since at least 1997 to present, the building remains disused.
In 2008 the Victorian Society named the building as one of its top ten buildings most at-risk. A campaign group, The Friends of the Old Town Hall was formed in November 2014 with the aim of getting the building's owner G1 London Property to state its intention for its future use. In September 2015 the building was put for sale with an asking price of £2,000,000 however, the sale brochure was withdrawn from the internet after about ten days.
Campaigners battling to see the building restored to its former glory slammed the owners' contempt for the city for allowing it to stand derelict and after a meeting to discuss the building's future, the Friends Of The Old Town Hall group vowed to increase pressure on the owners in the subsequent months.
As of 2018 it still remains abandoned and falling into disrepair.