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Visiting Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England: The Commanding Presence of Sheffield Hallam University at the City Centre

Updated on April 16, 2020
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Sheffield Hallam University from Park Hill.
Sheffield Hallam University from Park Hill. | Source

Chartered in 1992, but already a mature institution of learning.

[This visit occurred a number of years ago.]

At the City Centre in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, the commanding presence of Sheffield Hallam University is obvious. I have included (see above) a photo of the University area seen from Park Hill.

Among the most conspicuous properties belonging to the University is the Owen Building; the University's stylized logo (1) based on the traditional Yorkshire rose was visible for many years from Sheffield's main railway station.

Interestingly, the Owen Building carries a massive mural poem by the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, some of the lines of which read as follows:

"To greet and understand

what lies ahead —

The city where your

dreaming is repaid,

The lives which wait

unseen as yet unread." (2)

Sheffield Hallam University received its Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1992, but it is the heir to several existing institutions which over many years amalgamated; these include Sheffield Polytechnic, Sheffield City College, Sheffield Business School and the Sheffield School of Design (later the Sheffield School of Art) which originated in 1843, and indeed won four gold medals at the Great Exhibition, London, in 1851. Over many years various other colleges were amalgamated also into one institution (3). One of these colleges was housed in what is now the Collegiate Crescent site, based in Tudor Revival stone buildings by J.G.Weightman, dating from c.1836 and extended in 1911 (4).

The University's STEM Centre (supporting learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is named for engineer, mathematician, inventor and physicist Hertha Ayrton (1854-1923) (5).

The University's Sheffield Institute of Arts and Gallery are housed in an historic, former post office building (6).

The University's current Chancellor is Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws, QC.

A few of the prominent personalities associated with Sheffield Hallam University and the earlier institutions it incorporates have included:

Sir Bryan Nicholson, former President of the Confederation of British Industry, who served as the University's first Chancellor;

Sir Martin Narey, former Director-General of the Prison Service of England and Wales;

Dame Kelly Holmes, former double gold medal-winning Olympic athlete and British Army trainer;

Astrid Zydower, sculptor, whose work included statues for Montreal's Expo 67 and for the Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Ontario;

Peter Booth, Sheffield-born Australian painter of bleak landscapes and Biblical scenes;

Stanley Royle, artist and professor of art at Canadian colleges, known for his landscapes of the Rockies and Canadian landcapes, and for whom the Royle Art Group of artists is named;

Richard Caborn, former British Minister for Sport, Minister for Trade, and Minister for the Environment and former Member of Parliament for Sheffield Centre;

and many other distinguished figures.

April 16, 2020

Notes

(1) This has since been removed, after a restyling of part of the Owen Building's frontage.

(2) From: 'WHAT IF?', Andrew Motion, 'Off the Shelf', 2007

(3) For an historical timeline, see also: https://www.shu.ac.uk/about-us/our-history

(4) See also: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1270958 ; formerly housing Sheffield Collegiate School, of which there were many prominent alumni, including: John Cordeaux, amateur ornithologist and authority on bird migration; Henry Jackson, OM, Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge and 19th century advocate for women's higher education; Henry Clifton Sorby, geologist, President of the Royal Microscopical Society and Principal of Firth College, Sheffield who worked towards obtaining the Royal Charter of Sheffield University's incorporation in 1905.

(5) See also: https://www4.shu.ac.uk/mediacentre/women-take-centre-stage-new-stem-centre-opening

(6) See also: https://www4.shu.ac.uk/sia/events/gallery.html

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Sheffield Halam University, Pond Street Site, photographed from the Sheffield station tram stop. In the foreground is the roof of the passenger bridge at Sheffield railway station.
Sheffield Halam University, Pond Street Site, photographed from the Sheffield station tram stop. In the foreground is the roof of the passenger bridge at Sheffield railway station. | Source
"The Crystal Palace" Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1851: Illustrated Catalogue (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1851, p. xvii) Engraving 1851
"The Crystal Palace" Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1851: Illustrated Catalogue (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1851, p. xvii) Engraving 1851 | Source
Dame Kelly  Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes | Source
Portrait of Henry Clifton Sorby
Portrait of Henry Clifton Sorby | Source
 Stanley Royle (1888-1961) at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, c.1943
Stanley Royle (1888-1961) at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, c.1943 | Source
Baroness Helena Kennedy Adam von Trott Memorial Lecture at Mansfield College Oxford
Baroness Helena Kennedy Adam von Trott Memorial Lecture at Mansfield College Oxford | Source

Also worth seeing

In Sheffield itself, visitor attractions include: the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul has Saxon origins, raised to its current status in 1914; the ornate, stone frontage of Sheffield Station dates from 1905, and faces a large, ornamental fountain; the Turret House at Sheffield Manor Lodge recalls the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots; the bronze sculpture Women of Steel, at Barker's Pool, recalls the women active in Sheffield's steel industry in WW1 and WW2; Sheffield City Hall is a striking Neoclassical structure opened in 1932; Weston Park Museum; Bishops' House, dating from c.1500; Sheffield University's imposing Firth Court dates from 1905; part of the City's boundaries extent to the Peak District National Park; and many others.

...

How to get there: A number of airlines provide scheduled air links between Doncaster Sheffield Airport, where car rental is available, and many European destinations. United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Manchester Airport (England), from where car rental is available. There is a rail link between Manchester and Sheffield; there are also regular rail and coach links between London and Sheffield. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

The constituent districts of the Sheffield City region, with South Yorkshire denoted in dark green
The constituent districts of the Sheffield City region, with South Yorkshire denoted in dark green | Source

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