Skip to the content

Castlegate: Tonight, the streets are ours

Richard Hawley
Richard Hawley

Pop-up businesses are being given the chance to say “tonight, the streets are ours” as Exchange Street could become a new destination for food and other start-ups  under the working title of Truelove’s Gutter Pop-ups.

The council is looking for an operator to attract and accommodate pop-up businesses in the street.

It is part of the wider regeneration strategy for Castlegate and builds on ideas developed by the Castlegate Partnership as well  as previous one-off events like last year’s Castlegate Escape festival which attracted thousands of people over a weekend of music and food.

The name Truelove’s Gutter was brought to the attention of the world by the 2009 Richard Hawley album which took its title from a street in old Sheffield, roughly on the line of the current Exchange Street which remains one of the main streets of the Castlegate quarter.

Richard, who launches his UK tour for new record Further tomorrow, said. “This part of Sheffield is very close to my heart I spent so much time as a child in the Castle Market with my Grandparents , as a teenager in Kenny’s and Revolution records, Harrington’s clothes, Rand and also the Lady’s Bridge pub with my Dad and his mates discussing music amongst many other things. I learned so much here.

“I'm so pleased to see the Truelove’s Gutter street name getting a new lease of life and Exchange Street being used for the creative endeavours of musicians of all ages to gain experience and encouragement with rehearsing, recording and performing.”

The Council is inviting proposals to use the northern side of the Exchange Street pedestrian area for pop-up structures housing small food outlets, shops, community and workspace. Converted shipping containers  are a good example but other light timber or metal structures may be accepted.

There are now many successful examples of similar ventures like Sheffield’s Peddlers Market (originally started in Arundel Lane but now in Neepsend) as well as in other cities like London’s Pop Brixton, Birmingham’s ‘Digbeth Dining Club’, Manchester’s ‘Grub Street Markets’ , Newcastle’s ‘Stack’ and Gateshead’s ‘By the River Village’.

In Castlegate the Council is particularly keen to see some space offered at an affordable rent to new start-ups in the food and crafts sectors from the immediate vicinity which includes Pitsmoor, Burngeave, Park and Manor and is interested to explore how this could be facilitated as a part of a sustainable business plan.

The former Lady's Bridge pub in Castlegate The former Lady's Bridge pub in Castlegate

Castlegate is being transformed into an exciting mixed use community as evidenced by the successful launch of Kommune and the National Videogame Museum, within the  digital and tech hub Kollider/Castle House, supported by a £3m government grant and numerous other developments including the restoration of the Old Town Hall.

It forms part of a wider strategy to diversify the city centre experience and promote a distinctive Sheffield offer.

The quarter already embraces tech, creative and arts spaces alongside new residential, hotel and leisure developments, the restoration of landmark buildings like Castle House Co-op, Exchange Place Studios and most recently the Old Town Hall as well as music and arts start-ups in the Exchange Street shops. Greening and pedestrianizing of its main public spaces is already under way including Fitzalan Square and Grey to Green Two in Snig Hill, Exchange Place and Castlegate itself.

The aim of Truelove’s Gutter is to create further low-cost and low-risk small spaces in the city centre where a range of projects including start-ups, social enterprises and established independents can thrive.

Preferred uses could include food and drink, specialist retail/craft/services such as a bike shop, small performance and music events, community activities and micro office, studio or workspaces, preferably on upper floors.

No particular design or material is prescribed but all structures must be de-mountable.

Edward Highfield, director of city growth at Sheffield City Council, said: “There is a renewed vibrancy to Castlegate. It’s Sheffield’s ancient heart but it also has a dynamic, digital future as evidenced by the success of Castle House and Kommune. The next step is getting pop-ups to re-imagine Exchange Street as Truelove’s Gutter, a new name that will chime with music and history fans.”

Chair of the Castlegate Partnership Paul Houghton said:  “We are delighted that the Council has built on ideas developed by the Partners to shape this proposal. Via the partnership we have already received several informal enquiries about the site so we are confident there is interest and that this is the right time for this project.”

Drummers on Exchange Street in Sheffield

The Castlegate Partnership includes the City Council, Friends of Sheffield Castle, Friends of the Old Town Hall, The Universities of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield Culture Consortium, Museums Sheffield, Environment Agency, Canal & Rivers Trust, Kollider, local hoteliers, businesses and traders.

Truelove’s Gutter appears as a street on early maps of the town and is believed to be named after a family who lived there. Before the arrival of piped drainage all Sheffield streets doubled as gutters.

For more detailed please contact Simon Ogden, Castlegate Programme Director  Email:  Tel: 0114 2734189


Offers should be submitted by 12 noon on Friday 24th May 2019 to