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Street signs show city's ancient heart as Castlegate Festival returns

Castlegate Festival
Castlegate Festival

The spotlight will return to Castlegate – where Sheffield first began - for a month of celebrations as the area embarks on an ambitious future as a home for heritage and a thriving digital and arts sector.


The Castlegate Partnership is holding its third Castlegate Festival during September in partnership with Heritage Open Days, The Outdoor City Walking Festival and the Canal and Rivers Trust, as well as several local businesses.


The festival brings together guided walks, a Waterways Festival, a street art celebration called Concrete Canvas, music and food  by the Exchange Street collective, fresh drama in Castlegate’s  new theatre and the chance to see inside some of the quarter’s many fascinating historic buildings.


As a way of catching the attention of the many people who pass through Castlegate every day, some of the quarter’s historic street names are being revived for the month of the festival.


There is also an Instagram takeover under way on the council’s account led by @heritagesheffield focusing on the buildings within Castlegate using the hashtag #castlegatefestival and a number of the streets will be “renamed” with their original names such as Truelove’s Gutter and Sergeant’s Walk to show the area’s ancient beginnings.


The aims of the festival are to highlight the 900-year hidden heritage of Sheffield’s ‘old town’, celebrate some of the exciting new developments and enterprises now breathing  life and activity into its buildings as a seedbed for start-ups in tech, gaming and the creative arts and showcase the increasingly diverse range of partners contributing to the transformation including Friends’ Groups, both Universities, developers, small to medium-sized businesses, arts and social enterprises.

Back row from left: Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Hendrika Stephens forom Concrete Canvas, Castlegate programme director Simon Ogden, Professor John Moreland from University of Sheffield, Martin Gorman from Friends of Sheffield Castle and Valerie Bayliss from Friends of Old Town Hall. Front, Bally Johal from Exchange Street Collective

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment, said: “Castlegate is enjoying the highest-profile it has had in years. I was proud to support the recent archaeological dig at the castle site and am excited to share those findings and how they can help shape the area’s future, whilst also anticipating how the area can build on its impressive tech and digital credentials and provide more housing opportunities.’’


“Kommune and the National Videogame Museum, as well as many local businesses, have raised the bar for arts and culture in Castlegate so this festival is truly a chance to bring together old and new so we can improve the area for many years to come.”


Highlights include

    • the biggest Waterways Festival for many years celebrating the 200th birthday of the Sheffield Canal, with music, family fun, arts and food from Victoria Quays right up to the fast regenerating Exchange St, all day on Saturday 21st September


    • tours by the Friends of Sheffield Castle with the latest on the results of Wessex Archaeology’s 2018 dig and special access to the underground ruins chamber anticipated during the month


    • a chance to see inside intriguing buildings like Kollider Castle House Co-op’s modernist staircase and top floor boardroom, the glazed brick Royal Exchange Buildings, formerly Henry Bryars Stables, once home to Lizzy the Elephant, the Terminal and Grain Warehouses at Victoria Quays and to find out about the history and proposed restoration of the Old Town Hall


    • Concrete Canvas – a celebration of street art along the canal towpath and into Exchange Street running throughout September


    • A season of fresh new drama and comedy from Castlegate’s newest stage, the Local Theatre on Snig Hill


    • Three Lunchtime Walks looking at the past, present and future of Castlegate, exploring the changing Sheffield Waterfront from Kelham to Victoria Quays and tracing the course of the ‘Hidden Porter and Sheaf’ through the city centre streets from Matilda St to Castlegate


    • Historic street names long forgotten are being revived for the festival month, including Pudding Lane - now King Street -  Under the Water - now Bridge Street - and Truelove’s Gutter - now  Castle Street

Paul Houghton, chair of the Castlegate Partnership, said: “The 2015 Castlegate Festival was mainly about showing the potential of the area. Now we are able to show a fantastic range of things actually happening from Kommune and Kollider to Grey to Green Two, as well as new bars, venues, businesses and housing aimed at long term residents.”


Valerie Bayliss chair of the Friends of the Old Town Hall added:  “It’s good to see so much starting to happen in Castlegate as Sheffielders come to appreciate more of the wealth of heritage there, and especially the wonderful Old Town Hall. We’re eagerly awaiting the plans for its restoration.”


Martin  Gorman chair of the Friends of Sheffield Castle said: “We are delighted to support the Castlegate Festival and this is a great opportunity for people to not only view  the Castle remains for the first time in decades, but also to see the other fascinating buildings and locations in Castlegate, the historical heart of the City.”


For booking on the lunchtime walks go to festival.


Click here to book


Notes for Editors


The Castlegate Partnership was established in 2016 to promote the regeneration of Castlegate bringing together the resources, knowledge and creativity of the University of Sheffield, Hallam University, Friends of the Old Town Hall, Friends of Sheffield Castle, the Canal and Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, the Culture Consortium, Exchange Street Collective,  local businesses and developers.


The vision for Castlegate as set out in the 2018 City Centre Plan is


Castlegate, Sheffield’s historic heart, is about to take on a new and exciting role … to become a distinctive new focus for tech and creative start-up businesses. This will be promoted by capitalising on its important heritage, its many historic buildings, its waterways, townscape and excellent accessibility.