Butcher Works

JF Finnegan

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The Grade II* listed building, an old factory built in 1835 and once at the centre of Sheffield’s cutlery industry, has been transformed into a unique mixed-use scheme of residential apartments, commercial units and educational use.

This project involved both the restoration and conversion of the Grade II* Listed Butcher Works for residential and A3 use and a new build office development on a neighbouring site. The Butchers Works site is a key building in the Cultural Industries Quarter of Sheffield; there are over a dozen buildings in the complex dating back to the late 1700’s, including the distinctive factory chimney.

The Brief

The buildings were in use until January 2004, but had undergone gradual decline over the past 20 years to a virtually derelict state. A complete and sympathetic restoration was required. Race Cottam was approached by developers J. F. Finnegan Ltd to design an interesting courtyard-based mixed use scheme that promoted a creative community and that embraced and enhanced the contextual history to create a unique and desirable place to live and work in the heart of the city.

The Design

52 apartments have been sensitively introduced into the building on the upper floors making use of exposed trusses, unique windows and stonework. At ground level, arranged around the courtyard and centred on the chimney, are a series of workshops housing the Academy of Makers, a gallery and café.

Great care was taken to ensure that as many of the historical relics were retained in their original setting and state. An area on the second floor housing an existing and historically important grinding room has been incorporated and opened as a museum. The office space has been accommodated by Sheffield Hallam University bringing work and education to the mix.

The Outcome

The project has successfully retained one of Sheffield’s important historic buildings and its desirability as a place to live and work in Sheffield City Centre has safeguarded its existence for many years to come. The mixed use nature of the development has also had a massive impact on this area of Sheffield’s Cultural Industries Quarter providing life and activity both day and night.

Butcher Works was given a Commendation in the Best Building category at the prestigious Sheffield Design Award, organised by the Sheffield Civic Trust, which celebrates the excellence in the restoration, alteration, extension or improvement of a historic or existing building.