Report - - Above & Below The Castle Market, Sheffield - October 2014 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Above & Below The Castle Market, Sheffield - October 2014


Boring Bearded Bastard
28DL Full Member
Above & Below The Castle Market, Sheffield - October 2014


Castle Market artwork by Jonathan Wilkinson.

Castle Market is a former indoor market in Sheffield city centre, England. The building lies in the north east of the present city centre, by the River Don, and is built on top of the remains of Sheffield Castle.

The oldest part of the building is the Fish and Vegetable Market, constructed in the inter-war period. The remainder of the building was constructed by J. L. Womersley and Andrew Darbyshire between 1960 and 1965. It has two main floors, both of which included small shops and stalls, and each accessible from street level. Other stores faced on to the surrounding streets, while a gallery found a storey above the main part of the market contained several more shops, and access to an office building surmounting the structure. The gallery is linked by bridges across Exchange Street to further above-ground shopping areas.

The market closed in 2013 when the Moor Market opened on The Moor, further south in Sheffield city centre.

As with many of Sheffield's buildings (particularly those from the 1960's), the Castle Market has developed a bit of a cult identity over the years. Recently it's been getting a bit of extra attention since it's doors closed for the last time a few months ago. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the closure and what the future holds for the site. Even the Daily Fail recently published an article (borrowed from the Sheffield Star) on their webshite. Everyone loves an eerie photo. Yawn.

Personally, I'm not too fussed about seeing a load of market stalls. If I was I would've just gone for a look while the place was still in use. That's not to say I have no interest in the building though. Far from it actually. Even before it's closure, there were two specific aspects of the Castle Market which have always intrigued me...

Firstly, the seven-storey adjoining office block overlooking Waingate is topped off with the most fantastic monument-like structure. It's like a crazy brutalist-inspired diving board or something. Being a rooftopper, of course I wanted to get up it.


Secondly, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the remains of Sheffield's thirteenth-century castle (after which the market is named), preserved and locked away in a chamber underneath the market hall. Specific info on this was somewhat sketchy, but I love a challenge.


For me, these two features were enough to keep me interested, so when the last of the traders moved out a few months ago, ***********, Kaplan, Tablets and myself started discussing our options for access. Our main concern was the 24 hour on-site Security making regular patrols. *********** hatched a plan, and soon enough he'd cracked it. His excellent first report can be seen here.

Now, fast-forward a few weeks and I finally got the opportunity to get over and have a go myself. *********** was on hand to give me the guided tour. Naturally we headed straight for the roof...




Apart from the views, this rooftop is all about that concrete tower.
This monolithic structure is actually the top of the lift shaft. It also acts as a chimney, as well as housing a water tank.



After spending a while up there, watching Security doing their rounds on the streets below, we set off downstairs to the market hall. As I said earlier, the maze of shops, cafes and market stalls don't really interest me. To be honest it was just too dark to get any shots inside anyway, and waving torches around would've been a dead giveaway to security, so we just concentrated on trying to find those legendary castle remains.

Apparently there are various small sections of castle stonework remaining under the site. In the 1920's when the first market hall was built, one of these sections was preserved inside it's own chamber beneath the foundations. A short time later, when the Co-operative Society built their store nearby, a second section was preserved inside it's basement. When the Co-op store was demolished to make way for the expansion of the market, these remains were again enclosed, this time within the foundations of the new market. While the section beneath the 1920's market is easily accessible and has been open to public viewing, the section under the new market is only accessible through a manhole in the market floor.

That was about as much info as we had, so armed with a set of drain keys we started searching, lifting lids as we went. After well over an hour, we finally gave up, vowing to return once we'd done our homework.

So we needed more detailed info... and pretty soon we had it...


Now armed with the proper info, we arranged a return visit. This time the plan was to get in, find the manhole, get down it and then GTFO nice and quick. So we made our way down into the market hall, only to be halted in our tracks when we saw torchlight shining around in the darkness. We stood still for a second, trying to work out where it was coming from.
We then heard footsteps, so we thought we'd better retreat upstairs. Failure this time just wasn't an option, so after waiting it out for a while, we made our way back down and cracked on. However with the possibility of Security busting us at any moment, we didn't want to hang around, so no fucking about with tripods and long exposures. Flash was the only way to go...






As you can see from the photos, the chamber is tiny and the remains are very minimal. We'd seen photos from archaeological studies, so we sort of knew what to expect, but still the explorer in me was hoping for more. I'd imagined some sort of Indiana Jones moment, but this was more like a particularly boring episode of Time Team. Regardless, we'd done it, and that was all that mattered.

The markets will soon be pulled down, exposing the castle remains once again. The council intend turning the whole site into a bit of an attraction, meaning Sheffielders will soon be able to visit this important (if a little underwhelming) part of their history. All good... but we did it the fun way.


Cheers :)​


28DL Regular User
Regular User
That is a nice comprehensive report there mate. Got some good pics to accompany it! Thanks for sharing.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Really rather good! Great write up and awesome pics,thanks.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
How heavy was the lid - 4 man job with a key each?

Oxygen Thief

Staff member
Great report, thanks for sharing. Love the fact there's an old castle underneath this.
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