Sheffield Peace Gardens

The Peace Gardens area was originally the churchyard of St Paul’s Church, which was built in the 18th century. The church was built to accommodate Sheffield’s increasing population, which had outgrown the capacity of the Parish Church (which is now the Anglican Cathedral).

A wealthy local goldsmith called Robert Downs paid for St Paul’s Church to be built and work started in 1720. However, Robert Downs later had a disagreement with the church authorities and for a short time he allowed dissenters to worship in the building. This was stopped when the church was finally consecrated or blessed in 1740.

By 1938 the Church of England had no further use for St Paul’s and it was demolished to make way for a proposed extension to the Town Hall. Unfortunately, due to the Second World War, the extension was never built and all that remained of the building were the churchyard walls.

We created a temporary garden with the remaining walls and named it St Paul’s Gardens. However the name soon changed to the Peace Gardens due to the popular desire for a return to peacetime. The name became formal in 1985.

The Goodwin Fountain has 89 individual jets of water and is dedicated to Sir Stuart and Lady Goodwin. Sir Stuart was the founder of an important Sheffield steel and tool making firm – Neepsend Ltd – and a man of considerable wealth.

Throughout their lives they donated a lot of money to a number of charities in the local area, especially hospitals. One of the donations was for the construction of a new fountain at the head of Fargate in 1961. The fountain was originally intended as a tribute to Alderman James Sterling, however, it became known as the Goodwin Fountain and was eventually dedicated to them.

In 1998, the old fountain at the top of Fargate was worn out and was replaced by the new fountain in the Peace Gardens.

The Holberry Cascades are 8 large water features that are dedicated to Samuel Holberry, who was the leader of the Sheffield Chartist Movement, and are located on either side of the 4 entrances to the main area of the Peace Gardens.

The waterfalls from the bronze vessels represent both the pouring of water into Sheffield’s 5 rivers, and the pouring of molten metal used in Sheffield’s metal industries.

57,000 litres of water are pumped through its water features. The system employs a water re-circulation system and is kept clean using a brine solution rather than chemicals.

Sheffield Peace Gardens

Sheffield Peace Gardens

Sheffield Peace Gardens

16 Comments CherryPie on Mar 9th 2020

16 Responses to “Sheffield Peace Gardens”

  1. The temporary garden was created with the remaining walls and named it St Paul’s Gardens. So I am interested after the war if the locals celebrated eventual “victory over the enemy” or prayed for “long term peace on earth”. Perhaps when the peace name became formal in 1985, the younger generation had already had little idea about the hideous war . I hope so.

  2. Lovely photos and a really interesting read. The water features look wonderful.

  3. ....peter says:

    this is a wonderful presentation of the Peace Gardens Cherie… thank you for sharing some of its history with us….peter;)

  4. Alan says:

    It’s a very impressive building. I’ve seen the fountains for myself; they make for a good display.

  5. lisl says:

    It makes a huge open space surrounded by those magnificent buildings. The Church had a brief and chequered history

  6. Ginnie says:

    Another place to see, Cherry. You always find them. :)

  7. lowcarbdiabeticJan says:

    Such an interesting read, thank you and I enjoyed your photographs too.

    All the best Jan

  8. Too scary to see this place so quiet.

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