The Farfield (376 Neepsend Lane, S3 8AW) was built in 1752 as a gentleman’s residence. As a pub, it was damaged in the 1864 Sheffield Flood, when the nearby bridge collapsed and the Don overflowed. The publican, Matilda Mason, was forced to shelter on the upper floors. She later claimed £162 13 s 9d for loss of property. This claim was ‘assessed by agreement incl. costs at £90’ on 10th June 1865.
1961 plans show four separate rooms on the ground floor. A Public Bar to the left of the entrance, Saloon to the right, with a Smoke Room behind. The Saloon includes a Servery. The far-left corner is a kitchen. Alterations (John Foster, Group Architect, Joshua Tetley & Son Ltd.) open out the Saloon and Smoke Room into a larger Smoke Room with the Servery moving into a more central position. The kitchen becomes inside toilets. 1992 saw the addition of several internal doors (Michael Self Partnership, Chartered Architects, Sheffield). Externally, between floors, to the right, is a distinctive moulded cement sign reading ‘Farfield Inn.’ The building was Grade II listed in December 1995.
For many years, the pub prospered as a Gilmours, and later, a Tetleys house. Personally, I recall attending a CAMRA ‘games evening’ in the early 1980s. Changes of name (Owl, Muff Inn) followed, before the building was gutted, and subsequently closed, as a consequence of the 2007 Sheffield floods. In January 2018, the building sold at auction, as a development opportunity’ for £250k. The guide price was £95k. The Auction Brochure described the building as requiring ‘complete restoration following floor damage.’
In February 2019, a planning application was made to Sheffield City Council: ‘Alterations to and refurbishment of Public House, formation of 6 flats on first and second floor, use of existing outbuilding as a workshop and erection of a two-storey building to form 2 workshops (Use Class B1) and erection of associated bin stores.’ This was validated the following February and a decision made in March 2021. The gap of over two years between the original application and the decision from SCC suggests that there was considerable interaction between the applicant and the decision makers.
The planning application was refused. The key reason seems to be: ‘‘On the face of it ….. the benefit of the proposed renovation of this listed building ….. appear to outweigh any less than substantial harm that may arise. However ….. there are inadequacies in the submission (in relation to noise and the impact of the development on the amenities of future residents) which cannot be dealt with by condition which mean that the full impact of the proposals on the listed building cannot be properly assessed and so the level of harm cannot be accurately determined or, therefore, justified.’
This imposing building has been closed for almost twenty years. In the interim, Kelham Island, described by Time Magazine as, ‘one of the coolest places on the planet,’ has slowly encroached. We look forward to seeing a subsequent planning application and the building both restored to its former glory and back in use.