Once a jewel in Sheffield’s crown, a magnet for would be artists, designers, jewellery makers and film directors from all over Britain, it was swallowed up by Sheffield Poly, soon to become Sheffield Hallam University who took the decision, in 2008, to close it.
And close it they did. After years of rumours that its demise was imminent, it finally shut its doors in the summer. A skeleton of staff stayed on, moving stuff out for re-use down at the City Campus, tidying up admin loose ends until finally, in early September, the last handful of people walked out and the doors closed for the final and time. Contractors came and cut off the water and gas, though electricity remains for now.
With the removal of water and gas, the heating system, which for decades had kept the leaky buildings warm and dry, was dead. The interiors cooled down slowly, and the persistent, encroaching moisture, damp and drips from leaky rooves found itself unopposed.
So what is Psalter Lane like now? If you love the place, have fond memories of it, and decry the way it’s been cast aside by the overlords of Hallam Uni, you may find some of these scenes distressing.
To begin, I had a walk around the exterior, looking for obvious ways in. A few months ago, you were hard pressed to get a parking spot on the car park. Now, it lay empty, but for a few vans belonging to asbestos contractors working in the old substation on the edge of the car park..
Update: Was January 2010 when i was last there. Psalter Lane has been dead for 18 months. Over the past few weeks, a company have been employed by the university to remove all non-fixed items from the buildings. So that means that everything you see in these photos; all the benches, furniture, artwork, tools, everything that isn’t bolted down, has been taken, most of it skipped, broken and nor lost forever. Most of it I guess isn’t important, but what of the old victoriant press in E Block? Sledgehammered to manageable chunks of cast iron and weighed in as scrap? Probably.
Over the Yuletide holidays, a gang of people who knew exactly what they were doing broke into the buildings and methodically stripped it of lead and copper and anything else of use or value. The on-site security presumably slept through it. Is it any different to the methodical stripping-out already described? Other than sanction, I don’t see much, and at least those removing the scrap metals were making some use of their spoils, not just breaking, burning or burying them.
In May, demolition and contractors have moved in. Everything will is going, except A Block, the original college building. I might have a chance to get on site before that happens. If I do, I’ll try and take some photos.
Here are some images..