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[AUDIO] New building dig tells us all about Sheffield's past

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An archaeological dig on the site of what will become the £30m Sheffield Institute of Education building has revealed some fascinating glimpses of the city's industrial past.

Archaeologists working for the city's ArcHeritage have uncovered units dating back to 1804 on the site of Sheffield Hallam University's flagship Charles Street building, which will house the new Sheffield Institute of Education and some of the faculty of development and society.

Finds include two wells and evidence of a white metal foundry, a carpenter's and a row of one-roomed cottages, as well as a collection of knives, clay pipes and ceramics. The findings have now been transported off the site ahead of the start of building works in January next year.

ArcHeritage's Dr Glyn Davies said that the land, originally known as Alsop Fields, was owned by the Duke of Norfolk and originally intended as land for housing. Instead, it became separate industrial units and latterly, the Brown Street car park.

Dr Davies, who talks about the findings in this podcast, said: "It's a fascinating glimpse into Sheffield's past, when it went from a small town to a huge industrial city."

The new building will be situated on the corner of Charles Street and Arundel Gate.  It will provide a home for parts of the University's Faculty of Development and Society and will house the Sheffield Institute of Education - which brings together the University's teacher education provision and education research.

The building will be six storeys high in places, with several outside terraced areas. A special concertina-style bridge by Corin Mellor will connect it to the University's Arundel Building.

The innovative design of the building also includes a central walkway through Brown Lane (an existing road on the site) which will be fully enclosed by a glass atrium.  The walkway will be open to the public.

Archaeologist Glyn Davies and Sam Twiselton, director of the new SIoE
Findings at the Charles Street site
More findings at the site
The site of the archaeological dig
The new £30m building

Click to view the images

The development includes a 300+ seat lecture theatre, teaching rooms, learning spaces, staff spaces, cafe and reception.

Mark Swales, the University's Director of Estates and Facilities said: "This is part of a £100 million investment in our estate over three years. It's pivotal to improving the student experience at Sheffield Hallam and is a significant development in the heart of the city centre.

"We have worked closely with Bond Bryan architects and planners to produce a design which incorporates the heritage of the local area, but also reflects the forward thinking values of the University."

Watch a walk-through of the new building.

For press information: contact Laurie Harvey in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email