Castlegate Festival image with Vulcan illustration

Castlegate Festival 2019
A Celebration of Castlegate’s Past, Present and Future

Welcome to the third Castlegate Festival ! This years festival celebrates the rich heritage of Sheffield’s oldest quarter but  also looks forward to its exciting future, highlighting the exciting  new businesses, bars and creative spaces which are  springing up in refurbished buildings and the new public spaces currently under construction. Of course theres much more still to do but if you haven’t been here for a while perhaps it's time to explore Castlegate again?

The festival has been produced by the Castlegate Partnership which brings together local businesses and arts organisations, the two universities, the Friends of the Castle and Old Town Hall, the Sheaf and Porter Trust, Canal and Rivers Trust and the Council to shape and support the regeneration of the quarter.

Photo of Old Town Hall Sheffield
Photo of people playing drums on Exchange Street Sheffield
Photo of Escape Festival on Exchange Street Sheffield

6-7 September
Sturike Comedy

Experienced Sheffield improv troupe Sturike Comedy bring their unique free form style to the Local Theatre, creating an on-the-spot sketch show of scenes inspired entirely by audience prompts. Sturike’s scenes range from over-the-top and ridiculous to sublime and heart-warming, and always have audiences roaring with laughter. “Effortlessly funny and brilliantly slick.” Local Theatre, Snig Hill

11-12 September
White Light, White Peak

The award-winning playwright, photographer and poet, Simon Corble, shares an evening of his Peak District experiences:  Encounters with the weather, wildlife and people; some amusing, some thought-provoking and many involving a Springer Spaniel or two. His “magic” poems, are told in a conversational style, like very short stories, as his atmospheric, monochrome images are projected onto a large screen and wild soundscapes fill the air. 

13-21 September
Castlegate Heritage Open Days

Guided visits to Castlegate’s hidden places.

  • Old Town Hall a walk around the historic former town hall, courts and gaol with an update on plans for its restoration and reuse.
  • Castle Ruins, tours by the Friends of Sheffield Castle with the latest on the results of Wessex Archaeology’s 2018 dig and special access to the underground ruins chamber.
  • Castle Ho Co-op , a chance to explore Kollider’s modernist Castle House Co-op Dept Store with its stylish 1950s staircase and top floor including the elegant boardroom and spectacular views over the Don Valley (16 Sept 6-7pm, 17 Sept 5-6pm, 18 Sept 5-6pm).
  • Royal Exchange Buildings the iconic glazed brick edifice (formerly Henry Bryars Stables and later Hancock & Lant), once home to Lizzy the Elephant now being converted to apartments and café –bar (17 Sept, 19 Sept 12:30pm-1:45pm).
  • Terminal & Grain Warehouses, see inside these two amazing historic spaces, stylishly converted to contemporary business use where the canal comes inside the building (21 Sept 10am-4pm). Free - no booking required.

16 September
Lunchtime Walks
(part of Sheffield Walking Festival with Outdoor City)

A 90 minute walk looking at the long history and exciting future of Sheffield’s oldest quarter.  Starts (12:15pm) and finishes (1:45pm) outside Wilko’s on Haymarket. Led by: Simon Ogden, Castlegate Kickstart Programme Director.

18 September
The Hidden Sheaf and Porter

A 90 minute walk tracing the course of the Porter Brook and Sheaf from Matilda Street to Castlegate. Starts (12:15pm) at Pocket Park, Matilda Street and finishes (1:45pm) at Castlegate. Led bySheaf and Porter Trust.

18-21 September
Work in Progress

Work in Progress is a comedy show that will take you into the world of workplace comedies. Based on audience suggestions, our cast of talented improvisers will show you a world of office politics, intrigue and passive-aggressive email sign-offs. Local Theatre, Snig Hill

21-30 September
Concrete Canvas
Canal and Riverfront Street Art Festival

New street art on the Sheffield Canal towpath and on Exchange Street.

21 September
Waterfront Festival Victoria Quays

With Canal & Rivers Trust Music, food, stalls, kayak trips to Ladys Bridge (10am-7pm). Free - details at

21 September
Exchange St Escape - Music and Food

Exchange St /Exchange Place Studios (2pm-11pm).

22 September
Sheffield’s Emerging Waterfront

A 90 minute walk from Kelham Island to Victoria Quays, taking in proposed Little Kelham Bridge, Grey to Green and Castlegate. Starts (1pm) at Ball Street Bridge, S3 8BR and finishes (2:30pm) at Victoria Quays. Led by the Upper Don Walk Trust. Free but booking required at

25-28 September

A fanfic no one asked for, a sprawling eulogy to a deceased robot that wears its fragile heart on its sleeve, a meme made by someone you can’t relate to. A security robot named Steve appears to have drowned itself. This viral event catches the eye of Josh. An obsession is born. But what happens when a fanatic loses trust with what they obsessively adore? Writer and performer Joshua Coates (founder member of Powder Keg) battles with the highs and lows of fandom and the consequences of being let down by what you look up to most. Local Theatre, Snig Hill

12 October
The Big Draw

Childens art event by Guild of St George & Exchange Place Studios. 10am-4pm, Exchange Place.

Sheffield Castle

Explore a virtual 3D model of Sheffield’s lost mediaeval castle. National Video-games Museum, Angel Street, Snig Hill.

The Local Theatre Snig Hill

Sheffield’s newest little theatre has opened in Castlegate in the heart of the city’s old theatre-land, bringing fresh productions in an intimate setting. All shows 7:30pm-8:30pm (Entry £8, Concessions £5). Local Theatre, Snig Hill.

Castlegate's Old Street Names

Trueloves Gutter Street Sign

Trueloves Gutter (Castle St/Exchange St)

Perhaps disappointingly the name seems to have come from a family called the Trueloves who lived on either Castle St or Exchange St. The Gutter part probably reflects that most streets in old Sheffield doubled up as drains, which were flushed periodically by opening the Barkers Pool reservoir, removing debris, dead cats and worse to the Don at Ladys Bridge!

Under The Water Street Sign

Under the Water (Bridge St)

What is now Bridge St was once at a somewhat lower level with steps up to Ladys Bridge and was frequently flooded by the Don – hence the name

Isle Street Sign

The Isle (Estelli Parade)

The millrace or goyt for the Town Corn Mill which formed what became known as the Kelham Island actually ran right into the town rejoining the Don just above the Wicker Weir. So this area was referred to as ‘The Isle’ or sometimes confusingly ‘The Isle of Wight’!

Chandlers Row Street Sign

Chandlers Row (Castlegate West)

For over 200 years the land now known as Castlegate was occupied by slaughter houses and related processes. One of the most important would have been the candle-makers or chandlers.

Castle Orchard Street Sign

Castle Orchard (Castlegate)

The area now occupied by Castlegate and Exchange St was once the orchard supplying  Sheffield Castle which would have dominated the area on the opposite bank of the River Sheaf.

Sergeants Walk Street Sign

Sergeants Walk (North Bank)

This probably referred to the favourite walk of the soldiers who garrisoned the castle although some lawyers were sometimes also known as ‘serjeant’

Water Street Street Sign

Water Street (Magistrates Court Forecourt)

What is now the forecourt of the Magistrates Court was once a narrow lane leading down to the Don at Bridge St.

Nags Head Yard

Nags Head Yard/ Shemeld Croft (Commercial St)

Commercial Street is really a ramp built by the Midland Railway Company in 1870 to allow better access to their new Midland Station. Its construction required the demolition of a number  of narrow mediaeval lanes mostly named after inns or pubs of which Nags Head Yard was obviously one.

Shemeld is an old Sheffield family name and crofts were old courtyards which became notorious slums in the Victorian period.

Canal Bridge Street Sign

Canal Bridge (Exchange St)

When the Sheffield Canal was opened in 1819 it was as the motorway of its age, opening a relatively rapid route for goods and people to Rotherham, Doncaster and the sea, via the Humber Estuary. A new bridge was built over the Sheaf to connect with the Canal Basin. Later the Corn Exchange was built on the right bank of the Sheaf and the Sheaf culverted over to create a new market place, hence the change of name to Exchange St. However this required the demolition of Tennants Brewery which was moved to a site next to Ladys Bridge  but confusingly  was named Exchange Brewery. This name survives in the name adopted by the redevelopment of the site as ‘Exchange Riverside’

Shambles Lane Street Sign

Shambles Lane (off Exchange St)

When Sheffield Castle was demolished at the end of the C17th Civil War the markets which must have clustered around its outer walls gradually took over the site, with the butchers being particularly prominent. Shambles was the name given to streets where the butchers had their stalls, most famously at York.

Castle Fold Street Sign

Castle Folds (Exchange St)

This name has been applied to various lanes around the Castle including Exchange St . It is now attached to the loading bay at the rear of Wilkos which seems a bit sad! However if you look at the big stone wall which forms the back of Wilkos you are apparently looking at stonework salvaged from the Victorian Norfolk Market Hall which stood on the same site.

Pudding Lane Street Sign

Pudding Lane (King Street)

Pudding was an old word for offal – hence ‘black pudding’ – reflecting the fact that King St has been associated with butchers and markets for many hundreds of years, including the Fitzallan Market. The street is believed to have been renamed to the more respectable-sounding King Streey in honour of the coronation of either George II or III.

Castlegate Festival Map

1. Exchange St - ESCape Festival

2. Victoria Quays Waterways Festival, & Concrete Canvas Towpath Art

3. Henry Bryars Stables

4. Old Town Hall

5. Castle House/Kollider

6. Castle Ruins

7. Terminal & Grain Warehouses

8. The Local Theatre

9. Grey to Green 2 (under construction)

10. Kayak river tours to Ladys Bridge

11. RiteTrax Studios

12. Brightbox Arts

14. Bal Social Cafe Bar

15. Delicious Clam Records

16. Exchange Place Studios

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