A Street Art Walk Through Sheffield's Cultural Industries Quarter
Once home to Sheffield’s Little Mesters (craftsmen of cutlery and toolmaking), the Cultural Industries Quarter is now location to some fantastic independent businesses, small galleries and university buildings. If you are new to Sheffield, then a walk around this quarter will offer a good introduction to the city’s street and graffiti art scene.
This trail should take about 20 to 30 minutes to walk and see everything. It will take you through mostly quiet streets; you shouldn’t have to negotiate with much traffic and social distancing shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember your face mask if you plan to stop off at any of the little independent businesses or galleries on your way round.
The walk starts in front of the Showroom, just opposite the train station. This excellent independent cinema is housed in an Art Deco styled building dating back to the 1930s, so is easy to spot. Surprisingly this was once a car showroom.
The information presented here was correct at the time of me writing this blog post; however, as street art is a temporary and often vulnerable art form some of these pieces may no longer exist when you walk this route. The Cultural Industries Quarter has been undergoing a lot of redevelopment in recent years, which is transforming the area and changing its street art scene constantly.
The photos shown in this post were all taken from this website’s street art gallery, they may not reflect the condition of the artworks today. However, most were still in good condition when I walked this route a few days ago.
Let’s get started…
Paternoster Row / Brown Street
With the entrance to the Showroom cinema in front of you, turn right down Paternoster Row. The large steel drums of Sheffield Hallam’s the Hubs building will be on your right with its colourful nature inspired mural running the length of a low concrete wall.
Keep walking along Paternoster Row which becomes Brown Street. The public space straight after the Hubs had started to be transformed by Florence Blanchard with an amazing colourful floor mural last time I walked past.
As you pass the Site Gallery on your left make sure you turn around to see Paul Morrison’s large mural on the side wall. The metal gates might be closed, but the artwork should still be visible. Titled ‘Horsetail’, this monochrome work was commissioned by the gallery back in 2018.
At the end of Brown Street is the fantastic Rutland Arms pub. It has artwork by the internationally renowned artist Phlegm on the exterior walls. Sadly, part of his work has been spoiled by vandals in the last year. However, the Rutland Arms is an excellent pub if you fancy a pint before continuing. On the opposite side of the road is Jo Peel’s living mural which was created at the beginning of 2020.
At the end of the road turn left onto Sidney Street. On your right hand side you will see a small grey-painted old cutlery factory sandwiched between modern apartment blocks. This is now APG Works, screen printing and framing experts; I have personally used their framing service and highly recommend them. The entrance to their courtyard features some great artworks by Phlegm, Rob Barber and EMA.
Before carrying on, turn around and look up. There’s a Rob Lee mural hidden away on top of the Access Spaces building. This is the first of a few of his murals to be spotted on this walk. Rob is a local artist whose work can be found across the city and often creates geometric optical illusions.
Crossing over Matilda Street, continue along Sidney Street. On your right will be Sidney & Matilda which has some artwork on the walls of the courtyard (viewable when open). On your left is the excellent Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen which is well worth stopping at for some tasty teas (blended here in Sheffield). The food is also very good and there’s a spacious courtyard where you can enjoy your drink on a nice sunny day.
Continue along the road and turn right onto Arundel Street (or just cheat, and sneak across the car park as the next murals should already be in sight). Just after the Lord Nelson pub is HINEink’s colourful fish mural and shutters painted by Rob Lee.
You need to continue down Arundel Street, crossing Matilda Street, passing the excellent Street Food Chef Mexican Canteen, and then across Furnival Street. Don’t miss Peachzz’s ‘Zeus the Blind Owl’ which is just to your left down Froggatt Lane.
As you continue down Arundel Street, on your right will be a mural of a child painting a knife and fork, a reference to the city’s industrial heritage. This mural is on the side of Sellers Wheel which houses the ever popular Tamper coffee. On the opposite side of the road is All Good Stuff, which is great if you want some unique locally crafted gifts.
Brown Lane / Charles Street
If you take a right, just after Tamper, down Brown Lane there are a few decent pieces of street art including a colourful mural by Dala (you will have your back to this one as you walk down the lane).
At the end of Brown Lane, look right along Arundel Lane and if the shutters are down you should be able to see some work by Kid Acne.
Now turn left and then left again onto Charles Street where you will see a mural by Faunagraphic of two great tit birds. Sadly this piece has suffered from some vandalism over the years. There’s another of her murals at the rear of the Red Lion pub further up this street, but again this has been vandalised. Whilst you’re looking at Faunagraphic’s Charles Street mural you may notice that some of the bricks on the building to its left have fragments of graffiti on them; the bricks were recycled from a previous structure on the site that used to have some great artwork on it.
Turn right, back onto Arundel Street and continue till the road opens up onto Hallam Square and the main building of Sheffield Hallam University. On your left is one of Rob Lee’s finest murals, his ‘Now Then Then Now’ piece commissioned by local magazine Now Then. If you stand in just the right spot then the top of the mural lines up perfectly with St Paul’s tower in the background.
From here you can either head down the hill back towards the Showroom Cinema or go up the hill towards the Heart of the City (the centre of town). Whichever you choose if you look down the hill towards the station on your left is a massive mural by Jo Peel on the side of the Howard pub, although sadly at the time of writing construction work next to this is partially blocking the view.
That completes this walk. If you wish to continue looking for street art in the city centre I’d recommend heading up towards the Devonshire Quarter with Division Street running through the centre of it. Here you’ll find more murals by Phlegm, as well as works by Pete McKee, Tellas and Trik 9.