Balby Road Primitive Methodist Chapel, Doncaster

Balby Road Primitive Methodist Chapel, Doncaster

There’s not much history about this place available, other than it opened in 1868 as a Primitive Methodist chapel.
(The Primitives were a radical breakaway group of the Methodist church and also had a Top Ten hit in 1988 with Crash).

To make up for the lack of info, have a picture of a banner.


Sunday School 1946

(Photo courtesy of Alison Vainlo, owner of Arksey Village History )

The church finally closed its doors around 2008.

A bizarre game of royal tiddlywinks?

The building has been well-cleared of evidence of its past, in fact the only religious text we found was one page from a bible in the bottom of a box.

A “Spersom” thermostat manufactured by Sperryn & Co of Birmingham

Chapel hat pegs

I usually suck at these window shots so quite pleased with this one


Not the most inspiring of sites, but if you don’t kiss the frogs…



Sheffield Court House

Sheffield Court House

A bit of a history bastardised from t’Beeb and t’Wiki

The Old Town Hall was built in 1807–8 by Charles Watson, and was designed to house not only the Town Trustees but also the Petty and Quarter Sessions. The initial building was a five-bay structure fronting Castle Street, but it was extended in 1833 and again in 1866 by William Flockton (1804-1864) of Sheffield and his partner for the project, Abbott; to cope with the increase in the city’s population (or maybe because they’re all villains in Sheffield)

The most prominent feature in the extension was the new central clock tower over a new main entrance that reoriented the building to Waingate. At the same time, the building’s courtrooms were linked by underground passages to the neighbouring Sheffield Police Offices. (blocked)

By the 1890s the building had become too small again, and a whole new Town Hall was built on Pinstone Street. That one opened in 1897 around the time that Sheffield was given city status.

From then on the building on Waingate became an even larger courthouse and the police court. The law quarter of Sheffield is still based around this area, with the current Law Courts and many solicitors offices in this area too.

It remained a courthouse and police court until the late 1990s when Sheffield High Court and Sheffield Crown Court moved to new premises behind the High Street.

Since that point, the old Town Hall on Waingate has been derelict – so much so that in 2007 the national charity The Victorian Society placed it on their list of most at-risk buildings in the whole of the UK.

So 3 years on, and seemingly no change.

The last entry in Magistrate’s attendance book

Court No 1

Court No…errr 2?


Entrance to the cells

Somehow we never stumbled across the actual cells

The present owners have had the old Town Hall since 2004 but it has stood empty since then.

It is Grade II listed and was supposed to go to auction in October 2008, but when BBC Radio Sheffield contacted the auctioneers they hadn’t been paid their fees so it wouldn’t be able to go under the hammer.

The biggest problem for the Grade II listed building is it’s roof – but as Valerie Bayliss explains, there’s only a limited amount that can be done about it with the building’s owners being out of contact:

“A lot of water has got in. We were told that the worst had been stopped with patching, but with another winter coming up we’re very concerned about the state of the building inside.

“The City Council is as worried as the Victorian Society. They’ve been in touch with the owner and have been trying to get repairs done, such as patching up the roof, but councils cant get owners to do repairs on Grade II listed buildings themselves. They can do the repairs and send the owners the bill, but that’s about it.

“I would encourage Sheffield City Council as strongly as I could to take that course of action with this building; it’s too important to lose.

“It’s big, elegant, one of the most important buildings round here, and we should be giving it some TLC.”

So what does Valerie see as the future for the Waingate building?

“As long as it’s a use which respects the building inside and out and there are people using it I don’t really mind what it is. It would make offices, nightclub, restaurants, a cultural space for lectures and concerts, maybe even apartments – but you’d need a really good imaginative architect for that.

“The current economic climate [autumn 2008] might be the worst possible time to say a private developer or a local authority should spend money on this – but what happens if they don’t?…”

It’d be a real shame if a new use couldn’t be found for this building, but with the even worse economic climate and absentee owners I don’t hold out much hope, just hope it doesn’t detiorate further.


If anybody else visits, please can they keep an eye out for a torch that we lost. Cheers.

Doncaster Bloodstock Sales

Not the most interesting place, but it’s (almost literally) on my doorstep…

As well as coal mines and steam trains, Doncaster is also home to the oldest classic horse race, the St Leger, and so once or month or so is invaded by these beauties

(taken a couple of weeks ago)

and by these beauts in their too-big hats and once-a-year suits (assuming they have no funerals or court appearances)

As a result of the racecourse, Doncaster attracts horsey people from far and wide who come to race their nags, gamble, drink and, as horsey people like to do, buy and sell horses – a small industry has therefore built up around this horsetrading at Doncaster Bloodstock Sales.

As part of the recent re-development of the racecourse, Doncaster Bloodstocks Ltd were asked by Doncaster Council if they would like to vacate the site they had occupied since 1962 and relocate to a site adjacent to the racecourse. Oh, and we’ll give you £850k and only charge you £50 a year rent on the new site. I wonder how long they had to think about that deal!

The old site is virtually on my doorstep and has been nagging at me for ages to have a look round but I’ve kept putting it off as access is blatant to say the least as it borders a main road on one side, a hotel on one and houses on the other two.

But last night I decided to bite the bullet and set the alarm for stupid o’clock so that I could get in under cover of darkness.

The road was quiet and with a quick scramble I was in.

By my reckoning there must be 300 stables here and one looks very much like another so I’ll keep the pics to a minimum.

Bathed in a sodium glow

Each part of the complex is named after a horse, presumably that was sold here

View from inside

In the centre of the stables is a cluster of buildings housing an auction ring, auctioneer’s office, restaurant, bar and various offices.

Doesn’t look like I’m the first visitor since it closed!

Although there was evidence of cable stripping everywhere and many doors had been forced open, there was no other chav damage.

Auction Ring

Parade Ring

Hi-tech fire alarm system

What horses?

Church View, Doncaster

Church View was Doncaster’s Technical College in the early 20th century and subsequently became the town’s art college.

It is currently undergoing refurbishment by Doncaster Community Development Trust to become a centre for creative industry providing studio space to local artists, artisans, musicians plus gallery space, cafe and hopefully a performance venue, cinema etc

I was lucky enough to be invited along to take photos of the early stages of refurb (although a large part of me wishes I’d got in there a bit earlier!)

(A few of the pics are from an earlier roof-topping trip)