Friday 27 March 2015

It’s the place to go for shoppers seeking one-off antiques and original designs.

And now Sheffield Antiques Quarter has been put on the map with new brown signs to illustrate its cultural significance.

The quarter, home to six antiques centres and several independent shops, takes in parts of Abbeydale Road, Broadfield Road, London Road and Queens Road, including a riverside walk along the Sheaf.

The aim of the signage, as well as new public art and banners, is to raise the profile of the successful and growing antiques quarter, which is home to independent traders selling everything from antiques, retro and vintage items through to military memorabilia and artwork.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “The thriving antiques quarter attracts browsers and shoppers from not just across Sheffield, but from much further afield, due to the quality and diversity of gifts, furniture, crafts, paintings and ornaments on offer.

“This is particularly the case when you see the popularity of the regular vintage markets, which bring a bustling, festival-like atmosphere to these few small streets.

“Sheffield Antiques Quarter is an excellent example of how a group of like-minded people can come together and make a real difference. This cluster of businesses has existed for many years but lacked a profile or marketing.

“Now, thanks to banners, public art, and the new signs, the quarter has a more easily defined identity which can only serve to raise its profile regionally and nationally.”

Information points are set to be established in the area, along with projects from locally-based artists including mosaics, lettering and mural work on key buildings and gable ends.

Banners are currently in the process of being created, and brown tourism signage has now been put up at four key points at the entrances to the quarter.

The idea for creating a designated antiques quarter with its own identity was the brainchild of Hendrika Stephens, now chair of the Sheffield Antiques Quarter group.

She said: “Three years ago, I had a gallery space in the antiques quarter and was trying to get the business to promote itself. I then walked around to talk to other businesses in the area and thought, why aren’t we all coming together?

“The area had been informally known as an antiques quarter for many years, so it just needed formalising. Sheffield City Council were very supportive and it all went from there.

“The area covered by the Sheffield Antiques Quarter goes all the way up to Abbeydale Road’s junction with Plymouth Road at one corner, another corner is the Sheffield Auction house in Chesterfield Road, another corner at Haggler’s Corner in Queen’s Road and the final one is near the Rude Shipyard café in Abbeydale Road.

“The quarter is therefore quite big and there is plenty of room for new businesses to start up and thrive. Just since we started, we’ve seen 20 to 25 new businesses open up on Abbeydale Road alone. The antiques quarter has a really positive impact on the local economy.”

Ms Stephens said that support from local businesses and the community, as well as local artists and the Council, is crucial.

She added: “The brown signage element, paid for by the Council, has put a stamp on Sheffield Antiques Quarter that makes us a destination now and for the future.

“The signs make the point that the quarter is here, it’s a destination, we’re proud of it and we want to keep it here.”

Councillor Nikki Bond, ward councillor for Nether Edge, has been heavily involved with the project and says she is thrilled to see it come through to fruition.

She said: “The past couple of years have seen a fantastic resurgence in the Abbeydale corridor, with lots of wonderful independent shops.

“Due to the hard work of the members of the antiques quarter group, and particularly Hendrika Stephens as chair, it has gained a national and international reputation for shopping for antiques.

“Nether Edge councillors are proud to support the development of the quarter and have allocated funding from the ward pot to demonstrate this. We are excited about the signs that really put the quarter on the map as a great destination to visit.”

More information on the Sheffield Antiques Quarter is available on the website here: