Retro: A bygone shopping trip

It is one of Sheffield city centre's best known and most distinctive places, its looming white hulk a constant presence to shoppers and commuters for more than half a century.

Monday, 14th November 2016, 2:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:47 pm
Waring & Gillow Furniture Store (in the former premises of Peter Robinson Limited) and C & A Modes, High Street, Sheffield - 1988

The building recently waved farewell to discount clothing store Primark which has moved into new premises on The Moor.

The building overlooking Castle Square has a long history and has kitted out decades of children, teenagers and adults as well as kitted out more than a few city homes too.

Peter Robinson Limited, Fashion Store, Sheffield - April 1962

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Shoppers have seen many fashions come and go at the corner building as a key part of a once-buzzing shopping area.

Primark was one of a string of well-known retailers to occupy the High Street building – the tailor Montague Burton was originally on that site, but the shop was bombed during the Blitz in 1940.

Fashion retailer C&A Modes started to rebuild, opening a basement, ground floor and part of the first floor in 1950.

Peter Robinson opened in the corner unit in 1962 – The Star at the time described it as the latest addition to the city’s ever-growing list of impressive new shops’ – and by C&A was planning a fifth floor on the building.

One reader suggested C&A should make a return to the Sheffield shopping scene.

Peter Robinson carried on until the 1970s, when it left the corner unit to Top Shop, previously incorporated within the shop.

Furniture sellers Waring and Gillow then opened in 1975 and lasted for about 10 years.

C&A eventually closed in the late 1990s, after which Primark took over.

But a new future beckons for Castlegate, with the council’s plan to bring professional services into the block between the magistrates’ court and the tram lines.

Peter Robinson Limited, Fashion Store, Sheffield - April 1962

There is also hope the ruins of Sheffield Castle could be turned into some sort of attraction, to work alongside the Old Town Hall as heritage sites within a new business district.

And with few major retailers left in the area, Sheffield Council’s plan to turn Castlegate away from shopping is now gathering pace.

Since the closure of Castle Market, Sheffield Council has made little secret of its desire to streamline the city centre shopping experience.

The redevelopment of The Moor, with the new Primark and cinema adding to the Moor Market, pulls focus away from Castlegate, and the retail quarter will eventually bring most shoppers to the south end of Fargate.

One reader suggested C&A should make a return to the Sheffield shopping scene.

So take a look back at the history of the building and jog your memories!