logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 26 November 2002.





The Osborn Mystery

Osborn House, a large building set on a slope above Burngreave Road, was sold at auction by Sheffield City Council on 22nd October for £100,000 to an unknown buyer.

Built in late Victorian times as a gentlemen’s club, it contains a magnificent room, known as the billiard room, which boasts a large fireplace, with a chimney piece of dark wood, inlaid with beautiful designs. Local residents are bidding to have it listed as a building of architectural interest. Preservation orders are to be placed on the trees in front of it.

Many local residents remember this impressive building well, as they attended playgroups run in its large rooms, and feasts prepared in its kitchens. They are shocked that such a valuable community asset should be sold off by the Council.

The Messenger has discovered that Osborn House functioned as a children’s home until 1997. Before that its extensive grounds included the land where St Catherine’s Church Hall now stands. It was bequeathed by a former owner in 1943, but to whom? Documents disclosed by the Council state that ‘the Seller (i.e. the Council) is unable to deduce title to the property. The property is sold with no title guarantee.’ This suggests that they can’t find the deeds. Have they lost them, or did they never have them?

If anyone can enlighten us about the Osborn family (believed to be the builders of the house) or how it came to be in the hands of the Council, the Messenger would be delighted to hear from them.

After the long neglect of other nearby architectural gems which are the responsibility of the Council, including the Cemetery Chapels and the Vestry Hall, many people are bitter about the way the Council is treating the fine buildings that could be renovated as showpieces to spearhead regeneration, rather than sold off or left to fall down.
Which will be next to come under the hammer?

Silver Works - also known as Lion Works - on Spital Hill was also sold for £150,000. Let’s hope that this fine but badly damaged building will now be renovated so that when you come up Spital Hill from town, you no longer feel you’re entering a war zone.



Osborn House.
Osborn House plaque.