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?
- 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.