Peace Gardens

Sheffield, England

The Peace Gardens in Sheffield have the largest glasshouse in Europe.

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- IzaD KasmijaN

Exploring Sheffield's Peace Gardens

Situated in front of the gothic town hall, the Peace Gardens are an award-winning public space that forms part of Sheffield's esteemed 'Gold Route.' Originally established on the site of an old church, the Peace Gardens have evolved over the years into the beloved retreat they are today. Complete with the largest urban glasshouse in Europe, the Peace Gardens featuring war memorials, water fountains, immaculately trimmed lawns, and flowering plants, are the perfect setting for a relaxing stroll through the heart of the city.

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- Ed Webster

The History of the Sheffield Peace Gardens

St. Paul's Churchyard

The story of Sheffield's Peace Gardens begins centuries ago, when the area was part of St. Paul's Church. St Paul’s was erected in the 18th century to accommodate the city's growing population. Built by local goldsmith Robert Downs in 1720, St. Paul's Church later became a place of contention, briefly hosting dissenters before being consecrated in 1740.

By 1938, the Church of England deemed St. Paul's obsolete. Demolition plans were put into motion so that there would be room for an extension of the Town Hall out into the gardens. However, this plan was derailed by the outbreak of World War II.

Left with only the churchyard walls, the space was temporarily christened St. Paul's Gardens, later transitioning to the name that resonated with the city's collective desire for peace: the Peace Gardens, formally recognised in 1985.

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Renovating the Peace Gardens

In 1997, led by a team from Sheffield City Council, including landscape architect Richard Watts, significant redevelopments commenced in the gardens. Water features and a central fountain were introduced among other additions, resulting in the creation of the Peace Gardens as we know them today. The completion of the renovations in 1998, followed by other projects like Millennium Square, was the beginning of major enhancements across Sheffield.

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- Kris Chapman

Farewell to the Eggboxes at the Peace Gardens

The Peace Gardens underwent another significant transformation in 2000 as part of Sheffield's Heart of the City redevelopment project. It was during this renovation that the iconic 'Eggboxes', striking features added to the Town Hall in 1977, were demolished. This marked the end of an era but paved the way for a new chapter in the garden’s history, as a new hotel complex and the Winter Garden were created in their place.

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The Winter Garden at Sheffield Peace Gardens

Adjacent to the Millennium Gallery and City Library, the Winter Garden is a large glasshouse, its impressive glulam frame arching gracefully overhead, which acts as the centrepiece of the Peace Gardens in Sheffield. Contained within the Winter Garden are over 2,500 varieties of plants, which change with the seasons. From feathery ferns and sweet-smelling orchids, to towering palms and tumbling vines, the experience has the power to transport its visitors from tropical rainforests to baron deserts in an instant.

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Water Features at the Peace Gardens

The Goodwin Fountain

The Goodwin Fountain is an elegant feature with 89 individual jets. It is dedicated to Sir Stuart and Lady Goodwin in recognition of their charitable contributions to the local community, particularly in healthcare. Today most visitors to the Peace Gardens will sit quietly on one of the many stone benches near the fountain to watch the water jetting upwards.

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- Rev Stan

The Holberry Cascades

The Holberry Cascades, named in honour of Samuel Holberry, leader of the Sheffield Chartist Movement, flank the entrances to the main area of the Peace Gardens. These eight majestic water features, with 57,000 litres of water coursing through its spouts, symbolise the flowing rivers that powered Sheffield during the industrial revolution and the molten metal that fueled its metalworking industries.

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- Rev Stan

Monuments and Memorials at the Peace Gardens

Spanish War Memorial

There are many monuments scattered throughout the Peace Gardens, which pay tribute to Sheffielders who served in wars and conflicts around the world. Among them, the Spanish War Memorial, near the Town Hall ramp, commemorates volunteers from South Yorkshire who fought in the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.

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- Paul Robertson

Bochum Bell

Further afield, the Bochum Bell, gifted to Sheffield by its twin city of Bochum in Germany, represents shared heritage and friendship. Crafted from steel by apprentices at the Krupp AG Works, the bell celebrates the lasting bond between the two cities and their mutual legacy in steel manufacturing.

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- Monika

Standard Measures

Near Cheney Row, between the Peace Gardens and the Town Hall, stands the display of Standard Measures. Historically used to settle commercial disputes and ensure fair trade, these measures symbolise not only local governance but also early consumer protection. Relocated from St Paul's Parade in 1998, they are a reminder of the city’s commitment to fair trade.

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- Frankie Roberto

Sheffield Food Festival at the Peace Gardens

Every year, Sheffield Food Festival fills the city with the mouth watering aromas and flavours of delicious food and refreshing beverages, as well as filling the air with song as live music acts rotate around the main stage.

Set against the backdrop of the city centre, including iconic spots like the Peace Gardens, Winter Garden, Millennium Square, Town Hall Square, and Pinstone Street, thousands of locals and tourists flock to the festival each year. The large market-style event celebrates the city's food culture, by showcasing the best local produce that Sheffield has to offer.

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Local Produce at the Artisan Market

The Artisan Market gathers local food producers from Sheffield and beyond in one jam-packed space. Here, visitors can browse through an array of fresh produce, spices, preserves, oils, cakes, craft beers, spirits, and much more.

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- Monika

The Street Food Market

What is a food festival without trendy street food vendors, right? Packed with delicious treats from local companies, 90% of the traders at this market are based in the city. Visitors can sample everything from gourmet burgers and wood-fired pizzas to exotic international staples, adding depth to the Food Festival’s offerings.

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- Lucy Harper

Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Sheffield Treasure Hunts - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of England.