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The old Ecclesall library scandal


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Reading about the unfolding scandal developing with SCC wanting to sell off part of Graves Park, reminds me of the story of the old Ecclesall library.


Does anybody have a better memory of events than me? My knowledge of events is 2nd hand, so can you correct or add any details as I think there were? Briefly as follows:


Despite being the most used library after the Central Library, and against much public disgust, SCC decided to shut the old Ecclesall Library at the bottom of Knowle Lane.


(I wouldn’t be surprised if the thought process went something like this; “We need some money, what can we sell?” “I know Ecclesall Library, those rich buggers in S11 can afford their own books, and the land is worth a fortune.”)


Anyway the property was duly sold. It briefly became a pub/restaurant, before being sold to developers.


Meanwhile the upset residents, on further investigation, discovered that the land had been gifted by a wealthy entrepreneur, in trust to the people of Sheffield such that it should remain for benefit of the people of Sheffield. Oh dear, SCC have illegally sold something that doesn’t belong to them.


At this moment you can imagine the sense of victory the residents must of felt. But it was a hollow victory. The library had gone, and developers had bought land in good faith. Any legal victory against SCC would only ultimately be paid for by the people of Sheffield themselves.


In the end a compromise was reached. A new library was built, and a damn good one at that. But lets not forget the actions of SCC as we now fight for public opinion over the sale of more gifted land. Let's not forget what we lost, a beautiful old library building in lovely gardens, and the eyesore we have in its place.


As I said, my knowledge of this story is sketchy, I've tried to google for info but not found anything. So further details please. For example, does anybody know the name of the wealthy benefactor?



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i think that those in the council should have been prosecuted for selling stolen goods- if it wasn't theirs to sell yet they have sold it, it can only mean they've stolen it (from the people)...


this government will do whatever they and get away with it everytime (well, they're in charge aren't they??, they seem to think that because we (the citizens) have elected them to power (to represent our interests) that they can squat over us and give us the brown end of the stick, well it appears that they can, they've been doing it for years and getting away with it, probably because we let them..


in other countries people take to the streets if they think they're being cr***ed on, here, we take it in the true brit way:(..


i still think those that sold the library and are considering off the park should be jailed- it's criminal...



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That's a pretty fair summary of events Obase.


I used to love taking my youngest up there on Saturday morning to changes his books. Then Roses and Silverhill for some cracking bread/cheese for lunch and some sweeties at Chocolate Bar for nipper and Mrs GHS.


Still get angry when I look at the overdevelopment on that site - particularly the eyesore on the corner of Knowle Lane

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The last time the council tried to sell off the Graves Park Nursery site pretty well proves they just aren't fit to be the custodians of land, or anything else for that matter, that was bequeathed to the people of Sheffield.


What happened to the Mappin Art Gallery and its collection of paintings ?

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You sound surprised but really, you shouldn't be.


After all, isn't this the council which wants to tear down the terrace of beautiful shop fronts on Pinstone Street in order that it can build the no doubt plain ugly shopping centre?


That thought the answer to Sheffield city centre's problems was to put dual carriageways around it (Moore Street, Arundel Gate) only to downgrade them and fill in the underpass a matter of years later? And who, alongside the road scheme mentioned above, thought - wisely I thought (and still do) - that the best way to keep pedestrian and shopper away from traffic was to give us underground shopping and walkways (the much missed Hole In The Road)?


Who gave us the ugly eggbox, answer to all the council's space problems at the town hall? Where is it now? It's gone! Another blunder. No excuses, no apologies; they've destroyed parts of the city centre the luftwaffe couldn't reach.


And then there's the Whopper: Sheffield City Airport (but there isn't time or space here to go into this almighty debacle).


Ecclesall Library, like Ringinglow Fire Station has an added merit. One of party politics. Let's hit the affluent areas of town, that'll show 'em! So apart from the illegal selling off and destruction of a beautiful building (I married in Weetwood House, the first couple to do so) the council has basically taken away something out of spite as much as their usual short-sighted greed.


They'd knock down the town hall if it wasn't used as their offices (or trough).

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I think you and I would get on swimmingly over a pint Ousetunes! :)


Anyway, I'm glad my memory of the scandal is the same as others, sometimes I think it beggars belief so much that it couldn't possibly have happened.



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I was discussing this story with my sister over Xmas, and she mentioned a similar incident in Bristol near where they live where the council had flogged land off that was bequeathed to the people. Again, this was only discovered AFTER the disposal when it was too late.


SCC must have known this land at Ecclesall was not theirs to dispose of, and did not consider that the local residents would be so bloody-minded to uncover the truth. How unfortunate for them.


But it certainly makes you wonder how many times has this happened that we are unaware of?


Quite frankly, I’ve now concluded that SCC has got used to being some loose cannon outfit, doing what they want rather than what is right, whilst keeping the rest of us in the dark as much as possible. Spending our money on the legal fees and spin to keep us in the dark.


Well, if we can’t rely on them doing what is right, and we have got to start monitoring their actions in fine detail, then so be it. Let’s start with protecting Graves Park.



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Ecclesall Library, like Ringinglow Fire Station has an added merit. One of party politics. Let's hit the affluent areas of town, that'll show 'em!


Umm... why'd you turn this thread into a class war?


SCC are busy selling off public land on that side of the city too.

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