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Cole Bros. - Future Fit Design Summit

A design day for anyone interested in the future of this key site in the city centre


1.30pm until 7pm, Thursday 8th September 2022

Channing Hall, 45 Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 2LG

The Sheffield Society of Architects and Sheffield Civic Trust invite you to participate in an afternoon of creative collaboration - How would you like to see the John Lewis, formerly Cole Bros building, renovated at Barker's Pool, Sheffield?


Recently, members of the SSA and SCT, amongst other local and national advisory groups, were signatories of a letter published in the local media, calling for the John Lewis building to be retained, rather than demolished. Laden with concern over its historical and architectural significance, and with hefty concerns about the environmental impact of demolishing such a carbon heavy structure, we believe that there is life in the building yet and its sensitive re-use is critical for the redevelopment of Sheffield city centre. 

This is a rallying call! If you agree, and want your voice to be heard; join us and put forward your ideas to our City Council.



The afternoon will begin with an introduction from the SSA/SCT and guests, to give some historical setting to the John Lewis/Cole Bros building. Following this, the Sheffield City Council regeneration team will present to us the most up-to-date news on the building as it stands. Attendees will then be divided into groups and invited to consider the building from one of a number of topics/concerns which we hope will spur some creative thinking. We will break mid-afternoon for light refreshments, after which groups should spend some time collating their ideas into a presentable format. Proposals will be then be presented to the assembled, which will be documented in preparation for a follow-up meeting with representatives of Sheffield City Council, who we hope will be inspired by the wealth and breadth of expertise, knowledge and passion displayed from our collaborators. 

Who is Invited

We are very keen to attract attendance from a wide range of backgrounds. You do not need to be a built environment professional to join us. If you have an interest in the future of the Cole Bros / John Lewis Sheffield building, we welcome you to join in with a collaborative afternoon of lively talk and design. If you have any questions at all, please get in touch with and we will be happy to answer them. 


Upper Chapel’s Channing Hall, is located in Surrey Street, and looks across to the side of the Town Hall. Located on the second floor, it is accessed via a recessed doorway between the street level shops. Lift access is available. The hall is named after the 19th Century American Unitarian Minister Dr William Ellery Channing, and was designed by Flockton and Gibbs. The interior is in the Italianate style, built in 1881 for ‘religious, educational and social purposes.’


The venue has a level threshold at street level, and the second floor chapel can be accessed either by lift or a helical staircase. If you have any access requirements, please contact us via as we endeavor to be as inclusive as possible. 



Please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies, via Light refreshments will be served and while we aim to be as inclusive as possible we may not be able to guarantee that all dietary requirements are met or that any of the foods are free from allergens. 


We welcome attendance by members of the press, and just ask that you contact us in advance to discuss any privacy requirements. We will prepare a press release following the event, to document the afternoon and our next steps. Please get in touch via to get involved. 

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