CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 3 Attercliffe Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - May 5, 2011

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The Carlton, 563 Attercliffe Road, Attercliffe, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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Carbrook Hall, 537 Attercliffe Common, Attercliffe, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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The Noose & Gibbet, 97 Broughton Lane, Attercliffe, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Although I've lived in Sheffield for a number of years I'm not that familiar with some of the eastern parts of the city, especially Attercliffe. My first impression, and the one that stuck with me since before I moved here, was on an early visit to Sheffield when our car broke down and we were having it repaired at a garage near Carlisle Street. The vision I remember was similar to my vision of Park Avenue in Manhattan, only with giant steel works instead of skyscrapers. Several years later, when I was living in Sheffield and working on a university contract researching the Sheffield Flood of 1864, the images of those steel works became more vivid as I went through pages and pages of claims of lost wages and damaged equipment at works located in Attercliffe.

Recently, however, my image has changed thanks to a couple of Attercliffe outings with my walking companion, Trevor. On both outings we walked from the Victoria Quays along the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal. Completed and opened in 1819 as a transport route, the canal runs through mostly open country for 4 miles, passing through 11 locks. As rail freight and road transportation became competitors, the cargo-carrying barges gradually disappeared and the canalside warehouses went derelict. Today the canal is used by pleasure cruisers and offers great views of wildlife and industrial archaeology.

On our first outing we walked a little over a mile, passing under the railway viaduct and the Cadman and Bernard Road bridges. We left the canal at the Pinfold Bridge at Staniforth Street and walked the short distance to the Carlton. Situated on Attercliffe Road between a tooling shop and a sandwich shop that conceals the Fantasy Locker and First Class Massage in the rear -- the rear of the street, that is -- this former Gilmours' pub dates from 1864 and has a deceptively small frontage. After our somewhat slippery walk we were looking forward to relaxing with a fine pint.

Inside we found a lovely bar with brass plates, silver tankards, ceiling fans, pump clips displayed on the wall, and those amazingly useful hooks under the bar. A pool table is in the back room, and members of the pub's pool team were talking about their next match at Wincobank. I appeared to be the only female in the place on this Sunday afternoon, but I felt more than welcome. A gentleman at the end of the bar was drinking lager, but all the other men were enjoying the fine selection of cask ales as the friendly barman talked to us about the selections on the handpumps which included two White Rose ales and one Empire Brewing mild. Trevor and I both decided on pints of White Rose Best Bitter (4.3%%, White Rose Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire). This is a lovely classic Best bitter reminiscent of Shepherd Neame's Best, nice and cooling after our muddy canal walk past narrowboats and old brickworks. As we sat down with our drinks, "La Mer" came on the jukebox, and my jukebox-loving friend and I were in heaven.

After checking out the pleasant beer garden, where we watched two ladies leave the massage parlour and drive away, we went back inside as the jukebox was playing "I Get A Kick Out Of You". Andrew joined us at that point, and we all ordered pints of White Dragon (3.8% ABV, White Rose), similar to the Best but lighter and hoppier and equally lovely. As Jarvis Cocker came on the jukebox singing about a road not far from here, we talked about alambic brandy and good butchers -- Andrew and Trevor, that is, as I wouldn't have a clue about good meat. As they chatted away about sausages I found myself close to tears musing on the absolute perfection of my pint. The Carlton is truly a hidden cask-ale gem.

A couple of weeks later we did another canal walk, this time walking a mile further in much less muddy conditions past the Don Valley Stadium and under the Supertram bridges, leaving the canal just before the first set of locks in Tinsley to visit two historic pubs in Attercliffe Common. The truly impressive Carbrook Hall has a history dating from 1176 when there was a simple timbered structure on the site. Although several sources quote different years, at some point in the 17th century the building became a residence for Thomas Bright, and the present building on the site dates from Elizabethan or early Jacobean times. The residence passed through several generations of Brights, including Thomas' grandson John, a soldier in Cromwell's army who fought for Parliament during the English Civil War and was appointed Governor of Sheffield Castle. After John died in 1688 the house passed through several families, finally becoming a coaching inn and then a public house.

As we walked into the pub we felt as if we'd stepped centuries back in time. The interior of the pub is breathtakingly gorgeous and ancient. The centre room is decorated with period wallpaper and lots of relics on the walls: a pike, a musket, a shield, Civil War-era pottery and statuary. Suddenly, at the same moment Sonny and Cher came on the sound system, we noticed the mirror disco ball hanging from the ceiling, surrounded by coloured fresnels, and we were momentarily yanked back into the present. But we immediately returned to our time travel as we entered the room on the right which is definitely the most brilliant pool table room I've ever seen, a former brewhouse and kitchen with a wall-length stone hearth and what appeared to be a wishing well but was probably a bread oven.

The other room to the left of the main room is the Oak Room, a large banquet room with a corner bar, a suit of armour, an elaborately carved oak mantelpiece, a gorgeous coffered plaster ceiling, and paintings lining the dark oak-panelled walls of noted men. I kept expecting the King or the Queen to walk in any minute.

Carbrook Hall is reportedly the most haunted pub in Sheffield, with Colonel John Bright making regular appearances. Sadly there is no cask ale available at the pub, and our pint and a half of San Miguel was a steep £4.75. But the food menu looks really nice and includes various steaks and seafood, and it would be a real experience having a meal in the Oak Room. If John Bright haunts the place, perhaps King James or Queen Elizabeth I would join us.

The garden is something to experience as well, with a cricket pavilion, a gazebo, a koi pond with fountain, and lots of tables and an outside bar. Also in the garden is a table football machine with several headless players, quite appropriate for a haunted pub. If I owned this pub, I would ditch the fruit and quiz machines, the flat-screen TV, the piped-in pop music, the advertising posters plastered everywhere, and I would install at least one hand pump.

But I would leave the disco ball, just in case Colonel Bright feels like making an appearance to dance after closing time...

Not far from Carbrook Hall is another historic pub, the Noose & Gibbet. Sadly this is another pub with no cask ale and no decent European lager, and our two bottles of Beck were a whopping £5.20. But the pub is interesting because it's close to where the last person to be hanged in Britain was gibbeted. In 1791 Spencer Broughton, a farmer from Sleaford in Lincolnshire, robbed the Sheffield & Rotherham Mail Train along with his companion John Oxley. Broughton was arrested several months later in London, tried at York, and executed by hanging in April 1792. After his death his body was displayed in a gibbet, or wire cage, as it gradually decayed, which in this case took 36 years until his bones crumbled and dropped from the gibbet's chains. The gibbet was found in 1867 during an excavation, and you can see it hanging in front of the pub displaying hopefully what isn't a real dead body. It certainly doesn't smell like it.

The Noose & Gibbet offers meals, accommodation, and a covered and heated smoking area.

Carlton Updates
(Last updated 24 February 2019)