Sheffield – Brutalist architecture – Moore Street substation

I think Brutalist architecture is an acquired taste. If you’ve grown up with it all around you as I have, you come to appreciate it eventually.

The name derives from Béton Brut meaning “raw concrete” . The French term is used to describe unfinished concrete that shows the patterns from the wooden planks used to cast it.

Built in 1968, the Moore Street substation has been a fixture in my hometown Sheffield for my entire life, something I see nearly on a daily basis as it occupies a prime real estate location near the centre of town. It was granted Grade II listed status in 2013 so it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Growing up I did my best to ignore the huge concrete bunker, but as I grew older my fascination and appreciation grew. It’s so much more enigmatic than a typical open-air electricity substation. So imagine my excitement then when I heard it was going to be opened to the public for the first time as part of an art exhibition!

I’ll let the pictures tell the story. Click on them to go to a full screen photo gallery.

Of course we weren’t allowed anywhere near the dangerous parts but it was still interesting to have a nosey inside. Many questions were answered and secrets revealed, but not all of them. What was the original purpose of this huge empty room I wonder? Please comment if you know.

Now we’re off to London for a few more bits of Brutalism…

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