Set in the heart of Sheffield’s vibrant city centre sits the Wheelhouse’s newest co-working and meeting room venue. Opening in partnership with Autism Plus, a Yorkshire-based charity supporting people with autism and complex needs, the Wheelhouse Sheffield is located in Autism Plus’ beautiful offices in the old Exchange Brewery, a grand relic of the city’s industrial past.
Recognised by CAMRA as the UK’s real ale capital, Sheffield and beer have a long history together. The first reported brewery in Sheffield opened up in 1758, but beer production in the city has a much longer history, with Elizabeth I’s infamous spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, being assured that ‘ales of this district are famous throughout the country,’ as far back as the 16th Century.
The Wheelhouse’s own Exchange Brewery plays a key role in this story. Originally founded in 1820 as the Tennant Brewery, it moved into larger new premises on the current site on Bridge Street in 1843, and it grew rapidly in the 19th Century to become one of the largest breweries in UK outside of London and Burton-on-Trent. The operation was vast, churning out half a million pints of beer a week by 1875; and renowned, winning a coveted medal at the inaugural British Beer Exhibition of 1873. It seems the Tennant Brothers knew the Wheelhouse would be coming one day, as their offices were described in 1875 as ‘very extensive and commodious’, something we can guarantee they still are.
The brewery continued operations through the 20th Century, but when it finally closed its doors for the last time in 1993 it seemed that Sheffield would be losing an important part of its heritage. However, with one aspect of Sheffield’s story coming to a close, another was just beginning, helping the city to become a more diverse, open, and vibrant place for all, when Autism Plus moved into the refurbished offices on the site of the old brewery. Founded in 1986 by parents wanting to support their children after leaving specialist schools, Autism Plus has grown to provide a diversity of services for people with Autism and complex needs throughout Yorkshire and the North of England. Centred on adding value to people’s lives, Autism Plus offers residential and supported living, day opportunities, employment support, and social enterprises. The Wheelhouse is passionate about helping local communities to thrive, and our support helps to provide funding for all the great work they do. Every member who joins is directly helping to support Autism Plus.
We are excited to announce that The Wheelhouse Sheffield is now open for business! If you would like to come and see for yourself in a tour or for a five-day free trial, please find out more here: https://thewheelhouses.com/shared-office-space-sheffield/.