Rear Extension; Now Site of Ruskin House

Opened May 1885; Demolished in 1890s to Build Ruskin House (Photograph, March 2009).
Early photograph of Ruskin House [Image s05904 from the collections in Sheffield Local Studies Library, used with kind permission]
Rear Extension

A rear extension was added to the Museum property in May 1885. This allowed Ruskin to exhibit many more items, including J. W. Bunney's large canvas, Western Façade of the Basilica of San Marco, Venice (1877-1882).

The extension stood on land behind the original cottage. Its form can be made out in the 'Exterior' photograph of the Museum, as well as in the engraving on the Homepage. It is not known whether the extension stood independently, or whether there was direct access to the building from the cottage interior.

The latter possibility might account for the redundant lintel and blocked up door visible on the exterior wall of the pantry (see modern photograph of the kitchen rear). This structure appears with a lean-to glass roof in the early photograph of Ruskin House

The practical difficulties involved in leading visitors through the kitchen to the extension suggest that access was obtained by some other means. The extended kitchen wall was probably the product of later building work (associated with the construction of Ruskin House), rather than of work on the rear extension.

Copyright Marcus Waithe, 2009; with thanks to John Smith, landlord of Ruskin House

More research on the building is required to answer these questions definitively.

Sale of Cottage

The cottage at Walkley was sold by the Guild in 1895. The rear extension was demolished, and the cottage rebuilt as a training home for young women, called Ruskin House.

At this point, the building was reorientated so that its main entrance faced southward, on to Bole Hill Road. Henceforth, the building was listed as an address on Bole Hill Road, rather than Bell Hagg Road where it was originally sited.

Sale of Land

Four small plots of land near the Museum were sold in 1905 (Works, 30, p. xxvi). Further land was sold off for development later in the century. With the construction of new homes, Bell Hagg Road has ceased to be accessible from the old cottage front.

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