Office Life: Placing Faces from Sum Studios

Placing Faces’ home is at SUM Studios, in Sheffield.

The building itself is a Grade II listed Victorian school. First named Gleadless Road School, then it became Anns Grove School in 1980. Overlooking the Heeley Millennium Park in the heart of Heeley, Sheffield, the school complex consisted of a nursery, infants and junior school, and a caretakers house.

Built in 1897, the landmark building was designed by renowned architect Charles J Innocent. Charles was recruited by the Sheffield School Board‘s and was responsible for the construction of 19 of the 22 schools built between 1873 and 1881.

Grade II listed Victorian school building, with Sum Studios sign on the front.

The buildings and boundary walls were Grade II listed in 1995, being described as “a particularly large and complete example of Charles J Innocent’s School Board architecture”. Nobody can demolish or alter the buildings or walls without consent.

The building was in use until 2006, but then a new school was built nearby and the building became empty. Rain damage was significant after lead was stolen from roofs, and dry rot riddled its bones. Images of the building in it’s derelict state can be seen here.

Derelict sheds, not in use

The team recruited for the development, Heeley Trust, had a vision to transform this gem of Victorian architecture into the heart of a community in Heeley. Following years of negotiations, work started in 2009 to bring it back from the brink of dereliction. Much of the history of the building and the progress of the renovation is documented on their website, and their Facebook page.  

Beautiful period features, such as the pitch pine beams and the curved brick pillars were restored. The stone was cleaned up, new windows in keeping with the Victorian era, and the “girls” and “boys” entrances were showcased again, all added to the buildings new lease of life.

"Boys" entrance to the building, currently not in use

Inside, the building was given a very on-trend but historic industrial feel. Brickwork was left bare. Air con, heating and electricity trunking has been left exposed. The interior design done by the team is what we love. Office life at Placing Faces has a very cool and modern feel, somewhere we love to be able to come to work. There are meeting rooms and open spaces with artwork and sofas, perfect to take a break away from your desk. Having an office that we love, makes our job even more enjoyable!

Industrial open metal staircase, exposed brick walls
Meeting area with sofa and armchair, decorated graffiti wall in the background
Industrial looking corridor, exposed brickwork

We can really “get in the zone” here, ready to find you the perfect job, or worldly candidate! And the best bit….. Kevin comes with us!