A Brief History of the Burton Street Foundation
The Burton Street Foundation has been serving the community for over 130 years. It opened as Langsett Road Board School with great ceremony in 1879, the last of Sheffield’s Board Schools to be built. Originally comprising of the Burton and Langsett buildings, it was designed to accommodate 960 scholars at a total cost, including purchase of the land, of £14000. The Capel building was added in 1885 and Langsett extended in 1913, and the school was then able to accept 1500 pupils.
The streets around the school were densely populated and characterised by terraced housing. In the late 1960s, it was decided that most of this housing was in poor condition and the demolition started. The area began to change into what is familiar to us now- small business units and areas of wasteland. As families moved away, the school intake dropped dramatically and the decision was made to close Langsett Road Middle School in 1976. The Education Department renamed it Langsett Music Centre for a while, with children travelling from all over the city for music lessons.
In the mid 1990s, these important Victorian buildings were threatened with demolition. Local residents mounted a campaign to save them because of the level of affection in which they were held, and the Burton Street Project was born.
In 2000, a short oral history project was carried out at Burton Street, resulting in the publication of a booklet called ‘Down Our Street’. Building on the interest raised by this, the Burton Street Community History Project was created with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Between 2003 and 2007, over 400 photographs of the school and local area were collected and scanned and 20+ oral history recordings made.
Relaunched as the Burton Street Foundation (BSF) in 2007, the organisation is now well known and respected as a provider of services for adults and young people with learning disability and physical disability. It is also significant as a home to dance groups, musicians, drama groups, sports clubs and a growing number of small businesses. The Burton Street site has undergone many changes during its lifetime and continues to evolve but is once more a happy, lively and thriving part of the community.
Community History Project