Programme Director, Castlegate Kickstart
Castlegate Quarter was historically the retail, civic and social centre of the city for 800 years but, as happens in many older cities, that function has been gradually moving elsewhere for many decades, coming to a head in the 2010s with the relocation of the central markets to the Moor and the closure of several large department stores and shops.
However the city has been developing an alternative role for Castlegate which combines its rich history (Once the location of Sheffield Castle, seat of the fabulously wealthy Earls of Shrewsbury and home of the imprisoned but highly dangerous Mary Queen of Scots for 14 years), with a new role as an incubator of tech, creative and music start-ups and the focus of the new Riverside Business and Hotel District.
The quarter’s extensive stock of large vacant former retail and civic space is a major asset in this light, allowing repurposing to studio and work spaces such as Kollider, Exchange Place Studios, the Old Town Hall and Canada House.
The recently opened British Games Institute and National Video Games Museum in Castlegate (with a fantastically brought to life VR model of the Castle) neatly symbolises the drawing together of heritage and the new economy in this rapidly regenerating area.
Simon Ogden, originally a historian and planner, has worked in regeneration for Sheffield for over 30 years including 20 in the city centre. He is currently the Programme Director for Castlegate Kickstart. As a strong believer in the importance of the independent voluntary and community sectors in regeneration and he has recently helped set up The Sheaf and Porter Rivers Trust to promote the uncovering of the hidden waterways of the city, with a strapline of ‘putting the Sheaf back into Sheffield’.
An interesting side projects has been the launch of urban caving tours as part of the Festival of the Outdoors and Sheffield Adventure Film Festival to explore the culverted and hidden areas of the Sheaf and the Porter. His vision for a modern urban landscape combining adventure, sport, bio-diversity and climate change resilience is attracting attention across the UK, and his love for the city is apparent throughout everything he does.