A historic pub interior of some regional importance
Listed Status: II23 Alma Street
Tel: (0114) 249 4801
Real Ale: Yes
Real Cider: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Sheffield
Station Distance: 1300m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Sheffield) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
The Fat Cat is a little-altered and typically detailed example of a mid-C19th. pub and former hotel in, what was, an industrial quarter close to central Sheffield. It has an excellent original layout: two downstairs rooms, a small central bar, mosaic in the doorway and a terrazzo floor passageway.
The Fat Cat is a little-altered and typically detailed example of a three-storey brick-built mid-C19th. pub and former hotel in, what was, an industrial quarter close to central Sheffield. It has an excellent original layout: two downstairs rooms, a small central bar, mosaic in the doorway and a terrazzo floor passageway. In June 2018, local artist Matt Cockayne (Goo Design), spent three days painting a mural on the outside corner wall.
The pub was taken over by Sheffield brewer, William Stones in 1912 – note the mosaic floor in the small entrance lobby bearing the legend "CANNON ALES". Originally known as ‘the Alma’ after the Battle of the Alma River (SW Crimea) on 20/09/1854. It was re-named the Fat Cat in 1981 when the building was bought, at auction, for £33,750 by Solicitor, Bruce Bentley and his business partner, Sheffield Polytechnic Economics Lecturer, Dave Wickett (1947-2012), becoming one of the first ‘Real Ale Freehouses’ in the UK. In 1989, Dave bought out the share owned by Bruce.
A plan dated 1914 shows a layout of a corridor from the front door with a terrazzo floor, a small public bar on the right, a small smoke room at the rear, and a tap room on the left. A plan dated 1941 details changes by Wm Stones brewery (architects Wigfull, Inott and Ridgeway, Sheffield) which include the amalgamation of the two small rooms on the right into a U-shaped public bar with a new servery and the blocking-up of the corner entrance door. The present layout is little changed since 1941.
The bar fittings in the public bar are mostly from 1941 such as the left hand mirrored back fitting. The wood around the staff entrance to the servery plus the half-height door and shelving is also old. In 1981 there were changes to the servery with a canopy including coloured glass over, and a clock under, also a rounded pediment was added – this is believed to be a payment settling kiosk brought from a Co-op butchers in Rotherham. Counter tops are recent.
There is a Victorian green tiled, cast iron and wood surround fireplace at the rear, fixed seating (date?) at the front. Between 1941 and 1982 doors were added at either side of the fireplace to access the toilets. In the 1980’s, the right-hand internal door which led directly to the urinals was removed; customers were thus compelled to visit, via the corridor.
The tap room on the left has fixed seating that dates from the 1950/1960s and a Victorian style fireplace with tiled base. A 1982 plan shows that the 'Scullery,’ 'Pantry' and 'Coals' have changed into an extended 'Gents,' and a new 'Ladies W.C.' and 'Stores.' The 'Tap Room' has also became the No-smoking room, one of the first in a British pub - this fact was mentioned in the House of Commons by Bassetlaw MP Joe Ashton and therefore recorded in Hansard. The Fat Cat is one of a number of pubs which was flooded in both the 1864 and 2007 Sheffield floods.
On the first floor is a small dining room (originally the club room) with an old cast iron wood surround fireplace.1999 plans (Melling Ridgeway and Partners, Sheffield) show the conversion of the original Kelham Island Brewery into a Visitors' Centre. This was built in 1990 and was the first new independent brewery in Sheffield for over fifty years. The current brewery came into operation in 1999, Pale Rider (5.2% abv) becoming CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) in 2004.