The history and commemoration of the Second World War air raids on Sheffield
Northend is one of Sheffield’s longest-established and most reputable printers. Their print shop and office took an almost direct hit on the 12th December, but Northend survived to continue printing amongst the shrapnel and broken glass.
Northend was established in the late 19th century and, by 1940, their offices were on West Street. As the coms rained down on the city centre during the night of the 12th December, a 1000 pounder landed right on their doorstep. The explosion blasted part of the building, as well as West Street, demolishing a corner of the building about 20 foot (7 metres) square. A 15-foot (5-metre) deep and 25-foot (8-metre) wide crater took out the ground half in the building and half across West Street. All the windows and many of the doors were blown out, along with part of the roof.
The print room lay waist-deep in water, and would remain so for six weeks. However, the area where the air raid shelter had been created, in the paper store, was undamaged. One of the stone front doorsteps was blasted over the building and through the roof of a nearby joiner’s, without being broken.
On Friday morning, staff began the work of pumping water from the building and finding tarpaulins to make it weatherproof.
The first customer on Friday was the Bishop of Sheffield who read proofs of the Diocesan magazine amongst broken glass.
It took years to fully repair the building. The lost corner was only rebuilt in 1950. Northend came through the Blitz and the war and continue to this day from modern premises near Chesterfield Road.