Canada House has housed many uses in its time. Credit: via Altitude

Harmony Works Trust buys Canada House for £1.6m

Awarded charitable status in August last year, the organisation is behind a £14m project to make the listed Sheffield building a music education hub.

The £14m Harmony Works project will restore and revitalise the 35,000 sq ft Canada House, one of Sheffield’s grandest buildings. Planning consent was secured in 2022, with architect Evans Vettori advising.

Harmony Works will be home to every genre of music and music-inspired culture offering spaces for teaching, practising, rehearsing and performing.

The trust responsible was awarded charitable status in August 2023, and has now completed a deal with retail brand Panache to buy the building.

The Harmony Works project and Canada House refurbishment is backed by multiple funding initiatives, including Government Levelling Up Funds secured by Sheffield City Council to support the regeneration of Castlegate.

Founded by Sheffield Music Hub, Sheffield Music Academy, Brass Bands England, and Music in the Round, the project is also backed by Sheffield City Council, major public funders, the Sheffield Culture Collective, and the city’s universities.

David Hobson, chair of Harmony Works Trust, said: “Our goal is to foster growth and transformation through the power of music. We are incredibly excited to announce that Canada House is officially ours. This is a huge milestone moment for our project.

“We, alongside all our partners, collaborators and funders, have worked incredibly hard to get this far, and we want to say a massive thank you to them for all their help and support to date.”

The project sill support all genres of music. Credit: via Altitude

Harmony Works said it is committed to creating an inclusive music education space that inspires musical exploration, expands horizons, improves wellbeing, and champions Sheffield’s architectural heritage.

Project director Emily Pieters added: “While we’re one step nearer to achieving our long-term goals of creating a more accessible and inclusive musical pathway for the young people and their communities across the Sheffield region, our work here is just beginning.

“With significant support from the public sector secured, we now need the help of our private sector to get this project over the finish line.”

Cllr Martin Smith, chair of the economic skills and development committee at Sheffield City Council, said: “As well as creating an educational and inspirational space in Sheffield, the Harmony Works project will be a major catalyst for change in our city, particularly the Castlegate area.

“It will also help to preserve one of our city’s finest historic buildings and bring forward a plan to transform music provision in the region.”

An Italianate Renaissance-style building, Canada House was built in 1875 for the Sheffield United Gas Company. Over the past few decades, the building has taken many guises, from nightclubs to restaurants, and has more recently been home to specialist lingerie brand Panache.

John Power, managing director at Panache, said: “Canada House was our home for many years and holds a very fond place in our hearts.

“We’re delighted that this special building will be home to facilitating such an amazing project – helping our region’s young people to explore their musical potential.”

Funding support to date has been provided by the Architectural Heritage Fund, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Sheffield City Council, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the UK government, and various local trusts and foundations.

International law firm CMS has also provided pro-bono legal support for the project since 2018.

Harmony Works Trust is now applying for additional funding support from Arts Council England for the next stage.

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