In 1874 a plan was produced by the Sheffield architects, Innocent and Brown, for the laying out of Leopold Street and the realignment of Church Street and Bow Street (now West Street). In 1876 the area between Orchard Lane, West Street, Orchard Street and Balm Green was covered by a huddle of old houses in two streets now gone (Smith Street and Sands Paviours). This site was bought by the Sheffield School Board (SSB) for building the Central Schools and offices for themselves. At this time, Mark Firth (of steel fame) was interested in founding an Adult Education College which he intended should become a University College, so the Board sold him part of the site at the corner of West Street. The new building, called the Firth College after it's benefactor, was opened by Prince Leopold (hence Leopold Street) in 1879.
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