A place to call our own - Joi Polloi

An office move that is a physical manifestation of change. A declaration of Joi Polloi’s intent for future plans, hopes and ambitions.


The volume and timing of changes here at Joi Polloi are both exciting and challenging.

We have recently taken the step to outwardly express our love for and specialism in digital services to the television, media and cultural industries. This is a milestone in our progression as a company, allowing us to be far more focused in our pursuit of like minded partners and collaborators. Our new micro site, reflects this positioning and will continue to be developed over the coming months.

Personnel changes have seen an influx of talented individuals. Amongst the additions are Liz Wheat and Shay Moradi who join the producer team. We have also bolstered the development team with superb additional Front End, React Native and PHP developers.

It’s a really busy time for Joi Polloi, there’s myriad things happening in terms of internal structure and organisation. Some extremely exciting projects are in production which we absolutely can’t wait to share news on (more about those to come…).

So, we need space where we can continue to change and evolve into what we want to become. A force to be reckoned with in the digital landscape, the obvious first choice for television, media and cultural industries to partner, collaborate and build relationships with. Not just here, but internationally.

A new space, one fitting for such ambition is what we seek.


Sheffield isn’t brimming with commercial office space. The two universities have a ferocious appetite for development, collectively pouring vast amounts of funds into central areas in the pursuit for more educational, recreational and residential infrastructure.

Sheffield Hallam University — Charles Street Building

Investment has been both positive and negative; improved university infrastructure a given, architectural merit less so. Nothing epitomises this juxtaposition more than the loss of the stunning Jessop Hospital to the University of Sheffield’s The Diamond. The former a Victorian and Edwardian building of notable merit, the latter a nominee as Worst UK Building. A permanent loss for the city and an inditement of the planning office.

The Edwardian wing of Jessop Hospital before demolition in 2013 and The University of Sheffield’s The Diamond which replaced it

Along with private investment (and seemingly endless student accommodation) and the occasional huge office (you’ll find the likes of SkyBet, Jet2 and the Home Office occupying those); buildings that have history, a narrative and character are in decline.

There are of course business centres, nondescript boxes and soulless new builds but they don’t align with who we are or what we strive to be.

And so the challenge was as clear as it was difficult; we needed to find a diamond (not the one above) in the rough.


A sense of work being done, creative legacy and tangible purpose are characteristics that align with the work we do and how we do it. To be amongst these would be all the more satisfying.

Whilst high growth is not on our radar (better, not bigger), more space would certainly help us be better. We long for bespoke and varied work spaces. Areas to collaborate or find solace, public and private, loud and quiet. Places to do and places to think, we require both. And a vibrant location that has life, energy and diversity reflective of our own.

Months of searching, discussing and plotting (with some good fortune), we found one building that may just fit the bill.

The building that time forgot

Lost and abandoned — Grade II listed Wharncliffe Works stands in and amongst ruin and regeneration. The building was raised in 1861 for Steel & Garland, manufacturers of stoves, grates and fenders until 1901. However, more recent occupiers have been limited to pigeons, rodents and urban explorers.

For years we’ve passed the works in Kelham Island (home to famous pubsindustrial museumsmakers and creators, in an up-and-coming former industrial area just within central Sheffield.

Kelham Island — old and new

Council, heritage and ‘anarchist’ intervention were seemingly the saving grace that forced the previous owner to sell the property. And there it stood for tender, unwanted for many years until last 2017.

Established some 70 years ago in Sheffield, space creators Henry Halls are deploying their considerable expertise to sympathetically redevelop the building into commercial and residential units, all of which is being overseen by the conservation officer. This redevelopment, in particular by Henry Halls, should come as a relief for those that value the heritage of our buildings. Wharncliffe Works will be saved and with us for many more years to come.

Wharncliffe Works

Entering the building 4 months ago with Tim of Colloco, the task before us was evident. The work required was huge, daunting and required investment and vision in equal measure.

It’s difficult to envisage a finished office when the environment is in such disrepair — let alone invest in it — but you could just about see the potential. It could be amazing and act as a catalyst for Joi Polloi to fulfil its potential.

For the last few months we have been progressing, plotting and planning a space within Wharncliffe Works. As of a few weeks ago we agree the purchase and fit out costs. We are now in the hands of solicitors and fully committed to claiming Wharncliffe Works as a place to call our own.

We have just a few weeks remaining of fit out and finishing before we complete our move. I’ll be sure to share images of the new office, A place to call our own, when we are in.