Sheffield Cathedral's nave has been much extended over the centuries. The main part of the nave which you see today was rebuilt in Victorian times; however the roof lines high up towards the east of the nave show us that the nave has been altered several times over the centuries. The word 'nave' comes from the Latin word 'navus' from which we also get the word 'navy' as this is where the faithful make their journey of faith; the ceiling is often said to resemble the upturned hull of a ship.
The West End of the nave is of modern origin. In the 1960s it was rebuilt in order to allow more light in to the building and a Narthex entrance was added (which now houses the Cathedral shop). Most notable was the addition of a Lantern Tower which can be seen from the outside and a stained glass window of abstract design intended to let the light stream through, again symbolising the Christian journey through life. The original stained glass by Keith New was replaced in 1998 by the current design by Amber Hiscott. The wooden structure represents Christ's Crown of Thorns and the colours symbolise humanity's struggle and conflict (blue and violet) transformed through the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit (gold and red) into healing and growth (green). It is a spectacular feature drawing people towards the centre of the West End.
The glass door leading out from the nave opposite the entrance leads to the 1554 Gallery and Community Resource Centre. This extension to the Cathedral was opened in 2007 and provides educational and cultural resources for community groups, visiting school groups and city businesses. On the lower floor is the Cathedral Archer Project which provides food, medical care and practical support to the city's adult homeless and vulnerable.
The 1554 Gallery is named to recognise the generosity and support given to the Cathedral by the Church Burgesses. Founded in 1554 by Queen Mary I, the 'Twelve Capital Burgesses and the Commonality of the Town and Parish of Sheffield' are a body unique to Sheffield and continue to generously support the Cathedral and other Sheffield charitable causes.
Above this door is a stained glass window depicting the Acts of the Apostles and featuring Saints Peter and Paul, the Patron Saints of the Cathedral. It was given in 1881 by Sir Henry Watson of Shirecliffe Hall in memory of his parents.
At the West End is the new stainless steel font designed by Brian Fell who also made the steel 'Sheffield Nativity'.
The light oak benches in the nave were installed in 2014 replacing the dark Victorian ones which had worn out. They are easily moved and stacked thus enabling the nave to be used as a flexible space which welcomes regular concerts, functions and recitals.
The walls of the nave hold many interesting monuments to notable Victorian Sheffielders and remind us how, during the 18th century, the town's population grew substantially due to the rapidly increasing industrialisation of the cutlery and steel industries and that the new class of wealthy factory owners wished their lives to be commemorated in Sheffield's Parish Church.
Further east down the aisle is the carved Victorian pulpit; the gift of George Wilson, chairman of the famous Cyclops Works in Sheffield who died in 1885. The pulpit is decorated with angels and the carved figures of Christ the Good Shepherd, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Moses with the Ten Commandments. At the bottom of the steps once again we find the figures of Saints Peter and Paul.