Business News Live Business

The Leadmill landlords have already begun registering the trademark for Electric Sheffield

By | Published on Tuesday 5 April 2022

The Leadmill

Sheffield venue The Leadmill could potentially be rebranded as Electric Sheffield once new management take over there next year, with the NME spotting that the company that owns the building began the process of registering the trademark in that brand back in February.

The current management team at The Leadmill – which has been running as a venue for more than four decades – confirmed last week that they had been told by their landlord that their current lease on the building will not be renewed, meaning they will have to vacate the premises next year.

The landlord is the Electric Group, which already runs venues in London and Bristol, with a third due to open in Newcastle later this year. That company intends to keep The Leadmill operating as a venue, but with its own management team in place.

The current management team have hit out at those plans, saying in a statement on Friday: “[The Electric Group] intend to profit from the goodwill and reputation built up over … 40 plus years. It is a cheap, shabby, sly and underhand way of doing business, by forcing companies to cease trading”.

Electric Group boss Dominic Madden spoke the the Sheffield Star last week defending his company’s decision to put its own management team in place at the venue, insisting that the firm plans to invest in the building and secure its long-term future.

He also told the local newspaper that he hoped the venue would continue to operate as The Leadmill once his team is in charge, because it’s a “music institution”. However, he added, he was taking legal advice on whether that would be possible.

But, in their statement on Friday, the current management team at the venue were pretty adamant that it would not be possible. “The Leadmill brand and name is owned by us and only us”, they said, “without us there is no Leadmill. Mr Madden, stop using the Leadmill’s name to further your miserable mean ambitions”.

But, it seems, the Electric Group possibly has a contingency plan regarding the venue’s name if it can’t continue to operate as The Leadmill for legal or even PR reasons.

The company takes its name from the first venue it launched, that being Electric Brixton in London. And although the company hasn’t sought to extend that ‘Electric’ brand to the venues it has since acquired in Bristol and Newcastle, it might do in Sheffield.

As NME spotted, the group filed an application with the UK trademark registry in February for the name Electric Sheffield, which it seeks to register in the entertainment and hospitality categories. Which possibly means the Electric Group’s first choice would be to keep The Leadmill name, but if that’s not possible it could relaunch under the Electric Sheffield brand.

Of course, a campaign is under way to try to persuade the Electric Group to change its mind and allow the current management team to stay in place at the Sheffield venue.

But if that doesn’t succeed – and Madden didn’t seem in any mood to change his mind when he spoke to The Star last week – then it would be interesting to see if that current team would seek to take The Leadmill brand to another space in the city.