Sheffield's Cultural Heritage
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
13th century steel working site, that was operation for over 500 years, now an interactive museum teaching the history of the site and the surrounding area.
ABOUT THE HAMLET
Located on the banks of the River Sheaf in the south of Sheffield, the former steel-working site of Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet dates back to the 13th century, having been used for iron forging for more than five hundred years. Its early history is tied closely with that of Beauchief Abbey, which operated a blacksmith’s shop nearby.
Today, the remaining buildings are open to the public as a working museum, with works and buildings dating from 1714 to 1876. The site is an officially scheduled ancient monument, with Grade I and Grade II listed buildings. The site is remarkable for its authentic preservation of a historical industrial works, with the museum demonstrating steelmaking through the crucible steel process, as invented by pioneer Benjamin Huntsman.
As the largest water-powered industrial site on the River Sheaf, the works were once well-known for their production of agricultural tools, particularly scythes.
The Abbeydale works were closed and donated to the city in 1933, but briefly reopened during the Second World War to aid in steel production for the war effort.
In 2016, the site was restored and transformed into the interactive museum experience it is today, after a £1million UK National Heritage Lottery-funded restoration project. It is now home to an interactive area that teaches the history of the works, and a learning centre with a café and gift shop. It also hosts crafts workshops and classes, as well as multimedia guides and a smartphone app to guide visitors around the site, where you can see real waterwheels, furnaces, forges, blacking shops and steam engines, as well as the workers' cottages and manager’s house – all with real authentic 19th century displays.
The museum has free entry for all visitors, and is open on weekends and Thurs-Sun during school holidays. It is located on Abbeydale Road South, in the Beauchief district.