Concept

Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

Summary
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is an industrial museum in the south of the City of Sheffield, England. The museum forms part of a former steel-working site on the River Sheaf, with a history going back to at least the 13th century. It consists of a number of dwellings and workshops that were formerly the Abbeydale Works—a scythe-making plant that was in operation until the 1930s—and is a remarkably complete example of a 19th-century works. The works are atypical in that much of the production process was completed on the same site (in a similar manner to a modern factory). A more typical example of water-powered works in the area can be found at Shepherd Wheel. The site is a scheduled monument, the works are Grade I listed and the workers' cottages, counting house, and manager's house are Grade II* listed. The site was used for iron forging for 500 years, although there is evidence of other metal working before 1200. Its early history is intimately tied with the nearby Beauchief Abbey, which operated a smithy (blacksmith's shop) in the vicinity as well as number of mills along the River Sheaf. A 1725 map shows that the fields, subsequently flooded to provide the dam at the site, had been called "Sinder Hills", the cinders referring to the waste resulting from prior lead smelting activities in the area in the 16th and early 17th centuries. However, the "Abbey Dale Works" as such, the buildings of which now form the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, are first formally recorded in 1714 (though it may have derived directly from the "New Wheel" operated by Hugh Stephenson, as detailed in rent books from 1685). Development of the site continued with: 1777 enlargement of the dam 1785 construction of the tilt hammer 1793 construction of the workmen's cottages 1817 construction of the grinding hull 1838 construction of the manager's house 1840 construction of the coach house and stabling 1876 construction of the first storey warehouse (above the blacking shop).
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