Bid to preserve historic furnace

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VOLUNTEERS from a South Yorkshire history society have carried out a survey of a 300-year-old furnace and engine house as part of a project to rescue the historic structures.

South Yorkshire Industrial History Society is trying to save the Rockley complex on Wentworth Castle estate, Barnsley, one of the few early survivors from the county’s industrial revolution.

Now the society is set to announce its findings and plans for the site.

Society president Margaret Tylee said: “The last two harsh winters have taken their toll on the furnace and engine house.

“We have carried out the first comprehensive surveys of the site and its structures in order to understand them better and to find the best way to preserve them for the future.

“Lots of people visit the castle on the Wentworth estate and we’d love them to stop by and see the industrial heritage nearby which represents such an important part of South Yorkshire’s history.”

English Heritage has been working closely with the project, advising the society on the conservation of the two scheduled monuments.

The furnace was built between 1698 and 1704 to smelt local iron ore, while the engine house dates from 1813 and housed a pump to drain the mine nearby.

Volunteers are aiming to repair the monuments to save them for future generations.

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