HISTORIC industrial buildings in Sheffield could be preserved for the future as part of an initiative involving English Heritage, Sheffield Council and owners.
English Heritage has carried out a survey of all 82 buildings associated with the metal trade and identified a shortlist of 20 which are in ‘vulnerable’ condition.
The conservation body now wants to work with council officials and owners to ‘explore approaches to bringing key sites back into sustainable, new usage’.
And the news has been welcomed by local history enthusaists.
Howard Greaves, of the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, said: “I think the work by English Heritage is a fantastic idea.
“Sheffield is unique in having such a portfolio of historic industrial buildings.
“It follows the campaigns to save two major sites on the edge of the city centre, Portland Works and Sidney Works.
“I am not sure which sites English Heritage is looking into but you would imagine it would be more of the little mesters’ works.
“It is real a shame that we have lost two other works in recent years, Trafalgar Works and Kangaroo Works, which were knocked down ahead of the Sevenstone new retail quarter, with the land wanted for proposed car parking.
“A lot of the old buildings could be reused in a variety of ways.
“Those which have been converted in recent years have become apartments and officers, while Portland Works is being restored but retaining its small industrial units.”
An English Heritage spokeswoman said: “Saving some of the worst-affected metal trade workshops in Sheffield is a big priority for English Heritage in Yorkshire.
“We’ve already seen what great work can be done by repairing these important buildings with examples like Joel’s Yard, in Netherthorpe.
“And we look forward to seeing what this survey brings.”
Joel’s Yard, a Grade II*-listed building on Well Meadow Street, was once classed as a ‘building at risk’, but was taken over by a private developer and transformed into flats, assisted by a £200,000 grant from English Heritage.
Repairs at the historic cutlery works included reinstating a cobbled courtyard so the workshops are closer to their original state
Portland Works, the first cutlery factory in Sheffield, in Randall Street, Highfield, was saved as an industrial site following a community share issue by a campaign group, which raised enough money to buy the historic building.