Historic building saved for future generations

Campaign chairman Derek Morton at the Portland Works , Randall Street Sheffield.
Campaign chairman Derek Morton at the Portland Works , Randall Street Sheffield.
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A THREE-year campaign to save Sheffield’s historic Portland Works has paid off – and enthusiasts who are buying the building are now calling for Sheffield Council to designate the surrounding area a ‘little mesters’ quarter’.

Portland Works Campaign has agreed a £420,000 deal with John Holland, who owns the Randall Street building, which is being funded through sale of £175,000 of shares plus a £260,000 loan.

The purchase is believed to be one of the biggest community buy-outs of a building in the UK.

But the surrounding streets between London Road and Bramall Lane are home to a total of 11 old industrial buildings housing dozens of workshops and craftsmen, and campaigners are now keen to ensure the rest are also protected from redevelopment.

Julia Udall, a member of the Portland Works Campaign, said: “There are 11 historic works around the area housing a range of incredible, highly-skilled businesses, artists and musicians. It would be great to have the area designated by the council for little mesters’ workshops, similar to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.”

Campaign chairman Derek Morton, a former teacher, said: “The works are of tremendous historical significance being where stainless steel manufacture started in 1913.

“We have had a huge amount of help and support – now we have the cash and loans to rescue the building.”

A total of 300 people have bought shares, 150 just having bought £100 worth but 50 have put in more than £1,000 each.

Portland Works knife maker Stuart Mitchell said: “It’s a great relief that the works are safe. Had the building closed it could have meant the end for some tenants.”

Campaigners are hoping to reopen disused areas of Portland works and attract further businesses and groups.