Retro: Sheffield cutlers and reformers in Fulwood

Stumperlowe Hall cottage in Stumperlowe Hall Road, Fulwood, Sheffield - 14th May 1980
Stumperlowe Hall cottage in Stumperlowe Hall Road, Fulwood, Sheffield - 14th May 1980
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One of many green and pleasant suburbs, Fulwood, is the next stop on our Retro A to Z meander around Sheffield and surroundings.

We’re also stopping off briefly at Forge Dam.

Forge Dam, Fulwood, Sheffield

Forge Dam, Fulwood, Sheffield

The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Fulwood in the early 1870s as: “A village and a chapelry in Sheffield parish, W. R. Yorkshire. The village stands in a vale, under Hallam Moors, 4 miles WSW of Sheffield railway station; and carries on steel and cutlery manufactures.” At that time the population was only 1,801.

The gazetteer records that, as well as the church built in 1838, there were an independent chapel and an endowed school.

Fulwood Old Chapel’s website records that between 1549 and 1662, religious Dissenters who refused to conform to the Church of England services had to conduct clandestine services.

It says: “During this period, Dissenters living west of Sheffield held their meetings at Fullwood Hall, the home of John Fox who, in 1714, had finally been granted a licence for the use of his house as a place of worship.

Hammer & Pincers coffee house, Sheffield

Hammer & Pincers coffee house, Sheffield

“When William Ronksley, a friend of Fox and a Dissenter himself, died in 1724 he left in his will £400 to build ‘a large and handsome’ meeting house. As a result, Fulwood Old Chapel was built in 1728/29 for the princely sum of £75!”

In 1849 the chapel was recognised as a place of worship.

Politician and social reformer Samuel Plimsoll is believed to have attended the chapel in the 1860s whilst he lived at Whiteley Wood Hall.

He is now remembered for devising the Plimsoll line, which is a line on a ship’s hull indicating the maximum safe draft. This was brought in to stop dangerous overloading of ships.

Just up the road to Fulwood is Forge Dam. This place is much loved by families to walk in the woods, visit the cafe and playground and feed the ducks.

The famous cutler Thomas Boulsover, the inventor of Sheffield Plate, a method of fusing copper and silver, was another inhabitant of Whiteley Wood Hall.

Boulsover appears to have been the first owner of Forge Dam in the 1760s. The works probably made saws and edge tools.

By the mid 1800s there were two water-wheels and a steam engine to power the drop hammers.

After it closed the dam became a boating lake and showman Herbert Maxfield owned it for a time. In 1937 the Graves Trust acquired the site and handed it over to Sheffield Corporation.