Kelham Island: Trend-setting Sheffield area was once an industrial heartland

Sheffield’s trendy Kelham Island may now be full of millennials seeking the latest microbrewery or coffee bar, but it was once a home for industry.

By Julia Armstrong
Friday, 27th May 2022, 10:28 am

The island, which was created in medieval times by diverting a stream to create water power for a mill, was once home to cutlery factories and steelworks and hard working lives.

Now the area’s industrial heritage has been preserved by the arrival of pubs, galleries, shops and eating places and it has become a much sought-after area of the city.

It means that much that might have been swept away lives on with a new purpose.

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A view of Ball Street Bridge in Kelham Island, Sheffield, with three cast iron spans, in 1974

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A lot of the city’s proud industrial past can now be investigated at Kelham Island Museum, which is always well worth a visit (and it has a pub!). The museum is home to the Hawley Gallery showcasing Ken Hawley’s incredible collection from the Sheffield’s tool, cutlery manufacturing and silversmithing industries.

The Riverside pub in Kelham Island, Sheffield, today