Developer restores 'leaning tower' in Sheffield's Little Kelham project

Sheffield's own 'leaning tower' has been restored as part of a modern housing project.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 9:09 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 2:57 pm
The restored Green Lane Works clock tower and gatehouse in Kelham Island.

The gatehouse and clock tower at the former Green Lane Works in Kelham Island, which date back to 1860, was so dilapidated that it was placed Heritage England's 'at risk' register.

The building now forms part of developer Citu's 250-home low carbon Little Kelham project. And rather than let it rot and disappear, the firm has restored it to its former glory.

The Little Kelham development under construction.

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But there is one key difference from when the gatehouse was built.

Damage to timbers in the clock house had given it a pronounced lean. Instead of trying to correct the angle, Citu's conservation team strengthened the structure to make sure it doesn't move any further - cementing it as Sheffield's own leaning tower.

Citu managing director Chris Thompson said: “This is just the first phase of bringing this stunning heritage building back to its former glory.

“The leaning clock tower is something that has happened over a number of years and we think it’s part of the building’s charm, so we have made it secure and are cleaning, redressing it, ensuring that it will be a key part of Kelham Island for many, many years to come.

Green Lane Works clock tower.

“We’re looking forward to the next phase of the building’s restoration and eventually seeing the gatehouse become a focal point of the Kelham Island community again.”

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The restored gatehouse will be an entrance to the new community, and will also house office space, apartments and a new bar-restaurant.

Little Kelham.

To bring it back into use, the roof roof and some of the damaged timbers which form the skeleton of the clock tower have been replaced.

The clock itself is also being restored, with new leadwork, cleaned masonry and energy efficient double glazed heritage windows, made in Sheffield.

The tower was once described by architecture writer Nikolaus Pevsner as 'the most spectacular survival of factory architecture in Sheffield'.

Craig McHugh, from Historic England, which provided grant funding for the project, said: “Driven by industry and innovation Kelham Island has been evolving restlessly for over 150 years, creating the vibrant mix of uses and buildings that gives the place its character today.

The Little Kelham development under construction.

"We’re delighted to see that the repair works are underway to this landmark building as part of the latest chapter in the area’s regeneration.”

Funding for this phase of Little Kelham also came from the European Regional Development Fund and the Growing Places Fund, backed by the Sheffield City Region Jessica Fund.

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Green Lane Works clock tower.
Little Kelham.