PHOTOS: 175 years of steelworks in Stocksbridge
A special heritage event is being staged in Stocksbridge to celebrate 175 years of steelworks in the town.
The two-day event – Thursday November 2 and Friday November 3 – will feature a pop-up museum inside a vacant unit in Fox Valley shopping centre.
Curated by Liberty Steel and Stocksbridge and District History Society, it will feature artefacts that pay tribute to the town’s rich industrial history including umbrellas, newspapers and magazines.
They are also putting a call out for anyone with items or old photographs to bring them along.
Samuel Fox established a steelworks in the town in 1842. It was at that time a small settlement and he went on to build up much of the infrastructure.
Fox took over a disused cotton mill and adapted it to making wire for textile pins. The business soon expanded to include wire for umbrella frames and in 1851 the company developed the famous paragon umbrella frame.
Peter Hogg, chief operations officer at Liberty Speciality Steels, said: “The steelworks has been a big part of Stocksbridge for a very long time.
“It’s a pleasure to acknowledge that proud past while at the same time looking to a bright future. The arrival of Liberty as our new owners this summer has brought a fresh wave of optimism in continued steel-production for many years to come.
“We’ve been very busy investing in new equipment and hiring people, recruiting and training the next generation of workers to propel us into the future.”
As well as the exhibition there will be screenings of historic footage including a film called Steel Town.
Fox Valley’s retailers are also getting involved – visitors can take a trip around the shops and discover old photographs on display.
Dennis Pindar, of Stocksbridge and District History Society, said: “We are pleased and privileged to be part of this event and will be displaying many Fox artefacts and records from our extensive museum archive.
“Fox Magazines and Fox News are always favourites to browse through and will be available in the ‘pop-up’ museum, together with hundreds of works photographs.”
By the mid-1860s the Stocksbridge works included furnaces and rolling mills. A railway line was built to link the steel works with the wider region.
After the First World War the company became part of the United Steel Companies and in the 1960s the Stocksbridge works was part of the nationalised British Steel Corporation.
Now the steelworks is part of Liberty Speciality Steel and employs 800.
The £50m Fox Valley development was once part of the larger steelworks complex and the names of new roads, buildings and artwork reflect the area’s heritage.
It opened in June last year and today has more than 20 shops, three occupied office blocks and employs more than 800.
The centre is owned by Dransfield Properties which has just received permission for a similar scheme in Rotherham.