This means you must be one - if not the - oldest industrial heritage
society existing in Europe.
Our association (the Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology - see
http://www.vvia.be) was established in 1978, thus we commemorate next year
our 25th anniversary.
Has anyone information on the dates other industrial heritage and
industrial archaeology societies were established - especially on the
European continent ?
chairman 'Vlaamse Vereniging voor IndustriŽle Archeologie'
(Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology)
At 02:49 13/07/02 -0400, you wrote:
>The South Yorkshire Industrial History Society was founded in 1933, as the
>Society for the Preservation of Old Sheffield Trades and later known as The
>Sheffield Trades Historical Society, therefore, next year, 2003, we
>commemorate the 70th. anniversary of our foundation. The year also sees the
>50th. anniversary of the purchase and taking into care by the Society of the
>Wortley Top Forge.
>The latter was the derelict site of a wrought iron forge operated by
>water-wheel driven forging hammers and furnace blast-making equipment that
>had, since its closure as a forge in 1908, been used as a storage area, a
>stable, and for various other purposes. The buildings were in great disrepair
>and tumbledown. The heavy forging hammers were, although still recognisable,
>overgrown and unworkable. The water wheels were rotten and silted up, as were
>the leats and water courses from the river Don and associated dams.
>However, members of the Society recognised the importance of the site as
>being probably the last remnant of a once great industry, and that the
>remains of the equipment were irreplaceable relics. Money was raised to
>initially lease the site, and then to purchase it, and work commenced, by
>volunteers and dedicated - what we now call - conservationists to renovate
>and preserve the buildings, the water wheels, the hammers, and other
>equipment. Examples of railway wheels and axles were begged from owners such
>as the National Railway Museum in order to be able to demonstrate the last
>use of the forge before its closure - the manufacture of Wortley railway
>It should be said that the Top Forge was the only one of six works that
>straggled the valley of the river Don to form the Wortley Iron Works that
>could be preserved. In total the Iron Works consisted, in 1888, of two wire
>works, a tilt and slitting mill, the Top Forge, the Low Forge rolling mill,
>and an erstwhile Tin Mill with a sheet rolling mill, the earliest of which
>was founded in 1600.
>The Wortley Top Forge is situated about ten miles north of Sheffield
>following the A61 out of the City and by then following the A629 towards
>Huddersfield. Go through Wortley village and turn left at the traffic lights
>in the village of Thurgoland. The Forge lies on the left after passing under
>the disused railway bridge. We open the Forge to visitors on every Sunday
>between the hours of ten am. and four pm. except in January when we close for
>Much work and money, equivalent to almost £1,000,000, has been spent upon the
>preservation of the Top Forge. The site now forms a very unique, true, and
>'working' restored heavy iron forge housed in period buildings with attached
>workshops, workmen's cottages, water courses, and dam.
>The aims of the Society, and the Trust that is responsible for its
>management, is to preserve the Forge, install and preserve examples of later
>forging techniques and machinery, and to enable the site to become an
>educational and heritage centre for an old South Yorkshire industry and
>associated Sheffield trades. In March 1994 the Institution of Mechanical
>Engineers presented a Heritage Hallmark Plaque to Wortley Top Forge.
>We are conscious that the site lacks the modern amenities required by a 21st.
>century Museum Site of importance. Toilets are antiquated, a visitor centre
>and refreshment facilities are now a 'must'. Improved, and discreet
>explanation and interpretation boards are necessary. And these must be paid
>for. We are, therefore appealing for funds and donations.
>But, more importantly, volunteers are also desperately needed, to act as
>guides, to dismantle, renovate, and rebuild donated equipment, operate
>machine tools, do some bricklaying and other building work for maintenance.
>Attendance is required for several fixed Sundays a year, or for every Sunday
>if people could spare the time. Skills are not necessary in every case,
>although people with specialist skills and knowledge will be more than
>welcome. Heavy lifting equipment and carrying vehicles are available on site
>and these are maintained and insured, as, indeed are all our visitors and
>volunteers. Volunteers are also invited to carry out an ecological
>investigation of the site, its surrounding woodland, its field, dam, and
>water courses. The last one undertaken was held more than twenty years ago by
>a local naturalist but his records have been mislaid.
>We currently have just over 2000 visitors a year the majority of whom are
>ordinary people, two or three hundred come as organised trips from learned
>and interested bodies and societies, and we hope to attract more, especially
>children and teenagers from local schools and colleges.
>What we are looking for is publicity, especially in the run-up to our
>jubilee's year We are a volunteer organization looking after an
>internationally recognised Heritage site and an important industrial relic.
>Please can you help us?
>Yours very sincerely,
>Christopher C. Morley
>President, South Yorkshire Industrial Hstory Society.