Many thanks for your e-mail. Yes, we are, we believe, THE oldest industrial
heritage society in the world.
We began by conserving the tools and processes used in the traditional
Sheffield Industries - the manufacture of cutlery, edge tools, and the
manufacture of cementation and crucible steel. It was established by a group
of industrialists and workmen with like-minded interests who were members of
the Sheffield branch of the British National Trades Technical Society, a
society affiliated to the University of Sheffield where meetings were given
lectures on the technical aspects of many trades and industries, and made
visits to firms who were interested in demonstrating their processes and
The membership of our fledgling society were responsible for the preservation
of the Sheffield Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet with it's crucible steel making
works and scythe smithy; the preservation of some old tilt hammers, a
waterwheel driven works at the Shepherd's Wheel, etc.; as well as collecting,
and storing, numerous example of the products of the Sheffield trades. And
this was all much before Industrial Heritage was first mooted!
As well as preserving Wortley Top Forge, a hand nailmaking smithy at
Silkstone, the remains of Rockley charcoal fired blast furnace, and the
remains of a cementation steel furnace, all near to Sheffield, the Society
hold monthly meetings throughout the winter with a varied lecture programme
at Sheffield's Kelham Island Industrial Museum, and organises excursions and
walks throughout Britain to visit sites of industrial heritage interest. We
are also represented on numerous national and local Industrial heritage
We are very proud, not only of our achievements but also of our own
Regards, and best wishes for your own 25th. anniversery next year, that of
the foundation of the Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology.
President, South Yorkshire Industrial History Society.