Overview & description
Catch a unique glimpse of life at home and at work at a rural scythe and steelworks dating back to the 18th century. Worker’s houses, waterwheels, crucible steel furnaces, tilt hammers and workshops make Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet one of the largest water powered industrial complexes on the River Sheaf.
This Grade 1 Listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument was originally called Abbeydale Works and was main producer of agricultural scythes although other edge tools were also made such as grass hooks and hay knives.
As an integrated water-powered works there are many different industrial features to Abbeydale, water from the dam powered four waterwheels which in turn drive the massive tilt hammers, bellows for the forger’s hearth, giant grindstones and a boring lathe.
Highlights for visitors include the Crucible Furnace, where crucible steel for the tools was made. Built around 1830, it is the only kind in the world which still survives intact. The Tilt Forge was built in 1785 and houses two massive tilt hammers used for forging tools flat. Other industrial features include the Grinding Hull, Boring Shop and Blacking Shop where Scythes were painted and stored ready to be sent around the country and the world. For steam enthusiasts, a Steam Engine built by Davy Brothers of Sheffield was installed on site in 1855 as an additional source of power to the grinding hull, if the water levels fell too low to run the waterwheel.
Explore more about the balance of life at home and at work as you wander through the Counting House where the Works Foreman and his clerk carried out all the administrative work for the site. The Manager's House with adjoining stables was built around 1838 and gives an example of a lower middle class home from the late 1800s, in contrast to the row of Workers' Cottages built between 1786 and 1793 which traditionally housed the forgemaster and his worker’s families. Youngsters can find out more their industrial heritage in our hands-on Works Gallery or enjoy the picturesque outdoor surroundings such as The Orchard.
We bring learning to life with a Living History educational programme packed with cross-curricular themes and activities attracting schools and group visits. Looking for corporate hospitality with a distinct Sheffield flavour? Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet can be hired for conferencing or social gatherings, or provides a unique space for temporary exhibitions or bespoke events.
Families can enjoy an exciting events programme including a ‘Summer Festival’ packed with family entertainment, stalls and demonstrations of traditional crafts and skills. We close each season with our annual ‘Steam Gathering’ of steam rollers, road locomotives and engines in early October. On the third Sunday of each month (May – Sept) we host popular Living History tours of the site. Join Mr Tyzack, owner of Abbeydale Works, and a colourful cast of characters whose tales bring the Hamlet’s industrial past to life.
Admissions: Adults £4.00 / Concessions £3.00 / Accompanied Children (U16) FREE
Free access to cafe and museum shop.
Opening times: Monday - Thursday: 10am - 4pm, Sunday: 11am - 4.45pm (Closed: Friday / Saturday. Last admission 1 hour before closing.)
Now open all year. For Christmas / New Year opening times please check www.simt.co.uk
Facilities available at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
- On-Site Parking