Kelham Island Museum Wins £428k Bid For A Mighty Future


Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust (SIMT) has been awarded a grant of £428,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards a £512,173 project.

The funding is for the “Sheffield 1916: Steel, Steam & Power” project which is inspired by the River Don Engine at Kelham Island Museum – a mighty steam engine built to roll armour plate for the Dreadnought warships that fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 during the First World War

The project will include the creation of new displays about Sheffield’s major role in shipbuilding, the story of steam power and life in the city in 1916 when it was bombed during a Zeppelin raid.

Alex Pettifer, Chairman of SIMT said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded the £428,100 of Heritage Lottery Funding, it is another magnificent achievement for the Trust. The River Don Engine is arguably the star attraction at Kelham Island Museum and it is important that this magnificent piece of history is kept running, along with the industrial heritage of the City and how it helped place Sheffield on the world map.”

John Hamshere, Chief Executive of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust said “This is great news for Kelham Island Museum. Keeping the River Don Engine, possibly the world’s most powerful working steam engine, in steam is just one aspect of the project. We will be using the funding to tell new and little known stories and enhancing the visitor experience as well as making fundamental changes to the way people can enjoy and understand the Engine and steam power.”

The project will continue the expansion and transformation of Kelham Island Museum that the Trust started twenty years ago through many grant-aided projects, several HLF funded, and the complete rebuild after the flood of 2007. The project will

  • Create a new ‘‘Sheffield 1916’ visitor experience focused on the Engine’s role in armour, ships, tanks, Spitfires, nuclear power and North Sea Oil
  • Create a new ‘Power House’ where visitors will better experience steam power – including a new boiler and viewing gallery
  • Create a new ‘PowerLab’ – a multi-purpose learning space that will inspire young scientists
  • Create a ‘1916 House’ to explore home life and Sheffield’s 1916 Zeppelin raid
  • Collect memories of the River Don Engine
  • Create a new 30-40 strong volunteer team 

John continued: “Kelham Island Museum represents the great industrial heritage of Sheffield and the mark “Made in Sheffield” renowned around the world. The Heritage Lottery Fund has given the Museum another exciting project and secured the future of the River Don Engine itself.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and The Humber, said: “At a time when the centenary of the First World War is being commemorated nationally it is fitting that the unique contribution of Sheffield’s industrial might is recognised in this way.”

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