28th September 12
Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust (SIMT) has been awarded £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The funding is for the development of Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet - a former eighteenth century steel works in South West Sheffield.
The focus is on developing the accessibility and learning potential of Abbeydale and to conserve and restore the working machinery of the Hamlet so that visitors can experience a working site and understand how the buildings and the machinery would have been used.
John Hamshere, chief executive of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust said "This is great news for Abbeydale and we are delighted the bid has been successful.
"Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is a place of outstanding historical significance and the funding will allow us to preserve the site and safeguard its future. It will enable us to make fundamental changes to the way people can enjoy and engage with the site and allow us to build a team that is experienced in heritage skills and can provide a sustainable solution to safe-guarding the site's working machinery in the future."
The project is set to transform the eighteenth century industrial works with essential conservation and restoration work. The million pound project will:
• Restore the waterwheels and other machinery (The engineering team at Abbeydale will get them going and then have the skills to maintain them)
• Build workshops for modern day metal workers
• Create a Learning Centre for Children to learn more about the historical site
• Improve disabled access
• Update facilities, creating a better environment for visitors
• Create a new space for the shop and cafe - taking them out of existing historical buildings
• Introduce a community participation project to engage with local people, new audiences and create a new volunteer team.
John continued: "The site at Abbeydale is of world importance and Sheffield is renowned around the world for our Industrial Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund has given the Hamlet an exciting and secure future. The learning and interpretation programmes will be refreshed and expanded into the new spaces which will be accessible to everyone. Machinery will work again and people will learn new skills as well as passing those skills onto others, with volunteers central to the life of the site. This will all help to protect the heritage of the city as well as develop the Hamlet as a sustainable site for many years to come."
Alex Pettifer chairman of SIMT said: "We're delighted to have been awarded the £1m of Heritage Lottery Funding, it is a truly significant success for the Trust. Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is a place of outstanding historical significance and it is important that the site is preserved. Sheffield will be a better place for the protection of the historical and industrial heritage of the City and how it helped place Sheffield on the world map."
The project is in two strands: ‘Abbeydale -‘A new Learning Experience' and ‘Abbeydale - A Working Site'.
Under the first strand, a Community Participation Officer will be appointed to develop a team of volunteers to interpret and improve the visitor experience of the site. The current interpretation scheme will be revisited and changes made to improve access and visitors' understanding of the site. The aim is to provide increased heritage learning opportunities and remove barriers that limit both numbers and means of delivery.
In the ‘Working Site' strand, the waterwheels and associated machinery will be restored to working order by the Trust's own Technical Services Team. The Team will be trained as part of the project so that the heritage skills of repairing and maintaining waterwheels will be kept within the organisation and form part of the aspiration to be the regional centre for waterpower expertise. Workshops will be created so that metalworkers can return to the site and show craft skills that will sustain the traditions of Sheffield.