History Tour of Kelham Island
12 Noon – 15:00
Members and guests very much enjoyed their visit to an overlooked part of Sheffield’s industrial past that is fast developing a reputation for interesting pubs and bars: Kelham Island and Shalesmoor. Chairman of the Sheffield branch Carl Goodman welcomed everyone to the event individually on this hot and sunny day. He handed on to local historian Brian Holmshaw of Sheaf Valley Heritage who led us on a fascinating walk through the old buildings and sites of the area. The first stop was the Wellington pub, newly restored (October 2016) by Neepsend Brewery to an original 1930s style. We then passed by the Titanic Works on Malinda Street with its preserved Crucible Steel Furnace cellars and bespoke chimneys. The last remaining completely intact Steel Making Cementation Furnace in the world was next on the tour, complete with a cap on the top to cover the furnace fire and fool the Second World War German aircraft into not bombing it!
Brian provided a number of archive maps, photographs and reports as he told us about the mass political rallies of the early Victorian years and the bull-baiting tournaments held on the Brocco off Scotland Street on which the debtor’s prison could also be found. The Shakespeare beer garden was a welcome relief in the hot weather, followed by the green and pleasant attractions of the Kelham Island Tavern beer garden, twice winner of CAMRA National Pub of the Year awards. At the Fat Cat pub we heard about the Great Sheffield Flood of 1864 and how it wrecked the area – but left the Fat Cat (then known as the Alma Inn) intact – fortunately for us (see photograph). Finally the group headed back to our tram stop passing by the Green Lane works, Dixon’s silversmithing works and Globe Works, all surviving buildings of the city’s metalworking past. The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and encouraged everyone to join in future Sheffield and District branch CICM events.