Alma St, Sheffield S3 8SA
Kelham Island, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Shepherd wheel are the trinity of interesting historical industrial sites for Sheffield schoolchildren to visit. Of the three, Kelham offers the most recent history, with exhibits showing steelmaking in the city right up to the present day. Proudly Showing artefacts such as Bessemer converters and the giant-pistoned River Don engine taking from a rolling mill, whose sheer power in operation is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Indeed it is the most powerful working steam engine in Europe, and was created to roll steel plate for dreadnoughts
Kelham stands on a man-made island in the River Don, specifically created for use in the early steel industry, and indeed a water wheel still stands on the site where it once provided power for grinding wheels putting the edges on, and buffering the cutlery for which Sheffield is rightly famous. Today in the museum, you can see demonstrations of edging and die-dropping, and in the Little Mesters Street, dedicated craftsmen still ply a trade making the finest quality Sheffield cutlery for sale.
Aside from Steel making history, the museum exhibits cover other local history including the great Sheffield Flood of 1864, when Dale Dyke Dam burst, releasing torrents of water onto Sheffield, killing 240, and destroying property and livelihoods; and Sheffield’s role in the world words, as armourer, provider of soldiers, and target for axis bombs. There are extensive war memorials, as well as the stories of the thousands who remained in Sheffield on reserved occupation in the steel mills, to keep the engines of war turning.
Kelham island is also home to one of England’s (and therefore the world’s) greatest breweries. Kelham Island brewery, whose excellent brews are on tap at the equally good Fat Cat pub across the road.