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Buildings Companies

Kangaroo Works will honour the site it stands on

The scheme comprises 364 dwellings with a mix of 1, 2  and 3 bedroom apartments, which will be built and operated under the Build to Rent (BtR) Sector model.  Commercial space will be provided at ground floor levels, providing active frontages to Rockingham and Wellington Streets. Image: Whittam Cox Architects

Next year, people will start moving into a new residential complex in Sheffield City Centre. When they do, the occupants of Kangaroo Works, a 364 apartment development, will have one of the oddest postal addresses in the city.

Designed by Whittam Cox Architects, with construction underway by Henry Boot, Kangaroo Works is the latest building in Sheffield’s Heart of the City II development. The building, with frontages to Rockingham and Wellington Streets, is designed around the vernacular Sheffield courtyard plan, and provides a stepped roofscape, responding to the sloping typology of the site and forming a transition between the formal city centre and more historic Devonshire Quarter.

The block has a peak of 14 storeys whilst a unique brick façade, taking inspiration from Sheffield’s urban heritage, supports the Masterplan palette and industrial heritage of the original Kangaroo Works site, which the development now stands on.

Kangaroo Works was home to Robert Sorby and Sons, makers of edge tools, later becoming a merchant and steel maker, that had set up on Union Street in 1828 and then moved to Carver Street in 1837.

About 1896 it moved a short distance to this site at the corner of Trafalgar and Wellington Streets.

Former premises of Robert Sorby and Son Ltd, edge tool manufacturer, No. 44 Wellington Street, (his trade mark was a kangaroo so was referred to as the Kangaroo Works) with the Fire Station, Wellington Street in the background. Image from 2006 by David Bocking/SLAI/Picture Sheffield

Their products included adzes, axes, augers, edge tools, joiners’ tools, saws, scythes, hooks, sheep shears and crucible steel. The company sought markets worldwide, and the Kangaroo brand, which was used until the 1980s, was adopted to emphasise the company’s interest in Australia.

Former premises of Robert Sorby and Sons, edge tool manufacturer, No. 44 Wellington Street. Image from 2006 by David Bocking/SLAI/Picture Sheffield

Robert Sorby and Sons was acquired by Hattersley and Davidson in 1923, and vacated Kangaroo Works in 1934 to share a site on Chesterfield Road. It still survives in premises on Athol Road at Woodseats.

The former Kangaroo Works became dilapidated and converted for multi-use, and remained so until demolition in 2008, after which it was used as a car-park.

Former Kangaroo Works gateway. Image: The Glasgow Gallivanter

But what happened to the famous stone-carved Kangaroo trademark that once stood over the gateway on Wellington Street?

It was rescued and re-erected at Kelham Island Museum, slightly shorter in height so that it would fit into the restored Russell Works building that houses the Ken Hawley Collection of tools, cutlery and silversmithing made in Sheffield.

And so, the name lives on, and Kangaroo Works will occupy pride of place overlooking Pound’s Park, the new urban green space also under construction.

Located within close proximity to the Cambridge Street Collective and Elshaw House project, Kangaroo Works is a privately funded development forming part of the Heart of the City masterplan. Image: Whittam Cox Architects

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

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Buildings Companies

John Atkinson – “The best services that can be provided by all who are responsible.”

“My great-grandfather used to go out and meet the carriages on The Moor when they arrived in the morning.” Nicholas Atkinson. Image: DJP/2022 

In March 1929, John Atkinson, aged 84, took to his bed at No. 86, The Moor, and remained there for a week. He had been in ill-health and died a week later.

His death meant that Sheffield had lost a veteran businessman, who not only had built up a great establishment, but was largely responsible for the development of the principal shopping thoroughfare in the city.

While John Atkinson lay on his death-bed, would he have ever contemplated that his business would still exist 150 years later?

John Atkinson (1845-1929). Image: Neil Anderson

The Atkinson family came from Low Dunsworth, near Boroughbridge, and John, one of a family of nine, was determined to try his fortune away from his home surroundings.

His first venture was at York, where he became an assistant in a leading establishment of that city. But he was stirred with ambition, and he fixed his eye on Sheffield, a growing centre of commerce.

He came in 1865 and became acquainted with the Sheffield public by working at Cole Brothers, at their premises at the corner of Church Street.

Once settled in Sheffield, he looked for an opportunity, and in 1872 secured premises in South Street, on Sheffield Moor. No. 90 was a two-windowed shop and was opened by 26-year-old John in March of that year.

In those days the Moor was not the shopping centre that we are familiar with. It was on the fringe of the country and people used to ‘go to Sheffield’ to do their shopping when they really meant going to Fargate and High Street.

It was his mission to see that his windows were sufficiently attractive to draw the attention of those on their way to ‘shop in town’ and was one of the pioneers of the ‘Shop on the Moor’ movement and had the pride of seeing the completion of his commodious emporium that became his life work.

Atkinson worked hard for seven years and established gradual growth of regular customers. His business required expansion, and in 1879, a piece of land known as Holy Green became available. It adjoined his premises and two additional shops, Nos 86 and 88 were erected, the former leased to a trader. But trade and custom grew, and in 1884, No 86 was taken over by Atkinson and became the millinery department.

From 1900. John Atkinson, The Draper, 76, 80, 82, 86, 88 and 90, The Moor. Image: Picture Sheffield

Three years later, Nos. 2,4, and 6, Prince Street (a street that has disappeared) were added, and became the furniture department, and four years after that an extensive space at the back of the Prince Street premises was secured and covered for the development of the mantle and shawl trade of the day.

The business expanded, and a few years later brought another acquisition. In 1892, the shops, land, and works covering a large block of buildings as far back as Button Lane (another lost street), facing Eldon Street, were purchased, and in 1897 a new dress warehouse was built in another portion of Holy Green.

Atkinson’s love of beautiful architecture, and his ever expanding business, led him to demolish all his shops, ranging from Nos. 79 to 86, on the South Street site. The foundation stone was laid in 1901, and the new building was ready for occupation in 1902.

The store had a glass roof to let light down into the three floors which were decked with flowers and maintained by a gardener.

South Street, Moor, decorated for the Royal Visit of King Edward VII in 1905, Nos 76-90, John Atkinson, Draper. Image: Picture Sheffield

At the outbreak of World War One, the shop had empty warehouses, and these were utilised for war work, responsible for making hundreds of thousands of stamped parts for guns, shells, and tanks.

In 1918 two new wings were added, and in 1920 more of the Eldon Street block was brought into use.

By the time of its fifty year centenary in 1922, Atkinson was assisted by his sons, Harold Thomas Atkinson, and John Walter Atkinson.

“There is an atmosphere of completeness about the store. It is not merely a draper’s store. It is a general outfitting establishment, with its well-cuisined restaurant, and its café; with its departments for gas-fitting, and electrical outfit; its men’s clothing department and its footgear stores; it has an ironmongery branch; as well as its branches for stationary, sweetmeats, and drugs and perfumes; for china and glass, as well as for bedding and bedsteads; while its fur department, its section for robes and gowns, costumes and skirts, wools, dress goods, piece silks, velveteens, Manchester goods, and millinery, gloves, and hosiery, and its cabinet and carpet and oilcloth departments, are just part of the wide-varied whole.”

Newspaper advertisement celebrating fifty years of John Atkinson in 1922. Image: British Newspaper Archive

A lot changed afterwards, the business flourished, but during the Second World War the store was destroyed in the Blitz of 1940, resulting in temporary shops for all its departments across the city.

The business operated like this until 1960 when a new purpose built store opened on The Moor.

This year marks Atkinsons 150th anniversary and John Atkinson would have been  shocked to find that his family-owned store is now the only department store left in Sheffield.

Atkinsons. The family-run business has seen wars, new out-of-town shopping developments and the coronavirus pandemic. Image: DJP/2022

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

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Companies

GT Newsworld – “It was the talk of the trade and attracted all the major publishers to look at ventures which broke new ground in its field.”

GT Newsworld, Chapel Walk, Sheffield. Image: Keith Farnsworth

They say that print has no future. This is the case with newspapers that are in terminal decline. These days, we choose to get our news from a mobile phone instead. Magazines have fared a little better, but even these will go the same way.

A few months ago, a mate of mine asked me where he could buy a copy of The Grocer, the long-time voice of the food industry. I couldn’t answer that one, but there was a solution. This turned out to be an expensive online subscription that quickly got the thumbs down.

And then, last week I was browsing the magazine section in WH Smith and there it was. A solitary copy of The Grocer sandwiched between The Oldie and The Week. “We shouldn’t have it,” said the shop assistant, “It came by mistake, and we certainly won’t be stocking it again.”

So, where do we buy magazines these days?

According to the Periodical Publishers Association there are about 8,000 titles published in the UK, with a quarter of this made up by consumer magazines, the ones that we might buy in a newsagent or supermarket.

The biggest retailer is still WH Smith, but the supermarkets took a big chunk of its market share. and now the choice of magazines has shrunk and take up less and less selling space.

It has become a subscription world, where material is available online, or a glossy copy of your favourite magazine arrives through your letter box.  

But it wasn’t always this way, and in 1984, long before a digital world existed, a shop opened on busy Chapel Walk that threatened the monopoly of WH Smith.

GT Newsworld opened on Friday 2 March and was distinctive in that it became the first outlet in the country to sell nothing but news, offering a range of nearly 2,000 titles, with 1,000 displayed full face.

It was part of the George Turner Group, established in 1891, and better known in Sheffield as GT News.

Keith Farnsworth, the local writer, wrote a marvellous book about the history of the company in 1991, and it probably contains the only account anywhere about this rebellious undertaking.

“It was the talk of the trade and attracted all the major publishers and others to look at ventures which broke new ground in its field.”

GT Newsworld. Image: Keith Farnsworth

No.20 Chapel Walk had been a jeweller and its 800 square foot selling space had become available. Initially, the company had thought of using it as a GT Sports outlet, but Ashley Turner, had reminded his fellow directors that it was the ideal spot for a specialist magazine shop.

And so, the shop was refitted at a cost of £25,000, incorporating a computer system in which every title was barcoded, to ensure that sales and stock were constantly updated to keep the full range of titles on view.

It appeared to be a success, with customers milling around all day choosing every type of magazine available, including those imported from the United States. And it was easy to part with a tidy sum of cash and leave with a stack of reading material that never got read. But was it just a reading room where people spent an hour or so browsing magazines before leaving empty-handed?

At any rate, it seems to have lasted until the 1990s before closing, and we haven’t seen anything like it since.

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

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Companies

A Dublin view – ‘Sheffield’s £240m supertram superflop’.

I take you back to April 1998 when the Dublin Evening Herald published this gloomy article – ‘Sheffield’s £240m supertram superflop’.

“The experience of the Supertram in Sheffield is not a happy example of how LUAS can curb Dublin’s traffic problems. The light rail cost £240m in public funds to build and was touted as the green solution to traffic and pollution. Yet even its supporters now admit it’s been a disaster. Built in 1996, one year later, the Tories decided to privatise it. The value was set at £100m but late last year it was sold to Stagecoach, for £1m. It has always run at a loss and constantly failed to woo passengers from cars. Traffic is worse since construction was completed.”

Luas (Irish for ‘speed’), Dublin’s equivalent tram system opened in 2004, and was subject to the same pre-build criticism that Sheffield experienced.

The Sheffield Supertram network flourished under the management of Stagecoach. Passenger numbers increased rapidly and reached a peak of 15million a year in 2009, 2011 and 2012. The network was expanded in 2018 with the Sheffield/Rotherham tram-train but passenger numbers fell between 2017-2020 and then, of course, COVID came along.

But far from being a disaster, Supertram is now embedded in Sheffield history.

Stagecoach’s existing contract runs out in 2024, the same year that South Yorkshire taxpayers are due to stop paying the 5p a week levy to plug the early losses.

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.

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Companies

When the Triumph Motor Company had a Sheffield owner

A 1939 Triumph Dolomite. Image: Classic Driver

It wasn’t that long ago that Triumph cars populated our roads. Sadly, the Triumph marque disappeared, but not many people realise that the car company once had its head office in Sheffield.

Triumph’s origins were in 1885 when Siegfried Bettmann and Moritz Schulte from Germany founded Bettmann & Co and started selling Triumph bicycles from premises in London and from 1889 started making their own machines in Coventry.

In 1930 the company changed to the Triumph Motor Company and made upmarket models like the Southern Cross and Gloria ranges. The company had financial problems and in 1936 the car, bicycle and motorcycle businesses were sold.

Donald Healey, a Triumph manager, bought the motor business and developed a new car called the Triumph Dolomite.

1938 Triumph Dolomite mascot

The Triumph Motor Company went into receivership in 1939 and was bought by T.W. Ward, the Sheffield-based ship-breaking, iron, and machinery business. The head office was at Albion Works on Saville Street, but it wasn’t a successful acquisition. World War Two stopped production of cars and the Triumph works at Priory Street, Coventry, was destroyed by bombing.

“The Triumph Company was to us merely a plain straightforward speculation,” said Mr S.J. Dyal, a director. “And because of the outbreak of war we really did not have the chance of continuing car production. We had no manufacturing space, and as a policy decision it was agreed that car production was not to be our line of business. So eventually the assets – little more than the name Triumph – were eventually taken over by The Standard Motor Company.”

Donald Healey stayed on at T.W. Ward before leaving to join Vickers-Armstrong in aircraft production.

Albion House, Savile Street, Sheffield. Former head office for T.W. Ward and briefly for the Triumph Motor Company. Image: Rightmove

Under ownership of the Standard Motor Company a new range of Triumph models appeared after the war. Sporting models were badged as Triumph while the Standard name appeared on saloons. The Standard name was dropped with the introduction of the Triumph 2000.

Afterwards, the company was bought by Leyland Motors and further mergers led to the formation of British Leyland (later Austin Rover) in 1968.  The last Triumph produced was the Acclaim in 1981 and the marque disappeared completely in 1984.

The trademark is currently owned by BMW, acquired when it bought the Rover Group in 1994, and when it later sold Rover, retained the Triumph marque.

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

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Companies People

Tommy Ward – the man who built an empire

T.W. Ward, Albion Works offices, Savile Street, in 1937. The former offices still form an imposing appearance. Image: Picture Sheffield

When Thomas William Ward died in 1926, he had owned during his lifetime enough warships to make up a respectable fleet. He had founded T.W. Ward in 1877 and left what was probably the largest ship-breaking, iron, and machinery business in the world.

Once upon a time, businessmen had looked with suspicion on the scrap iron merchant and second-hand machinery business, but by honesty and square trading, Thomas lifted his business to the pinnacle which commanded the respect of the industrial community.

T. W. Ward, Coal Office, London Road, 1936. Image: Picture Sheffield

He was the son of Thomas William Ward of Wadsley Bridge and was born in Sheffield in 1853. He started his business career with Moss and Gamble, and in 1877, aged 24, launched out with his brothers as a coal, coke, and iron merchant. Within five years, he had cleared off obligations incurred in his father’s business and soon added the sale of machinery to his activities, extending the area of operations to deal with obsolete works and battleships.

Thomas William Ward (1853-1926)

Thomas had had the idea of dismantling old ships and recycling the material for other ‘useful’ purposes.

The business became a limited company in 1914 and such was the remarkable progress that it embraced 32 distinct undertakings in all parts of the United Kingdom.

The company dismantled many famous works, including Abbots Works, Gateshead; Bowling Ironworks; Kelham Rolling Mills, Sheffield; Derwent Rolling Mills, Workington; Dearne and Dove Works; Birchills Furnaces; West Cumberland and Whittington Works.

Many large battleships and merchant vessels were dismantled at Ward’s works, the list extending into several hundreds, including the steamers Luciana, Adriatic, H.M.S. Inflexible, H.M.S. Dreadnought, H.M.S. Magnificent, H.M.S. Prince of Wales, the German battleships Helgoland and Westfalen, and the steamer Canopie.

Lizzie Ward, the famous elephant, working for T. W. Ward in World War One. Image: Picture Sheffield

After World War One the company bought 1,000 tanks, the record purchase of 115 war vessels from the Admiralty, the acquisition of the Palestine pipeline, the Lartigue Railway, and the Marconi Wireless Station, Cliften, all for dismantling purposes.

Thomas Ward never sought public office but served as a J.P. and in 1913 had the unique honour of serving as president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Master Cutler, both at the same time. He also gave advice to several commissions in connection with the Merchandise Marks Act and the National Insurance Act

While conducting business, he travelled a great deal visiting America, South Africa, Australia, Sweden Norway, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

“I have succeeded because I worked very hard at the beginning, and as a young man I studied mechanics and metallurgy.”

His younger brother, Joseph, was involved in the business from the start, becoming chairman and managing director, while another brother, Arthur, and nephew, Ashley, were joint assistant managing directors. Together they erected an imposing headquarters on Savile Street, known as Albion Works, with other extensive premises at Preston and Wednesbury.

T.W. Ward Ltd Shipbreakers Yard, Grays, Essex, Seen from above in 1921. Image: Britain from Above

Thomas was a member of the Wesleyan Church, holding many lay offices, and gave generously to the church. He was an enthusiastic horticulturalist, and his gardens at The Grove, Millhouses, and then Endcliffe Vale, were a source of great pride and pleasure to him.

He died at  Endcliffe Vale House, aged 72, in 1926, and was buried at Crookes Cemetery.

The company was run by the family until the latter part of the 1950s, by which time there were five divisions – raw materials, construction, engineering, motor distribution and industrial supplies. Through acquisitions the Ward Group consisted over 35 companies by the 1960s, but its fortunes dwindled in the following decades.

A display of Hillman, Humber and Sunbeam Ralbot cars at E.H. Pickford and Co, motor dealer and engineer, c1953. The company became part of the T.W. Ward Group. Image: Picture Sheffield

The Group was acquired by Rio Tinto Zinc in 1982 but after significant losses an administration order was granted to the parent company, Ward Group, in 1992 and although the subsidiaries traded normally, most were subsequently sold.

The machinery division was acquired by an MBO in 1983 and is now known as T.W. Ward CNC Machinery, still operating at Albion Works.

In 1937, T.W. Ward were appointed to demolish the remains of fire-damaged Crystal Palace in Sydenham Park, London. The company reclaimed scrap iron and debris.
Albion Works. Seen from Bailey Bridge. Image: DJP/2021

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

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Companies

The HOME of Stanley Tools

“For many of us, you hear the name “Stanley” and you think blades. And when you think “blades”, you think Sheffield. Yes, Sheffield and Stanley seem to go together like peaches and cream.”

The signs around Bramall Lane and Hillsborough used to say ‘The Home of Stanley Tools’ and a generation of us thought this was another great old Sheffield company.

However, the story of Stanley Tools takes place on two continents.

The forebears of Frederick Trent Stanley were English and emigrated to the United States. He was born in Connecticut in 1802 and began working on the family farm before labouring in various manufacturing industries. In 1843, he co-founded the Stanley Bolt Manufactory, and later the Stanley Works,  in New Britain, to make door bolts and other wrought-iron hardware. He could often be seen driving around New England in his horse-drawn buggy, visiting homes and farms to fit them up with his products.

By the time of his death in 1883, The Stanley Works’ capital investment had increased more than tenfold, and the enterprise had developed into a well-known manufacturer of hinges, planes, bolts, bits, and other tools.

Frederick Trent Stanley (1802-1883)

In 1857 his cousin, Henry Stanley, founded The Stanley Rule and Level Company in the city. Planes invented by Leonard Bailey and manufactured by the company, known as Stanley/Bailey planes, were prized by woodworkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The two companies merged in 1920, and the Stanley Rule and Level Company became part of Stanley Works.

And now to Sheffield where James Arscott Chapman (born Bristol, 1827) began making carpenters’ braces in the 1860s at the Industry Tool Works, Woodside Lane. On his death in 1891, the W.A. Chapman company might have passed to his eldest son Joseph, but he was about to spend time in prison after being found guilty of embezzlement. Instead, James, his youngest son, took over the business which grew and prospered.

After the turn of the twentieth century further expansion took place, and during the First World War the company manufactured thousands of bayonets in addition to their regular line of tools.

The business changed hands after the death of James Chapman in 1925 and the manufacture of planes, hand drills and breast drills were added to the line of carpenters’ braces. In 1934, it started making hand planes under the Acorn name.

In 1936, the Stanley Works of New Britain, Connecticut, purchased J.A. Chapman Ltd and started developing its celebrated range of Stanley Tools which had previously been imported from the United States since the 1870s.

Existing plant and facilities were expanded, and a new five-storey building was erected in Rutland Road.

The Stanley Tool Works on Rutland Road and environs, Sheffield, 1950. Image: Britain from Above

The first line to be introduced was the famous Stanley bench plane, and production was well established by the time World War Two put a stop to further developments.

During the war the production of planes, braces, breast drills and hand drills, was expanded to meet the ever-increasing demands of the armed forces and Government departments.

In addition, millions of shell primers and tracer shells were manufactured on modern automatic plant.

The building was extended in 1950 and 1961 and a second site opened at Ecclesfield, but like the rest of Sheffield’s tool industry, the company suffered at the hands of cheap imports. A lot of production was switched abroad, and the Rutland Road/Woodside Road site was closed in 2008.

Better days. The former Stanley Tools factory on Rutland Road. Eventually killed by cheap tool imports. Image: Hill Shadowed City

But that wasn’t the end of the Stanley Tools story.

Tool manufacturing was switched to an efficient new factory at Hellaby, Rotherham, and allowed the manufacture of Stanley Tools to return from Asia.

And what about that famous utility knife, generically known around the world as a Stanley Knife? In 2012, Stanley brought the manufacture of steel blades for its knives back to the UK. Made in Rotherham.

Stanley Works and Black & Decker merged in 2010 to become the world’s largest tools and storage company, the world’s second largest commercial electronic security business and the world’s second largest engineered fastening company.

But there is a sad twist to the Stanley Tools story in Sheffield.

Search ‘Stanley Tools Sheffield’ on the internet and you will come across loads of urban explorer sites that record the decline and fall of a former manufacturing facility.

The Rutland Road site is empty and becoming more derelict by the day. Image: Google

“The Stanley Tools Factory, which quickly fell into a state of disrepair, was being frequented by homeless. It was put up for sale, with parts of the factory used on the weekends as a zombie-themed Airsoft venue. When a buyer for the full site couldn’t be found, some of the buildings were sold to smaller businesses, such as car dealers and scrapyards. On 30th January 2021, a large fire tore through one of the derelict buildings on the Stanley Tools factory site. Around 25 firefighters tackled the blaze overnight and got it under control by the early hours of the following morning.”
Lost Places & Forgotten Faces

Today, the term “utility knife” also includes small folding-, retractable- and/or replaceable-razor blade knives suited for use in the general workplace or in the construction industry. The latter type is sometimes generically called a Stanley knife, after the prominent brand.

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

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Buildings Companies

Banner Cross Hall: “It is leaky and draughty and would cost millions to upgrade.”

There will be angry cries. There will be tears. People will call out to protect the trees.

Banner Cross Hall once stood in rural idyll. Then Sheffield grew and surrounded it. In the 1930s, the fate of the old mansion was precarious. It was on the market and people feared that it would be demolished, and the beautiful trees would be lost. Many already had, but for 90 years since, it has been the company headquarters of Henry Boot and some of the surrounding habitat survived.

However, faced with enormous costs to modernise it, and make it environmentally friendly, Henry Boot is reconsidering its future at the Grade II listed mansion.

If it chooses to vacate, the likelihood is that Banner Cross Hall will be converted into luxury apartments with possible development in its grounds.

If this happens, prepare for objections, just like there were almost a century ago.

© 2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

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Companies

The Hadfield Bean. Built with famous Sheffield steels

Hadfield Bean. The steel-maker Hadfields took it over in 1926 but by 1929 it ceased car production. In 1933 Hadfield re-launched the company as Beans Industries, making components for other motor vehicle manufacturers. Photograph: Fluxposure

Hadfields limited of Hecla and East Hecla, Sheffield, founded by Robert Hadfield in 1869, was an established manufacturer of special steels, in particular manganese alloys and steel castings. The company was taken over by his son, Sir Robert Abbott Hadfield (1858-1940) and by 1911 was believed to employ more workmen than any other business in the city. It specialised in the production of war materials but in 1926 agreed to rescue Harper Bean Ltd, manufacturer of Bean Cars, with factories in Dudley, Worcestershire and Coseley, Staffordshire.

The car company traced its origins to two auto component suppliers, A Harper and Sons and Bean Ltd. For a few years in the early 1920s Bean outsold Austin and Morris, the business model relying on high volumes, but its financial troubles resulted in its rescue by Sheffield-based Hadfields which supplied steel for the cars.

The 1928 14-45 H.P. Hadfield Bean with fabric body was featured in magazine articles of the day. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

From 1927, all cars were known as Hadfield Beans, but the last model was launched in 1928 and by the following year production had ceased.

Hadfields eventually merged with Samuel Osborn and after various takeovers came to prominence in the steel strike of 1980 when ugly picket line scenes hit national headlines. It eventually suffered the same fate as much of the British steel industry and was closed in 1983. The East Hecla site is now mainly covered by Meadowhall Shopping Centre.

A 1928 newspaper advert for the Hadfield Bean 14-45 car. Built with Hadfields’ famous Sheffield steels. Photograph: British Newspaper Archive

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved

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Buildings Companies

Castle House: From the Co-op to Hollywood in 80 languages

Castle House designed by George S Hay, Chief Architect for CWS, with interior design by Stanley Layland, interior designer for CWS. Reinforced concrete with Blue Pearl granite tiles and veneers, grey granite tiles and veneers, buff granite blocks, glass, and brick. Photograph: DJP/2019

Ever wondered who creates the subtitles for Hollywood movies from the likes of Disney, HBO, Paramount, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Viacom, and Netflix?

Look no further than Sheffield company, Zoo Digital, established in 2001 by Stuart Green and Ian Stewart of Gremlin Interactive. In 2003 it had a worldwide smash with the first interactive DVD game, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? Afterwards, it developed new tech and started subtitling, dubbing, cloud operations and streaming.

Zoo Digital creates subtitles and dubbing voiceovers in 80 languages for Hollywood films shown around the world. But unlike rivals based in studios shuttered by the pandemic, its cloud-based tech can be used anywhere. The firm has 7,000 freelance voice artists and translators who mostly work from home. It also has offices in London, Dubai, and Hollywood, with total global staffing at more than 270.

Recently, it completed a strategic investment in Istanbul-based media company ARES Media to grow ZOO’s services for Turkish content.

Zoo Digital posted posted a 64% increase in revenue for the six months ended 30th September 2021. Photograph: Insider Media

Based on St Mary’s Gate, it’s now moving all its 160 Sheffield-based workers into the former Co-op department store on Angel Street. It joins another top city tech firm, WANdisco, which made the building home in October 2019. Castle House is also home to popular food hall Kommune and a Barclays tech accelerator.

Grade II listed Castle House was designed by George S. Hay, chief architect for the Co-operative Wholesale Society, for the Brightside & Carbrook. It was built between 1959 and 1964 before closing in 2007.

ZOO operates from production facilities in the key entertainment hubs of Los Angeles, London, Turkey and UAE and has a development and production centre in Sheffield. Photograph: Netflix

© 2021 David Poole. All Rights Reserved