Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield.

I visited Kelham Island Museum back in October. The museum had remained closed during the pandemic. However, they were finally able to re-open with COVID safe implementations in place. The museum are using the track and trace app and have a one way system in place with social distancing. If you head to their website, they recommend booking tickets in advance. Adult entry is £7. Sadly, the River Don Engine was not performing shows, which is understandable.

I love Kelham Island, there is a lot to see and the Island Cafe/Bar does awesome food and coffee. A lot of Sheffield’s industrial history is now inside the museum. It is a wonderful place to remember what made Sheffield the city it is today.

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Porth Wen Brick Works, Anglesey, North Wales.

August 2020.

I have been visiting Anglesey for about 25 years. I first visited Porth Wen with my parents when I was about 12 years old. I have not been for about five years or so and sadly, on this visit, I noticed graffiti, litter and general decaying of the site.

The site is extremely popular these days. It is along a popular coastal walk and so it gets a lot of foot traffic from hikers as well as explorers and photographers. At one time, you could visit and would not see a soul. It also looks like someone is living in one of the kilns.

The path down is slowly getting eroded away. When it rains, the path forms a river with the water wearing it down. In a few years, It will be inaccessible by foot.

Brickmaking started on the site before the 20th century. An old OS map dated 1889, shows a tramway and incline. However, the site of the works states ‘disused’. Production began again sometime in the early 20th century, when the present buildings were completed. The works were disused by 1949. Below are a few pictures that I took, along with a video that I made on my recent visit.

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Sadly, there is now quite a bit of graffiti on the site.
Beautiful
Winding house

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Abbey Pumping Station Museum, Leicestershire.

I was visiting the National Space Centre and noticed this free little museum next door. Out of curiosity, I went inside to have a look. To my amazement, the museum was full of interesting stuff both inside and out. If I am honest, I enjoyed it more than the Space Centre.

The Victorian building was constructed in 1891 by Leicester Corporation and was designed by Stockdale Harrison (Leicester architect) in 1890, alongside the River Soar, as a pumping station used to pump the town’s sewage to the sewage farm at Beaumont Leys. The station continued pumping Leicester’s sewage until 1964, when electric pumps took over. Within a few years the Wanlip Sewage Treatment plant took over and the pumping station was no longer needed.

http://www.abbeypumpingstation.org/

Amlwch Port, Anglesey.

Amlwch Port is normally one of the quieter parts of Anglesey. However, on my recent visit, it was packed. It was a bank holiday weekend though and in general, the island was packed.

Sadly, the heritage centre and cafe was closed due to COVID. There are lots of walks around the port and along the coast with some interesting things to see along the way.

Some of the earliest records of ship movements from Amlwch are recorded in the Beaumaris Port account book for 1730. In the 18th & 19th century the port was used to transport copper from Parys mountain, which was the largest copper mine in the world.

I highly recommend the Port Chippy should you fancy some fish and chips.

Fishing boats in the harbour.
I could not find what this was, if you know please leave me a comment.
‘Melin Y Borth’. The Amlwch Port Windmill.

It is claimed that, when the windmill was built in 1816, it was the tallest on the island.

Creepy old house.

I would be interested to know more about this house should anyone know. I have been visiting Anglesey for a number of years and I could not remember if this has always been derelict. Behind the wooden covers on the windows there is no glass and there is an outhouse in the back with some old rubbish in that looks like it has been there for some time. The house is in an incredible location overlooking the coast.

The old Octel Bromine Works

The Octel Bromine Works closed in 2004. The works was in operation for 50 years and produced bromine derived chemicals from sea water.

Bromine is used in agricultural chemicals, dyestuffs, insecticides, pharmaceuticals and chemical intermediates. However, from what I have read, some uses are being phased out for environmental reasons.

Lime Kiln.

Abandoned Storr’s Bridge Works (Loxley, Sheffield)

WOW! What a place this is and I am really happy that I got to see it before it gets demolished, even though I know that I am a little late to the party. 28 Days Later and Derelict Places have lots of reports on this place, going back a few years, so you can take a look at how the place has deteriorated.

The footprint of this place is huge, the site was owned by Bovis Homes who bought the site back in 2006. They had planned to put 500 homes on the site. However, local opposition halted plans stating that the area could not sustain that many new homes, which I agree with 100%. I believe that discussions are underway once again to build on the site, but the plans have been scaled down. I personally think that the site should be made into some sort of nature reserve as it is located in a quiet valley surrounded by countryside.

The factory is known locally as the Storr’s Bridge Works. However, I believe that it has been occupied over the years by a few different companies, including Thomas Marshall and Co,  Hepworths and Carblox. The valley of Loxley supplied bricks to the Sheffield steel industry, beginning in the 1800s and ceasing in the 1990s. The area was rich in ganister which came from the Stannington pot clay seam. There were multiple mines in the area (I believe one may remain but I have yet to find it).

The factory closed when the demand for produce decreased alongside the decline of the steel industry in Sheffield.

There is hardly anything left of the factory today. Most of the interiors have been removed and what is left has been trashed. People have done a great deal of fly-tipping on the site also, which the council have failed to clean up.

The site is located along a public footpath and whilst there are some signs up that say “do not enter” the site is easily accessible due to the temporary fencing being removed in parts. There is some great graffiti (and some not so great) on the buildings. The most interesting part of the site was being able to walk through what I think are the old furnaces.

If anyone reading this worked at the factory, please comment and share your memories as I would love to hear them.

If lockers could talk. I bet these have heard some stories.

Cemaes Bay Brickworks and Tramway.

I have been visiting Anglesey for about 25 years and I have visited most of the popular tourist places. My most recent trip was on a bank holiday weekend and I knew that the island would be busy. To try and avoid the crowds, I looked for places that were a little off the beaten path and I came across the old tramway and brickworks at Camaes.

I could only find one website with substantial information on the history of the works. They were known as the Afon Wygyr, named after the nearby river, and were opened in 1907. The operational lifespan of the works was only 7 years, with production ceasing in 1914.

The works are accessed via a lovely little walk through some public gardens near the river. The path takes you under the A5025 and directly past the works.

For a look around the works, please watch my video below.

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Shiregreen Working Mens Club, Home of the Full Monty.

A post came up on my Instagram feed by Heritage Sheffield which stated that, the Shiregreen Working Men’s Club, where the penultimate strip scene from the 2007 movie, the Full Monty was filmed, is to be demolished. Horrified, I immediately picked up my camera and ventured across the city to take some pictures of the club whilst it was still there. Local petitions temporary halted demolition plans. However, since then Eyre Investments, who own the land, have been granted permission from Sheffield Council to demolish the club and build on the land.

In my opinion, Sheffield Council were always going to grant permission for the demolition of the club. Sheffield Council is one of the most corrupt local councils in the country. I am sure I need to say no more. Like many other important Sheffield landmarks, it is to be lost forever. We have lost our industry, we have lost Don Valley, the Cooling Towers, The Hole in the Road, and we are soon to lose the Shops on Division Street. As a native of Sheffield, I feel that Sheffield is losing its identity.

The Shiregreen WMC opened in 1919 on Shiregreen Lane and moved to its current location in 1928. The club closed in 2018, after 99 years of operation.

Traditionally, WMC’s were to provide recreation and education for the working-class communities, mostly in the industrial north of England. However, they were mostly recreational, with their peak being in the 1970s. Normally, clubs required membership with thousands more waiting on the lists to become members of their local club.

Slowly, WMC’s started to decline in the 1980s. The pits closed and so did the steelworks. Changing social patterns, Sky TV, and cheap supermarket alcohol hit the WMC’s hard. The 2007 smoking ban also caused further decline for the clubs. Traditionally, the WMC’s were smoke-filled buildings, bad for your health, sure. However, it was just part of their identity.

Within a few miles of the Shiregreen Club, there are several other WMC’s still operational. However, it makes you wonder, how long can these clubs stay open? The area that surrounds Shiregreen WMC is already a deprived area. WMC’s served as community hubs, whilst as a nation, we are losing our sense of community. Rather than thinking about lining their pockets, I think Sheffield Council should consider its people and communities a little more.

Thanks for reading.

I’m not sure if it is too late, but please sign the petition below:

http://chng.it/4ss2pKf9Yq

Parys Mountain. Former Copper Mine, Anglesey.

Parys Mountain near Amlwch is a former copper mine that has been made into a series of walking trails. There are some information boards telling the history of the mines and a couple of the old buildings can be accessed.

If you are a photographer, the area is great for pics as the colours of the ground come out dramatically in photographs, especially against a blue sky.

I always love walking around Parys Mountain. Although, the mine workings have scarred the landscape, it has become a recognisable feature on the approach to Amlwch.

Parking is free.

https://copperkingdom.co.uk/parys-mountain/

Llanlleiana Old Porcelain Works, Anglesey.

There does not appear to be a great deal of history written on Llanlleiana. From what I have read, the works processed deposits of china clay found on Dinas Gynfor into porcelain. The works were relatively small, consisting of only one building and the remote chimney. The works closed in 1920 after they were damaged by fire.

If you know any more info on the works, please leave me a comment.

For a look around the works, please watch my video below.

Thanks for reading.

Main Building
Remote chimney on the hillside.

Elsecar Heritage Centre

Whilst reading Black Diamonds: The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty by Catherine Bailey it occurred to me that I had not visited Elsecar Heritage Centre since I was a kid. I could only vaguely remember what it was like and so decided to take a trip over one sunny Friday afternoon.

As it was Friday, I assumed that it would be quiet. When I arrived, however, I was greeted by two almost full car parks. I can only imagine how busy it gets on a weekend. When I entered the heritage centre however, it was not overly busy. I assume most of the cars were people walking the Trans Pennine Trail.

Elsecar is a great example of a multi-use heritage site. It has a combination of shops, restaurants, a railway and visitor centre, all contained within the refurbished industrial buildings.

Elseacr was built by the 4th Earl of Fitzwilliam of the nearby Wentworth Estate. I do highly recommencement the book Black Diamonds if you are interested in finding out more about Wentworth, the Fitzwilliams and coal mining in the area.

The colliery at Elsecar was sunk in 1975. Ironstone was also mined nearby. A Beam Engine was built in order to extract water from the mine to allow deeper exploration. The Engine ran from 1795 to 1923, when it was replaced with electric pumps.

The workshops were built in 1850. After the nationalisation of the coal mines, the coal board took over the workshops in 1947. As the need for coal reduced and the pits were closed, there was also no requirement for the workshops and Beam Engine. The Department of Environment listed most of the buildings in 1986, as they were seen to be of special architectural or historic interest. In 1988 the Newcomen Beam Engine House and the workshops were purchased bu Barnsley Council who restored the buildings.

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Read More

www.elsecar-heritage.com

www.wentworthwoodhouse.co.uk