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Rare industrial building under threat from insensitive development

The Victorian Society is campaigning to prevent a former cutlery works in Sheffield from being turned into a residential development. Portland Works on Randall Street is listed at Grade II* and is currently home to metal workshops and other small businesses.

Its listing was upgraded to Grade II* last year putting it in the top 6% of buildings of outstanding architectural and historic interest in the country. English Heritage says it considers the site to be a rare survival of the building type.

Portland Works was purpose-built as a cutlery works in the late 1870s. The first stainless steel to be manufactured in Britain was made there by R F Mosley & Co, using a process created by Harry Brearley in 1913. Many of the businesses based at the Portland Works are still engaged in metalwork trades and the buildings importance to the ‘Made in Sheffield' legacy is not in doubt.

But the metal workshops and other businesses will have to leave if plans to create 77 residential apartments and several offices are approved. The application submitted to the council also involves major alterations to the former cutlery works, including the removal of all the staircases, alterations to windows and doors and the introduction of balconies.

‘We're very concerned that the changes needed to create a large number of flats in Portland Works will significantly alter the industrial character of this historic site' said Alex Baldwin, Conservation Officer for the Victorian Society. ‘The building is an important part of Sheffield's history, any alterations must take account of this and this current application fails to do so.'

The society is strongly opposing the change of use and recommending to Sheffield City Council that listed building consent be refused.


Monday 16 February, 2009

More recent item: Don’t demolish part of Clitheroe’s history
Earlier item: East London council takes steps to protect the Light Bar

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