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Threat to Wreck Britain’s Forgotten Steel Heritage Looms
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM.

Portland Works is one of the early metalworking facilities constructed in Great Britain, where the industrialization of today’s steel industry took root, grew and flourished. The modern era in steelmaking began with the introduction nearby, in the late 1850s, of British inventor Henry Bessemer’s process for producing large quantities of steel. Prior to that steel had been difficult and expensive to make and as a result was used only in small items, such as tools and cutlery. Portland Works, located in Sheffield, South Yorkshire UK, was built in 1877 to produce cutlery and was the first place in the world to manufacture stainless steel cutlery.


Today, this historic place of steel’s heritage and the future of its tenants are under threat from commercial development. Despite its need of major repairs and restoration, the building still operates as an important part of the industrial community and provider of local jobs, offering low-cost workshop space to small manufacturing businesses and independent artists and craftspeople. Instead of preserving the facility, the owners are looking to sell it with planning permission.


A gleam of hope for saving this historic steelmaking facility is the Portland Works project, a group of tenant and supporter volunteers who are working to protect and develop this community of creative and traditional industries by buying the building and running it as a social enterprise. Currently the group is in constructive negotiations with the owners to buy, manage and conserve Portland Works.


If you’re interested in donating to Portland Works’ purchase and restoration of the facility, you can learn more by visiting its donation page at  Alternatively, you can purchase shares in the project. Details are at, and the share offer deadline has been extended to June 2012.


You can view photos and videos of the building and Portland Works project at For more information about Portland Works, go to

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