By Andrew B. Powell
A programme of archaeological works at the Hoyle Street development in Sheffield revealed significant evidence for the crucible steelmaking which gave the town its world-wide reputation for cutlery and tools in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Two crucible furnace cellars, at William Hoole’s Works and the Hoyle Street Works, were excavated, and three intact crucible cellars were recorded at the Titanic Works. Structures associated with related aspects of steel production were also excavated, particularly at the Hoyle Street Works, including part of a cementation furnace, boiler and engine bases, a crane base and a silt trap.
Standing buildings at five works premises – the Roscoe Works, Malinda Works, Titanic Works, Australian Works and Progress Works – were also recorded and, combined with documentary and map research, revealed their development through the 19th and 20th centuries.
The steelworks were located among the cramped housing of the working population, and a number of cellars and ground floors of the back-to-back tenements and terraced houses were excavated, revealing evidence of possible cottage industry.