A team from Wessex Archaeology’s Sheffield office investigated the former Vulcan Iron Works site at Heanor Haulage, Langley Mill, in advance of a new supermarket development.
The Vulcan Iron Works was constructed by G R Turner in 1874, the company mainly concentrating on the production of railway rolling stock. The Works significantly expanded in size during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, employing some 350 men at its peak. It continued to make world renowned railway stock until the 1960s, latterly as part of United Steel Companies Ltd prior to nationalisation as part of British Steel in 1967. Redpath Dorman Long acquired the site in 1970 and used it to develop radio-controlled cranes until the 1980s. Prior to redevelopment the site was used as a haulier’s yard and storage depot.
Fieldwork between February and May 2010 focussed on the early Vulcan Iron Works buildings. Within the initial building constructed by G. R. Turner in 1874 were a substantial hot air flue and a structure that may have been the primary drive engine location, several machine bases and a press, with evidence for re-melting and forming of metals. A pre-1881 extension contained at least two phases of presses and heavy lifting gear. Subsequent re-modelling between 1885 and 1900 involved the addition of a further building which also contained machine bases and heavy lifting apparatus.
The results of the excavations are due to be published as an illustrated article in the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. The project archive resulting from the excavation is currently stored at the Wessex Archaeology's Sheffield offices and will be deposited in due course with Derby Museum and Art Gallery.