Monument to Thomas Boulsover on north side of Wire Mill Dam


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Whiteley Wood Road, Sheffield, S11 7FF


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Statutory Address:
Whiteley Wood Road, Sheffield, S11 7FF

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Monument of 1929, designed by J R Wigfull for David Flather, Master Cutler 1926-1927. Classical style.

Reasons for Designation

The monument to Thomas Boulsover, 1929 by J R Wigfull for David Flather, Master Cutler 1926-1927, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * as a dignified, classical stone monument incorporating a round-headed arch which originated as part of Boulsover’s C18 rolling mill, with a relief-carved Coat of Arms of the Cutlers’ Company above in the open triangular pediment. Historic interest: * Thomas Boulsover played an essential role in the development of Sheffield’s fine metalwork and silver industry through his invention of Sheffield Plate in around 1743, enabling the production of cheaper goods with the appearance of solid silver popular with the growing aspirational middle classes;

* the Cutlers’ company in Hallamshire had been founded in 1624 to oversee the cutlery trades in this area and Boulsover had become a freeman in 1726 after serving a seven-year apprenticeship.

Group value: * the monument has associative group value, standing close to Wire Mill Dam in the registered Porter Valley Parks, which formed part of the industrial water-powered site used by Boulsover to develop stronger, rolled cast steel for saw making.


Thomas Boulsover (1705-1788) is an important local figure for his invention of Sheffield Plate around 1743, which became the foundation of Sheffield’s fine metalwork and silver industry. Sheffield Plate was made by the fusing of a sheet of sterling silver to an ingot of copper in a furnace, creating an alloy that could then be worked using silversmithing techniques to produce articles with the external appearance of silver. It became a popular, less-expensive alternative to solid silver among the growing middle classes.

By the end of the 1750s Boulsover was a man of some means and in 1757 he moved his family from Norfolk Street in town out to Whitely Wood Hall, a C17 property on the outskirts of Sheffield (demolished in 1959), and at the same time moved his workshop to larger premises on Norfolk Street. In the 1760s Boulsover also developed rolled cast steel for saw making, making a stronger alloy than hammered cast steel. The rolling mill was situated on the River Porter below Whiteley Wood Hall.

The monument was unveiled in April 1929. It was erected by David Flather, the Master Cutler in 1926-1927, at his own expense. Flather was a keen local historian and founding Chairman of the Society for the Preservation of Old Sheffield Tools, now called the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society. The memorial was designed by J R Wigfull, a Sheffield architect with a keen interest in local archaeology and one of the founders of the Hunter Archaeological Society. It incorporates an arch, which is reported to have come from the rolling mill, and the Coat of Arms of the Cutlers’ Company, as used between 1624 and 1875. It comprises crossed swords, the sign of a cutler, and the company symbol of an elephant’s head, denoting the importance of ivory for cutlery handles during this period. The Cutlers’ Company in Hallamshire had been founded in 1624 to oversee the cutlery trades in this area and Boulsover had become a Freeman in 1726 after serving an apprenticeship of at least seven years under Joseph Fletcher.


Monument of 1929, designed by J R Wigfull for David Flather, Master Cutler 1926-1927. Classical style.

MATERIALS: sandstone ashlar with a bronze plaque.

DESCRIPTION Not inspected, information from other sources. The stone monument has a moulded plinth carrying a coursed ashlar panel with a round-headed blind arch, topped with an open triangular pediment with a relief-carved coat of arms comprising a shield with three pairs of crossed swords. Above the shield is an elephant’s head and beneath the shield is a scroll with the inscription 1705 T.B. 1788. Within the blind arch is a bronze plaque with raised lettering stating: THIS MEMORIAL / WAS ERECTED PARTLY OF / THE STONES FROM A MILL / BUILT NEAR THIS PLACE BY / THOMAS BOULSOVER / THE INVENTOR OF / SHEFFIELD PLATE / BORN 1705 DIED 1788 / HE CARRIED ON HIS INDUS- / TRIES HERE AND RESIDED AT / WHITELEY WOOD HALL / FROM 1762 UNTIL HIS DEATH / ERECTED BY / DAVID FLATHER / MASTER CUTLER 1926-1927.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Ball, Christine, Crossley, David, Flavell, Neville, Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers. Second (revised) edition, (2006), 119-121
White, D, Norman, E, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Public Sculpture of Britain Volume Eighteen, PMSA National Recording Project, (2015), 237
Obituary of J R Wigfull., accessed 10 May 2021 from
Phillips, H L, Thomas Boulsover (1705-1788), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (23 September 2004), accessed 25 January 2021 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 12 Feb 2001
Reference: IOE01/03389/15
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Barbara A West. Source Historic England Archive
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