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Ordnance survey map of BEEHIVE WORKS
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Statutory Address:

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

Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 34735 86663



784-1/29/521 MILTON STREET 13-JUN-88 (Northwest side) BEEHIVE WORKS


Also Known As: GREGORY FENTON LIMITED, MILTON STREET Purpose-built cutlery works, now offices and workshops. Built in phases between the late 1850s or early 1860s and c1890. Brick with stone dressings, slate roofs (concrete tile and slate to central L-shaped range), corrugated asbestos roofs to single-storey buildings in second courtyard, and brick stacks.

PLAN: Double courtyard plan. Rectangular site bounded on three sides by Milton Street, Headford Street and Egerton Lane. Front range, on Milton Street. Workshop range with attached industrial chimney to rear of large (north-east) courtyard, on Egerton Lane. Deep workshop range to rear of second courtyard, at south-west end of site, on Egerton Lane. L-shaped central workshop range between the two yards, the shorter, deeper arm separating the two workshop ranges on Egerton Lane. Former house and workshop buildings on north-east side of large courtyard, on Headford Street. Various buildings in both courtyards, brick footprint of free-standing industrial chimney in north corner of large courtyard.

EXTERIOR: Front office and showroom range of three storeys, with cellar beneath bays nine to twelve from left, south-west end. Eighteen bays built in three phases in a south-westerly direction. Straight joints to first-floor height between bays eight and nine, and between bays twelve and thirteen, indicating that the earlier parts of the range were of two storeys, subsequently heightened when the eight left, south-western bays were built. Plinth, first and second-floor sill bands, wooden gutter brackets. Windows are twelve-pane hung sashes with segmental brick lintels, those to the ground floor have individual stone sills. Between the first and second floors is a painted sign reading `BEEHIVE BRAND GREGORY FENTON LTD. KNIVES AND TOOLS'. This continues on the right return, reading `GREGORY FENTON LTD. BEEHIVE WORKS'. In bay seventeen is a cart entrance to the large courtyard, with ashlar jambs and imposts, depressed arch and oversized keystone, the arch painted with `BEEHIVE WORKS', and plain wooden double doors. To either side of bays eight and nine is a wide warehouse doorway, with stone sill set above ground-floor level, and segmental arched head. Bay nine doorway has a half-glazed double door with overlight, whilst that to the left has been altered to form a window. In bay one is a round-headed doorway with stone imposts and oversized keystone, and modern panelled door with fanlight. In bays two and sixteen are two doorways altered from windows. In bay two is a plain door with overlight, and in bay sixteen is a modern panelled door with overlight.

Workshop range to rear of large courtyard: Three storeys of fourteen bays to the courtyard elevation. In bay three is an attached square chimney base of brick with a circular ashlar plinth for a truncated industrial chimney. Wide small-paned casement windows (six panes wide) on ground floor (partially obscured by a wall), with narrower small-paned casements on upper floors (four panes wide by four high), brick soldier lintels and no sills. In bay nine is a round-headed doorway at mezzanine level, providing access to upper floors. Rear, Egerton Lane elevation has twelve similar windows to each of the upper floors and five inserted windows with brick sills and segmental brick heads to ground floor. Inserted vehicular entrance to right, south-west end. Gable stack, two ridge stacks (truncated) and two eaves stacks (to yard elevation).

Central range: Three-storeyed L-shaped building, with deeper, shorter arm adjoining workshop range to rear of large courtyard. The range faces into the large courtyard. The ground floor of the longer arm has a blocked window, with shaped brick head in the first bay from the left, four segmental arched heads of individual hand forges, one now blocked and built over with external steps, two converted to windows, with modern small-paned window frames, and one now with plain timber double doors. In the second bay from the left is a covered cart entrance, with segmental arched head, through to the second courtyard. Upper floors of fourteen bays with casement windows with soldier lintels, and modern or altered frames. Round-headed doorway at first-floor level with external steps. Shorter arm has tall round-headed doorway in left corner. To right of doorway is door and casement window sharing same frame with shaped brick lintel, with similar casement window to right, with straight joint to indicate it too originally had an integrated door. Upper floors have five bays of casement windows similar to those of long arm of the range. Rear elevation (Egerton Lane) has a ground floor with blocked grille to the left, two metal ventilators and inserted window openings and doorway. Upper floors have nine window bays with casement windows with two-light multi-paned frames.

Workshop range to rear of second courtyard: Four-storeyed deep range facing into courtyard. Ground floor windows not visible. First-floor is of seven bays with exceptionally tall small-paned casement windows of varying widths with segmental arched heads and stone sills. The windows in bays three to five have wooden cross frames with the upper lights each three panes wide by three deep, and the lower lights are two panes wide by three deep. The third and fourth floors are of nine window bays of two light multi-paned casements, some frames replaced or altered, with segmental arched heads and stone sill bands. Fourth floor has inserted doorway in sixth bay from left, with external metal staircase. Rear elevation (Egerton Lane) has an inserted window (blocked) and doorway opening on ground floor. The first floor is blind, with eleven window bays with renewed two light multi-paned casement windows to the second and third floors. Four gable stacks and two eaves stacks to courtyard elevation.

Buildings on north-east side of large courtyard (Headford Street): Two-storeyed building attached to front range, with abutting single-storey range, with altered and inserted openings.

Large (north-east) courtyard: Single-storey building in centre of yard, base of free-standing circular chimney in north corner. Second (south-west) yard: Three single-storeys buildings, two with corrugated asbestos roofs.

INTERIOR: Only part of the front range and part of the ground floor of the central workshop range were inspected internally. The front range has to the left a cantilever stone winder stair with cast-iron anthemion balusters and ramped handrail. The first floor is divided by transverse brick arches. The ground floor of the shorter arm of the central range contains a high-ceilinged room, which is fireproof, and has bearing boxes for line shafting.

HISTORY: Beehive Works was originally known as Milton Works. Its first known occupants were B Mathewman and Sons. By 1888 the primary occupants were the Atkinson Brothers, who remained at the works into C20.

SOURCES:'One Great Workshop': The Buildings of the Sheffield Metal Trades, English Heritage (February 2000 - unpublished analysis of research), English Heritage, 'One Great Workshop': The Buildings of the Sheffield Metal Trades (2001), `Beehive Works, Milton Street, Sheffield', NBR No. 98210, 1998.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE Beehive Works was identified as being of special architectural and historic interest by English Heritage during a thematic survey undertaken to assess the best surviving examples of buildings associated with Sheffield's metal manufacturing and metal working trades. It was identified as an extremely good and complete example of a large purpose-built integrated cutlery works dating initially from the late 1850s or early 1860s, with rapid expansion thereafter during the 1870s and 1880s. The complex was built as a mechanised works, with a larger steam power plant being built as more grinders' wheels and power forges were added. This type of complex is very distinctive to the industrial identity of Sheffield, which, in the later C19 was known throughout the world as a centre of excellence in the manufacturing and processing of steel. Against the loss of many such buildings in the late C20 due to the severe decline of the industry, Beehive Works is an important survivor. It demonstrates the layout and building types of such a complex, being particularly significant for the retention of grinding hulls, extremely rare survivals of buildings related to a specific process in contrast to the more generic cutlers' workshops, with probably only around eight sites in Sheffield retaining physical evidence of grinding. This survival make Beehive Works a complex of particular importance in the light of an enhanced appreciation and understanding of Sheffield's industrial metal-working buildings. Beehive Works also has a strong Group Value with Nos. 94, 96, and 100 Milton Street, and Taylor's Eye Witness Works, Milton Street.


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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

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Date: 15 Apr 2001
Reference: IOE01/03821/10
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Barbara A West. Source Historic England Archive
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