Buildings 2 & 3 and boundary wall, former Elsecar Ironworks entry range


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley, S74 8HJ


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1465834.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 25-Oct-2021 at 12:14:59.


Statutory Address:
Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley, S74 8HJ

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

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


Building range incorporating the main entrance to Elsecar Ironworks, 1860s. In 2020 used as office and retail units.

Reasons for Designation

The former entry range to Elsecar Ironworks, 1860s, Buildings 2 & 3 with an adjoining boundary wall at Elsecar Heritage Centre, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * as a key surviving building of the scheduled Elsecar Ironworks, being part of William and George Dawes’s mid-Victorian modernisation of Elsecar Ironworks, the impressive archway utilising cast iron lintels advertising their prowess.

Group value: * with the other surviving roofed buildings and extensive archaeological remains of Elsecar Ironworks, one of the best surviving C19 ironworks in England; * as part of the complex of buildings which formed Elsecar Central Workshops, this remarkable survival of an early and influential centralised workshop facility which absorbed a number of ironworks buildings after the closure of the ironworks.


Elsecar Ironworks was established in 1795, but was extensively modernised and reordered by William and George Dawes who had taken over the works under a lease from Earl Fitzwilliam in 1849. The entrance building was built as part of the extensive redesign of the southern part of the ironworks in the 1860s, probably partially to provide office and other ancillary facilities in addition to being a secure entrance to the works. It was built slightly west of the earlier boundary wall, extending as a range between Forge Lane Cottages, south-eastwards to the southern end of a newly-built casting house, this all being first depicted on an 1867 map (a plan of Brampton and Bierlow Township which included the ironworks at that time). The entrance building features an impressively wide and shallow-arched carriage opening (now - in 2020 - blocked) that utilises iron castings in its construction, thought to have been intended as an advertisement for the works. After the closure of the ironworks in the 1880s, the building was absorbed into Earl Fitzwilliam’s Central Workshops complex that had been established in the 1850s to service the Earl’s collieries and was then passed to the National Coal Board in 1947. Sometime in the second half of the C20, the southern third of the range was largely demolished, reduced to a boundary wall incorporating blocked window openings. This may have occurred around 1990 when the rest of the building was renovated and restored as part of the conversion of the complex by Barnsley Council, forming Elsecar Heritage Centre.

Ironworks, alongside collieries, were key drivers of Britain’s industrial development in the C19. Elsecar Ironworks, which is also designated as a Scheduled Monument, is one of the best surviving C19 ironworks nationally because a number of its buildings were absorbed into the Central Workshops complex and have thus survived. Most C19 ironworks in England have been either completely cleared or redeveloped. Elsecar Central Workshops was an early and pioneering industrial complex, prefiguring similar complexes built as the coal mining and other industries became more highly capitalised towards the end of the C19 and into the C20. Henry Hartop (1785-1865), the ironmaster who was employed by the fifth Earl Fitzwilliam, effectively adapted the concept of the model farm to service the industrial needs of the estate. Successive Earl Fitzwilliams, who were influential members within the first rank of society and the British Establishment, took pride in showing off their industrial concerns to visitors. Elsecar is thus thought to have been nationally, perhaps even internationally, influential.


Ironworks entrance building, 1860s for Dawes’ Elsecar Ironworks. Renovated 1990 as part of Elsecar Heritage Centre.

MATERIALS: well-dressed, coursed sandstone to the west elevation facing Forge Lane, brick to the remaining elevations. Welsh slate roofs with one, short brick ridge stack.

PLAN: a linear, two-storey range, with two through-accesses for carriages.

EXTERIOR: Forge Lane (west) elevation. This is now of six bays with four, round-arched windows to the first-floor, the bays at either end being blind. These windows have projecting sills and are blocked with brickwork set-back into the openings. The southernmost bay to the ground floor has a similar window opening that is blocked with stonework. The next two bays form the original carriage entrance to the ironworks, this with an impressively wide basket arch formed with a single iron casting supporting two courses of brick headers. The jambs are quoined and slightly chamfered and the opening is infilled with C20 brickwork. Immediately to the north is an inserted pedestrian entrance, also now blocked with brickwork, with a monolithic lintel supported by a flat iron plate. The next two bays had arched windows, the first now blocked, the second enlarged into a double door, the arched head to the window retained as an iron-framed fanlight. The bay to the north end has a narrow, voussoired-arched carriage entrance providing access to the rear of 4 Forge Lane.

East elevation: this is of mixed red brick, with yellow brick mostly used for the arches. There are four round-arched windows to the first-floor, two to the ground floor, all having distinctive iron-framed windows considered to have been like-for-like replacements of the originals. The broad carriage entrance with its cast iron basket arch is infilled with a glazed screen, the pedestrian entrance to the immediate north having a modern glazed door, a further doorway being inserted on the south side of the carriage archway. At the north end of the elevation there are two narrower carriage entrances, these having basket arches formed in brickwork, the northern being open, giving access to the rear yard of 4 Forge Lane, the southern being infilled with a modern glazed screen.

INTERIOR: this has been re-ordered but retains exposed timber king-post roof trusses.

SUBSIDIARY ITEM: the boundary wall that now links the entrance building to the casting house was formerly a continuation of the building range including the entrance to the ironworks. Its western face is stone, the eastern face is brick. It retains a further set of three blocked, round-arched windows with projecting stone sills which suggest that the wide archway was originally more central to the original design of the entrance building. Beyond these three blocked windows the wall is blind and steps up the hillside to meet the casting house.




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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].