Kelham Island Museum

Bessemer Converter
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Major displays on Sheffield industry and its people, processes and products from Victorian times..

Venue Type:

Museum, Industrial heritage site

Opening hours

Mon-Thurs 1000-1600
Sun 1100-1645

Closed: Fridays and Saturdays

Admission charges

Adult £6.00
Concession £5.00
Accompanied U16: Free (not inc school visits)


  • Museums Association

The collections at Kelham Island Museum cover industries in Sheffield from 1750 up to the present. Major collections include the Iron & Steel Industry Collection, Cutlery Industry Collection, Armament Industry Collection and the Tool Making Industry Collection. There are also collections of Historic Photographs and Documents relating to a variety of Sheffield firms. The library contains many technical metallurgical reference books and is available by appointment.

Collection details

Archives, Industry, Land Transport, Science and Technology, Social History, Trade and Commerce

Key artists and exhibits

  • Key objects on display include the Bessemer Converter and the 12,000 HP River Don Engine.
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
photograph of pub sign reading "Millowners Arms"

Millowners Arms

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This new gallery complete with a traditional bar celebrates Sheffield’s Brewing heritage, from being the biggest brewing city in the England to its numerous microbreweries of today.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Normal admission charges apply.


photograph of tools on display in the Hawley gallery

The Hawley Gallery

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Hawley Gallery opened in 2010 as the first permanent display space for the Hawley Collection.

This world-renowned tool collection has been amassed since the mid 1950s by former tool retailer and champion of Sheffield’s industrial heritage, Ken Hawley, and consists of over 100,000 objects, all relating to Sheffield’s tool, cutlery manufacturing and silversmithing industry.

The Ken Hawley Collection Trust LINK was formed in 1994 to safeguard the collection and Ken continues collecting and working with the collection - it is his life and his continuing passion.

This internationally important collection of over 100,000 objects includes edge tools, measuring tools, tools used for cutlery manufacture and silversmithing, plus related catalogues, photos, films and oral histories. It is gathered mostly from Sheffield and Yorkshire but also from Britain and the rest of the world.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Normal admission charges apply.


photograph of interior of Kelham Island Museum's Transport gallery

Transport Galleries

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Showcasing some of the finest Sheffield-made vehicles of the 1920s, The Charlesworth Transport Gallery explores the story of transport in Sheffield and its essential part of our industrial history.

The development of factories and the "workshop of the world" was only possible as the transport network developed. Equally the development of the transport network was reliant on the technology of industry, particularly those in Sheffield.

Transport has played a vital role within Sheffield, both within its industries and for the city as a whole. As a major manufacturing centre, a good transport system was important to carry raw materials and goods in and out, as well as to transport workers and inhabitants around the city.

The upper transport gallery houses temporary exhibitions as well as the Sheffield Simplex Car. This is perhaps the most famous car made in Sheffield and it was produced at the Fitzwilliam Works in Tinsley.

The car was the idea of Earl Fitzwilliam, who thought Sheffield could produce the finest car in the world. This prototype is one of only three Simplex cars remaining, and is thought to be the last type of the car ever produced.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Normal admission charges apply.


photograph of Kelham Island Museum's River Don engine

Enid Hattersley Gallery

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Enid Hattersley Gallery houses a selection of Kelham Island's permanent collection. The gallery is also home to the 12,000hp River Don Engine, which you can see in steam at selected times.

Other notable exhibits include the Benjamin Huntsman Clock, Bramah Press, Crossley Gas Engine, Die-Sinkers and Cutlers Workshops, Grand Slam Bomb, Little Mesters Street, Melting Shop Play Area, Sheffield Floods, Town Guns, Armaments and War Memorials.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Normal admission charges apply.


photograph of Kelham Island's Bessemer converter

Outdoor Collection

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Gannister Mill and Bessemer Converter.

The Gannister Mill was used to grind ganister rock, a type of sandstone, into a paste which was used to seal joints inside furnaces.

The Bessemer Converter is one of only three converters left in the world. It was used by the British Steel Corporation in Workington until 1975(4?) and produced the last Bessemer Steel made in Britain in 1974. It was brought to the Museum in 1978 as an example of the revolutionary steelmaking process which first took off in Sheffield.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Normal admission charges apply.


photograph of carved stone sign for the City of Sheffield

Stone Garden

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Stone Garden has a display of interesting stonework from the entrances of Sheffield companies.

From the Sheffield coat of arms to the’ hanging sheep’, every stone has a story to tell about the city’s trades and industrial past.

The Stone Garden can be viewed from inside the Crucible Shop and at some of SIMT's larger events including 1940s Wartime Weekend, Down by the Riverside and the Victorian Christmas Market.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Normal admission charges apply.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Down by the Riverside

Down by the Riverside

  • 24 September 2017 11am-5pm

Sheffield Waterfront Festival is celebrating World Rivers Day with two exciting events!

We've teamed with with the Canal and Rivers Trust and River Stewardship Company to form the Sheffield Waterfront Festival bringing local communities closer to our waterways.

Find out more on our Facebook event page

On the Waterfront | Saturday 23 September 10am - 4pm | Victoria Quays | FREE

This FREE family event from the Canal and Rivers Trust and River Stewardship Co. returns with Boat Trips, Canoe Tasters, Street Food, Live Music and more!

Find out more ...

Down by the Riverside | Sunday 24 September 11am - 5pm | Kelham Island Museum | Normal museum admission

Celebrating our growing Kelham Island Community with heritage activities, live music, BBQ and Beer and Sheffield, Made artisans.

Heritage Activities

Heeley City Farm Small Animal Roadshow

Rachel Poole Willow Weaving - Make a Willow Fish!

Ecclesall Woods Discovery Centre Green Woodturning

Sheffield City Kayak Club Go Paddling Taster Sessions (Age restrictions apply, children must be accompanied by an adult)

'Ron's Roam around Kelham Island' with Professional Sheffielder Ron Clayton (Meet at 4pm)

River Stewardship Co & The Blue Loop - Join us for River Monitoring to find which creatures call the River Don their home and a Riverside Wildlife Watch Walk to Nursery Street Pocket Park - join us for a little fishing! (1pm-3pm leaving from The Blue Loop Stall)

Canal & Rivers Trust

Don Catchment Rivers Trust

Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust


Discovery STEM Centre Children's Activities 12-2pm

Blacksmith Forge

Miniature Steam Engines Display

Community Stalls

Be a Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust Volunteer

Kick the Dust - IGNITE

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group

Hillsborough and Owlerton Local History Group

Friends of Wardsend Cemetery

Timewalk Project

KICA - Kelham Island Community Alliance

Sheffield Woodland Connections

Sheffield, Made Artisans

KIAC - Kelham Island Arts Collective

Jason Heppenstall Recycled Steel Sculptor - have-a-go spoon bashing!

Mick Rick Artist

Caroline Lee Ceramics

Ann & Bryan Munsey Wooden Bowls

Christine Merrick Traditional Cane Seating

& more ...

Live Music from Dead Man's Uke & Special Guests

Steam Hammer Cafe BBQ & Millowners Arms Ale

Suitable for

  • Any age


Adults £6, Accompanied Children FREE


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

1940s: Wartime Children

Living History Day for schools
Children travel back in time to wartime Sheffield. They will investigate the lives of real people and encounter the trials and tribulations of air raids, evacuations and life on the Home Front. They will experience sounds, songs, gas masks, and life under an Anderson Shelter.

A Day in the Life of a Young Sheffield Steel Worker

How working life has changed in the Sheffield steel industry since Victorian times, with good audio clips from workers past and present.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Kelham Island Museum
Alma Street
Off Corporation Street
South Yorkshire
S3 8RY



General enquiries

Education enquiries

Collection enquiries


0114 272 2106


0114 275 7847

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.