Heritage Lottery Fund Turns The Fortunes Of Shepherd Wheel

By Esther Poole

Buildings that played an important part in the birth of Sheffield's internationally renowned metal industry are to be restored to their former glory thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Nestled in the Porter Valley, Shepherd Wheel is the city's only remaining example of the early small scale industry that was common in the 17th and 18th century.

The site contains two grinding workshops with compete sets of machinery, weirs to divert the water and a dam to drive the wheel. They represent the rural beginnings of industrialisation, demonstrating how local millwrights harnessed the power of the rivers around them and made the best use of the steep-sided valley.

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “(The grant) will save the most complete example of an early, domestic scale water mill within Sheffield and give visitors the chance to once again experience the sights and sounds of an industry that played a role in shaping Sheffield as we know it today.”

In addition to funding repairs, the grant will also be used to help visitors step back in time by telling the history of the site through interpretive panels, leaflets, guided tours and live demonstrations.

The overall project is going to cost approximately £1 million. In addition to the £499,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the city council is giving about £100,000.

The remainder is being given by external funding sources and the Friends of Porter Valley are launching a fundraising campaign to support the restoration and the protection of the site in the future.

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