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UK Museums: Kelham Island in Sheffield - Big Machines at Kelham Island

A Must-See UK Museum in Sheffield for Budding Engineers and Industrialists


  • What: A museum of two centuries of Sheffield industrial history on 900 year old, man-made river island.
  • Where: Alma Street (Off Corporation Street) Sheffield S3 8RY
  • Contact: +44 (0)114 272 2106
  • Admission: Free during Sheffield school vacations and for children under 16, Adults £4 at other times.
  • Open:Monday to Thursday 10a.m. to 4p.m., Sunday 11a.m. to 4:45p.m., closed Friday and Saturday. last admission an hour before closing.
  • Website
Kelham Island Museum will thrill budding young engineers as well as anyone interested in industrial history and really big machines. Among the exhibits on this 900-year-old, man- made island, is the last surviving, complete Bessemer converter. The Bessember process for converting pig iron to steel was developed in Sheffield. It made mass production of high quality steel possible - a development that ultimately led to the design and building of skyscrapers.

Another giant, the 12,000 horsepower River Don Steam Engine, was built in 1905 to drive a rolling mill that made armor plate for the Dreadnaughts of the Royal Navy's WWI battle fleet. It continued rolling out massive steel plates right up to the 1970s when it was used to roll thermal shields for a nuclear power station.

Other exhibits at Kelham Island include rare automobiles, a Rolls Royce jet engine, and workshops devoted to the city's traditional skills of cutlery making and diesinking. Don't miss the reconstructed Little Mesters' Lane workshops. Historically, Sheffield's Little Mesters were independent, self-employed craftsmen who made cutlery - a trade still practices in Sheffield.

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