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Thread: Eye Witness Works, Sheffield, South Yorks, March 2019

  1. #1
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    Default Eye Witness Works, Sheffield, South Yorks, March 2019


    1. The History
    Taylor's Eye Witness Works is situated on Milton Street in the Devonshire Quarter of Sheffield. It’s a Grade II listed building which since its foundation in 1852 has specialised in producing kitchen and pocket knives. It was believed to be the only traditional works left in Sheffield still manufacturing original products, before its recent closure. Taylor founded a knife and edge tools firm in 1820 in the Netherthorpe area of the city. In 1838 Taylor applied for and was granted the Eye Witness trademark and in 1852 moved to the newly built Eye Witness Works on Milton Street. The works were driven by steam power and the 40-foot chimney stack remains in place today. Upon the death of John Taylor in 1854 the firm passed to his daughter who had married into the Needham family who were also knife producers.

    Illustration from 1897:

    Ey Witness Old 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And an old picture of the workshops from the same year:

    Ey Witness Old 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The company became known as Needhams Ltd, before merging with forces with James Veall in 1876 and Tyzack’s in 1879 to form Needham, Veall & Tyzack. In 1870 the firm only employed 30 people, but after 20 years of rapid growth it employed several hundred people by the 1890s. In 1875, the Eye Witness Works were extended into three storeys and the firm become a limited company in 1897 with capital of £60,000. After the First World War the firm was hit by a downturn in demand due to the invention of stainless steel. However, it mechanised its production process and started to expand again, taking over several well-known Sheffield cutlery companies to the extent that new buildings were added on Thomas Street in 1950. Changing its name to Taylor’s Eye Witness in 1965, ten year’s later it was acquired by 1975 Harrison Fisher & Co who retained the Taylor’s Eye Witness brand name for many of its products as well as producing "own label" goods for department stores including John Lewis, Tesco and Sainsbury's. Finally in June 2007, Harrison Fisher & Co Ltd changed its name to Taylors Eye Witness Limited.

    An advertisement for the Taylor's Eye Witness Works from the 1890s:

    800px-Taylor's_Eye_Witness_advertisement by HughieDW, on Flickr

    With the company now having vacated the building and having moved to new premises the works will be subject to a £21m restoration along with Ceylon Works and the construction of a six-storey building on the site that was formerly home to the Brunswick Hotel. CAPITAL&CENTRIC, the developers, state that ““There will be a mix of one, two and three bedroomed apartments and townhouses which will encourage and promote a real broad demographic to the area to help build a long-term sustainable community in this part of Sheffield.”

    2. The Explore
    Well, I guess you’d call this a ‘permission’ visit of sorts as my way into the works, after watching it for some time, was to view the new Phlegm exhibition entitled “Mausoleum of Giants” which has just opened in its temporary home in the old works. There wasn’t much scope for looking round the rest of the factory as it was locked down and tightly controlled, although I did get a few shots here and there.

    3. The Pictures

    A few externals:

    Eye Works 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Eye Works 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Eye Works 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Eye Works 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Eye witness 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    2019-03-19_07-22-24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Inside the first court-yard:

    Eye witness 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And some internals:

    Eye witness 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Eye witness 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Eye witness 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Eye witness 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    An old pressing machine:

    img9929bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9925 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9909 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And a few of the stunning Phlegm exhibition:

    Phlegm 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Phlegm 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Phlegm 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Phlegm 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Phlegm 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Phlegm 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Last edited by HughieD; 19th Mar 19 at 22:49.

  2. Thanks given by: BikinGlynn, etc100, jmcjnr, KPUrbex, krela, Mearing, noiseboy72, psykie, Rolfey, Romford Reject, Rubex, Sausage, stu8fish
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  4. #2
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    I like this place! Some great pictures hughie! Loving the sculptures there amazing!!

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    The rooms are incredibly interesting. It's as if nothing was ever touched or updated as the company progressed.
    Excellent write-up which contained so many familiar names I recognise. Also interesting is that cutlery was not always stainless - not many will realise that..

    The art? I'm probably losing it but is it actually in the rooms or is it photographs with digital art added? Can't believe I'm asking that!!
    Full of meaty goodness.

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post
    The rooms are incredibly interesting. It's as if nothing was ever touched or updated as the company progressed.
    Excellent write-up which contained so many familiar names I recognise. Also interesting is that cutlery was not always stainless - not many will realise that..

    The art? I'm probably losing it but is it actually in the rooms or is it photographs with digital art added? Can't believe I'm asking that!!
    Real three dimensional modules mate. Incredible stuff.

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