Atkinson Walker, Falcon Works (revisit), Sheffield, September 2019

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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Situated between Cotton Mill Row, Cotton Street and Alma Street, Sheffield, Falcon works were built in the 1930s for light industrial use after the site was cleared as part of a 1931 Clearance Order. Originally standing three storeys tall, the premises were reduced to one storey between 1948 and 1950. Prior to this the site was used for a number of purposes. In 1896 the Alma Street end of the site played host to a rag warehouse. Due south were ten houses facing onto Cotton Mill Row, followed by Edward Cave’s timber yard. At the southern-most tip could be found the Rifle Tavern public house.

Some of the works included purpose-built workshops for saw manufactory and were occupied by R. H. Walker and Sons. The company had been earlier established in 1923 by Richard Walker his son John, the former having been in the saw-manufacturing business since 1880. R. H. Walker and Sons established themselves as one of the leading UK manufacturers of high-quality Tungsten Carbide Tipped circular saw blades. They expanded operations locally in 1937 and then, in the early 1940s, took over Cardiff-based company, Atkinson & Co (Saws) Limited. In 1956 they closed the Cardiff factory, consolidating production in Sheffield by acquiring further premises on Bower Street. R H Walker and Son were then incorporated into the trading title of Atkinson-Walker (Saws) Limited in 1975, employing around 20 people.

However, like many light manufacturing operations in post-industrial Britain, the company ran into problems in recent years and finally went into administration in February 2018, suffering losses as a result of on-going pressures on profit margins and an increase cost-base. While an out-right buyer couldn’t be found, Sheffield Industrial Saws payed £20,000 for a six-month licence to operate out of the Falcon Works premises, but when that came to an end, with the secured creditors paid-up, the administrators closed operations at Falcon Works. The land was then sold off and in February 2019 an application was tabled for the demolition all existing buildings and the erection of a new 4-storey building comprising of 88 numbered residential apartments.

2. The Explore
Thought I’d stick up a revisit. It was a nice sunny day and I happened to be passing. Entry was particularly easy, so I just walked in and took a few snaps on my phone. Nothing much has changed since my last visit although there was a noticeable increase in the number of needles laying around. The place’s days are probably numbered as Kelham Island is booming and this low-slung industrial area has a large footprint. So, expect multi-level student flats to be built here.

3. The Pictures

A quick peek through the window:

48746079396_84de7e8b59_b.jpg Sheff Saws 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a couple of quick externals before we pop in:

48746070516_90ab344fd8_b.jpg Sheff Saws 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746257182_e5504d28f4_b.jpg Sheff Saws 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And we’re in:

48746073871_85dab8ea38_b.jpg Sheff Saws 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746261587_881ceb1402_b.jpg Sheff Saws 03 bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746077006_3d12498355_b.jpg Sheff Saws 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746075061_bddf6873df_b.jpg Sheff Saws 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746255962_88b5d21961_b.jpg Sheff Saws 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746072921_8597a4253f_b.jpg Sheff Saws 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48745738833_3d278a2163_b.jpg Sheff Saws 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This old range is the most interesting single thing in the whole factory:

48746254562_5fb78baf60_b.jpg Sheff Saws 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48745738048_a32b2d39c5_b.jpg Sheff Saws 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And this is by far the most interesting and photographic room:

48746258812_aed050b92f_b.jpg Sheff Saws 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746259277_1c0f986f1f_b.jpg Sheff Saws 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746079961_0a17e4d480_b.jpg Sheff Saws 01 bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

48746258327_470c4e2796_b.jpg Sheff Saws 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the report wouldn’t be complete without some urbex toilet action:

48746071261_495b6fdd02_b.jpg Sheff Saws 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And here’s some of those aforementioned needles:

48745737268_25b5e25c4e_b.jpg Sheff Saws 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr