Atkinson Walker, Falcon Works, Sheffield, May 2019

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HughieD

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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
Been past this place many times but it never really registered. Not until a tip-off from @tarkovsky who very kindly gave me the heads-up about it. So off I set. Entry was a bit of a squeeze, so the roll-out option was used for exit. It’s a very long run of buildings and architecturally it’s nothing special and can’t really hold a candle to the near-by George Barnsley’s (but then what can?). Inside it’s mainly stripped bare. That said there’s enough to go at for half-an-hour or so and a new explore is a new explore.

3. The Pictures

A few externals to start:

47841163472_c2d64188c7_b.jpg img0869 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40926831503_866e6b5c0b_b.jpg img0870 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46977115825_38ec90b5ea_b.jpg img0871 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47893321361_b65e965eba_b.jpg img0855bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

Including these really faded ghost signs:

47893129081_a54c482eee_b.jpg img0873 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47893106991_5946c35c4e_b.jpg img0874 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40927006343_91dbcd9f4b_b.jpg img0853 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Outside looking in:

47841198282_af136006ed_b.jpg img0867 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47893264861_d953d6893c_b.jpg img0865bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

And in we go!

47842555762_8d6a732d57_b.jpg Sheff Saw 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47893594261_c07580b272_b.jpg img0833bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

40927196863_7b17cc3017_b.jpg img0834 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Little room just off the yard:

47842617492_0ae00d37bf_b.jpg Sheff Saw 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The main blade-working workshop:

47105451484_a444540d4d_b.jpg Sheff Saw 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47104245514_b24e282721_b.jpg img0839bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

I know it’s going to be demo’ed but why do people feel the need to smash stuff up?

46978600085_1f91a8a3bd_b.jpg Sheff Saw 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nice shelf in the reception hall:

40928287773_68186a2c7a_b.jpg Sheff Saw 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

…and hatch opposite:

47894680681_ac4628bf4a_b.jpg Sheff Saw 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This picture of Paul Whitehouse as Arthur Atkinson must be related to the co-owners of the company:

46978584335_911ede731c_b.jpg Sheff Saw 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Probably the most interesting thing in the whole works:

47842584882_1f3c654201_b.jpg Sheff Saw 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Of course, made in Sheffield:

47842576882_4a95534cee_b.jpg Sheff Saw 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And some nice wooden box shelving on the small second floor:

47894659901_3dd4aa4b5f_b.jpg Sheff Saw 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47842561952_b9a876d877_b.jpg Sheff Saw 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46977326635_8301057cfc_b.jpg img0850 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Not much left lying around:

46977368645_ca2b551361_b.jpg img0844bw by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Sabtr

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The sinks were smashed for non-ferrous metals - copper pipe and brass taps.
A similar type of vandalism happened recently when the last newish building at Grove Rake Mine was demolished by contractors. I wanted some lockers but instead the contractors decided to crush and bury them beneath rubble and incorporate them in to landscaping..

I'm surprised there's not a remnant of a blade left in there. Sometimes products might be used to fabricate brackets for shelves and the likes. I see where the anvils once stood but leaving their useful bases seems odd too.
I'd give a kidney for an open fire and oven combo like that (but complete!)
The ghost ad will vanish once it gets demolished. Great that you've captured it before it was too late.

Still an interesting report methinks.
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Because of the Company debt burden, everything of value that was owned by the Company was sold off. This included all stocks of blades, and the high end steel sheet that they were fabricated from. One cannot move the anvil bases - they are made from reinforced concrete and cast into the floor foundations and technically belong to the building. A place well known to me - the company used to sharpen the blades from my Brother's saw mill
 

Sabtr

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Ah now that explains things!
I honestly thought the bases were wood..
 

HughieD

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The sinks were smashed for non-ferrous metals - copper pipe and brass taps.
A similar type of vandalism happened recently when the last newish building at Grove Rake Mine was demolished by contractors. I wanted some lockers but instead the contractors decided to crush and bury them beneath rubble and incorporate them in to landscaping..

I'm surprised there's not a remnant of a blade left in there. Sometimes products might be used to fabricate brackets for shelves and the likes. I see where the anvils once stood but leaving their useful bases seems odd too.
I'd give a kidney for an open fire and oven combo like that (but complete!)
The ghost ad will vanish once it gets demolished. Great that you've captured it before it was too late.

Still an interesting report methinks.

Cheers mate. Much appreciated. And yes...that will be why the sinks were smashed.
 

BikinGlynn

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Brilliantly photod Hughie, do u know when demo is due? Its another Id like to see before it goes!
 

Mikeymutt

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Nice little place that mate and nicely covered as always
 

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