for Heritage Open Days 2020
Portland Works, Sheffield
Operating a collection of workspaces for traditional and modern craftspeople within one of the UK’s most important historical industrial buildings
Portland Works is often referred to as the birthplace of stainless steel cutlery manufacturing. It was built in Sheffield in 1879 and is now one of the last remaining working examples of a purpose built metal trades factory. Following a half-century of neglect, the building was purchased in 2013 by a social enterprise comprising more than 500 community shareholders who, having saved it from residential conversion, are now undertaking an extensive renovation.
The grade 2* listed building has been reborn as a centre for small manufacturing, independent artists and craftspeople, with more than 30 small businesses located within the 2600 square metre floor space. These include knife makers, an engraver and several engineers; cabinetmakers and joiners; jewellers and silver platers; artists; rug and guitar makers; photographers and a Yorkshire based gin distillery. Even high-tech CNC manufacturing is happening at Portland Works.
Portland Works is supported by a team of tireless volunteers, generous private and business donations, and by larger supporting institutions such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and the J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust.
WHAT WE DO
Portland Works is not just a historical building; it is also a thriving community benefit society and home to craftspeople, artists and small manufacturing. While these “makers” may cover a variety of products, they all share the same essential characteristic. They use their unique skills and experience to produce something that is hand made with pride.
This kind of artisanal art and manufacturing feeds the local economy, enriches the cultural heritage of Sheffield and is thriving at Portland Works. Here’s a random selection of our more than 25 makers but you can see the full list here.
Our Supporters and Sponsors
As a community project, Portland Works only exists today thanks to the tireless generosity of our supporters. And we are privileged to count some of the county’s finest charitable organisations and companies amongst this list. Their generous donations support the tireless work of our volunteers and private shareholders in helping renovate this important heritage building.
Click the logos below to learn about each of our supporting organisations or see the complete list here.