Visiting Portland Works
Portland Works is an operational business every day of the week. But wherever possible, we like to find opportunities to invite shareholders, neighbours and the public inside.
We love helping them learn about the history of the building and see the progress that we’re making to preserve it.
There are details of open days and events below but until then, why not get a cup of tea and take a virtual tour by clicking the video here.
Open Days and Events
Portland Works hosts regular open days where, as well as seeing the building, there are usually a good number of our 30+ craftspeople that turn out for visitors. Many will have a stall where you can see their products in a craft fair atmosphere. We maintain a regular schedule of educational and community events including our sell-out Heritage Lecture series, that give people the chance to interact with the works and other supporters.
On the first Tuesday of each month, you can visit by arrangement, normally at 2pm. This is a tour of the building rather than an open day, so we cannot guarantee which tenants will be on-site or which doors will be open, but there’s always plenty to see. It’s also the day the volunteers are renovating things so you can meet us and see what we’re up to. A donation is welcome as a gesture of support and we suggest £4 per person.
You need to book by noon on the day before – please contact us to make a reservation.
Commercial and Educational Visits
The Works is a unique venue and we’d love to help you put on en event here. We have held some spectacular events at the Works and it can provide a great backdrop for photography. Our facilities are improving all the time so please visit the Room Hire page and get in touch to see what we can offer
We have also had some brilliant partnerships with both of Sheffield’s universities. The Works offer great opportunities for architects, planners, historians or journalists and we aim to make all projects rewarding both for students and for Portland Works. Please note that in its current state the Works is unsuitable for school visits but we’re hoping to change this in 2017 as we build better visitor facilities.
Access and Information
We apologise that there is currently very poor disabled access. This is a slightly restored Victorian factory building, and there are many steps even to ground floor workshops. We do make every effort to ensure as much access as possible to disabled people, within the constraints of the building but please contact us ahead of the day so we can make good arrangements.
Additionally, a lot of the Works is pretty cold so please wear warm clothes. “Sensible” shoes are advised too as some floors are uneven and there are many steep staircases. Be warned, too, that our current toilet facilities can best be described as “basic” although these are rapidly improving!
What You’ll See When You Visit
We will show you around the yard so you can see where the various processes of cutlery-making took place. If the tenants are around you may be able to see into the forge (still with its original machine hammers), the vaulted grinding shop and the “lantern room”. You’ll see newly restored areas that our volunteers are working on. And then there’s the impressive rooftop view. We have a visitor room to start and end your tour where you can warm up, see our cutlery collection and learn more about the Works and its unbroken history of manufacturing. Afterwards the nearby Harland Cafe is a great place for a drink or meal.
We’ve turned the corner from “serious dilapidation” to a decent working environment, although there’s still an awful lot to do. We’re proud to be preserving the essence of a 19th century factory. The Works is steeped in history and was the place where the very first stainless steel knives were made, and the same forge is still in use today little changed.
How To Find Us
Lots of buses (75/76, 97/98 and more) stop on London Road, near the Cremorne pub. Turn into John Street, take first right onto Hill Street, walk past GoOutdoors, and Randall Street is next left – our entrance is on the junction. It’s a 3 minute walk from London Road. Alternatively you can walk up Randall Street from Bramall Lane, opposite the football ground.
We’re a ten minute walk from the Moorfoot. Aim for London Road and turn left into Hill Street, just after Sainsbury’s. Then follow the directions as above.
Portland Works is on the junction of Hill Street and Randall Street. There is adequate street parking on Hill Street or Randall Street but watch out for the “resident permit only” bays. Also please DO NOT use the Go Outdoors car park next door as this is for their customers only.
Set your SatNav to S2 4SJ.