Sheffield's historic Furnace Hill offers quiet city living
As the shift of image from centre of industry to hip living continues in such places as Kelham Island, it is mirrored in other pockets of Sheffield, where the character of particular streets and neighbourhoods has been successfully transformed.
Close to the centre of the city, and with a wealth of history, is Furnace Hill, along with its conservation area that marks its place in the history books as a very important part of Sheffield.
Now, trendy apartments in sensitively designed blocks that emerged in the former metal trades industrial area, are for sale and rent there for very reasonable prices, when compared to many other districts and suburbs.
Furnace Hill itself was there as early as the turn of the nineteenth century, and would have been lined with terraced properties. A steel; works there had become unused by 1828, and furnaces demolished.
Properties were built, fronting West Bar, by the 1850s. A pub, the Grapes Inn, was built in the 1830s, and stayed in place until the 1970s.
The conservation area, in the main, runs from north of Furnace Hill to Gibraltar Street along such roads as Snow Lane and Copper Street, but goes all the way to West Bar in the south and Doncaster Street to the north.
At one time, Furnace Hill was at the forefront of industry in Sheffield, being built in response to the ever expanding city’s population.
Its early dense back-to-back terraces were removed in the 1900s, with sizeable industrial units taking up some of the land on which they once stood.
One former metal works on Furnace Hill was converted to high quality apartments in 2007.
The area has proved popular as a residential centre due to its location, very close to the centre of the city.
It is handy for a vast range of workplaces and amenities including theatres and museums, and for the University of Sheffield.
One other main reason that Furnace Hill and its surrounds were made in to a conservation area in 2005 is that it has eighteenth century street patterns reflecting original field enclosures.
Its important metal trade buildings included the former Hope Works and G W Potts on Furnace Hill, that is now named White Croft Works and is a residential development.
Nearby, the Doncaster Street Cementation furnace is the only remaining upstanding such furnace in the city, built in 1848. This is an ancient monument and is Grade ll listed.
An archaeological investigation around 2009 on Furnace Hill and Gibraltar Street found remains of a steel works from the eighteenth century that was owned by a Samuel Shore and included a cobbled yard. A crucible furnace with its main working elements was discovered from the nineteenth century.
Linda Crapper, a director at Saxton Mee estate agents said: “The best part of the city on the outskirts is Kelham island, where prices have continued to grow and the area is extremely popular but there is more of a structure of living there, with lovely cafes, bars, and restaurants and good local home brew pubs. It’s vibrant so rents and prices are high.
“In the heart of the city there are some lovely conversions, all very popular, offering good rents.
“Furnace Hill is now becoming an over spill of the city market and whilst prices and rents may be lower, the area itself will only get better.
“I can see all this area being developed more and more over the next 10 years with long term results. There’s not really any infrastructure in the same way as for Kelham Island and the city centre, but it will come, and all the land around that area is being bought up via developers.”