Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society News     



Thursday 23rd February 2017

An opportunity to visit the Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield, with a private tour of the nationally important Hawley Tool Collection. Option to continue to the small, but important, Turner Museum of Glass at Sheffield University. Cost: £10

Kelham Island: Kelham Island is one of the oldest industrial sites in Sheffield. The island was formed in the 1180s when a goit or millrace was created to carry water from the River Don to the Town Corn Mill, near Lady’s Bridge. A short stretch of the goit still exists today and runs alongside the museum site. Much of the early history of the island after this time is unknown until 1637 when the town armourer, Kellam Homer set up a grinding workshop and waterwheel. The waterwheel was originally known as Kellam Wheel, but by the early 19th century the spelling had been altered to Kelham and the island given the same name.

In the 1800s, other industries began to spring up in the area and Kelham Island itself became a host for all kinds of manufacturers. In 1829, John Crowley built a small iron foundry called Kelham Iron Works where he made all kinds of iron products. In the 1890s the site was bought by the City and an electricity generating station was built to provide power for the City’s new tram system. The power station was in operation until the 1930s, after which the buildings were used as storage space and workshops. These buildings now house the collections, displays and workshops of Kelham Island Museum.

Turner Museum of Glass: The Turner Museum of Glass is one of the UK's most interesting and comprehensive collections of nineteenth and twentieth century glass. From drinking glasses to contemporary installations, the Museum celebrates the skill and artistry of glass makers. Pieces by all the major European and American glass makers are on display and the collection is unrivaled in its display of work from the 1920s to the 1950s. The Museum was founded in 1943 at the University of Sheffield, by Professor W.E.S. Turner.

Please note that you should aim to arrive at Kelham Island by 10.30 am, as the private tour of the tool collection is at 11.00 am. The museum's 420 ton Rover Don steam engine will be fired up at 12.00 noon and 2.00 pm, and should not be missed. Lunch will be available in the museum restaurant.


Thursday 2nd March 2017

An opportunity to visit the British Library at Thorp Arch, Boston Spa for a guided tour and an introduction to the reading room facilities. Lunch available in the restaurant. Cost: Visit and tour free of charge (maximum 25 members).

The British Library: The British Library receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. Its collection includes well over 150 million items, with 3 million new items added every year. The Library has manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints and drawings, music scores, and patents. The Sound Archive keeps sound recordings from 19th-century cylinders to CD, DVD and MD recordings. All this requires over 625 km of shelves, and grows by 12 km every year. Across its sites the Library has on-site space for over 1,200 Readers and over 16,000 people use the collections each day (on site and online). The part of the Library at Thorp Arch is on the site of a former ordnance factory. It is specifically designed for document delivery service processes and has over 100 km of shelving.

Note: This is a fairly short visit, with arrival at 10.30 and 11.00 am and departure after lunch.
Public transport access is possible.


Tuesday 11th April 2017

A day at Cromford Mills, Derbyshire with a guided tour. Cost £10.

The visit involves a personalised tour of this world heritage site, starting at 10.30 am with the main mill complex and the Arkwright Audio-Visual Experience, which demonstrates how Sir Richard Arkwright founded his industrial empire by pioneering the world’s first successful cotton-spinning mill to be powered by water. Lunch if required is available in the on-site cafe, with plenty for people to see and enjoy at their own pace, to make this a very full and interesting day. For details of the site see https://www.cromfordmills.org.uk/.

Cromford Mill: The world’s first successful water powered cotton spinning mill, it was built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright. From then until around 1790, Arkwright continued to develop the mills, warehouses and workshops, which now form the Cromford Mills site. Considered as a whole it presents a remarkable picture of an early textile factory complex. However, problems with the water supply around 1840 imposed severe limitations on textile production at Cromford Mill and the buildings were put to other uses. These included a brewery, laundries, and cheese warehousing. Finally, in 1922, the site was used as a colour works, producing colour pigments for paints and dyes. It is remarkable that so many of the buildings survived this use and, by 1979 when the Cromford Colour Works abandoned the site, many of them were heavily contaminated with lead chromate. It was generally believed the mills had reached the end of their useful life and must be demolished – all of the key buildings had fallen into disrepair and many of the historic features of the site, including the principal watercourse, had been obliterated by modern development. It was not until the modern buildings had been cleared away and new historical and archaeological research had been completed that the true value of the site was recognised. This reappraisal led to an upgrading of the listing and the entire site now enjoys Grade I status and is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.


Download details and Booking forms


Trips about which further details will be supplied in due course

Tuesday 4th April 2017

Evening visit (5.00 pm) to the Optare plc bus and coach manufacturers at Sherburn-in-
Elmet. Free of charge, but maximum 20 members. Please note that this location is not
easily accessible by public transport.

Thursday 8th June 2017

Morning guided tour of the English Heritage, Helmsley Archaeological Store. Free of
charge but maximum 20 members (individual donations welcome from attendees).
Followed by lunch at Ampleforth Abbey, and a guided tour of the abbey church there.

Look out for more information nearer the time of these two trips



Enquiries to yas.excursion@gmail.com.