Shepherd Water Wheel, Sheffield

In the 17th Century, the City of Sheffield was the main centre for cutlery production in England outside London, and is still world famous today for its steel and metal works.

Remaining an industrial city throughout the first half of the 20th century, Sheffield is still the proud home to historic artefact, the Shepherd Water Wheel, which takes its name from tenant Edward Shepherd. Surviving over 400 years and noted as one of the earliest water wheels, the ancient water-powered, knife grinding mill is located in the Porter Valley. The 5.5m diameter water mill is a fantastic example of the early metal working industry and is powered from a large damstocked with water from the River Porter.

In order to restore the mill to its former glory a £1 million pound restoration scheme needs to be carried out. Thanks to several grants, including £45,000 from Viridor Credits, work is well underway. The project is a partnership between Sheffield City Council, the Friends of Porter Valley and Sheffield Industrial Museums' Trust. Once the Shepherd Water Wheel is restored it will open as a visitor attraction to the general public and school groups.

The exciting conservation project has so far fully restored the mill pond and, thanks to volunteers, an inventory of the historic artefacts contained within the workshops has been carried out. Work is also underway to restore the mill buildings and their surroundings. The next phase of the work includes the building of a new courtyard area, which will create a fully accessible viewing area to watch the water wheel in action. Designed as an educational area for school groups, the Shepherd Water Wheel will become a wonderful resource for local schools.


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