As I walked around the outside of Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield, I noticed an interpretation board on cementation furnaces. I was particularly intrigued as I had noticed one of these structures on my regular driving route. When I left Kelham Island, I made the ten minute walk up to the brick structure that I had passed so many times, to finally take a look.
Prior to the surrounding HSBC office block being demolished, this furnace was hidden away. However, since the land has been cleared, the furnace is now in clear view from the main road. On approach, I was a little saddened that it has deteriorated into such a state. The interpretation board states that it was restored by the Midland Bank back in 1992-1993, and it looks like little has been done since to care for the structure. I believe that the surrounding land is going to be redeveloped and the furnace is to be the focal point of a new development of student accommodation. I look forwards to making a return visit when the works are complete.
This furnace was built in the late 1800s for Daniel Doncaster and Sons and was used to produce Blister steel until 1870. This type of steel was called Bliser steel as the process left the steel with a blistered appearance. The furnace was in use until 1952 and it is the only complete cementation furnace that remains in Sheffield.
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