Kelham Island is a man-made island that is over 900 years old and since 1982 it has housed the Kelham Island Museum. The museum is home to hundreds of artefacts and exhibitions that document and take you through Sheffield’s rich industrial story. In our opinion, its most exciting exhibit is the UK’s largest working steam engine that runs twice a day so make sure you are there at either 12 pm or 2 pm to see the mighty 12,000hp engine in all its glory!

Where can I learn about Sheffield's history?

The Kelham Island Museum documents and shows Sheffield's rich steelmaking history and with interactive exhibits and the Melting Shop play area it's great for all ages!

Before you’re even in the museum it’s showing off its impressive collection. Outside is one of the last remaining Bessemer Converters in the world which makes a great spot for a photo or two due to its impressive stature.

The museum is a great way to learn about the impact that steel had on the city and how it forged it into the place we know and love today. And with the added benefit of it being FREE!

  • Entrance is free
  • Brilliant selection of exhibits for the history hungry. Many of which can’t be seen anywhere else
  • A nice café to relax at after your visit
  • Very near the centre of the city

Facts about Sheffield's industrial history

  • A man called Thomas Boulsover invented the process of mixing copper and silver together, producing something very similar to silver but was much cheaper to make. From this, a material called ‘Sheffield Plate’ was created. This was then used to make items such as buckles and snuff boxes.
  • Benjamin Huntsman invented crucible steel in Sheffield in 1742 which, during the industrial revolution, led to Sheffield outputting nearly half of all Europe’s steel.
  • The population of Sheffield grew from 14,531 in 1736 to 135,310 in 1851 mainly due to the rise of the steel industry in the city!

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