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Brown-Firth Laboratories, Now English Pewter Company

A Grade II Listed Building in Sheffield, Sheffield

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3917 / 53°23'30"N

Longitude: -1.4462 / 1°26'46"W

OS Eastings: 436928

OS Northings: 388457

OS Grid: SK369884

Mapcode National: GBR 9NF.HZ

Mapcode Global: WHDDP.R0JP

Plus Code: 9C5W9HR3+MG

Entry Name: Brown-Firth Laboratories, Now English Pewter Company

Listing Date: 20 December 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392386

English Heritage Legacy ID: 490736

Location: Sheffield, S4

County: Sheffield

Electoral Ward/Division: Darnall

Built-Up Area: Sheffield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Attercliffe and Darnall

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield

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Listing Text

SHEFFIELD

784-1/0/10144 BLACKMORE STREET
04-FEB-08 1
Brown-Firth Laboratories, now English
Pewter Company

II

Also Known As:
Brown-Firth Laboratories, now English Pewter Company, 72,
PRINCESS STREET
Research laboratory, now pewter works. Early C20, of two phases. Red brick with stone dressings, slate and metal roofs with north light glazing and stone copings to original block. Brick stacks to rear slope of roof at junction of original block and extension, and to extension.

EXTERIOR: Princess Street elevation of 3 storeys and 5 original first-floor bays, extended by 5 closely matching bays to right. Ground floor has a double-recessed doorway to left, north-east end, with rectangular overlight and stone lintel. To right are 4 round-headed, double-recessed windows with chamfered stone sills, brick voussoirs, stone keystones, and cross frames, and an entrance doorway with round head, stone keystone, two-panel door and semi-circular overlight. To the right 5 similar windows. Ventilation grilles of 2 patterns between ground-floor openings. First floor has 10 two-light windows with chamfered stone sills, segmental brick heads. Moulded brick string course above first-floor windows and another below second-floor windows. Second-floor windows are arranged in 2 groups of 5:2:5-light windows, with chamfered stone sills. Windows in original block to the left have continuous concrete lintel, windows to the right have individual moulded heads to each window. Modern glazing throughout. Cornice. Rounded stair tower to right, south-west end has stone-capped plinth, moulded brick band and 3 two-light windows (the lowest now containing plaques commemorating Harry Brearley and the invention of stainless steel).

Blackmore Street elevation has 2 inserted doorways on the ground floor, 6 rectangular windows with brick flat arches to the first floor (the 2 to the right narrower), 4 similar windows to the second floor.

Rear elevation has round-headed windows on the ground floor, segmental-arched windows on the first floor, on the second floor, flat-arched windows in the original block and windows similar to those in the front elevation to the extension. Basement window openings visible, now blocked. Rear is rendered to left, south-west end (at junction with now demolished wing), with a C21 single-storey brick addition.

INTERIOR: Cantilevered staircases with decorative metal balusters at either end of building. Ground floor of original block 2 rooms deep, with exposed steel frame to SW. First floor, housing offices, divided by central corridor. Decorative mouldings to beams in original block. Parquet floors throughout. Second floor, housing laboratories, retains benching and hearth. Copper tape applied to ceiling and upper part of wall of many rooms. Basement contained cinema and retains projection room and some fittings.

HISTORY: The birthplace of stainless steel. Purpose-built as research laboratories, a joint enterprise by the firms of John Brown and Firth's, two of Sheffield's largest steel manufacturers in the early C20. Established in 1908 with metallurgist Harry Brearley as manager. In 1913 Brearley developed a chromium steel alloy with corrosion resistance which he named `stainless steel'. Research into 'stainless' steel alloys continued on the site under Brearley's successor, William Hatfield.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE
An early C20 purpose-built research laboratory and offices. This building has architectural interest as a largely intact specialist industrial premises built by two of Sheffield's largest steel manufacturers for research into steel alloys. It has a well-detailed exterior incorporating large windows and roof lights to the top floor laboratories, and high quality interior fittings including original laboratory benches and hearth. This laboratory is of national significance, however, particularly because of its historic importance as the building in which local metallurgist Henry Brearley developed stainless steel in 1913. He quickly recognised the relevance of a non-rusting steel alloy in the manufacture of cutlery, thus revolutionising the local cutlery industry for a second time (the first time being the development of crucible steel in the early C18, also a local discovery). His successor, William Hatfield, further refined the alloy in 1924 in the same laboratories. Stainless steel remains the best known and most widely used of all the alloy steels on a worldwide basis.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

An early C20 purpose-built research laboratory and offices. This building has architectural interest as a largely intact specialist industrial premises built by two of Sheffield's largest steel manufacturers for research into steel alloys. It has a well-detailed exterior incorporating large windows and roof lights to the top floor laboratories, and high quality interior fittings including original laboratory benches and hearth. This laboratory is of national significance, however, particularly because of its historic importance as the building in which local metallurgist Henry Brearley developed stainless steel in 1913. He quickly recognised the relevance of a non-rusting steel alloy in the manufacture of cutlery, thus revolutionising the local cutlery industry for a second time (the first time being the development of crucible steel in the early C18, also a local discovery). His successor, William Hatfield, further refined the alloy in 1924 in the same laboratories. Stainless steel remains the best known and most widely used of all the alloy steels on a worldwide basis. It is therefore strongly recommended that the building is listed at Grade II.


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