East Peak Innovation Partnership (EPIP)
12 St Mary's Street
Penistone, S36 6DT

Call: 01226 763 201

EPIP industrial heritage programme

Industrial Heritage in the East Peak

The East Peak area has long been associated with a number of different industries, and still retains a rich and important industrial heritage of buildings, monuments, under-ground archaeology and landscapes that have been formed by industrial processes including coal, ganister and mineral extraction, and iron and steel production.


(Former weaving cottages in Skelmanthorpe and Rockley Furnace)

In the northern part of the area early local industry was often based on a combination of farming and weaving, and a number of mills and weaver’s cottages still exist in the local villages and along the river valleys. The region also played an important role in the early development of mining and iron production, and there are a number of nationally important sites relating to these industries within the East Peak area. These include the Rockley Furnace and Engine House site and the Wortley Forges in the southern part of the region. There are also a number of drift mines and bell-pits, including a collection of early post-medieval ironstone workings near Emley village in the north (now a scheduled ancient monument). There were also a number of glass making sites in the area, and a number of important glass houses still remain including those at Silkstone (a seventeenth century glass making site, now a small business complex) and Bolsterstone (an early eighteenth century glass house, later converted to a farm building and now a dwelling). 


(Penistone Viaduct and the Silkstone Waggonway)

Early industry across the area was encouraged by the expansion of the canal network from the late eighteenth century onwards, and the introduction of railway networks during the nineteenth century. The most striking local railway feature is the Penistone Viaduct, constructed during the 1880s, however earlier features also remain, including the early nineteenth century Waggonway at Silkstone which has been partly restored by a local group in recent years.  The East Peak region is also home to a network of reservoirs and water storage facilities, which were created during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to supply the growing demand for water from the nearby towns and cities as their populations expanded during the industrial period. 

However, despite this wealth of industrial history, during the later twentieth century much of the local industry has declined. This has left a legacy of buildings and landscape features, many of which are now at risk of demolition or unsympathetic development.


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