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

Call: 01226 763 201

EPIP industrial heritage programme

Sites to Visit

There are many industrial heritage sites in and around the East Peak that are open to the public at different times. The following are just a selection. If you would like your site to be included on this list please let us know. 

Skelmanthorpe Textile Heritage Centre

The Skelmanthorpe Textile Heritage Centre is a preserved hand-loom weaver's cottage in the middle of Skelmanthorpe. It is a small, privately owned museum and consists of a one-up one-down cottage furnished as it would have been c.1900, complete with a working handloom and a range of fascinating displays about local textile heritage. At the moment the museum is only open to the public during Heritage Open Days and by prior appointment. For more information please visit the Friends of Skelmanthorpe Textile Museum website (click here). 


Wortley Top Forge

Wortley Top Forge is thought to be the oldest remaining water-powered heavy iron forges in the world. Dating from the seventeenth century it is a remarkable survival. Pig iron from blast furnaces (like the one at Rockley - see below) would have been sent to local forges like Wortley to be refined into bar iron, which would then be used to make products such as wire, nails and even railway axles. At Top Forge two of the large drop hammers that would have been used to work the iron still remain, along with a number of water wheels and original forge buildings. The site also houses a collection of historic steam engines, including 'Elizabeth'; a large mill engine rescued from a textile mill in Slaithewaite. Top Forge is owned by the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society and preserved as a private industrial museum. It is open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holidays between Easter and September and there is a small admission fee. For more information please visit the Top Forge website (click here).



Rockley Furnace

Rockley Furnace is another site owned and managed by the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society. Tucked away in woodland just off Rockley Lane the site contains the remains of an early eighteenth century blast furnace and an impressive nineteenth century engine house (built by Darwin and Co from Elsecar) which are both scheduled ancient monuments. The site is open to the public at all times, but please be aware that parking is limited and there are no facilities on site. More information about Rockley is available at Wortley Top Forge. To find out more please visit the Society's website (click here).


Elsecar Heritage Centre

Just outside of the East Peak on the other side of the M1 is the Elsecar Heritage Centre. Formerly the Elsecar Ironworks, built by John and William Darwin and Co. and owned by the Fitzwilliam family, this important former industrial site is now preserved as a heritage centre. The site includes the former works complex and the Elsecar Newcomen Engine; the only newcomen-type engine in the world to survive in its original location. The surrounding village of Elsecar also contains a number of fascinating nineteenth century workers houses and other industrial buildings. The Heritage Centre is owned and managed by Barnsley Museums and is open to the public all year round. The engine is not currently open to visitors, but a package of funding from the HLF and English Heritage has recently been awarded to fund work to restore the engine and re-tell the story of industrial Elsecar. For more information please visit the Barnsley Council website (click here). 




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