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Report - Stanley Tools, Sheffield - June 2012

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Idle Hands, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Stanley Tools again I'm afraid...

    A little history...

    If ever there was a brand of tool that invokes an image of robust quality, Stanley was – and still is - it. Rivals such as Black and Decker, with whom Stanley merged in 2010, just seemed a bit DIY in comparison. The perfect embodiment of Stanley’s synonymity with quality and innovation comes in the shape of the Stanley Knife – a label bandied about by people who think they own one when in fact they own an imitation from their local DIY superstore – in a similar way that Hoover became synonymous with the vacuum cleaner.

    This all started way back in 1843 on the other side of the world. One Frederick Trent Stanley opened a small shop in New Britain, Connecticut, manufacturing bolts, hinges, and other hardware from wrought iron. With superior quality, consistent innovation, and rigorous operational improvement, the Stanley Works defined excellence, and so did its products. Frederick’s cousin Henry was so impressed he set up the Stanley Rule and Level Company in 1857, and in 1920 the two finally merged.

    The operation came to Sheffield in 1937 with the acquisition of J.A Chapman of Sheffield, taking over the brace and drill facility at Woodside Lane. James Arscott Chapman was listed in Goodman's Guide as a toolmaker and metal plane maker. The UK presence grew outwards to include sites at Ecclesfield and Hellaby.

    At some point in the early 1970s (can't find the exact date here I'm afraid) the Woodside Lane facility was the target of a payroll robbery that took place on the stairs that lead up from under the bridge to the wages department. The gang had posed as decorators painting the stairwell to gain access, and threw acid in the face of a security guard. He was ok, though rumour has it that it was an unsuspecting production manager that had held the door open to let the robbers in.

    In 2008 after many changes, the company consolidated its UK operation at the Hellaby site near Rotheram, which apparently safeguarded a number of jobs and brought manufacture of Stanley products back to the UK from Asia. It was the end of the road for the Sheffield operation though, which subsequently closed after 71 years of production.

    The Woodside Lane site now stands derelict and largely stripped out, its 3.7 acres currently up for sale but used as a venue for Airsoft in the interim. Planning permission granted in 2008 allows for demolition, alteration and extension, but also for the retention and conversion of two buildings. It would be nice to think part of the buildings would live on, but four years down the line and with no buyer in sight and the possibility of the site being split into separate lots, this is looking increasingly unlikely.

    The explore...

    In Sheffield for a couple of days, I had plans for a Derbyshire road trip and a few Sheffield locations to explore on the side. My usual co-explorer lives over there and it’s always better to have company for these things. Unfortunately and with the best laid plans, he damaged a nerve with days to go and could barely sit down, let alone stay in a car or vault a fence. Cue a slightly surreal and very brief journey across the city with me driving, the urbex dog sitting majestically in the passenger seat, and the co-explorer navigating with only an iPhone to gauge where we were while lying on the back seat and writhing in agony.

    I must admit I briefly felt guilty about dragging him out exploring, but Stanley Tools wasn’t that far and was about as wheelchair friendly an explore as you can get. And dammit, I’d been looking forward to this! Besides, I knew once the painkillers kicked in and he stood up he’d enjoy it too. You have to be cruel to be kind...

    The pictures...

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    Stanley was marketed as 'the toolbox of the world'. A world, it seems, where no glue is strong enough to hold Britain on the map that adorns the reception...

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    The admin block

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    The factory buildings were pretty bare, though the odd office still had a few bits and pieces in them

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    There was some interesting paperwork to be found in the old medical centre though...

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    And further up, a few clues remained as to what this site had been used for...

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    Old TV and record players are becoming as commonplace as solitary chairs and peeling paint. This was the third place in a row I'd come across something like this:

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    And further up there was a fair bit of graffitti, like this:

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    But it was the rooftops that provided the main attraction, and after a grey day the sun burst from behind the clouds over Middlewood and lit up the city...

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    A nice touch, even if Sheffield is missing an 'f'...

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    So it was a nice relaxed explore. Cheers to Urbex13 for some info - his pics are probably better than mine!

    Thanks for looking :)​
     

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  2. hoppity55

    hoppity55 28DL Member
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    I am envious of you exploring the site. I do loads of research on old tools and it was Stanley tools that first got me involved after all everyone knows Stanley.
     
  3. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Like the paper work. Good set mate
     
  4. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Blimey, there's a blast from the past!

    Thanks - it was a walk in to be fair, probably still is today if you're around that way and after a look round.

    Thanks mate :thumb
     
  5. hoppity55

    hoppity55 28DL Member
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    Cant do it anymore permenant wheelchair user but i love to look at what i am missing.
     
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  6. HughieD

    HughieD 28DL Regular User
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    Not seen any reports on this place for ages. Think it is now used by airsofters.
     
  7. BrainL

    BrainL 28DL Full Member
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