tl;dr This place is now pretty stripped and may not be around much longer in its current form...
George Barnsley and Sons Ltd was founded in 1836 and specialised in forge filing and cutting tools for leather workers and shoe makers. In 1852 the business relocated to Cornish works in Kelham Island. Over time they increased their product range to include steel files, butchers knives, files and blades, shoe knives and leather workers tools. By 1948 the business had become George Barnsley and Son Ltd. The premises closed in 2003.
Does the world need another report on GBs? Almost certainly not, but it also probably won’t be getting many more judging from the state of the place on this recent visit. Up for sale and redevelopment, the Wharncliffe Works section of the site is already subject to building work, with vans and workmen present in and around the building.
Nextdoor at GBs, as you’ll notice from the photos, plastic sheeting now covers many of the windows and the land has been cleared of the overgrowth that’s been present on this site for years. This allows a clearer view of the buildings than has been possible for a while, giving the place the feel of some kind of heritage site rather than the familiar derelict tool factory.
I rarely revisit places, but GBs has been an exception: its temptingly close to home, and there’s always been something I’ve felt that I have missed on previous visits. This was, in fact, my fifth visit since 2013... I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so stripped and had simply come back to try out my new (budget) wide angle lens somewhere familiar before I took it somewhere new. As a result, these aren’t my favourite set of pics from this place but they are my most recent, hopefully serving as a record of the building as it enters the next stage of its life cycle...