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Report - George Barnsley Tools, Cornish Works Sheffield

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#1
George Barnsley made amongst other things leather working knives and tools. If you are lucky enough to own a vintage leather bag or Northampton shoes, the leather was probably cut and worked with a tool from Barnsley's.

The Cornish works is a mad mix of Victorian buildings, extended again and again to create a rather ramshackle collection of workshops stores and offices, connected with little bridges and covered walkways. The amazing thing about the place however is not the buildings themselves but their contents. For it seems Mr Barnsley and his' staff were not too keen on modernising their business... at all. Although the works closed fully in the early 2000's, there is little sign of anything dating from before the 1960's, and you have to really look to see anything from before WW2!

Amazingly, several original grinding wheels are still in situ, set in their original benches. Ever heard somebody say "Got my nose to the grindstone"? These pieces of equipment are where that saying comes from. Line shaft wheels are dotted everywhere.

Another amazing thing is how many cupboards there are. I thought William's fasteners was cubby central, but Barnsley's is just ridiculous. Most of them are still labeled in chalk with what variety of knife or tool would have been stored there.

Even the offices are so old fashioned it hurts.No sign of a computer, fax, telex... hell I would not be surprised if they sent telegraphs to their customers.

I have waited a long time to get the pleasure of an afternoon in Barnsley's. I was not disappointed...


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