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Report - - Woollen's Signs, Sheffield, S.Yorks, May 2021 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Woollen's Signs, Sheffield, S.Yorks, May 2021


HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
1. The History
Woollen & Co Sheffield was first established by Edwin Woollen, a sign writer and Frederick Ibbotson a lithographic printer back in 1883. Woollens' specialised in bespoke signage including hand painted signs. Initially based at 14 York Street, they develop a business which went from strength-to-strength and lasted for over 100 years. In 1897 Woollens' become a limited company and moved to 35 Carver Street in Sheffield. At some point they then moved to Love Street where the business remained until its closure.

The 20th Century saw Woollens' at the forefront of new developments within the sign industry. Illuminated signs had become very fashionable and in 1914 Woollens' became the agents for ‘Electric Lamp Letters Signs’. By the 1930’s neon tubes were introduced and their huge "Woollens' for Signs" signage on top of their premises was apparently the first neon sign ever installed in Sheffield. During the second world war the prohibition of illuminated signs meant Woollens' had to once more adapt to the market. Heavily bombed during the war, Sheffield’s redevelopment, and rebuilding in the 1950’s and 1960’s proved to be one of the company’s most successful periods. This proved to be the peak of their powers and after a long very gradual decline and in 2005 Woollens were taken over by The Sheffield Co-operative Society and subsequently integrated into their own in-house property services division.

In 2007 Sheffield Co-op were themselves taken over by The Co-operative Group who closed both the property services division and Woollens', bringing to an end 125 years of trading and the site closed.

In December 2007, several former employees went on to form a new Woollens' Signs Limited while maintaining some of the old customer base at their new premises at Shepcote Enterprise Park, Europa Drive, Sheffield, S9. The new Woollens' Signs continued to pride themselves on their workmanship, fresh ideas, better quality materials and staff being trained as qualified sign writers without the use of computers.

Since 2007, the old site has sat abandoned. It has been open intermittently but now is on the brink of demolition which will sadly see the iconic roof sign disappear from the Sheffield skyline for ever.

A picture of their former premises at no.86, West Street circa 1946:



2. The Explore
This place was a regular explore up to above five or six years ago until the place got sealed up. Since then, one side has been intermittently doable and one occasion I managed to have a look round this part. However, it has always been on my list for a revisit. Hence when the demo recently started, and things started to open up a little thought I’d pop down. Funnily enough we bumped into @Mikeymutt and his two compatriots who were just leaving as we were arriving. Good to see you again mate!

Glad I managed to see the bits I’d not previously seen even if they had been stripped as this place is not much longer for this world. Get down quickly if you want to see it before yet another piece of Sheffield’s industrial heritage disappears.

3. The Pictures
A couple of that iconic signage:









And in, firstly to the oldest part of the factory:













This bit had a number of very photogenic signs, mainly from pubs and the University of Sheffield:

















This bit was really far gone:



The newer part was pretty much stripped bare:









Loved this iconic Ibberson action knives sign:











 
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Mikeymutt

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Really nice set mate. Was glad to see it finally before it goes. And great to see you again even if it was briefly
 

dave

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Great report shame not much left now, over the years ive kept checking on its access then got lucky one day 4 or 5 years ago i must admit there was a fair bit left then the cheques were nice. Thanks for this update i take it the whole site is coming down will that include that live business next door?
 

Speed

Got Epic?
Regular User
Great report shame not much left now, over the years ive kept checking on its access then got lucky one day 4 or 5 years ago i must admit there was a fair bit left then the cheques were nice. Thanks for this update i take it the whole site is coming down will that include that live business next door?
I think the live buisness next door you refer to is in this report, the whole block is derelict and being redeveloped
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Very nice. Liking all the old signs. Great set there. I wonder how much £3.17 shillings & sixpence would be today, 1966 that cheque has stood the test of time lol
 

albino-jay

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Spot on mate. It’s a classic I’ve never got round to seeing. Shame it’s going. Wonder where the sign will end up.
 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Really nice set mate. Was glad to see it finally before it goes. And great to see you again even if it was briefly
Cheers mate. It was fleeting, wasn't it? Looking forward to see your pix.

Really cool, I thought this place had gone if I'm honest
Cheefs @Bikin Glynn yeah, I thought so too. Will be gone very soon...

Cracker of a report there mate.
Cheers kidda x

Brilliant set of images and write up, loving the old signs.
You're very kind sir...

Good report mate. Did this myself last month. Looks like I missed a lot of it though
Think a few 'holes' have appeared!

Great report shame not much left now, over the years ive kept checking on its access then got lucky one day 4 or 5 years ago i must admit there was a fair bit left then the cheques were nice. Thanks for this update i take it the whole site is coming down will that include that live business next door?
My pleasure mate.
 

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