Construction starts at Eyewitness Works as owners CAPITAL&CENTRIC look back on the building’s history

With construction starting at Eyewitness Works this month, owners CAPITAL&CENTRIC have revealed how their plans will celebrate the former cutlery works’ rich history.

The Eyewitness Works and Ceylon Works buildings have been a prominent resident on Milton street since 1852 – although the first registered building at the site was in 1838. For 150 years it was home to Taylor’s Eye Witness Ltd, a Sheffield success story producing pocket and kitchen knives in industrious pre-war Britain.

The buildings give a glimpse into the workings of the cutlery industry in the 19th century. Cutlery was grinded, hardened, buffed, filed and polished by hand in a series of workshops. Goods would arrive and depart by cart via one of the three connected internal courtyards.

The layout of the works was typical of Sheffield’s metal trades and whilst built for industry, the fashionable Venetian windows demonstrate the importance of status at the time. The complex of workshops, set out in shallow buildings, were designed to maximise natural light with long work benches under the dual aspect windows.

The two Grade II listed buildings will keep their original charm with residents able to enjoy centuries-old features such as the 40ft chimney, 150 year old pressing machines, Victorian safes, exposed brickwork and impressive timber roof structure. The courtyards will be reopened providing outside space and a cobbled street draped with festoon lighting and lined with trees and foliage.

A new six storey building will be constructed on the site of the former Brunswick Hotel – a pub built to serve the thirsty hordes of cutlery workers which closed in 1964.

Adam Higgins, co-founder of CAPITAL&CENTRIC said:

“As the custodians of Eyewitness Works it’s always been important to us that we celebrate its awesome history. The building is one of the last examples of the cutlery industry that made Sheffield famous across the world. We’ve loved discovering all the souvenirs of the past, like the Victorian safes, fireplaces and pressing machines.

“You can live in a space that was once used to grind, file and polish cutlery. The workshops were designed to maximise natural light for the cutlery workers so the apartments and townhouses will be big, light and airy. We’re also keeping as many of the original features as we can, including the brickwork, timber roof and cobbles.”

Social impact developer CAPITAL&CENTRIC recently announced its aspiration to spend up to £200m in the city centre over the next five-to-10 years, including around the Milton Street site. They are already working on an urban vision for the wider area, which could include over 2,500 residential units, café-bars and restaurants to activate the street scene.

The former cutlery works on Milton Street is currently hosting the Mausoleum of the Giants Solo Show by world renowned muralist Phlegm. Over 6,000 people have already visited the giant sculptures of mysterious creatures which are on display at Eyewitness Works until 6th April 2019.

Adam Higgins went on to say:

“It’s been amazing that thousands of people have been able to experience the building before we get started. The exhibition is epic and we’re made up that we’ve been able to be part of it.”

To celebrate the exhibition, CAPITAL&CENTRIC is holding an evening of art, drinks, eats and beats on Thursday 4th April 2019, 6:30pm – 9:30pm at Eyewitness Works. Attendees will be able to chat with the CAPITAL&CENTRIC team and see the plans for the restoration of the building.

The £21m plans were approved unanimously by Sheffield City Council last month. The development will kick start the regeneration of the area and will include 97 loft apartments and town houses, along with a 900 sq ft café-bar and private courtyards. Construction is due to complete by the end of 2020.

Interested in buying an apartment at Eyewitness Works? You can register your interest at www.eyewitness-sheffield.com.

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