Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Audio Accounts of Young Steel Workers


Listen to an account from an apprentice at Sheffield Forgemasters steel company in 2007.  There are more audio files on the resources page of this story.


In the 1950s:

Hear the audio from a discussion with a group of 'Little Mesters' and Sheffield steel workers who were based at Tinsley Wire steel company in the 1950s.

An Illustration of Sheffield steelworkers showing three workers with a large steel pole
An Illustration of Sheffield Steelworkers


In Victorian Times:

You can listen to the audio accounts of Mr J E White after inspecting cutlery factories in Sheffield in 1865 and it is accompanied by a transcription. The report highlights the poor conditions and hard work life of the young workers.
Black and white illustration of a Victorian grinders workshop showing adults and children working
Illustration of a Victorian Grinders Workshop

During Victorian times Sheffield became a world centre for steel production and a large percentage of the Sheffield workforce was employed in the steel and cutlery industries.