Hadfields Limited

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Advertisement in Brassey's Naval Annual 1915 presenting Hadfield's manufacture of artillery shells and their patented "ERA" steel

Hadfield's Limited was a British Steel manufacturer. Previously named Hadfields Steel Foundry Co. Ltd., by leading metallurgist Robert Abbott Hadfield in 1888 following the death of his father, Robert Hadfield, who had founded the works in 1872. The works were known as Hecla Works.


In 1872, Robert Hadfield (Snr), who had been involved in local government work, began his own steel casting business on a site close by the River Don, off Newhall Road, Attercliffe. Success was assured when he became able to produce materials and castings which had previously to be imported from France.

By the mid-1890s, with work at high levels the company needed to expand from their restrictive site and bought 90 acres (360,000 m2) of land in Tinsley. On this they built a new works, known as East Hecla Works which opened in 1897.

A speciality of Hadfields was the production of points and crossings for railway trackwork.

This site is now mainly covered by the Meadowhall Shopping Centre, the old factory being flattened in the early 1980s as part of the regeneration of the East end of Sheffield following the closure of many of the local factories in the 1970s

1960s Rationalisation[edit]

It was seen in the mid-1960s that some rationalisation was needed within the Sheffield steel industry, particularly steel founding. With respect to this Hadfields Limited split into separate divisions, forging, casting and other works. Similar moves were taking place at Samuel Osborn & Company, Jessop Saville & Company and Edgar Allen and Company.

The intention was to merge the foundry interests of the four companies to form one large steel foundry with the capability of making castings from a few ounces to 40 tons, with only English Steel Corporation's Grimesthorpe foundry in the city able to make larger. As negotiations were taking place the deal fell through leaving Osborn's and Hadfield's to merge, with the foundry being located on Hadfield's East Hecla (Vulcan Road) site. Edgar Allen's purchased Jessop's, relocating Jessop's special alloy (medium frequency) melting on Edgar's Sheffield Road site and the 3-ton electric furnace at their Imperial Steel Works melting shop.


  • A Photographic History of SHEFFIELD STEEL by G.Howse, Pub. WH Smith, 2001

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