Sunday, 23 June 2019

Atkinson Walker Saws, Falcon Works, Sheffield


Situated between Cotton Mill Row, Cotton Street and Alma Street, Sheffield, Falcon works were built in the 1930's for light industrial use after the site was cleared as part of a 1931 Clearance Order. Originally standing three storeys tall, the premises were reduced to one storey between 1948 and 1950. Prior to this the site was used for a number of purposes. In 1896 the Alma Street end of the site played host to a rag warehouse. Due south were ten houses facing onto Cotton Mill Row, followed by Edward Cave’s timber yard. At the southern-most tip could be found the Rifle Tavern public house.

Some of the works included purpose-built workshops for a saw manufacturer and were occupied by R. H. Walker and Sons. The company had been earlier established in 1923 by Richard Walker and his son John, the former having been in the saw-manufacturing business since 1880. R. H. Walker and Sons established themselves as one of the leading UK manufacturers of high-quality Tungsten Carbide Tipped circular saw blades. They expanded operations locally in 1937 and then, in the early 1940's, took over Cardiff-based company, Atkinson & Co (Saws) Limited. In 1956 they closed the Cardiff factory, consolidating production in Sheffield by acquiring further premises on Bower Street. R H Walker and Son were then incorporated into the trading title of Atkinson-Walker (Saws) Limited in 1975, employing around 20 people.

However, like many light manufacturing operations in post-industrial Britain, the company ran into problems in recent years and finally went into administration in February 2018, suffering losses as a result of on-going pressures on profit margins and an increase cost-base. While an out-right buyer couldn’t be found, Sheffield Industrial Saws payed £20,000 for a six-month licence to operate out of the Falcon Works premises, but when that came to an end, with the secured creditors paid-up, the administrators closed operations at Falcon Works. The land was then sold off and in February 2019 an application was tabled for the demolition all existing buildings and the erection of a new 4-storey building comprising of 88 numbered residential apartments.


Esoteric Eric

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