George Barnsley and Sons
George Barnsley and Sons were England’s premier makers of forge filing and cutting tools for leather workers and shoe makers. Their factory was situated on Kelham Island, one of the oldest industrial sites in Sheffield. George Barnsley and Son is listed in the 1837 Sheffield directory as a file manufacture situated on Wheeldon Street. Records show they moved to Cornhill in 1847 and then on to Cornish Place, on the River Don, just three years later. By this time they had expanded their product range to include steel files and butchers knives. George Barnsley was Master Cutler in 1883.
The company grew throughout the 19th century and the Barnsley family were well thought of in the Steel city. Their 1944 listing identified them as manufactures of files and blades, shoe knives and leather workers tools. Four years later they became a Ltd company. George Barnsley died at his home, aged 83, at No. 30 Collegiate Crescent on 30th March 1958 where he lived with wife Mabel and mother-in-law Elizabeth. George Bansley had a long army career, joining up in 1896 and serving in the Boer war and two world wars and played a leading part in the development of the Army Cadet Force in Sheffield.
Sadly the factory became outdated and the inefficient production meant that the company could not keep pace with a competitive import market. With the costs of production growing George Barnsley’s closed its doors in 2003. The site has sat derelict and unused ever since.