Stocksbridge is a small town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 and civil parish in the City of Sheffield, in South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England. It has a population of 1.29 million. It consists of four metropolitan boroughs: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and City of Sheffield...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, with a population of 13,663. It lies just to the east of the Peak District
Peak District
The Peak District is an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and South and West Yorkshire....


The town is located in the steep-sided valley of the Little Don River
Little Don River
The Little Don River also known as The Porter, is a tributary of the River Don in England. Arising on the Langsett Moors in the northern Peak District, the Little Don River feeds the Langsett and Underbank Reservoirs...

, below the Underbank Reservoir.

The main road from Sheffield to Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 originally passed through the town till the A616
A616 road
The A616 is a road which links Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, to the M1 motorway at Junction 30, then reappears at Junction 35A and goes on to Huddersfield, West Yorkshire....

 Stocksbridge bypass opened in 1989. The new road links the M1 motorway
M1 motorway
The M1 is a north–south motorway in England primarily connecting London to Leeds, where it joins the A1 near Aberford. While the M1 is considered to be the first inter-urban motorway to be completed in the United Kingdom, the first road to be built to motorway standard in the country was the...

 at Junction 35A (and J36) to the Woodhead pass (which is one of the main trans-Pennine
The Pennines are a low-rising mountain range, separating the North West of England from Yorkshire and the North East.Often described as the "backbone of England", they form a more-or-less continuous range stretching from the Peak District in Derbyshire, around the northern and eastern edges of...

 routes from Sheffield to Manchester) bypassing the towns of Stocksbridge and Deepcar, taking away the steelworks traffic through the town as well.

A branch off the Woodhead Line
Woodhead Line
The Woodhead Line was a railway line linking Sheffield, Penistone and Manchester in the north of England. A key feature of the route is the passage under the high moorlands of the northern Peak District through the Woodhead Tunnels...

 was built up the valley to serve the steel works from a junction near Deepcar Station. The branch line still exists but the main Woodhead line to Manchester was shut.


The valley bottom is almost entirely occupied by steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 works, which have been the main spur for the growth of the settlement, which did not exist until the early nineteenth century. Although, at one time, workers were bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

sed in from miles around, the steel works now 800 workers, and steel manufacture is due to continue.

Samuel Fox established a steel works from 1842, and built much of the infrastructure of Stocksbridge.

During World War II, 'Sammy Fox's' Steelworks was kept busy as part of the war effort. During the Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 on Sheffield by the Luftwaffe, the bombers used the dam at the end of Stocksbridge as a turning point for their run back toward Sheffield.

Steel making at Stocksbridge

Samuel Fox took over a disused corn mill near the centre of Stockbridge in 1842 and adapted it to making wire for textile pins. Around 1848 the business expanded to include wire for umbrella
An umbrella or parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The term parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun; umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain...

 frames which led to Fox developing the “Paragon” umbrella frame in 1851.

The business continued to expand and extended to different products, so that by the mid 1860s the works included furnaces and rolling mills allowing production of railway lines and springs.

The business was transferred to a limited company in 1871.

Between 1872 and 1877 a railway line was built to link the works with the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway
Great Central Railway
The Great Central Railway was a railway company in England which came into being when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway changed its name in 1897 in anticipation of the opening in 1899 of its London Extension . On 1 January 1923, it was grouped into the London and North Eastern...

 at Deepcar. This was the Stocksbridge Railway, which existed as a subsidiary company until 1992.

Samuel Fox & Co joined Steel, Peech and Tozer
Steel, Peech and Tozer
Steel, Peech and Tozer was a large steel maker with works situated at Ickles and Templeborough, in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England.- History :...

 at Templeborough
Templeborough is a suburb of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. The area takes its name from the remains of the Roman fort found there which were mistakenly believed to be that of a Roman Temple.-Roman fort:...

 to form the United Steel Companies (USC) following the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. From then on the products of the USC sites were coordinated so that each works specialised in set products. Fox’s specialised in special steel produce such as spring steel and stainless steels. This developed into the manufacture of high quality steel for the aviation industry. One specialised department assembled and tested springs for Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce Limited
Rolls-Royce Limited was a renowned British car and, from 1914 on, aero-engine manufacturing company founded by Charles Stewart Rolls and Henry Royce on 15 March 1906 as the result of a partnership formed in 1904....


Following nationalisation in 1967, the British Steel Corporation
British Steel
British Steel was a major British steel producer. It originated as a nationalised industry, the British Steel Corporation , formed in 1967. This was converted to a public limited company, British Steel PLC, and privatised in 1988. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index...

 split the stainless steel departments off into a separate business which by 2004 had become Outokumpu
Outokumpu is a group of companies headquartered in Espoo, Finland, aimed at stainless steel. The company has approx. 8 000 employees in about 30 different countries worldwide...


During the 1980s and 1990s the Stocksbridge works was part of the United Engineering Steels group (a joint venture between British Steel and GKN) and was known as "Stocksbridge Engineering Steels".

Since 1999 the works has been owned by Corus
Corus Group
Tata Steel Europe is a multinational steel-making company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the second-largest steel-maker in Europe and is a subsidiary of Tata Steel of India, one of the ten largest steel producers in the world.Corus Group was formed through the merger of Koninklijke...

, and is part of the Corus Engineering Steels (CES) group. Although for several years Corus ran at a loss, it has recently returned to profit, in part helped by the worldwide rise in demand for steel caused by Chinese economic activity.

Steel manufacture in Stocksbridge has always been by melting iron and steel firstly in crucibles (from 1860), then Bessemer converters (from 1862) and Siemens Open Hearth Furnaces (from 1899 until 1968) and lastly Electric arc furnace
Electric arc furnace
An electric arc furnace is a furnace that heats charged material by means of an electric arc.Arc furnaces range in size from small units of approximately one ton capacity up to about 400 ton units used for secondary steelmaking...

s (from 1939 until 2005). Iron has never been produced from iron ore at Fox's, by any method.

Despite the worldwide reputation of the produce of the Stocksbridge works, Corus reduced the works to a satellite site for the Rotherham
Rotherham is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Don, at its confluence with the River Rother, between Sheffield and Doncaster. Rotherham, at from Sheffield City Centre, is surrounded by several smaller settlements, which together form the wider Metropolitan Borough of...

 (Aldwarke) works (also CES). In the process the main melting shop and the rolling mill were to be closed; however, the mill was actually kept open after the planned closure date as the production could not be handled at Rotherham. Re-melting of special grades continued using small (around 10 tonnes capacity), specialised furnaces with controlled atmospheres. The rolling mill (billet mill) was re-opened in April 2006 due to difficulties in rolling certain products at Aldwarke and it is likely to stay open in the immediate future.

A plan to invest a further £6 million at Stocksbridge was cancelled part way through in December 2005. This plan would have enhanced the re-melting furnace capacity at Stocksbridge, aimed at strengthening Corus’ position to supply the rapidly growing market for engineering steels for the aerospace sector.This has now gone ahead.2011.


The town's local football club is Stocksbridge Park Steels, founded in 1986 following the merger of Stocksbridge Works FC and Oxley Park FC. The home ground of Stocksbridge Park Steels is Bracken Moor, located near the top of the valley. They play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division
Northern Premier League Premier Division
The Premier Division is the top division of the Northern Premier League. It is at Step 3 of the National League System, placing it six divisions below the Premier League...

. Stocksbridge's chairman is Allen Bethel. The club also organises many youth teams, from the age of 8 to 18.

External links

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