Exposed Uncovers: Kelham Island

Take a wander north of the familiar Sheffield city centre setting and in around 15 minutes you'll stumble upon Sheffield's best kept secret.


Perched upon the River Don and bordering with Shalesmoor, Kelham Island is one of Sheffield’s 11 quarters and boasts a wealth of heritage which has been embraced through its modern day revival. The area’s rich history is thought to date back to its manmade creation around 900 years ago when the folk of Sheffield built a goit to divert water to the Town Corn Mill and in doing so formed an island – not an actual island, but close enough. In its industrial heyday Kelham Island was thriving with factories and workshops and the heart of manufacturing in Sheffield.



Kellam Homer, the Town Armourer, owned a workshop on Kelham Island and is reportedly the inspiration behind the name. The lucky chap must have been quite a guy as a water wheel was named after him in the 17th century and the name was eventually adopted by the whole island in the 1800’s– albeit with a minor spelling difference (we wonder if anyone was sacked for that?). Floods in 1864 and 2007 had devastating effects on Kelham Island due to its proximity to the River Don and, if you look close enough, the damage can still be seen on some of the buildings in the area.


The Island has retained its manufacturing traditions and is still home to various independent businesses producing everything from hand saws to surgical instruments to jewellery. However, the region is now best known for its beer and ale production – with its own independent brewery and 8 real ale pubs.



This former industrial space is currently undergoing an impressive regeneration and has gained a reputation as a swanky hotspot. Many new businesses are flocking to open their doors in the up-and-coming area as it is fast becoming one of Sheffield’s most popular destinations for art, drink and production. Take a wander down the main drags Green Lane or Alma Street and you’re likely to witness artsy folk en route to their newest exhibition or beer connoisseurs heading into one of the many nearby watering holes for a pint. The variety of businesses in the area makes for a diverse crowd and riveting people watching (don’t pretend you don’t do it).Today, in amongst the remaining derelict factories and industrial heritage sites, Kelham boasts a combination of modern residential apartments, bars, music studios and workshops.  


The most exciting new development in the area is Little Kelham – a £13m eco-friendly project by Leeds-based property developer Citu which is currently transforming the former Eagle Works and Green Lane Works. Adding to the strong local community spirit, the project will offer a range of zero carbon homes, offices, workshops, arts spaces, local shops and public spaces (



Kelham Island is a perfect example of an area respecting its heritage whilst also bursting headlong into the 21st century and laying the foundations for a blindingly bright future. Head down for a look around and visit the Kelham Island museum to discover more about the area and Sheffield’s industrial history. We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of our favourite Kelham Island and Shalesmoor residents…



Opening soon @ Unit 4a Rutland Way, S3 8DG. Tel. 0800 234 3617
Founded by Bring Me the Horizon frontman and local lad Oli Sykes, Drop Dead Clothing is a unique combination of a passion for music, art and street culture. The brand draws inspiration from these sources, as well as a love for 90’s culture, experience of life on the road and the lifestyle that comes with it. Established in the Steel City in 2005, Drop Dead has since generated a dedicated fan following thanks to its unique designs and ever evolving styles. This success has meant Drop Dead have outgrown their old Nursery Street stomping ground and we can look forward to them opening their new doors to customers in the historic Samuel Osborn Works on Rutland Road later this year.



146-148 Gibraltar Street, S3 8UB. Tel. 0114 2755959
Firmly established as a destination on the real ale map of Sheffield, Shakespeares is a must visit for anyone that enjoys a good tipple. Supplying 9 ever changing real-ales at any one time, as well as an array of interesting bottled beers, premium pilsners and a spirit collection rivalling any other in Sheffield, it’s no wonder the place has won many accolades.  Since bursting onto the scene in 2011, after a heroic rescue from the depths of despair by now owner William Wagstaff, Shakespeares have proved themselves worthy winners of CAMRA Pub of the Year 2013. Not only is their drinks collection something to be proud of, their upstairs venue Bard’s Bar has also played host to the crème de la crème of local talent, as well as acts from all around the globe.



Alma Street, S3 8RY. Tel. 0114 272 2106
If you’re looking for something different this Christmas, why not head down to the historic Kelham Island Museum and take a gander around their Victorian Christmas Market? Each year, the industrial history museum hosts a Victorian Christmas market, attracting a massive 16,000 visitors. With over 150 stalls selling everything from locally made gifts and crafts to home ware, jewellery, food and festive necessities you’re not likely to go home empty handed. There’ll also be entertainment in the form of a brass band, choir, and fairground – and of course Santa Clause himself will be in attendance for the little ones. This year, shoppers can enjoy a Dickensian themed Christmas on Saturday 30 November (10am – 7pm) and Sunday 1 December (10am – 5pm).



23 Alma Street, S3 8SA. Tel. 0114 2494801
Now this is one pub with a whole load of history. Since 1981, The Fat Cat has been providing the people of Sheffield with real ale and tasty grub. They won the first CAMRA pub of the year in 1982 and have since picked up a ridiculous number of titles and awards – not to mention making their big TV debut on BBC Breakfast News in 2004 (we have a celebrity in our midst). As well as surviving the major flooding of 2007, the pub has witnessed the coming and going of the Kelham Island Brewery and today it can offer a range of traditional local real ales, including at least four from their neighbours, as well as guest beers from around the country. Pop in to see what they have on offer this month.



Cornwall Works, 3 Green Lane, S3 8SJ. Tel. 0114 275 8333
If you’re familiar with the Sheffield foodie scene, you’ll probably have heard of The Grind Café. The independently owned gastro-café opened in 2010 and has since become synonymous with delicious homemade food, barista style coffee and a buzzing atmosphere.  The menu puts a mouth-watering twist on classics (such as their famous sausage rolls) as well as more adventurous options such as smoked salmon and spring onion fishcakes or dahl stuffed peppers. Whether it’s brekkie you’re after, an early supper or just a quick bite during your lunch break, The Grind Café is the perfect place to satisfy your hunger and relax in the laid back surroundings. Keep your eyes peeled for their seasonal pop-up markets and soon to be launched bistro evenings.



7 Smithfield, S3 7AR. Tel. 0114 348 9421
A unique multi-purpose arts complex in Shalesmoor, CADS offers rentable studios for people in need of a creative outlet – from painters to fashion designers to musicians. CADs, which has recently achieved official charity status, aim to enable creative minds to develop and showcase their work through the facilities and services provided in the studios. The premises offer 69 studios across four locations and play host to free events, exhibitions and fundraisers – if you’re a creative soul get yourself along for some inspiration and networking. The space is also home to the elusive Dirty Little Secret events space – home to club nights showcasing the best House & Techno talent around.



23 Alma Street, S3 8SA. Tel. 0114 249 4804
Fancy a pint? First built in the beer garden of the Fat Cat, Kelham Island Brewery was established in 1990, making it the first new independent brewery in Sheffield in around 100 years. The demand for real ale in Sheffield has continued to increase since, and their new upsized digs on Alma Street has a capacity for 100 brewer’s barrels – now that’s a hell of a lot of ale! They brew a selection of 5 regular ales as well as two specials each month. As well as the all-important task of brewing, these guys also offer tours to the public – so if you’re enthusiastic about your ale, or just curious about what goes on behind the scenes, get booked on to a brewery tour. If you’re still not convinced it’s probably worth mentioning that there’s Pie & Peas included – if that doesn’t tempt you we don’t know what will.



62 Russell Street, S3 8RW. Tel. 0114 272 2482
Another essential stop on the Don Valley Real Ale trail, and twice winner of the Sheffield CAMRA pub of the year (the only pub to have won two years running), the Kelham Island Tavern was brought to life in 2001 by current owners Trevor Wraith and Lewis Gonda. The pair had a vision to bring the derelict boozer to life and create a friendly traditional pub serving a wide choice of beer and food – and that’s exactly what you’ll get today. The pub has an impressive list of real ales on offer and they’re passionate about looking after their collection correctly. Their ale selection reflects the seasons with strong malts in the winter and summery pale ales in the warmer months. If you’re into music head down on a Sunday night for regular folk and acoustic live sessions.



105 Neepsend Lane, S3 8AT. Tel. 0114 272 4978
A friendly local pub offering a variety of hand pulled beers from near and far. On the taps they offer generously priced ales from micro-breweries around the country and local ales from the Sheffield Brewery Co. as well as continental beers, real cider and perry. After suffering substantial damage in the 2007 Sheffield Floods, the Gardeners Rest was unfortunately forced to shut down for some time – but is now fully recovered and looking better than ever. This real ale free house boasts quirky and interesting décor, including an ever changing display of local artwork, as well as a popular beer garden perched upon the banks of the River Don. There’s plenty of fun to be had with regular quiz nights, live music or simply a cold beer in good company.



DUN STREET, S3 8SL. Tel. 0114 275 8333 
Sheffield’s first boutique student accommodation, Dunfields combines a great location with stylish décor and optimum comfort. Unlike any other student accommodation, Dunfield’s focus is on boutique style with interiors designed by renowned designer Julie Poulter, making this the perfect home for any fashionista or design conscious student. The new development in Kelham Island will see accommodation for up to 82 students. The townhouses will include 4-5 bedrooms with communal kitchen, dining and lounge facilities – each with a unique look using the latest in British design. Only 20 minutes to both universities, Dunfields offers a calm oasis just outside the city centre with incomparable living in one of Sheffield’s hottest locations.



84 GREEN LANE, S3 8SE. Tel. 0114 272 8327
Ask anyone who’s familiar with the Sheffield food scene for a restaurant recommendation and The Milestone will undoubtedly be mentioned. The gastro pub, which was crowned Gordon Ramsay’s Best British Restaurant in 2010, is renowned for its award winning and locally sourced food. With accolades such as Eat Sheffield Restaurant of the Year and a Michelin-recommendation in the Michelin Guide to Eating out in Pubs 2010, it’s no wonder they attract punters from all ends of the country.  Over at The Milestone, they’re passionate about responsibly sourced food – they even have their own rare breed pigs! The innovative menus change daily and are crafted around the seasonal market produce available at the time – so you’re sure to have a fresh and unique dish every time.


Words: Katie Todd

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