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gippeswyc

James Neil - Summerfield St.

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I worked at James Neil (later Neil Tools) from 1971 to 1982 in the I.T. department. I have never been back to the area since then as I have lived and worked around the country.

Looking at Google Earth, it's changed dramatically. Can someone tell me what the green buildings are now? (The blue X is roughtly where my office was) and what are the new buildings going to be that occupy the site on the Ecclesall Road side?

My father used to work at Dormer Twist Drill next door, south of Napier St. Wondering what that white building is too. Thanks.

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I always thought Neil Tools was at Handsworth, near to where the new Asda is. An old friend who I have since lost touch with used to work on the Switch Board there, when I used to ring her at work, she used to answer the Phone Hello James Neils, then later just Hello Neil Tools. Did they have more than one building ? or am I getting mixed up with something else.

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James Neill were established on that site in the 1890's. The area where the green building is now were a combination of the offices (1st floor) with the factory shop floors below. The main entrance & boardroom were on Napier St. The area north of the site, where the new construction and cranes are in the picture, was occupied by the furnaces with the works canteen and a few other offices above it. There was a yard between the two which is exactly where you see the divide in the picture. I suspect this will be maintained as there is a small underground river running there. If you look just to the left of my blue cross you can see a sort of calvert where it starts to run under Summerfield St. Not all that area though as that area of Ecclesall Rd still had many Victorian premises which would have had backs I guess. These were mainly small businesses but a lot were empty/boarded up then from what I remember. I am not to sure when the the site became redundant but the office staff moved to the Handsworth site very shortly after I left the company at the end of 1982. I suspect this happened in 1983 as I went up with other colleagues in 1982 to see where we were to be working. At that time, the Handsworth site was mainly just a warehouse. Most of the shop floor production then were hacksaw blades but I can't be sure when the operation moved.

In 1971, the whole area in that picture had Victorian terraced housing all around. I seem to remember a lot it was being knocked down in the area west of Summerfield St the same year.

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Do you remember Wards Brewery on Ecclesall Road near to the junction of Summerfield Street?, this is now "swanky" new apartments (new buildings in your photo) described on their website as "Sheffield's Premier Residence".

The green building is the Hallamshire Business Park, the small river (the Porter Brook) still runs between the buildings and the white building off Napier Street is a private health club and gym (Greens I believe).

The thing I remember about the Dormer works was the clock with the temperature display as you drove up Summerfield Street towards the traffic lights.

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I certainly remember it and thanks for jogging the memory as to the small rivers name and the new buildings. Looking at those apartments it looks like they have incorporated some of the old buildings in that area. What ever happened to the old Wards Brewery entrance arch I wonder? In the late 1970s perhaps early 1980s they did some reconstruction and physically moved the arch elsewhere. I have a picture of it in my mind of it dangling from a crane!

Those "swanky new apartments" must be very noisy as this was always a busy area and looks even more so now.

Yes the Dormer clock was a very distinct feature as it was some size (black and white I think). It surprises me that http://www.picturesheffield.co.uk/ do not have pictures of this area that would include Neill's & Dormer.

Thanks for the excellent pic. Looks like Virtual Earth is worth a serious look.

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I've just spotted what looks like the Wards Brewery arch all on its own! Top middle of the picture with a blue indicator. Question is - is it staying there or going?

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Here's a picture of the area in 1970

1. Dormer Twist Drill

2. James Neill, later Neill Tools

3. I think this is part of Wards Brewery and as I suspected, seems to be incorporated into the apartment complex on Ecclesall Road.

4. Only just remembered this. This was part of Dormer Twist Drill & I think was obtained for overflow office space. Being where my father worked, he managed to get me a holiday job there in the late 1960s, possibly 1968 when I left school. My job was to take paper orders and code them for the mainframe computer (IBM 360 I think). Sounds difficult but it wasn't! I then would have to walk down to the main offices and hand them over to the computer staff. I can't believe this was nearly 40 years ago!

Here is the same picture without the graphics.

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More on early James Neill from http://www.sheffieldrecordsonline.org.uk/

James NEILL Steel manufacturer 49 Bailey Street Kelly's 1893

James NEILL 356 Crookes Moor Road Kelly's 1893 (not sure about this one)

James NEILL steel manufr. (J.N. & Co) h The Croft, Carsick Hill, Ranmoor White's 1911

James NEILL Steel manufacturer (J N & Co. (Sheffield) Limited) h. The Croft, Tom Lane, Ranmoor White's 1919

James NEILL (& Co. (Sheffield) Limited) steel manufacturers Composite Steel Works, Napier Street White's 1919

James NEILL Steel manufacturer (J Neill & Co. (Sheffield) Ltd.) h. The Croft, Tom Lane Kelly's 1925

James NEILL (& Co. (Sheffield) Ltd.) steel manufacturers Composite Steel Works, Napier Street Kelly's 1925

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I worked at James Neil (later Neil Tools) from 1971 to 1982 in the I.T. department. I have never been back to the area since then as I have lived and worked around the country.

Looking at Google Earth, it's changed dramatically. Can someone tell me what the green buildings are now? (The blue X is roughtly where my office was) and what are the new buildings going to be that occupy the site on the Ecclesall Road side?

My father used to work at Dormer Twist Drill next door, south of Napier St. Wondering what that white building is too. Thanks.

Hi

I used to work at James Neil in the Customer Service Department from 1974 to 1978

I remember people like. Don Bates, Jack Mallet, Steve Chambers, Sue Braily, Sarah Lee and Chris Barlow.

there were many more but their names escape me just now.

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Neill Tools moved to the Moore & Wright factory (then part of Neills) which is now the Asda site at Handsworth.

The Moore & Wright factory was a wonderful place. Concert room & ballroom, about 5 different dining rooms, snooker room and very friendly workers. A community as well as a factory. Like many large factories in Sheffield.

The Neills warehouse was also on the Handsworth site.

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Neill Tools moved to the Moore & Wright factory (then part of Neills) which is now the Asda site at Handsworth.

The Moore & Wright factory was a wonderful place. Concert room & ballroom, about 5 different dining rooms, snooker room and very friendly workers. A community as well as a factory. Like many large factories in Sheffield.

The Neills warehouse was also on the Handsworth site.

Hi, Just to finish this off, Neills bought Spear&Jacksons Handtools which they moved to the Handsworth site then They sold the site to Asda and moved to the Atlas road Site. Dispensing with the Neills Name and using the Spear&Jacksons one the Company is still active in the Handsaw and related tool trade.

Regards

RonP

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and to take it back to the start ... What were Spear and Jackson called originally ?

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The offices on the Ecclesall Road corner of Napier street and Summerfield Street are "EOS" or something, a computers company.

Greens opened a Health Club on the site of Dormer Twist Drills, but the corner of Summerfield street and Cemetery road where Dormer stood was previously occupied by a church, which went, I believe to make way for Dormer's expansion up toward Cemetery Road.

Gyppeswyc, the building you labelled "3" was indeed Wards' Brewery, that square tower still stands, the apartments were built from the gateway arc deelie up to the junction with Summerfield St, and give "brewing-related" names to the buildings, such as "oast house".

Looking across the city from my grandma's flat on Park Hill I used to watch for my grandpa coming home from work, and I used to use the red-lit sign on Wards' tower to get my bearings to look for my grandpa (not that I probably would have seen him from all that way, but, *shrugs* it kept me quiet whilst I was watching for him! hehe)

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Came across a whole series of adverts from 1961 and 1962 for James Neill Eclipse Tools in Model Railway News magazine recently:

February 1961: hacksaw blades with hare and tortoise

March 1961: tool bits & toolholders

]

May 1961: hacksaw blades with mouse and elephant

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June 1961: hacksaw blades with a cowboy

August 1961: saws and saw frames

September 1961: general tools

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October 1961: saws and sawing accessories

March 1962: tool bits, lathe tools and tool holders

June 1962: general tools

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I certainly remember it and thanks for jogging the memory as to the small rivers name and the new buildings. Looking at those apartments it looks like they have incorporated some of the old buildings in that area. What ever happened to the old Wards Brewery entrance arch I wonder? In the late 1970s perhaps early 1980s they did some reconstruction and physically moved the arch elsewhere. I have a picture of it in my mind of it dangling from a crane!

Those "swanky new apartments" must be very noisy as this was always a busy area and looks even more so now.

Yes the Dormer clock was a very distinct feature as it was some size (black and white I think). It surprises me that http://www.picturesheffield.co.uk/ do not have pictures of this area that would include Neill's & Dormer.

Thanks for the excellent pic. Looks like Virtual Earth is worth a serious look.

They do now, here is a new addition .. http://www.picturesheffield.com - s28292

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MOORE & WRIGHT Annual gathering 1931.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph 06 January 1931

Thorpe Hesley  2.JPG

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I started as an apprentice at James Neill in March 1967 and left in179/80.

Gyppeswyc, the building you labelled "2" is indeed the hacksaw blade factory department. However James Neill extended much further both north and south. The large irregular shaped building to the left was the small saw and hacksaw frame department. Between this and your number 2 was the No3 melting shop. The long thin building to the left of your No 3 was the melting shop no2 where the HSS was melted and cast into ingots for the hacksaw blades. Later these were rolled at Hallamshire rolling mills down Neepsend. The 3 storey building above your No 1 was the magnet department  (if you look closely you can see a walkway from one building to the next) and further down the next building was the Bandsaw blade department along with the training bay. There were other buildings such as the chisel department and the Toolroom, No1 fitters, electricians and joiners shop. There were also garages where Hugh Neills Rolls Royce was kept clean and polished by the chauffer. Happy days

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On 29/11/2008 at 20:21, ronaldparkin said:

 

Hi, Just to finish this off, Neills bought Spear&Jacksons Handtools which they moved to the Handsworth site then They sold the site to Asda and moved to the Atlas road Site. Dispensing with the Neills Name and using the Spear&Jacksons one the Company is still active in the Handsaw and related tool trade.

 

Regards

RonP

I am not sure if they make anything there now after the changes in ownership to French and then Chinese.

I used to go there repairing induction heating equipment. The handsaw department were producing the cheap unsetable, unsharpenable handsaws and even then the machines were sent to Taiwan. They also owned "Britool" spanner factory at Cannock. That turned into a warehouse for Facom French spanners after the company was bought by a French outfit. They started buying in components from China. I remember the factory manager telling me that they had to throw away about half the components that they bought in from China, and that when they contacted the Chinese about it they were told to throw away the bad ones and they would send more! 

I met one of the operators in a supermarket who used to produce the bi-metal strip for the hacksaw blades who told me that the company had been bought by a Chinese man who had then come to visit. At the end of his visit he told them "I can get 10 workers in China for the cost of one of you. I want all the machines packed and sent to China by September" The operator who told me this had been to China to show them how to do it and was now unemployed.

End of another UK manufacturer.

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Indeed...a country bereft of manufacturing was hardly what they voted for in 1945 when the future was, seemingly, boundless.

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