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Forge Dam History

Thomas BoulsoverThe earliest historical references to Forge Dam are that Thomas Boulsover legally conveyed a newly built forge (about 1760) to his son-in-law, Joseph Mitchell, in 1765 and in 1779 Fairbank described the site as ‘Thomas Boulsover’s Dam’, together with a forge and a lower dam (now filled in). This was part of Boulsover’s industrial ‘empire’ which included the Button Mill and Wire Mill Dam and it’s associated buildings.


The forge and dam were subsequently variously recorded as owned by Boulsover’s manager, Samuel Thompson and later by Boulsover’s descendants, finally being sold by John Hutton in 1900 to a showman, Herbert Maxfield.


Around the mid 1800’s there were two water-wheels and a steam engine to power the forge’s drop hammers. It is thought that the forge ceased as a commercial enterprise around 1887. Maxfield used the dam as a boating pool for 20 years.

Forge Dam c1920s

Image courtesy of P Bayliss

By 1939 the dam and associated buildings were sold to Sheffield Corporation. Since then the dam continued to be used for boating, and a café and children’s playground were built to enhance the recreational experience. The boating ceased as the dam became heavily silted, but the dam, café and playground are still seen as important

facilities for Sheffield’s people.


The wheel and workshops have long since disappeared, but the millpond still exists. However, it is now in a poor state, due to the accumulation of silt.


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