The Cyclops Steel and Iron Manufactory


“swarthy workmen, engaged in their Titanic operations…”

C&C Cyclops Works

Meet the steel workers at the Cyclops Steel and Iron Manufactory on Saville Street, Sheffield. It was founded by Charles Cammell from Hull, who had been apprenticed to an ironmonger before becoming a cutlery salesman. The coming of the railways made him a very wealthy man. This is the Cyclops works and its blackened, deafened, ‘herculean’ foundrymen were described by G.S. Meason in The Official Illustrated Guide to the Great Northern Railway (1861):

‘This vast establishment comprises almost a small town of factories, the premises occupying an area of upwards of fourteen acres of ground, and affording employment to over 1200 persons, the amount of whose annual wages exceeds the revenues of many a foreign principality… After passing through an almost interminable succession of buildings occupied by swarthy workmen, engaged in their Titanic operations, we arrive at a series of very large buildings of more recent construction, consisting of rolling-mills, tilts, forges, and grinding wheels; and here the mighty power of machinery in its most gigantic proportions will astonish the beholder. The rolling-mills are so extensive as to require the agency of a pair of engines which together exert the power of nearly 500 horses; there is also an engine of immense capability for driving grindstones and other machinery required for the general purposes of the trade, and additional engines of proportionate power for hammering, tilting, forging, and drawing. The men engaged on these premises are models of herculean hardihood, so much does muscular exercise, even of the rudest and most severe character, develop the bodily frame. The hearing of these men is, however, frequently affected by their employment; nor can we wonder at this, for the clang of the machinery and tools is something prodigious.’


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