This film is part of Free

Tool Steel Manufacture at the Works of Edgar Allen & Co., Ltd., Sheffield

Heating, forging, hammering, bending, cutting, welding, moulding, grinding: from molten steel to finished tools and rail track, via the labour power of Sheffield’s finest.

Industry sponsored film 1939 18 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


With war looming large on the horizon, the seemingly primitive production methods evidenced in this film makes one wonder just how well prepared the British steel industry was to compete with the Germans in 1939. On the other hand, the labour intensive nature of this back breaking work at the Edgar Allen works in Sheffield, under conditions of intense heat, testifies to the endurance and skill of its steelworkers.

Edgar Allen may have been inspired to make this film by Park Gate Steelworks, just up the road in Rotherham, who made a very similar film with detailed intertitles a year or so earlier. The company divided into several separate companies in the 1960s. Like many of the steel and engineering works that dotted the area around Brightside, Atterclife and Tinsley, the two main Edgar Allen plants have now disappeared. But this film was most likely shot in the rail track site on Shepcote Lane which is still operating, although now run by Progress Rail Services UK in 2011 – via Mowlem, Carillion and Balfour Beatty.