The Portland Works Committee is a group of tenants and supporters, all volunteers, who want to ensure the survival of one of Sheffield’s great buildings by community purchase and social ownership.
Portland Works, built in 1877, is one of the earliest surviving examples of an integrated metal trades complex. It is a Grade II* listed building, which in 1913 became the first place in the world to manufacture stainless steel cutlery – see History.
Remarkably, it still does what it was built for – offering low-cost workshop space to small manufacturing businesses and independent artists and craftspeople. You’ll find here metalworkers, engineers and craftsmen, furniture makers, artists and musicians. They are a cross section of talent following in the footsteps of the ‘Little Mesters’ who made Sheffield famous – see Makers. Sheffield Civic Trust supports the Committee in wanting to protect and develop this community of creative and traditional industries, seeing it as an essential part of the Sheffield economy.
Last year, the landlord wanted to close the Works and convert it into flats, ending 130 years of activity. However, an effective campaign with widespread support was successful in resisting planning application proposals. Consequently, the owner has offered to sell the building to the Portland Works Committee, which has formed a social enterprise, an Industrial Provident Society to buy, manage and conserve Portland Works. From 16 June 2011, the Portland Works Community Share Issue will be launched and you will be able to buy a share in this society.
The Committee believe that you won’t make a lot of money from your shareholding, this is not an investment in the traditional sense. But they do aim to maintain the value of your holding against inflation, through annual interest payments. Meanwhile you’ll have saved this wonderful building and secured jobs, skills and heritage, here in Sheffield.
Contact the campaign organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org