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The makers experience Sheffield's transformation into an industrial powerhouse known as 'Steel City', famous throughout the world for making high-quality steel and cutlery.

In this episode, four craft-makers experience Sheffield's rapid transformation from a rural market town to an industrial powerhouse that built modern Britain known as 'Steel City'. Sheffield became famous throughout the world for making high-quality steel blades and cutlery. Steph McGovern takes them through the ages and they are guided by local Sheffield cutler Corin Mellor.

Starting in the 18th century, they are tasked with hand forging a scythe at Abbeydale Works. This farming tool found recent fame when used by a shirtless Poldark, but the makers discover it was one of Sheffield's biggest exports that launched Britain's steel industry. The process proves to be a hugely physical challenge.

Next, they step into the heart of a Victorian production line to make cutlery stamped with the fashionable Kings pattern. Steph learns that the extravagant Victorian middle class had a different piece of cutlery for every type of food. They prepare the knives, forks and spoons ready for electroplating - 'blinging' up the cutlery by covering it in silver.

The biggest innovations are yet to come. Travelling forward to the start of the 20th century, the makers learn that stainless steel was discovered in Sheffield, bringing affordable cutlery to the masses. They experience Sheffield's transformation into a war machine to defend Britain - making WWII commando knives using a heavy duty drop stamp.

Now in the 21st century, Corin Mellor takes the makers to his state-of-the-art factory, David Mellor Design. Here, they make high-end stainless steel forks from one of factory's bestselling ranges. With the city's focus on quality rather than quantity, the craft-makers discover that Sheffield's historic cutlery industry is still thriving.

59 minutes

Last on

Mon 4 Jan 2021 15:45

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Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:02

    Arctic Monkeys

    Do I Wanna Know?

  • 00:08



  • 00:08



  • 00:14

    Ed Sheeran


  • 00:21

    Cat Power


  • 00:28

    Broken Bells

    After The Disco

  • 00:43

    Glenn Miller and His Orchestra

    Back To Back

  • 00:46

    Carroll Gibbons With The Savoy Hotel Orpheans

    I'm Going To Get Lit Up When The Lights Go Up In London

  • 00:46

    Count Basie & Helen Humes

    Dark Rapture

  • 00:50

    The 1975


  • 00:53

    Mark Ronson


  • 00:53

    Mark Ronson

    L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever) (feat. Kasabian)


Role Contributor
Presenter Steph McGovern
Executive Producer Jo Bishop
Series Producer Dunk Barnes
Director Kim Maddever
Production Company DSP TV