Hadfield's Weir - Meadowhall, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 24.867 W 001° 24.850
30U E 605400 N 5919547
Quick Description: This weir on the river Don was originally constructed around 1600 to power a cutlers workshop and subsequent mills until the 1830s.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 12/3/2018 4:06:00 PM
Waymark Code: WMZMT5
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Mark1962
Views: 0

Long Description:
Steam power subsequently took over the mills and from that point of view it became redundant. When a large steel mill was later constructed the weir was rebuilt, not as a power source but as a method to control the river flow.

The next major change was in 2012 when a fish pass was installed to help re-populate the river with fish since the water has become cleaner with the reduction in industrial activity.

The following is information extracted about the weir and fish pass from two notice boards next to the river here.

The history of the weir

Like much of the River Don this view has seen massive changes. particularly in the 20th century. Up until the 1900s this was still a rural place of small water mills and farmland. It was then transformed in 15 years into one of the greatest steel. heavy engineering and arms factories in Europe and remained so for 80 years. In the mid-1980s the works were demolished leaving a derelict wasteland. In 1990 the equally vast Meadowhall Mall opened and has since become a destination for millions of shoppers.

The Weir provided power for a changing succession of small water-powered mills here from around 1600. Then it was a cutlers workshop known as Parker Wheel. In the early 18th century this had expanded to include a second cutlers wheel and a small iron forge and later still a paper mill which eventually took over the whole site By the 1830s there were two forges and two corn mills and ten years later a steel rolling mill. From the 1850s steam was taking over from water power and by 1897 the corn mills were derelict. But two years later Robert Hadfield. the brilliant metallurgist and steel baron. who was born on nearby Attercliffe Common chose this site to build his new steel plant - the East Hecla Works (named after his first Hecla Works at New Hall Road, also on the River Don - Mount Heca is a volcano in Iceland). It expanded rapidly in the arms-race leading up to the First World War. By 1914 he was employing 6,000 and by the end of the war 15,000. The works covered the whole of the area now occupied by Meadowhall and its car parks. To maximise the site area and control flooding the weir was rebuilt, and the river straightened and canalised below the weir as it appears now. Although known as Hadfield's Weir it probably never served his works with power. Above the weir the river still has a more natural-looking bank with a variety of native and more exotic trees some of which were planted by the steelworks. The East Hecla Works were connected to the main Sheffield-Rotherham railway and to a system of private sidings which passed between different steelworks. allowing them to move heavy forgings and castings between them. The Five Weirs Walk runs along one such line which ran between Hadfields and Jessops, crossing Weedon Street without any sort of precaution other than a man with a red flag! Another line - the Sheffield and District - crossed the site on a raised embankment, part of which can still be seen. The forgotten remains of these old railway embankments are now a rich wildlife area. Hundreds of rabbits can be seen here at dusk. Hadfield's was one of Sheffield's biggest factories throughout the first half of the 20th century but was divided in two after de-nationalisation in the 1950s, one part becoming Dunford Hadfields and the other Osborn Hadfields. Dunford Hadfields closed in the early 1980s after bitter picketing during the 1981 Steel Strike.

The site remained derelict for eight years before construction of the Meadowhall Shopping Centre began. Eventually this resulted in the opening up of the river banks to public access and the construction of the Meadowhall Riverside Park which includes a children's play area and a fishing area.
The fish pass
The River Don : Hadfield Weir Fish Pass
The River Don was once one of England's most prolific fisheries, with Atlantic salmon migrating up the river in large numbers to spawn in its headwaters.

The industries that made Sheffield famous and the associated pollution that resulted along the Don Valley and the wider Don Catchment saw a huge decline in all fish species and by the mid 1800s the fish had disappeared from much of the river system.

Fortunately the rives in South Yorkshire are recovering steadily and in the last 30 years or so there have been major improvements in water quality. But while fish populations have re-established, physical obstructions such as weirs, left over from our industrial activities, are preventing fish from fully exploiting different habitats in the catchment for feeding, rearing and breeding. In particular, the enigmatic salmon cannot return while barriers stop them migrating to their spawning grounds.

The Fish Pass
The Don Catchment Rivers Trust secured funding from DEFRA and the environment agency to enable this fish pass to be built. Fish and eel passes act like watery staircases or escalators which allow fish and eels to swim or wriggle their way over a weir.

The fish pass will enable a range of fish species, among them, dace, chub, salmon, barbel, trout, eels and grayling, to better utilise habitat in the catchment. Some will be able to swim further up the Don than they have for over 150 years. In time this will help the fish populations in the river to grow, diversify and become more sustainable.
Location of the waterfall:
Meadowhall Shopping Centre
Meadowhall Road
Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kindom

Type / features of structure: Spillway

River/stream/lake/reservoir: River Don

Coordinates of parking: Not Listed

Fees: Not Listed

Flow dates: Not listed

Estimated height in feet: Not Listed

Estimated height in meters: Not Listed

Estimated width in feet: Not Listed

Estimated width in meters: Not Listed

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