New display celebrating the history of Magna

4 March 2015

Magna has been awarded a £74,800 grant to create an exhibition charting the history of the site from Roman times through to the present day.

The money, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will pay for the conversion of the Steelos Gallery, near the entrance of the visitor attraction, to create a new display telling the story of the former Templeborough steelworks site.

There will be a section devoted to World War One, when the main steelworks was constructed to produce steel for armaments. Staff and volunteers at Magna will be teaming up with the faculty of arts and humanities at the University of Sheffield to research the steelworks’ role in the war.

Stuart Ballard, Magna’s education manager, said: “It’s great to have received this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will help create an exciting and interactive introduction to the site’s history for both schools and families.

“We know already that there are plenty of fascinating stories to tell and we would love to find out more. So we are keen to hear from anyone who thinks they may have family who worked at the plant, particularly during the First World War.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This project will really bring to life the heritage of Templeborough Steelworks, enabling volunteers to learn new skills and uncover the major contribution Templeborough made during the First World War. HLF is dedicated to supporting projects that open up our heritage for locals and visitors to get involved and learn about their past.”

At its height Magna employed 10,000 people and produced up to 18 million tonnes of steel a year. The steelworks, which were a mile long and said to be Europe’s largest, became known as Steelos, after the owners Steel, Peech and Tozer.

There were 14 open-hearth furnaces and 14 chimneys, which were replaced in the 1960s with electric arc furnaces. The steelworks closed in 1993 and were mothballed until conversion to Magna in 2001.

One of the arc furnaces is now a giant pyrotechnic display in the visitor centre called the Big Melt. Regular steel tours telling the story of Magna are led by former steel workers.

As well as being a visitor attraction with more than 100 hands-on exhibits designed to explore the four elements of air, water, earth and fire, Magna hosts regular school trips and is a corporate and events venue with spaces that can cater for five to 5,000 people.

Dr Jane Hodson, Director of External Engagement, Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffield, said: “We're thrilled to be working closely with Magna to develop the Steelos Gallery. We're looking forward to contributing our expertise to this community focussed project, and we know that we'll learn a lot from working with the staff and volunteers.

“It will enable us to forge closer links with Magna and explore possible future projects. These mutually beneficial outcomes are what we aim for in our public engagement work.”

Below, listen to Stuart Ballard of Magna talk on BBC Radio Sheffield on 3rd of March. 


Notes to editor

Attached photograph shows Stuart Ballard. Stuart can be contacted at

For more information about Magna go to

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 37,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK including £445m to over 3,100 projects in Yorkshire & the Humber alone. For more information go to

Media contact at Magna: Donna Shaw on 01709 723146 or at

Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07792 764891 or at

For further information about the University of Sheffield go to

Media contact at the University of Sheffield: Hannah Postles on 0114 2221046 or at

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