Historic neon Woollen sign preserved ahead of Sheffield’s £300m development

The future of an original Woollen sign that forms part of Sheffield’s industrial heritage has been secured.

The neon sign, measuring 21 metres in length, remains attached to the dilapidated former headquarters building on Love Street for Woollen Signs, a company that still represents the prosperity of Sheffield during the Victorian era when Sheffield became an internationally renowned city for steel makers, cutlers and silversmiths.

With the support of the University of Sheffield city and culture team, developer Urbo is working with sign specialist Neon Workshops to carefully dismantle the sign before it is refurbished and displayed at nearby Kelham Island Museum.

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It comes as preparation gets underway to develop the £300m West Bar scheme in Sheffield city centre

Woollen & Co Sheffield was first established in 1883 by Edwin Woollen, a sign writer and Frederick Ibbotson a lithographic printer.

In 1897 Woollens become a limited company and moved to Love Street. The company was awarded seven gold medals for excellence, the earliest being presented in 1892 from the Yorkshire Trades and Industrial Exhibition.

The 20th Century saw Woollens at the forefront of new developments within the sign industry. Illuminated signs had become fashionable and in 1914 Woollens became the agents for ‘Electric Lamp Letters Signs’.

In 2005 Woollen and Company was bought by the Sheffield Co-operative Society but in 2008, after 125 years trading the business closed. Several former employees went on to form a new Woollens.

Tom Swallow at Urbo said, “The Woollen Sign is an iconic part of the Sheffield city scape and it is great to work with the University of Sheffield to give it a new lease of life.”

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