The Crofts, Sheffield’s Long-Lost Community

The central district of the Crofts is now almost forgotten. This once thriving neighbourhood with all its industry and dilapidated housing has long since disappeared. If we turn the clock back far enough this area was well known – but for all the wrong reasons

From being a quiet backwater in the early 18th century with a scattering of cottage industries, it was propelled into a toxic mix of workshops, warehouses and heavy industry. All this alongside domestic housing, which was needed to accommodate the many workers and their families. Some of those who settled here had come in search of a better life; a place to live, work and prosper. What they found was sometimes worse than the life they had left behind. By the mid-19th century the district had become a neighbourhood of evil smelling streets where so many had to struggle with rigours of poverty, sickness and early death. With its warren of dark, narrow lands and courts it gained a reputation for prostitution and criminality. Eventually, after falling into a spiral of decay, the district became synonymous with all that was wretched with in the town