History of the Huntsman Depot

On Tinsley Park Road in Sheffield sits our 33,500sq ft. warehouse and office building. The £2million facility, which was officially opened in October 2013, is named after Benjamin Huntsman, the inventor and manufacturer of crucible steel.

The site is located where Benjamin Huntsman’s final quarters once stood, and the history of this famous industrialist’s steel and his Tinsley Park Road site stretches back to the 18th century.

Benjamin Huntsman was of Dutch descent and was born in 1704 and as a young man he established himself in Doncaster as a clockmaker. Not being satisfied with the materials at his disposal, he began experiments to find better steel for his clock making and pendulums.

He went on to develop the method of making steel using crucibles and soon moved to Handsworth where he started producing high quality steel. The method he developed involved use of a flux which was added and the filled crucibles were covered and heated on coke fires for about three hours. The molten steel was then poured into moulds and the crucibles were reused.

Sheffield cutters were reluctant to use crucible steel due to its level of hardness, so Benjamin Huntsman sought his principal market abroad, predominately in France. Huntsman never patented his method of steel making, so inevitably it was soon copied by many. Despite his best efforts to keep the process a secret, according to tradition many other manufacturers used deceit in order to obtain knowledge of his methods.

In 1770, he moved his enterprise to newer and larger premises in Attercliffe; however six years later he died and was succeeded as head of the business by his son, William.

The business moved once more to premises known as Huntsman’s Row until 1899 before moving to its final quarters on Tinsley Park Road, where DBL Logistics is now headquartered.

Records at the Sheffield Archives state that Benjamin Huntsman Ltd, as it was known, saw a period of growth and success under the leadership of the descendants of Benjamin Huntsman in the years following the move to Tinsley Park Road. Records of the firm remain from the 1950s which show the grades of steel they continued to produce including blue, red and yellow label, which was used for products such as cutlery and surgical instruments.

The site remained unoccupied for a number of years before DBL Logistics developed the site and relocated from our previous location on Europa Close in 2013.

DBL Logistics’ move to Tinsley Park Road saw new life breathed into the site as it became a flagship depot within the United Pallet Network (UPN), which consists of more 75 member depots which collects and delivers freight from across the UK and Europe, further forwarding Sheffield’s position as a key location within the UK logistics and haulage industry.