The original Top Forge buildings (along with the sister works at Low Forge) were built by Sir Francis Wortley before 1640.
After the Civil War, the works were leased to the Spencer Fownes syndicate based at Cannon Hall. The Ironmaster’s house was built in about 1680.
An extension of the Forge took place in 1713 when the north end of the Ironmaster’s house was demolished.
By 1780, the Ironmaster’s house had been extended to the south and the workshops building had been erected to serve all the various works on this stretch of the river Don.
A brick extension to the cottages followed and some of the spare bricks were used as infill when the stone external staircase was added to the workshops.
In the 1800s, the Ironmaster had moved to a large house across the road and the on-site building had become workers’ cottages.
The smithy and the smithy extension have been rebuilt from foundations by our volunteers to house our collection of machine tools.
The Elizabeth engine house was built in the 1990s to house a rescued 1887 mill steam engine. The surrounding area (the ‘Barns’) is now gathering a collection of steam driven engines which can be run on compressed air.