TitleSouth Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy (formerly the Industrial Mission in South Yorkshire, formerly Sheffield Industrial Mission)
AdminHistoryThe Sheffield Industrial Mission (SIM) was created in Apr 1944 when the Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Leslie Hunter, appointed Edward Ralph (known as Ted) Wickham as the Industrial Chaplain in the Diocese of Sheffield. At the time this was an innovative and unique appointment, part of Hunter’s vision of revitalising the Church of England and the Church re-establishing itself amongst the industrial working class.

In the early years Wickham carried out this work as the Bishop’s “industrial padre” on his own, part time, as the rest of his time was spent as Chaplain and Governor of the Shrewsbury Hospital (which were alms houses which formed part of the Duke of Norfolk’s estate). In the early years Hunter wanted Wickham to find out whether there was enough work to make this a full time post, and if those in the large Sheffield steel works, both on the shop floor and in management, would welcome such work.

Wickham’s first chaplaincy was in Firth Vicker’s Stainless, and then began visiting more Sheffield steel companies, which increased his workload, so in 1948 Leslie Hayes was appointed as Wickham’s first “assistant Industrial Padre” and the first full time missioner.

In 1949 Hunter carried out a review of the work of Wickham and Hayes, consulting with industrialists and Trade Union officials. Hunter concluded they had proven there was enough work and that both on the shop floor and management in the steel works were open to such work. In 1950 the SIM became more permanent, and it is from this period that most of the records in this collection begin. In Mar 1950 Wickham left the Shrewsbury Hospital and was made a Residentiary Cannon of Sheffield Cathedral so he could devote his whole time and attention to the Mission.

An Industrial Mission Advisory Committee was established with representation from management, the Trades Union movement and clergy outside the Mission. It would act in a strictly advisory fashion and formalised the SIM’s finances.

SIM expanded during the 1950s, and by 1959 there were eight full time chaplains who covered 18 steel and engineering companies in Sheffield and Rotherham, as well as some departments of British Rail. In 1959 Wickham left SIM to become Suffragan Bishop of Middleton, Manchester, to be replaced as Senior Chaplain by Michael Jackson.

By 1962 most of the team built up by Wickham had moved on and Jackson had built up a new team. However, tensions between Jackson and the rest of the SIM team began to build up. There were differences of theological opinion, of what the relationship of SIM should be with its parent diocese body and how it should be organised. In Sep 1965 Jackson gave two members of staff their notice, which they protested against to Bishop Taylor, who supported Jackson’s actions.

These actions became known amongst staff, Trade Unionists, workers, Sheffield Industrialists and managers, other Industrial Missions, the wider clergy and the local and national press. There were appeals to Bishop Taylor and the Archbishop’s of Canterbury and York to reinstate these members of staff, but the Church authorities backed the decision of Jackson.

The dispute resulted in two official inquires. In Mar 1966 a working party was set up to inquire into the future of the SIM, its aims and theological basis in relation to industry and the church and any matters of organisation. It was not designed to look into the present dispute but to set the tone for possible future reconstruction of the Mission. It reported in May 1967 (DIOC/IM/3/5).

The second inquiry was set up by the Archbishop of York, Donald Coggan, to examine the sacking of the two members of staff, to assess the SIM’s problems and identify what help might be necessary. The full report was never made public, and only a summary was ever published (DIOC/IM/3/3).

The dispute caused a lot of ill feeling amongst staff working in SIM, many of whom left. In Sep 1965 there had been ten members of staff, but by Sep 1966 there was only two, Michael Jackson and Andrew Stokes, plus one member of staff working out their notice until the new-year. Some companies stopped working with the SIM, but most continued. However, the lack of staff limited what the SIM could achieve, until new staff where recruited.

Jackson left in Jan 1969, and Andrew Stokes became the new Senior Chaplain. By 1971 there 6 full staff visiting 30 firms and providing pastoral care. At the end of 1974 Stokes left and Malcolm Grundy became Senior Chaplain. By 1979 there were 7 full and half time Chaplains and 16 part timers.

At the end of 1979 Grundy left and Raymond Draper was appointed as Acting Senior Chaplain until Mike West became the Senior Chaplain in 1981. In 1983 the Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Industrial Mission was replaced by an ecumenical Industrial Mission Council and the SIM was to have a formal constitution for the first time. It also became a registered charity and a Local Ecumenical Project, accountable to seven denominational authorities through their appointed representatives on the Council, under the auspices of 'Churches Together in South Yorkshire', which appointed its governing body, the Council. Its staff were employed by their parent denomination and seconded to the Mission. Management and Trades Union membership was continued, and efforts were made to ensure there was representation from across the county.

The Council was the structure by which Churches gave the chaplains authority to act as missionaries on their behalf. It was concerned with strategy, with the boundaries of the Mission’s work, with formal relations between the SIM and the denominations, and with finance. Full time staff still largely determined the policies and day to day practice of the Mission, but through the 1980s the Council became steadily more closely involved in the workings of the mission, and clearer about its control of the chaplains’ activities.

In 1984 a quarterly news sheet called “Lookout!” was started to maintain regular contact with lay people in the Churches and in industry.

The team got its first office in Tinsley, and then from 1986 it moved to an office at Cemetery Road Baptist Church, Napier Street, Sheffield. In 1981 the Mission had 8 full and half-time chaplains and 18 part-time chaplains, visiting 30 companies and 39 work sites. By the mid-1980s part-time chaplains were doing most of the works visiting and full-time staff doing other activities.

In 1990 the SIM changed its name to Industrial Mission in South Yorkshire (IMSY) to more accurately reflecting its area of work. In 1992 induction and review procedures were made more rigorous.

In 1997 there was amendment to the constitution and 1999 saw the Mission’s first website. At the end of 2001 West left and replaced in 2002 by Chris Chesters as Senior Chaplain. By 2003 the Mission has 4 paid and 28 volunteer Chaplains.

From the 1 Jan 2007 the IMSY became known as the South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy (SYWC). The change of name was to reflect the changes in industry over the last 20 years, with the emergence of new industries and new patterns of working. It began publishing a new magazine called Workplace. Also in 2007 the organisation changed from being a Local Ecumenical Partnership and became a charitable company limited by guarantee. It was made up of a partnership of ecumenical member denominations and a board of directors, who were also the Trustees, reporting directly back to the members.

From 2011 a number of organisations it worked with either stopped using its services or reduced their funding. By Feb 2015 it was noted that the SYWC financial projections based on the 2015 budget projecting it forward to 2016 indicated a continuing excess of expenditure over income and the impact on the cash balance was not unsustainable beyond 2 - 3 years. Therefore in Mar 2015 it was decided to wind down the company with the final up at the end of Jul 2016.

The main activity that the Mission was involved throughout its existence was worksite visiting. In the beginning this involved the large steel works and other metal working industries that dominated Sheffield in the 1940s/1950s. However, this changed over time, particularly due to the decline of these industries in the 1980s/1990s, so the Mission gradually diversified into new areas. So this saw visits, for example, to sweet manufacturers George Bassett Holdings, cutlery manufacturers Viners, and retails stores Debenhams and Sainsburys. 1984 saw SIM providing chaplains to the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. In 1987 SIM started chaplaincy work for small firms based at the Sheffield Science Park. In 2001 the South Yorkshire Police Chaplaincy came under authority of SYIM and in 2005 began working at the Sheffield Combined Courts. It would continue to evolve the services it provided to a changing work place, such as by 2007 the SYWC was offering mediation and conflict transformation services. On many occasions they provided support for all sides during industrial disputes. In the 1950s and early 1960s, and again from 1974 there was also a Coal Field Chaplain as part of SIM. Often these worksite visits, particularly between the 1940s - 1960s, involved the creation of discussion groups with workers/employees inside and outside of work, which would discuss a wide range of topics.

In the 1950s/1960s the SIM tried to develop itself into a lay led organisation, and by 1960 it was estimated that there was 250 lay groups meeting, of which 20 were considered full “lay projects” however this largely came to an end due to the disruptions to SIM in the mid-1960s. Providing training was another constant for the SIM. Over time SIM provided training to apprentices, in company induction courses and in management and foreman training, provided ordination training/work experience and ran summer schools. The mission would also run conferences.

As unemployment began in rise in the 1970s, and particularly in the early 1980s, the Mission became increasingly involved with the issues surrounding this. This included providing information, raising awareness, providing work experience and training. The SIM and Sheffield Diocese would create the posts of unemployment and employment officers to attempt to tackle these issues. During the 1990s SYIM would increasingly become more involved in re-generation work in areas particularly hit by industrial decline. Initially this was in Attercliffe and Darnall, and then in 2000 entered into a partnership with the Faith and Justice Committee of the Diocese of Sheffield, called Together for Regeneration (TfR). From the 1980s onwards the Mission came more involved in project work, working with different organisations, including secular. The Mission always worked with the parishes. From the 1970s the Mission placed greater emphasis on social justice and became involved several campaigns over the years to promote these themes, such Dignity (formerly Living Wage) Campaign, Work Life Balance Project, the Race to Train Project and denominational networks.

Originally the Mission had been created as an Anglican organisation, but over time other Christian denominations became involved. There had been Methodist chaplains in the 1960s, but these ceased working with the mission after the disruptions in the mid-1960s. During the 1970s/1980s other denominations slowly became involved again with SM: Methodists, United Reform Church, Roman Catholic Church, plus part time chaplains from the Salvation Army and Baptist Churches. All of these denominations were represented (along with the Society of Friends) on the Council. In 2009 the SYWC was moving towards becoming a multi-faith organisation and created a Multi-faith Chaplaincy Co-ordinator. By 2011 this post had added a Hindu Faith Advisor for Sheffield Further Education Colleges, an Islamic Faith Advisor for Sheffield Fire and Rescue Service, and a Buddhist Faith Advisor for City College in 2012.


"The Church Beyond the Church" Paul Bagshaw, 1994.

South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy Annual Reports 2008 - 2014 (DIOC/IM/2/1/6).

South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy Board meeting and papers, 2008 - 2016 (DIOC/IM/1/3/1).
DescriptionMinutes and papers, 1950 - 2016 (DIOC/IM/1)

Accounts and annual reports, 1952 - 2014 (DIOC/IM/2)

Reports and papers, 1957 - 2000 (DIOC/IM/3)

Chaplaincy work in workplaces, 1949 - 2015 (DIOC/IM/4)

Unemployment Work, 1978 - 1993 (DIOC/IM/5)

Files relating to individual churches, community and regeneration projects, 1957 - 2008 (DIOC/IM/6)

Material relating to conferences, services, events, campaigns, visits and projects, 1959 - 2016 (DIOC/IM/7)

Correspondence, 1961 - 2016 (DIOC/IM/8)

Property information, 1970 - 2003 (DIOC/IM/9)

Training and Student Placements, 1950s - 2006 (DIOC/IM/10)

Staff, 1953 - 1990s (DIOC/IM/11)

Printed material, [1950s] - 2010 (DIOC/IM/12)

Discussion group topics, 1951 - 1988 (DIOC/IM/13)

Papers relating to the history of the Sheffield Industrial Mission/Industrial Mission in South Yorkshire, [1949] - 2003 (DIOC/IM/14)

Photographs, negatives and slides, 1944 - [2000s] (DIOC/IM/15)

Videos, 1986 - 1987 (DIOC/IM/16)

Audio recordings and transcripts of interviews, [1980s] - 1993 (DIOC/IM/17)

Miscellaneous documents, 1950s - 1992 (DIOC/IM/18)
Date1944 - 2016
Extent485 files
AccessConditionsSome items contain personal information which is closed for 75 years under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (exempt under section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act). Please refer to Sheffield City Archives for advice on how to access the restricted items.
RelatedMaterialSheffield City Archives:

‘Edward Ralph (Ted) Wickham (1911 - 1994), Sheffield Diocesan Missioner to Industry and Bishop of Middleton’, c. 1934 - 1994 (BWP).

‘Sheffield Industrial Mission miscellaneous papers’, 1954 - 1994 (X166).

‘Bishop Hunter, Bishop of Sheffield’, 1871 - 1983 (BHP).

‘Bishop Taylor, Bishop of Sheffield’, 1962 – 1971, c. 1932 - 1970 (BTP).

‘Joe Madin Memorial Trust’, 1967 - 1977 (MD6875).

‘Bishop Edward Ralph Wickham (1911-1994) papers - Sheffield Industrial Mission & Biographical Papers’, 1944 - 1997 (MD7658).

‘Bishop Leslie Hunter (1890-1983) papers - Sheffield Industrial Mission and Biographical papers’ 1921 - 1999 (MD7659).

‘Sheffield Council of Churches (later Sheffield Churches Together)’, 1952 - 2005 (X826).

‘Churches Together in South Yorkshire’ 1952 - 2005 (MD8026).

‘Working Party report submitted to the Bishop of Sheffield on ‘The Future of the Sheffield Industrial Mission’’, 26 May 1967 (PR138/27/45).

‘Tape 5 (BBC Radio Sheffield), Band 4. Anglican Church. Role of the church in modern society, Canon Burdett talks of Sheffield Industrial Mission’, May 1969 (SY425/6905/5).

‘Tape 1 (BBC Radio Sheffield), Band 2. Industrial Mission. Interview with Industrial Chaplain, Canon Clifford Auckland at Tinsley Park Steelworks. He talks about closure of the plant and role of the Church and a pamphlet produced for the workers because of the devastation of livelihoods’, Sep 1985 (SY425/8509/1).

‘Future of the Sheffield Industrial Mission’, 1967 - 1971 (BCC/12/21).

‘The Church beyond the church: Sheffield Industrial Mission 1944-1994’ 1994, Bagshaw, Paul (BAG/PARHIST).

Sheffield Local Studies Library:

‘Britain today and tomorrow: Sheffield's steel industry’, Church of England. Sheffield Industrial Mission, 1977 (042 SSTQ, bound in: Local pamphlets. Vol.7).

‘Sheffield's steel industry’, Church of England. Sheffield Industrial Mission, 1977 (042SQ, bound in: Local pamphlets. Vol.37).

‘Church and industry: a continuing debate’, Church of England. Sheffield Industrial Mission, 1977 (042 SST, bound in: Local pamphlets. Vol.37 and Local pamphlets. Vol.297).

‘The Sheffield Industrial Mission’, Wickham, E. R, 1955 (380 S VOL.3. 1954-55, bound in: The Hub V3 No10 March 1955 pp10-14).

‘Sheffield Industrial Mission: article on the twenty first anniversary of the mission’, 1965 (052.74 In Firth Brown News Autumn 1965 p13-14, S SPRING 1965-WINTER 1966).

‘Sheffield Industrial Mission to South America’, 1981 (380 SQ bound in: Quality of Sheffield, VOL.28 Jan/Feb 1981 pp59-61).

‘Reverend Andrew Stokes becomes Leader and Senior Chaplain of the Church of England, Sheffield Industrial Mission’, 1968 (380 SQ bound in: Quality of Sheffield, VOL.15 No9 September 1968 p40).

‘Robin Woods: an autobiography’, 1986, Woods, Robin (B.WOO SST).

‘Christians in an industrial society’, 1961, Taylor, Richard (261.83, account of the Sheffield Mission on p 26-28, 55-56, 63-64, 67-68, 70-72.)

‘Industrial Mission 1944 - 1979 : memoirs by Mike Atkinson, industrial missioner Sheffield 1960 - 1966, Northampton 1966 - 1971, Croydon, 1971 – 1979’, 2001, Atkinson, Mike (261.8 SQ).

‘Recognising sixty years plus: views of Industrial Mission’, 2004, Tonkinson, David (261.8 SQ).

‘Ted Wickham and the early years of the Sheffield Industrial Mission (The Call to Mission Answered)’, 2001, Bloy, Philip (261.8 SQ and 261.8 SSTQ).

‘Sheffield Industrial Mission: the politics of holiness’, Bagshaw, Paul (261.8S, bound in: Industrial mission in a changing world: papers from the Jubilee Conference of the Sheffield Industrial Mission / edited by John W. Rogerson/Rogerson, John W, pp.18-31).

‘Church and people in an industrial city’, 1957, Wickham, E. R (274.274 S and 274.274 SST and Central Library Store 283.42741).

‘The Church beyond the church: Sheffield Industrial Mission 1944-1994’, 1994, Bagshaw, Paul (261.8 S and 261.8 SST).

‘Industrial mission in a changing world: papers from the Jubilee Conference of the Sheffield Industrial Mission’, 1996, Rogerson, John W (261.8 S).

‘Unemployment and young people in South Yorkshire [leaflet produced by the Sheffield Industrial Mission and the Church and Industry Committee of the Sheffield Methodist District]’, [1976] (MP 3033 M).

‘Sheffield troublemakers: rebels and radicals in Sheffield history’, 2008 Price, David (942.74 S and 942.74 SST).

‘The Coal campaign 1992-93: the interaction of faith and economics’, Attwood, Tony (261.8 S, bound in: Industrial mission in a changing world: papers from the Jubilee Conference of the Sheffield Industrial Mission / edited by John W. Rogerson/Rogerson, John W, pp.160-169).

‘Lookout (newsletter), including annual reports’, 1984 – 2006 (261.83 SQ).

‘The Works [CD-ROM]’, Industrial Mission in South Yorkshire (CD ROM 15).

‘Portraits of Sheffield’, The Church of England Newspaper, 1994, (MP 1524 L and MP 1524 L PHOTOCOPY).

‘Workplace: Churches and the world of work, Summer 2007’, 2007, South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy (MP 5488 S).

‘South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy presents... the SYWC roadshow’, [200-], South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy (MP 4163 S and MP 4163 S PHOTOCOPY).

‘South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy: with people at work’, [200-], South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy (MP 4162 S).

There are also some images on for the Sheffield Industrial Mission.

Central Lending Library, Chapeltown Library, Crystal Peaks Library, Darnall Library, Ecclesall Library, Firth Park Library, Frecheville Library, Highfield Library, Hillsborough Library, Manor Library, Park Library, Stocksbridge Library, Totley Library and Woodseats Library:

‘Sheffield troublemakers: rebels and radicals in Sheffield history’ 2008 Price, David (920.0428).

Other material:

Wickham, E. R., 'Mission in an Industrialised Society', Student World, First Quarter, 1952.
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2022