George Barnsley and Sons Ltd were founded 1836 by George Barnsley, who began making and selling files in Wheeldon Street in the Brookhill Area. George operated the business by buying in blank steels already cut to shape, converting the metal to files and selling them on. It was around 1850 that the business moved to the Upperthorpe area of Sheffield on Cornish Street; George and his brother Charles purchased a a steel making concern containing 1040 square yards of forges, workshops and other buildings. It was also around this time that they began producing leather working tools. The Cornish Works site was developed further in 1885 and was mechanised. In 1890, the firm purchased the Globe Works adjoining the Cornish Works; the premises was sold at a later date. The firm did not expand further beyond this time, in the 1940s the firm converted from gas powered engines to electrical motors.
With the march of time and the progress the world made in the aftermath of World War II, George Barnsleys started to decline, as did the wider Sheffield cutlery and tool industries. In response the firm started to modernise some of the equipment within the buildings, a new plate machine and precision lathe were installed in the departments that required them. In 1952, it was reported at a Directors meeting that customers were remaining loyal due to the high quality products produced by the firm. This, along with an injection of cash from the War Damages Comission saw the firm through a difficult period. George Barnsley stopped the production of files in the early 1970’s. The firm eventually closed in 2003/4 with the final 3 workers being laid off; the buildings were in a seriously dilapidated condition by this point.