A razor-sharp collection of cutlery and tools from Sheffield and beyond has been served a slice of Lottery funding.
The Ken Hawley Collection Trust has been given £83,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project which aims to boost knowledge of the Steel City’s unique toolmaking and cutlery industries.
The project, entitled Sheffield Craft That Built The World – Capturing and Sustaining Knowledge For Future Generations, will be centred around the Hawley Collection at Kelham Island Museum, a treasure trove of more than 100,000 items which tell the story of toolmaking, cutlery manufacture and silversmithing.
Mr Hawley began collecting tools from Sheffield and around the world in the 1950s. Now the hoard of objects, archives, photographs and audio-visual materials is known internationally and has Accredited Museum status.
Keith Crawshaw, chairman of the Ken Hawley Collection Trust, said he was delighted with the grant.
He said: “Some of the knowledge held by Ken is vital in understanding Sheffield’s toolmaking past. This project will allow us to record that knowledge and make sense of the artefacts we have in the collection.
“The project will also help ensure this knowledge is made more accessible for future generations through trained, dedicated volunteer curators.”
The grant will fund a project officer for three years.
The officer will work with Ken to gather knowledge on the processes of manufacture of six areas of cutlery and toolmaking. Current and new volunteer curators will be trained to improve and sustain access to this knowledge into the future.
The project will also enable people to discover and explore the unique skills used in the making of tools and cutlery.
Many of these skills have died out, while others are only practised by a handful of craftsmen.
Volunteer curators will develop their skills and knowledge and be able to share this with the local community through temporary exhibitions, family learning days, handling sessions, talks, tours and through the collection’s website.
Fiona Spiers, Heritage Lottery Fund regional manager, said “This internationally-significant collection forms an important part of our industrial heritage.
“I am delighted this award will document the lost skills of the tool and cutlery industry and ensure this unique collection is fully understood for future generations to appreciate and learn about.”
The project will be recruiting new volunteers over the next few months.
n Anybody interested should email Judith Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org