An internationally renowned Sheffield collection of tools and cutlery has been given a £83,300 lottery grant to help keep alive the skills and knowledge that forged it.
Ken Hawley began collecting tools from Sheffield and around the world in the 1950s and his gallery at Kelham Island Museum comprises over 100,000 items telling the story of tool making, cutlery manufacture and silversmithing.
Now the Heritage Lottery Fund is financing an extension of a scheme that sees volunteers explaining the manufacturing skills involved.
“I am trying to pass on the information in my head to keep as much of it alive as possible after I have gone,” said Ken, aged 86.
In recent weeks, he has met visitors from Malaysia, Turkey, America, Sweden, Russian and Australia interested in the industry. “People still come to see examples of when we were the best in the world,” he said.
Ken will work with project officer Judith Smith so that more volunteers can pass on the knowledge through exhibitions, family learning days, handling sessions, talks, tours and the website.
Keith Crawshaw, chair of the Ken Hawley Collection Trust, said: “Some of the knowledge held by Ken is vital in understanding Sheffield’s tool making 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 that this knowledge is made more accessible for future generations through trained, dedicated volunteer curators.”
Ken can be contacted at the collection on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings regarding items of potential interest. Tel 2010770.