Shaping the world

Staybrite model sailing ship on display in  Rustless: The Harry Brearley Story, Kelham Island Museum
Staybrite model sailing ship on display in Rustless: The Harry Brearley Story, Kelham Island Museum

AS part of Sheffield’s commemoration of 100 years of stainless steel, Kelham Island Museum will pay its own tribute to Harry Brealey and his discovery with two new exhibitions opening this weekend.

In further recognition of the great man’s legacy a room at the museum will be renamed in his honour. The Brearley Room will host events and exhibitions, conferences and learning activities.

Appropriately its first exhibition will be Rustless: The Harry Brearley Story .

“It will showcase objects and documents from the museum collections that explore the science, innovation and industry of stainless steel as well as giving visitors a real insight into how a Sheffield ‘lad’ changed the world,” said John Hamshere, Chief Executive of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust.

“It is important for Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust to pay tribute to the city’s achievements and we think Harry Brearley deserves a special focus.

“His legacy can be seen in the science and innovation that still takes place in Sheffield alongside the highly skilled manufacturers that develop new stainless and alloy steels. We hope this exhibition will inspire future generations to continue the tradition of scientific and technological progress.”

Rustless: The Harry Brearley Story will feature more than 50 pieces from the city’s industrial collection, as well as a series of significant loans from industry, the Sheffield Assay Office and the Brearley family.

Objects will be exhibited alongside reproductions of advertisements, photographs and historic documents. The exhibition will also feature a collection box for visitors to donate their old and unwanted stainless steel cutlery. These items will then be made into a new artwork for the Trust by local artist Jason Heppenstall and form a lasting legacy.

Artefacts on show will include personal items including a table knife, family photographs and Brearley’s passport and scientific documents such as Brearley’s study about the development of stainless steel - including his laboratory report documenting the moment of its discovery.

Among stainless steel products and objects from the museum collection will be the HMS Sheffield Bell and the Staybrite model sailing ship and contemporary stainless steel belly button piercings on loan from the Sheffield Assay Office. Alongside it in the museum’s Hawley Gallery will be the Stay Bright -Keep Bright exhibition highlighing the significance of Harry Brearley’s groundbreaking discovery and its effect on our lives today, from the humble table knife to cutting edge surgical instruments.

Rustless: The Harry Brearley Story opens at the Kelham Island Museum on Monday ad continues until November 17 and Stay Bright Keep Bright: The Impact of Stainless Steel on Everyday Life, hosted by the Hawley Tool Collection, runs until December 31.

Normal opening times and admission to the museum applies.