The Cutlers’ Hall is throwing open its doors to give Sheffield people an insight into the wealth of treasures it contains and the history of the 388 year old Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.
Master Cutler Pam Liversidge said: “The Cutlers’ Hall is a very important part of the city’s heritage yet there are people who have lived here all their lives and have never visited it.
“Sadly, there are some who do not even know of its existence. Now we hope to change that and encourage everyone to take pride in the history of Sheffield.”
The free open day takes place on Wednesday, February 15, during half term, so that children get a chance to see the Hall and its collections and Cutlers’ Company staff will be on hand to answer any questions.
The Company, which was established by an Act of Parliament in 1624 to oversee the production of cutlery in the area and these days acts as a spokesman for the region’s manufacturing industries, is also arranging for wheelchair access and setting up a temporary café to provide refreshments on the day.
There has been a Cutlers’ Hall on the present site since 1638. The current Hall was built in 1832 at a total cost of £8,066 and was then extended in the 1880s.
It has long been used for events and activities. Many people living in South Yorkshire today have attended lunches, dinners and dances there as well as business meetings and may even have sat exams there at one stage of their career, but this is the first Heritage Day. Features include panelling and lighting from Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic, an overmantel, table and chests in the Master’s room that date from the 17th century and a silver collection of some 900 items to which a new piece, hallmarked in Sheffield is added every year. Some of this silver can be viewed in the Muniment room, which also houses the Norfolk Knife - a work of art designed to display the cutlers’ skills that was made for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and examples of the first stainless steel cutlery ever made, after Harry Brearley discovered how to produce the material.