Sheffield was a leading Victorian city; it was governed by a borough council from 1843, which issued its own building byelaws in 1863. Building plans from 1864-1918 are being conserved in this project - plans which chart the development of the leading heavy industrial centre at a time of social and economic change- indeed, they record the birth and development of the modern world we experience today.
For example, included in this collection are plans of: industrial and commercial buildings, major department stores, non-conformist chapels, the Liberal Reform Club, Sheffield Town Hall, banks, the Cutlers Hall, early University buildings, public baths, a temperance hall, masonic hall, almshouses, Sheffield United Football club grandstand and terracing, botanical gardens, cinemas, schools and an armaments factory.
There are 550 plans, of which 170 require conservation because of their condition and their potential for high use by researchers. Due to their current condition many of the plans cannot be consulted by members of the public due to the risk of further damage by being handled. They are tightly packed in original envelopes. The size of the envelopes means they plans are folded many times. The very process of extracting them from their envelopes and unfolding them risks further significant damage. The project will extract the plans from the envelopes, flatten, clean and repair them.
The Sheffield City’s archive collections are extensive - over 50,000 boxes of archive materials and some 100,000 items in the Local Studies Library, which range in date from the 12th to the 21st centuries. As a result of cuts in recent years, Sheffield Archives - in common with other county services - is increasingly reliant on grants from such funders as NMCT if it is to complete major conservation projects such as this.
NMCT Trustees awarded a grant of £10,964 for this project; conservation will be completed in summer 2016.
All images are courtesy of Sheffleld Archives.