Monday, December 10, 2018

War Peace and Poetry

The Central Library poetry group has been meeting monthly for the last three years. It’s a group for anyone who wants to talk, learn or listen to poetry. People bring a poem, read it aloud and the group talk about it. It can be a published poem or a poem someone has written and would like to hear feedback. Sometimes there’s a theme, other times, anything goes.

Members of the group don’t always agree - it’s great to see people passionate about poetry, and interesting how different people interpret poems. We are always respectful to other people’s opinions.
Some members have said that reading poetry feels comforting; knowing that someone else is going through what you’re going through. And the beauty of a poem is that it’s shorter (time is precious) and is often written in such a way that it stays with us.

On Saturday 1st December, in line with the Sheffield, War & Peace exhibition at Central Library, the poetry theme was war, peace, conflict. Over 30 people attended, many keen to share a favourite poem. A couple of people brought in war diaries with poetry extracts from relatives who had been serving in conflict situations.

There are proven benefits to reading aloud and we encouraged people to take a poem from a selection we held. Those who had a go said afterwards that they really enjoyed the experience – who doesn’t love a round of applause! 

To add to the spirit of the theme, there was also war-time music, snacks and even a spot of fancy dress. Although it was an emotional subject, like the event we held on National Poetry day, the afternoon had a celebratory feel and proved that Sheffield is alive with poetry. It’s on our buildings, it’s on the vernacular overhead on a bus journey. It’s in the hope and spirit of the city and its people. It’s even on the pavements…but only when it rains.

The Sheffield: War and Peace exhibition runs at Central Library until the end of January 2019.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Sheffield: War and Peace

This autumn we've been considering how Sheffield and the surrounding area has been shaped by conflict through the ages.   Check out the exhibition in the Central Library Foyer and Reading Room to discover fascinating stories from our city‘s rich and complex history.  In this post we take a brief look at the rise of Sheffield Castle.

Discover more stories at Sheffield Central Library.

The Rise of Sheffield Castle

In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy conquered England, seizing the throne through victory at the battle of Hastings.  While in Hallamshire, the Anglo-Saxon Earl Waltheof initially retained his position as lord, this proved short-lived.  Waltheof and others were involved in a failed rebellion and he was later captured and beheaded.

Pageant of local history (1931) Featuring Earl of Waltheof of Hallam and his wife Judith attended by Norman
and Saxon ladies. Image s03100 taken from Picture Sheffield

With Waltheof now gone, local control passed to Norman lords and around 1100, William de Lovetot constructed a motte and bailey castle on a natural sandstone outcrop overlooking the Rivers Don and Sheaf.  However, in 1266 the castle which had been largely built of wood, and in all likelihood, much of the town around it was destroyed during the Second Baron’s War. 

Artist's Impression of Sheffield Castle around 1350 - Image s05123 from Picture Sheffield

With the close of war and the king restored to power, in 1270 Thomas de Furnival received a royal charter to build a new castle on the same site, this time made of stone.  It was this castle that over the coming centuries would expand to become the fourth largest fortress in England and sit beside a now growing town.

Population of Sheffield in 1086 – 150 - 200

Above. Sheffield's royal market charter.
In 1296 and during a time of relative stability, the third Thomas de Furnival was granted a royal charter to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. 

Visit, the city’s depository of over 100,000 local images. 
You can discover more about the variety of sources available to use for research and study through our curated research guides, available at

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Creative Writing Success at Central Library

A library card gives you access to a wide range of creative activities, social groups and opportunities to learn, enjoy and grow.  Visit to discover more.

The Central Library Creative Writing Group has been meeting monthly for the last three years. Each month, a subject is chosen and the group listens to poems and prose as well as looking at visual images on the theme followed by a discussion. We then write about that subject; sometimes people write poems, other times it’s the start of a novel, notes or diary entries.  A few members have said that writing on certain subjects has been cathartic.

It’s a lively, inspiring group, and so far, two books have been published by members of the group, and we've hosted a packed out poetry book launch on behalf of one of the group members.

The sessions are a time when participants can completely escape into their own writing, and find inspiration, unlock their creativity and share in the synergy that often forms when writers converge.

At this year’s Off the Shelf Writing Festival, there was a Sheffield Short Story competition. The Central Library Creative Writing Group met in September and worked on short story submissions. We are delighted to say that four members of the writing group, including Claire Walker, Library and Information Assistant, the facilitator of the group, were long-listed.

Sean Webster, from the group won 3rd place!  Well done to Sean and all those who were shortlisted and entered.

Two of our writers share their thoughts;

Hannah Whiteoak
Hannah’s story was shortlisted for the Sheffield Authors competition.

“My shortlisted story, Blackbird, is set in Endcliffe Park, which (along with the various libraries) is one of my favourite places in Sheffield. I've recently joined the Central Library creative writing group to meet other writers and get new ideas. I have a few stories and poems online at and would love to write more.”

Sean Webster
Sean won 3rd place in the Sheffield Authors competition.

“A roller coaster ride, not knowing you're shortlisted until the last minute, then you're on - stand and deliver! It was fantastic to hear really positive comments on my work, and I thank everyone who voted for a love story that shone brightly, but all too briefly across the Sheffield skyline.

I've had some excellent writing sessions at Sheffield Library in Claire Walker’s Saturday morning group. Two exercises per session that vary immensely from week to week, where everyone is encouraged and given a voice. I was very proud to have some work on display in the library that was produced during one of these inspiring sessions."

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Sheffield Children's Book Award 2018 - The BIG 30!

The Sheffield Children's Book Award is back and 2018 represents 30 years since the start of the award! 30 years ago Ghostbusters was out in cinemas, the very first Mackintosh computer was unveiled, the first episode of The Bill was aired and Band Aid was recorded! A lot has changed in the World over those years, but the Book Awards has remained and gone from strength to strength.

So 2018 isy quite special, and we have a shortlist of dazzling titles to reflect that, for which the votes are now in, and frantic preparations have begun for the award ceremony which will take place on Friday 16th November. School classes from around Sheffield have been invited to come along to The Lyceum Theatre for a particularly special ceremony, to make a lot of noise and meet some of their favourite authors and illustrators. It's an exciting, fun and brilliantly book lead day.

We have an array of lovely authors, illustrators and publishers joining us for this year's award ceremony, including some of the winners from years gone past! Keep an eye open on our Twitter account this coming Friday to get all the action from the day:- @SheffLibraries

Just in case you've not seen this year's fabulous shortlist, here's a quick recap.

Illustrated by Mel Four
Published by Bloomsbury

Bedtime with Ted
Written and illustrated by Sophy Henn
Published by Bloomsbury

Milo's Mix & Match
Written and illustrated by Faye Williamson
Published by Fourth Wall Publishing

Hole in the Zoo
Written by Mick Inkpen
Illustrated by Chloe Inkpen
Published by Hodder

Yoga Babies
Written by Fearne Cotton
Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey
Published by Andersen Press

My Incredible Knitting Nana

Written and illustrated by Rowena Blyth
Published by Fourth Wall Publishing

Perfectly Norman
Written and illustrated by Tom Percival
Published by Bloomsbury

Daisy Doodles
Written by Michelle Robinson
Illustrated by Irene Dickson
Published by Oxford University Press

Game of Stones
Written by Rebecca Lisle
Published by Maverick Arts

Billy and the Mini Monsters
Written by Zanna Davidson
Illustrated by Melanie Williamson
Published by Usborne

Press Start! Game Over & Powers Up
Written and illustrated by Thomas Flintham

My Brother's Famous Bottom Makes a Splash
Written by Jeremy Strong
Illustrated by Rowan Clifford
Published by Penguin Random House

The Tale of Angelina Brown
Written by David Almond
Illustrated by Alex T Smith
Published by Walker Books

Letters from the Lighthouse
Written by Emma Carroll
Published by Faber & Faber

A Place Called Perfect
Written by Helena Duggan
Published by Usborne

Written by Mitch Johnson
Published by Usborne

The Island at the End of Everything
Written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Published by Chicken House

The Goldfish Boy
Written by Lisa Thompson
Published by Scholastic

We Come Apart
Written by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Written by Jason Wallace
Published by Andersen Press

After the Fire
Written by Will Hill
Published by Usborne

Have you cast your vote? Which was your favourite? We think they are all winners. A fabulous set of books to engage and excited children of all ages and ability. Watch this space to find out who comes out on top! 

Thank you to everyone who has longlisted, shortlisted, read, voted, attended and supported the Sheffield Children's Book Awards over the past 30 years. Here's to 30 years more!

Thank you! 

Blog post written by Alexis Filby (Library and Information Assistant).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Family History course is now open for bookings

In January/February 2019, Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library are running their popular six-week family history course led by local family history expert Suzanne Bingham.

The course, run over 6 weeks, is aimed at beginners and will explain the process of researching your family tree and how to find and use essential records such as birth, marriage and death indexes, certificates, and census records.  You will learn how to use the Find My Past website effectively, and how to access records in archives and libraries that haven’t yet been made available online.  Each week, you will get to look at original documents from the Archives.

Course start date: Thursday 17th January 2019
Time: 2pm - 4pm
Venue: Sheffield City Archives, 52 Shoreham Street, S1 4SP
Cost: £60 (for 6 weeks)

To book a place contact Sheffield City Archives (0114 203 9395 (Sat, Mon and Tues) or Sheffield Local Studies Library (0114 273 4753) (Wed pm, Friday and Saturday) or email:

Thu 17th Jan
Week 1
Getting started - organising your family trees.
Useful websites for family history.
Civil Registration - births, marriages and deaths.
Thu 24th Jan
Week 2
The census and what it can tell us about our ancestors.
Useful resources for accessing the census.
Thu 31st Jan
Week 3
Detailed look at Parish records, why they were kept and how to access them.
Religious denominations, the differences in the records.
Thu 7th Feb
Week 4
Records relating to deceased ancestors:
Churchyard or cemetery?
Monumental Inscriptions.
Causes of Victorian deaths
Did they leave a will?
Thu 14th Feb
Week 5
Social welfare and health records.
Records relating to the Poor Law - workhouses, poor relief, bastardy orders, settlement certificates, Sheffield Scattered Homes.
Records relating to health - hospitals and asylums.
Thu 21st Feb
Week 6
Understanding where your ancestor lived.  
What was the area like?
How to use the following resources to identify the location of your ancestor’s home:
·                  Trade directories
·                  Electoral registers
·                  Local area photographs
·                  Maps
This session will take place at Sheffield Local Studies Library (Central Library).

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Sheffield Football Rules of 1858

This October is the 160th Anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Football Rules.  To mark the occasion we have invited football historian Martin Westby to shine a light on this important moment in football history.

If you would like to discover more about Sheffield's unique footballing history, drop in to our Sheffield Football Treasures Revealed event on Thursday 25th October at Sheffield Central Library. 

Forging the Modern Game

A year after Sheffield FC had been founded, the club members felt a need to produce a set of rules to play by and in October 1858 this process began. This proved to be a hugely important milestone in the history of Association football.

For only the third time in history, a football club decided to write itself some rules to play by, following in the footsteps of John Hope’s Foot-Ball Club (1833) and Surrey FC (1849). What sets the Sheffield Rules of 1858 apart is that they would go on to influence the evolution of the modern game. This moment is a full five years before the London Football Association would begin its bad-tempered debate at the Freemason’s Tavern in 1863 to devise a set of universal footballing laws.

What follows is from a Sheffield FC club manuscript written in 1907:

“After season 1857-8 the Hon. Sec. Nathaniel Creswick and committee drew up printed rules, regulations and laws for the club, and from these is to be seen that game was half rugby and half association.”

The process for creating the 1858 Sheffield Rules began with a copy letter by Nathaniel Creswick dated 9th October 1858, calling a meeting of the club at his office ‘on Thursday next 7 O’ Clock’. The minutes of that meeting included the resolution that ‘the following Rules & Laws be submitted to a meeting of the Members to be held at 6 O’ Clock on Thursday next the 28 inst. at the Adelphi Hotel’. These included a draft of four club rules, minutes of a meeting on 14 October appointing club officers and committee signed by the President Frederick Ward. It is not known where these later meetings took place, but it is likely they were held at Park House.

The first draft of the rules from 14th October were written down by Nathaniel Creswick:
  1. Kick off from the middle must be a place kick.
  2. Kick out must not be more than 25 yards out of goal.
  3. Fair catch is a catch direct from the foot of the opposite side and entitles a free kick.
  4. Charging is fair in case of a place kick (with the exception of a kick off) as soon as a player offers to kick, but he may always draw back unless he has actually touched the ball with his foot.
  5. No pushing with the Hands or Hacking is fair under any circumstances whatsoever.
  6. Knocking or pushing on the Ball is altogether disallowed. The side breaking this rule forfeits a free kick to the opposite side.

The next item in the club archive is the minutes of a committee meeting held on the 21st October with drafts of nine club rules and the ‘First draft of the Laws of the Game, with 12 Laws’ which had been extensively revised in pen and pencil by Nathaniel Creswick. We can see by comparing the two drafts that the committee was strongly opposed to hacking and tripping but were not averse to pushing. Use of hands was acceptable to push or knock it were permitted but holding of the ball (except when fielding a fair catch) was against the rules. These rules clearly favour the dribbling game and legislate against a rugby-type game.

The second draft of the rules from 21st October 1858:
  1. Kick off from the middle must be a place kick.
  2. Kick out must not be more than 25 yards out of goal.
  3. Fair catch is a catch from any player provided the Ball has not touched the ground and has not been thrown from touch. Entitles a free kick.
  4. Charging is fair in case of a place kick (with the exception of a kick off) as soon as a player offers to kick, but he may always draw back unless he has actually touched the ball with his foot.
  5. Pushing with the Hands is allowed but no Hacking (or tripping up) is fair under any circumstances whatsoever.
  6. Holding the Ball, excepting the case of a free kick is altogether disallowed.
  7. No player may be held or pulled over.
  8. It is not lawful to take the ball off the ground (except in touch) for any purpose whatever.
  9. The ball maybe be pushed or hit.
  10. A goal must be kicked but not from touch nor by a free kick from a catch.
  11. A Ball in touch is dead, consequently, the side that touches it down, must bring it to the edge of touch & throw it straight out at least six yards from touch.
  12. Each player must provide himself with a red and dark blue flannel cap- one colour to be worn by each side.

Finally, in the archives we see the minutes of a meeting from 28th October passing the above rules and laws, which included even more revisions. This final seminal meeting was held at the Adelphi hotel, which was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Crucible Theatre.

Before the rules were handed over to Pawson and Brailsford of the High Street to print in 1859, an official ‘Rules, Regulations, & Laws of the Sheffield Foot-ball Club’ some further restructuring ensued, and the twelve laws were reduced to eleven. Original laws 6 and 9 were removed and replaced by a new law: ‘The Ball may be pushed or hit with the hand, but holding the Ball (except in the case of a free kick) is altogether disallowed.

Sheffield football can be further credited with the following rule innovations:
  • Crossbar
  • Half way line kick-off
  • Corner kick
  • Umpires
  • 90 minute game - The 1867 Youdan Cup rules introduced the concept of the golden goal and that matches should last for ‘one hour and a half’.
  • Heading the ball - This was initially developed in the Sheffield game but was not mentioned in the rules; it was just accepted as part of the local game. They didn’t realise how alien it looked until it generated mirth from members of the London FA in a match in 1866.
  • Penalty arc ‘D’  - This became an FA law in 1937 but it was Sheffield football that first suggested the idea a long time before in 1924, following an incident match between Sheffield United and Burnley FC. A Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA referee submitted a sketch to the Green ’Un newspaper that could prevent further disputes. The idea was also submitted to Sir Charles Clegg the President of the FA, but nothing was instigated for thirteen years. The idea was claimed later by a Mr. Leith but was disputed by a new article that reprinted the original Green ‘Un story.

Martin Westby is the author of A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom. 

The book was recently fully revised and updated throughout with 28 extra pages, 20 new images and a new fold out map. Celebrating the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and the fact that Sheffield is the Home of Football. 

It can be purchased from Martin's website for £15.95: 



Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Saturday 6th October
All events are free.  Just drop in

This Saturday five of our libraries will become Fun Palaces and we can’t wait!
Join us as we celebrate the brilliant things we can make and do together through art, craft, storytelling and more.

Central Library and Graves Gallery    
10.30am – 3pm                
Create their own story ideas using strange and wonderful objects as inspiration, in the Graves Gallery

11am – 3pm                      
Story illustration in the Carpenter Room - Families

10.30am - 12noon           
Poetry meet in the Biographies Room– bring poetry, share or just listen

10am - 12noon                 
Family Board Gaming in the Children’s Library - Discover our new collection of board games r bring and share your own favourites
10.30am – 3pm
Still Life Drawing in the Reading Room – Drop in and give drawing a go.  We provide the subject and the materials   
2pm - 3pm                       
Book inspired craft for children in the Children’s Library      

Crystal Peaks Library      
11am - 12noon                 
Beading, Pricking and Card making demonstration and top tips delivered by the Crystal Peaks Women’s Craft Group

10.30am - 12.30pm         
Everyday Stories – Art and craft for kids           

Highfield Library                
Creative events for all ages.  From music improvisation to art workshops, nursery rhymes to  craft.  Become a storyteller for the day, do the library treasure hunt and try your hand at sign language.

Contact the library for exact timings of events        

Hillsborough Library        
10.30am – 12noon          
Make a Book Buddy – transform a sock into a book monster/book end 
10.30am - 12noon           
Papercraft with the experts – Adult Library

2pm - 3pm                         
Book inspired craft for children in the Children’s Library  
2pm - 3.30pm                   
Get started with knitting – Adult Library   

Stocksbridge Library
10am to 11.30                   
Dinosaur dig for children

10am to 11am                   
Hints and tips on creating great photos with Stocksbridge Photographic Society

10am to 2pm                     
Crazy golf for families in the community room

10.30-12 noon                  
Book buddies with Arty Party– make a book monster from a sock

10am to 3pm                     
Paint your body inside out – paint bones on your hands, your parents, the library staff!

11am to 1pm                     
Decorate a poppy to commemorate the end of World War 1 – for everyone

11am to 3pm                     
Hook a book – catch a duck and borrow the new book recommended by library staff

2pm – 3pm                        
Knit a Hogwarts bookmark for yourself – beginners welcome