Thursday, July 9, 2015

The development of a Victorian powerhouse: Sheffield city building plans 1864 – 1918

Sheffield City Archives awarded national conservation grant to make city’s historic building plans accessible

Sheffield City Archives is home to thousands of historic building plans which document the growth of the city from the nineteenth century.  Many of the older plans are in a fragile condition and some are so brittle they can no longer be unfolded.  In order to make these important documents accessible again, staff in the Conservation Unit at the City Archives need to repair and stabilise some 170 plans.

In order to carry out this vital work, we are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust (NMCT) for £10,900 to fund our conservation project: The Development of a Victorian Powerhouse: Sheffield City Building Plans 1864-1918.

These building plans (1864-1918) offer a detailed view of the development of some of the key buildings in the city and they reflect the national context of the growth of our Victorian cities at a time when Britain was the industrial powerhouse of the world.  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 (the National Projectile Factory).

The Trustees of the NCMT were keen to fund this conservation project, recognising the importance of Sheffield’s early building plans in the local and national context, and the work that is carried out at Sheffield City Archives in endeavouring to preserve and make accessible Sheffield’s history:  ‘We are very supportive of the work that you manage to do at Sheffield Archives on limited resources and were keen to support the conservation of this interesting collection.’

For more information on the Sheffield City Archives and the Conservation Unit go to:

Pictured (top): the Conservator at work - the Conservation Unit work on a range of documents dating back to the 1100s; (bottom): a plan of Sheffield United Cricket and Football Club's new terracing drawn by famous football stadium architect, Archibald Leitch, 1901 (Sheffield Archives:CA206/5725) - soon to be restored as part of this project.