Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: Adventures in the Anthropocene by Gaia Vince

We're entering a new geological age: the anthropocene. This is the era where humankind's effects on the planet are making themselves known. In this absorbing book, Gaia Vince travels the world to find out how people are living and coping with these changes.

Each chapter focuses on a different biome (including the atmosphere, rivers, oceans, savannahs, rocks, and cities), and this format provides a logical and progressive order to this challenging field of research. The language is clear and accessible without dumbing down the complexities. 

Vince talks to the people on the ground who are employing innovative solutions to environmental problems. These solutions can be controversial and she isn't afraid of showing some criticism or skepticism where necessary. However, with many of the techniques yielding results and even exceeding expectations, Vince also has the happier task of describing the success stories too.

The problems are big and their impact is vast, but the ingenuity of people is astounding, and gives me hope that we can make the most of this new age.

If you like the sound of this, you might also like:
Review written by Ann Brook (Library and Information Assistant)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Exploring the Archives: Enemy attack! Sheffield's ARP and the Blitz

Students in the School of English at the University of Sheffield are provided with the opportunity of taking a work placement as part of their degree programme.  This year Mollie Littlewood is working with us at Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library.  She is writing a series of blog posts highlighting the city’s fascinating archival treasures.  This week she’s been looking at the Sheffield Blitz edition of the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) magazine All Clear!
On the 12th and 15th December 1940 Sheffield was attacked by German aircraft.  On the evening of the 12th the air raid sounded at 7pm and was followed by over nine hours of bombing.  It is estimated that 330 German aircraft attacked Sheffield with 355 tonnes of high explosives and over 16,000 incendiary canisters. Two nights later a further 100 planes attacked during a three hour air raid. The bombing caused devastation across the city leaving a wreckage of buildings in its wake.
In April 1937 the government asked for Air Raid Precautions (ARP) to be set up across the country.  These precautions included Air Raid Wardens, casualty services, First Aid posts and Emergency Feeding and Rest Centres amongst other things.  Initially the idea was not well received as people did not want to think of war.  In the beginning there were also periods of boredom for those training for the ARP as there was nothing for them to do.  However, as time went on the ARP increased in size and by the outbreak of war there were 1.5 million people in the ARP across the country.
When Sheffield was attacked in December 1940 the ARP were prepared and dealt with the aftermath of the bombings as best they could with great efficiency, care and bravery.  The Lord Mayor of Sheffield praised the people of the city for showing ‘gallantry, fortitude, untiring energy and great devotion to duty.’

The ARP produced a monthly magazine called All Clear! which included articles about the precautions to be taken in case of an air raid, the status of the war, stories from the air raids and poetry.  In January 1941 a special Blitz Edition was produced praising the people of Sheffield for their response to the attack on their city. The special edition contains letters from the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, the Chairman of the Emergency Committee and from Harewood House on behalf of the Princess Royal paying tribute to Sheffielders.   The Princess Royal compliments the people of Sheffield highlighting the work of the women in ‘organising the relief of distress, and especially the temporary housing and feeding of those whose homes have been destroyed.’
There is a section of the magazine dedicated to praising the women’s voluntary services.  The women of the ARP provided care, supported the homeless and helped children to trace missing parents.  They provided comfort for people who needed it.  They are also praised specifically for their efficient work and improvisation in their almost impossible working environment.  The headquarters of the organising body suffered three direct hits and over 75% of the Emergency Feeding and Rest centres became unavailable.  This did not stop the women, however:
‘It was they who assisted in improvisation schemes; them who courageously held the fort until reinforcements arrived; they who summed up the situation in a flash and “got a move on”’.

The letter from The Chairman of the Emergency Committee that appears in the magazine praises the people of Sheffield for their ‘devotion to duty and the courage you displayed under conditions which it is difficult to describe could only be equalled by soldiers in the front line of battle.’

The magazine includes numerous stories of brave members of the ARP and civilians who showed devotion and courage by risking their lives to save others who were injured or trapped in the rubble. There is a section entitled ‘Our Heroes’ which gives accounts of unbelievable acts of bravery during the Blitz. These include a member of the First Aid party who was killed whilst attending to a casualty. Bombs were dropped nearby and he threw himself over the patient’s body and was struck by falling masonry and killed whilst his patient survived.  A civilian saved five people who were trapped beneath a house by crawling under the debris.  He worked for three and a half hours and managed to get them all out.  A warden rescued five people from a cellar by digging a tunnel with his bare hands.  A nurse working at a First Aid Post was advised to shelter in a passage-way with her colleagues but instead continued to sing cheerfully and go from patient to patient giving them care. These stories highlight moments of triumph and bravery in the face of extreme adversity.  They give me a feeling of pride in the people of Sheffield, and they highlight the importance community had at that time when the world was being torn apart, a message still relevant to the world today.
The special Blitz Edition of All Clear! is bookended by emotional pieces of prose about the Sheffield Blitz and its aftermath:
‘When the sirens sounded there seemed no reason for undue alarm. They had sounded many times before. To be followed in due time by more sirens signifying “All Clear.”
Why Worry?
Then it started; and it continued for many hours.
Two days later they came again.
They left us serious minded and scarred.’ 

This reveals that although the city was well prepared with safety precautions for an attack, there was little that could be done to mentally prepare people for the horror of their homes being bombed; no amount of training and preparation could alleviate the feelings of fear and heartbreak wrought by the attempted demolition of the city.
The piece that closes the special Blitz Edition of All Clear! is titled ‘And Then--’ and gives the message that  although Sheffield has been damaged, it has not been defeated by these attacks:
‘...If the objective was our morale then the victory is ours for the battle has left us, not desperate, but defiant...
How shall we honour our dead?
That is for the future.

When the time comes we shall remember them by removing our scars and, in their place, we shall build a better and greater Sheffield.’

This overwhelming sense of positivity and strength is found throughout the Blitz Edition of the magazine.  Separating these two pieces of prose are pages of praise for every section of the ARP.  It suggests that without the hard work of the people of Sheffield the city would not have been able to go from being ‘serious minded and scarred’ to ‘defiant’ and ready to ‘build a better and greater Sheffield.’

Mollie Littlewood

ARP Magazine Blitz Edition 1941 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: 623.3 S)

Images © Sheffield City Archives/Picture Sheffield

Monday, March 6, 2017

Exploring the Archives: the Sheffield Women’s Lib Movement in the 1970s

Students in the School of English at the University of Sheffield are provided with the opportunity of taking a work placement as part of their degree programme.  This year Mollie Littlewood is working with us at Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library.  She is writing a series of blog posts highlighting the city’s fascinating archival treasures.  This week she’s been looking at newsletters produced by the Sheffield Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s…

The Sheffield Women’s Newsletter was produced by the Sheffield Women’s Liberation Movement which appears to have been established in the late 1960s. It was a group that criticised the male dominated society and condemned sexism. The group campaigned on issues such as equal pay, violence against women, rape, pornography and ‘cultural sexist attitudes’. The newsletter was a space for women in Sheffield to communicate with one another and form a support network as they campaigned for women’s rights.

The first Sheffield Women’s Newsletter was published in May 1971 and took the form of a two-side typescript page outlining the aims of the Women’s Liberation Movement.  By 1979 the newsletter had become a stapled booklet with hand drawn illustrations, personal articles and poetry from women in the movement.  The women in the movement produced the newsletters themselves.  All of the material in the newsletters was composed, typed and drawn by them including the illustrations that appear in the issues at the latter end of the decade.  In 1976 they began to draw front covers for the newsletters and illustrations for the articles and poems. These are all hand drawn in felt tip pen.  This DIY ethic makes the newsletters feel more personal - they remind the reader that local women were making them with limited resources.  The illustrations give the newsletter greater appeal than plain text, but they are cleverly used to help present the points made in the written pieces.

The group later learnt how to print the newsletters themselves.  An article written by Jos Kingston in the springtime 1978 issue discusses the printing group and her experience of teaching herself how to print with a machine and platemaker that was now in use at the Polytechnic Student’s Union (now Sheffield Hallam University). She writes that ‘the “man from Roneo” gave two 20-minute trainings in what knobs to turn, and the rest of my learning was trial and error’. She basically taught herself how to print and although she admits to wasting almost £20 worth of materials in the process, in the end she finds a great satisfaction in the skill she has gained: ‘It’s such an advantage if you’re participating in the whole process of communicating what matters to you, from start to finish’.  These newsletters were a space for women to voice their opinions and any outside help they would have had or asked for would have most likely been from men.  I feel a sense of pride when I read these newsletters because these women were breaking gender stereotypes and revealing their own capabilities.  Jos discusses in her article the desires of herself and others in the printing group to try and make a living out of printing.  They enjoyed learning a skill that would not have been taught to them otherwise and sought the feeling of independence that comes with earning money.

Although the newsletter in itself is an exhibition of these women’s talents, the issues discussed within it are incredibly sobering.  In the July 1975 issue, Shirley Field writes an article entitled ‘Some Notes on Rape’. She discusses a ruling by the House of Lords that a defendant in a rape case could escape conviction if he believed the woman consented. She writes ‘the defendant’s belief does not even have to be a reasonable one’.  In 1975 the charge of rape could be dismissed if the man stated that he believed the women enjoyed it. Shirley Field discusses the views of a Sir Harold Cassel whose opinion was that ‘a resisting woman could well be giving the man the additional thrill of a struggle’. The use of the word ‘could’ in his statement highlights the ludicrousness of the situation. The judges in the courts were relying on their own personal viewpoint rather than fact. Field highlights the impossible situation this placed women in; ‘the procedure of going through the courts to prosecute a rapist is already severe how many women will run the gauntlet of sneers and jokes to be told that she got what she asked for and enjoyed it!!’ This level of sexism shocked me - this was happening only 40 years ago when my parents were teenagers!

Some of the articles written in the newsletters take a more comic and light-hearted approach although they are still discussing serious issues. There is an article in the Jan/Feb 1978 issue written by Sue Pethen who discusses her experience of pregnancy.  Whilst reading her article I had to constantly remind myself that it was written in the late 1970s and not much earlier in the century.  She discusses the booklet produced by the British Medical Association that she received at her first antenatal visit to the hospital.  It emphasised the need for sleep: ‘if you are working, when you get home, before starting any of the household work, put your feet up for an hour, and try to doze off’.  Of course the housework was a must and pregnancy did not exempt women from this task. The booklet tentatively suggested that the husband might help out with cleaning the bath as this was seen as a danger, however all other housework was perfectly acceptable for a pregnant woman to do. The booklet gave suggestions as to how to cope with backache.  Women were advised to ‘carry two shopping bags, one in each hand, rather than only one heavy one; do tasks like ironing, washing up, peeling vegetables sitting down’.  The illustration that accompanies this article comically depicts a heavily pregnant woman sat down with an ironing board over her knee looking tired and angry whilst her husband stands in front of her smiling handing her flowers.  The illustration captures the essence of the article perfectly and I suspect that male input into the newsletter would have altered its look and tone significantly.  It made me realise the importance of the fact that these women produced these newsletters by themselves as it enabled them to completely critique and expose the reality of their situation without censorship.

Finally, the contributions to these newsletters that have struck me the most are the poems. They are few and far between but they give an insight into the true inner emotions of a woman living through a time of fighting for equality.  In the Feb/March 1979 issue of the newsletter there is a poem by Judy Tyrrell about her not feeling at home in her own home.  She feels suffocated and trapped at home: ‘Like feeding with a jumper/ Pulled over your head.’  She compares her home to her experience of being in the Women’s Movement.  As part of the Women’s Movement she writes ‘My own eyes have seen/My lips shared thoughts/Closeness and warmth’.  In the movement she has the freedom to speak and she feels part of a community, ‘But they find no room’ in her home with her husband.  She writes ‘I carry my space inside me’.  She cannot share her feeling of freedom with her husband; she has to keep it private. The poem also describes the patriarchal home she lives in; ‘I am neatly hemmed in/With unspoken expectations/ All framework and fodder’.  At home she is trapped by the masculine ideal of women, an ideal that does not have to be spoken but is simply known.  She writes that in the Women’s Movement ‘We choose to live differently’, whereas her compliant behaviour at home is ‘an empty gesture –/ A failure to say no.’ This poem gives a moving insight into the double lives some of the women in the movement were living.  They were fighting for equal rights but these had not yet been granted and so they were also still living in the world of gender inequality.  Many women will have been both a woman of the movement and a wife.

Mollie Littlewood, School of English, University of Sheffield
Records relating to the Sheffield Women’s Liberation Movement, c.1971 - 1980 (Sheffield City Archives MD7966; X695); Images © Sheffield Women's Newsletter.

International Women's Day is on Wednesday 8 March 2017 - a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of the past, present and future. Rooted in the struggle for women's suffrage and equal rights, it has been celebrated worldwide since 1911.  #BeBoldForChange

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I swept through this book with indecent haste. Juliet, a writer living in London in 1946, receives an unexpected letter from a Guernsey man named Dawsey who has found her name in a book by Charles Lamb. They start up a correspondence, and she learns about the society of the title, the people who founded it, and why. 

The novel unfolds through letters as Juliet corresponds with various islanders about their experiences. What starts out as research turns into a passion, and she decides to visit Guernsey and meet the people to hear their stories of the war first-hand.

I really felt for the characters and was drawn into their lives along with Juliet, and the letter format is particularly effective in bringing out the various nuances of life on Guernsey during that time. I enjoyed this book very much.

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Review written by Ann Brook (Library and Information Assistant)

Friday, February 17, 2017

LGBT History Month

Display at Firth Park library for #lgbthistorymonth 

February marks LGBT History Month in the UK.  Sheffield City Council, along with many other organisations across the country, is taking this opportunity to celebrate the history, lives and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in the UK and beyond.
As part of this month-long celebration, Sheffield Libraries is hosting an event on the life and times of Edward Carpenter , an openly gay Victorian socialist who lived locally and campaigned for the rights of Sheffield workers. This free talk by local historian Suzanne Bingham takes place at 18.30 on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 in the Carpenter Room, Central Library, and tickets can be booked here.
We also have LGBT History Month displays in Firth Park Library and Central Library which showcase a small portion of our LGBTQ* collections.

Below, we provide a selection of recent titles purchased for the collection, as well as some useful links to LGBTQ* organisations in Sheffield.

New titles
The Good Son by Paul McVeigh
Winner of the Polari First Book Prize, 2016
Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin
Different for Girls by Jacquie Lawrence
Physical by Andrew McMillan
God in Pink by Namir Hasan
Lambda Literary Award winner for gay fiction, 2016
Life in a Box is a Pretty Life by Dawn Lundy Martin
Lambda Literary Award winner for lesbian poetry, 2016
Crevasse by Nicholas Wong
Lambda Literary Award winner for gay poetry, 2016
Tarnished Gold by Ann Aptaker
Lambda Literary Award winner for lesbian mystery, 2016
Making a Comeback by Julie Blair
Lambda Literary Award winner for lesbian romance, 2016
When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan
Lambda Literary Award winner for gay romance, 2016
George by Alex Gino
Lambda Literary Award winner for children’s/YA, 2016; Stonewall book award winner in children’s category, 2016
The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis
Stonewall book award winner for literature, 2016
For Your Own Good by Leah Horlick
Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett
Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain, edited by Kate Harrad
Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire by V. G. Lee
Straight Jacket: How to be Gay and Happy by Matthew Todd
The Black Path by Paul Burston
Blowing the Lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens by Stuart Feather

For further reading suggestions, we recommend following the excellent @LGBTQReads twitter account! We also welcome your suggestions for items that we should purchase for the collection.

Useful links
LGBT Sheffield
A community-led LGBT organisation in Sheffield
A youth group and support service for LGBT young people aged 12-17
Out of Office
An LGBT network organising bi-monthly social events
Sheffield Pinknic
A free yearly outdoor event
Pride Sheffield
Sheffield’s annual Pride celebration
Andro & Eve
Queer events promoters
Sheffield Bi Social
A social organisation for bi/pansexual people
A Yorkshire-wide support group for trans people assigned female at birth
A free and confidential weekly drop-in sexual health service for gay and bisexual men

Friday, February 3, 2017

Exploring the archives: Arthur Hayball, a Sheffield craftsman

Arthur Hayball next to one of his carved pieces, 19th cent.
(Picture Sheffield: y00538)
An extraordinary collection of papers and glass negatives survives at Sheffield City Archives relating to the Hayball family of Sheffield.  Arthur Hayball was a Sheffield craftsman of great skill - a talented wood carver and photography pioneer, described by J.H. Stainton in The Making of Sheffield as ‘unsurpassed in wood carving and absolutely an artist in expression’.  The Hayball papers give a rare view into the world of the Victorian family in Sheffield, not least through an astonishing array of photographs which date back to the early 1850s…

Hayball family on the back steps of 50
(later 112) Hanover Street, 1852
(Picture Sheffield: y00523)

Arthur Hayball was born in Tudor Street, Little Sheffield (now Thomas Street) in September 1822, the second son of Thomas and Mary Hayball.  His father was a joiner and builder who helped construct a number of buildings including Banner Cross Hall and St Philip's Church.  Arthur Hayball spent much time as a child in the joiner's shop.  Following an accident he broke his leg and during his convalescence, his father gave him some pieces of waste wood to carve.  From then on, much of his spare time was spent learning wood carving.  At the age of 16 he left school and joined his father in the woodworking shop at 60 Rockingham Street.

The chemistry of the toning bath
'The Apparition - a trick photo'

He started attending classes at the Sheffield School of Design (later known as the School of Art).  He was so successful the School elected him a 'Free Student for Life'.  He remained connected to the School until his death in 1887 and he was Master of the Wood Carving Class from 1875 to 1887, being succeeded by Frank Tory.  He entered a specimen of his own design in the Great Exhibition of 1851, a cabinet of English walnut, 8 feet high and 4 feet wide for which he was awarded first prize and a medal from the Exhibition Committee.

In 1845, Arthur married his cousin, Hannah Lenton of London and they moved to 29 Clarence Street, opposite to where Godfrey Sykes lived.  By 1851 they had three daughters (Edith, Miriam and Laura - a fourth daughter, Clara, was born in 1852); in order to support his family he suggested to his father he might do better independently.  This caused father and son to fall out and they were estranged for ten years.  Two houses were designed and built in Hanover Street and in the back garden a workshop was built.  The upper level of the workshop was used for photographic work in which he had become interested in c.1853, with the intention of supplementing his income through portraiture work.  Many of his early photographic endeavours survive in the archives, from mammoth glass plate negatives to early printing experiments.  A small scrap of paper survives recording the chemistry of a toning bath (chloride of gold, water, chalk, chloride of lime etc.) while an early account book describes his regular photographic purchases: collodion, photo sulphate, gutta percha, cyanide etc.

Clara Hayball on a velocipede at Arthur's wood carving works,
Cavendish Street, 1875 (Picture Sheffield: y00516)
In 1862 he moved to nos. 9-13 Cavendish Street built by his father with whom he later became reconciled.  Here his work focused on fine wood-carving and he was helped by his daughters, especially Clara.  As Stainton notes, ‘how greatly his genius was appreciated may be estimated from commissions which he executed. For the Duke of Norfolk he provided the fittings of Arundel Chapel, and also supplied many reredos, stalls and altars in Spain and Ireland; Dr. Gatty entrusted him with much restoration work in Ecclesfield Church, and for Mr. Henry Wilson he carved the handsome screen in St. Silas’ Church.’  In fact he was able to put to good use his photographic skills, ensuring all of his major works were recorded. Having received an order, he would complete the piece in his workshop, photograph the item when assembled and then when the work was sent off (in pieces) the photograph would be used to reassemble the parts.  As a result, a near complete record of his work exists. These negatives are now very fragile and sadly the emulsion is degrading on some plates; it is fortuitous that Mr C.H. Lea, a family friend, saw fit to reprint the entire set in 1951-52 which, until this point, had been stored by the family in the ‘old stable loft'. The photographs showcase the breadth and intricacy of work undertaken by Hayball - he even appears in some of his own photographs next to carved pieces. 

Photograph of designer and painter, Godfrey
Sykes, by Arthur Hayball, 19th cent.
Cyanotype of Clara
by Arthur Hayball

Arthur Hayball died in 1887.  His archive, and that of his family - especially Clara, his youngest daughter (who married Sheffield artist, William Keeling), provides fascinating detail about family life in Sheffield during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Arthur’s papers and photographs later passed to Clara who was something of a collector; she kept all manner of family papers, from her mother’s childhood embroidery dating back to c.1825 to greetings cards and other ephemera sent to her during her lifetime. Indeed her own archive of papers includes previously unseen watercolours by her husband William Keeling (an exhibitor at the Royal Academy, London) including a small painting of the Atlas Mountains placed in a prayer book which he gifted to his wife in 1913.  The collection numbers over 450 items and a list can be browsed via our online catalogue: http://tinyurl.com/jmo8pun 
Original items from the collection can be viewed at Sheffield City Archives upon request (archives@sheffield.gov.uk)


'Arthur Hayball - A Dreamer in Wood', a short biography published by Arthur Beet in Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society (vol.VII, part 5, 1956) (Sheffield Archives: HAYBALL/6/6)
‘The Making of Sheffield 1865-1914’ by J.H. Stainton (Publisher: E.Weston and Sons, Change Alley, Sheffield, 1924) (Sheffield Local Studies Library: 942.74 S)

Images © Sheffield City Archives/Picture Sheffield



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A year in archives: collection highlights from 2016

Each year the document collection at Sheffield City Archives grows in size.  Last year we received around 900 boxes of archival material dating from the 16th century to the present day including legal documents, photographs, architectural plans, glass negatives, ancient deeds, watercolour paintings and digital files.  Each item reveals a bit more to us about Sheffield’s history.  What follows is a brief look at some of the collection highlights from 2016...
Two volumes were donated by a private individual relating to Hadfields Limited (National Projectile Factory), Sheffield detailing orders for high explosive shells during World War One.  The orders came from the Ministry of Munitions, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the Secretary of State for War, the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, War Department, Washington DC, USA and the United States Government, Navy Department.  Almost all of the orders recorded in the two ledgers were made at the Hecla Works, the smaller of Hadfields’ two sites.  To give an idea of the volume of goods produced, the monthly peak in March 1916 (three months before the Battle of the Somme) was around £437,000 worth of orders - quite an extraordinary sum. (Sheffield City Archives: X752/1).

Sheffield City Council has historically owned various plots of land and buildings across the city, the deeds to which have been stored in The Deeds Registry in the basement of Sheffield Town Hall, Pinstone Street.  In 2015, the Council began the process of voluntarily registering its ownership of land and property with the Land Registry.  Packages of unregistered deeds and documents were sent to the Land Registry for them to check the chain of ownership and prepare for a first registration.  Upon their return, the old prior deeds were no longer required as legal documents and were passed to Sheffield City Archives.  In 2016, we received over 100 boxes of these old title deeds, many dating back to the 1600s.  They cover ancient highways and byways, pubs and beerhouses, steam grinding wheels, cutlery works, music halls, dwellinghouses and more.  The oldest deed received so far dates from 1571 and describes ‘tenements on Snigg Hill leading from the Irish Cross to the West Barr’.  We expect hundreds more boxes to be transferred over the next few years. (Sheffield City Archives: CA778).

 A curious illuminated manuscript was donated to the Archives in November 2016.  It was an address, dated 1896, presented to James Melling of Throstle Grove, Pitsmoor by the Committee of the Sheffield Social Questions League, thanking Melling for the action he took against the landlord of the Black Swan Hotel, Snig Hill  and his 'brave stand...taken against the glaring public evils of our time - the forces of drink, gambling and impurity...'  It transpired that James Wallace, the landlord of the Black Swan, had published two letters in the Sheffield Independent falsely accusing Melling of trying to entrap him into selling alcohol after hours in breach of the licensing laws.  The case went to court and the judge ruled in favour of Melling.  The illuminated address praises Melling’s commitment to the promotion of temperance and social morality. (Sheffield City Archives: X748/1).

Upon their move from Meersbrook House last year, the Parks Department transferred a large quantity of records to the archives for permanent preservation including minutes, early staff wage books, allotment plans and photographs.  The records add much to our knowledge of the development of Sheffield’s parks and green spaces.  Of particular interest is a volume of coloured linen plans of parks, recreation grounds and open spaces drawn up by Mr E. Partington, Estates Surveyor in the 1920s.  The volume was obviously a working document for the Parks Department during the Second World War and many of the plans are annotated to denote ARP shelters, ARP posts, rest centres/shelters, barrage balloon sites, wartime allotments, ARP trenches, water tanks and fire tanks, open cast coal and huts for the Home Guard. (Sheffield City Archives: CA981).

We also received a donation of First World War letters written by Able Seaman Joe Rhodes of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves to his sweetheart in Sheffield, Nellie Drabble.  Joe was born in Sheffield in 1900.  He became a crucible furnaceman, later serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves during the First World War, enlisting towards the end of December 1917 and starting his naval training in January 1918 at the Royal Navy training depot in Crystal Palace, London. Throughout his naval service, Rhodes kept up regular correspondence with his sweetheart back home in Sheffield, Nellie Drabble (1898 - 1968).  His letters discuss his training at the Royal Navy depot: ‘…the palace is a magnificent place and I am very sorry to say that our superiors are rotters...', thoughts of Sheffield: '...by the papers I see that the Zepps were knocking about Yorkshire last and I hope they did not make it uncomfortable for you just the same as when they pay us a visit...' and his enduring relationship with Nellie: '...We managed to get out last night for the first time and I had not been out 10 minutes before a girl came up to me and asked me take her a stroll, this I flatly refused by saying that the girl I left in Sheffield has all the love I can give and that I had none to spare for her...’  Joe Rhodes married Nellie Drabble on 25 February 1922 at St Mary's Church, Bramall Lane, Sheffield. (Sheffield City Archives: X747).
We also took in public records from Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, HM Coroner, the Northern General Hospital, Jessop Hospital for Women and Trent Regional Health Authority. Records were also deposited by Sheffield City Council, the Diocese of Sheffield, the GMB and NALGO trade unions, local businesses, societies and organisations and private individuals.
A full list of archives received by Sheffield City Archives (and other archives around the country) is published by The National Archives each year:
You can also search Sheffield City Archives' online catalogue here: http://www.calmview.eu/SheffieldArchives/CalmView/Default.aspx?

Review: Up, down, all-around stitch dictionary by Wendy Bernard

This is a fantastic reference for knitters wanting inspiration for their projects. Each stitch pattern is presented in written and charted form, and there are options for flat and circular knitting, depending on your preference or what the pattern calls for.

As if that wasn't enough, the patterns are also offered top-down and bottom-up where appropriate. Never again will you be put off using a heart motif on that top-down yoked sweater, and you can create leaves to your heart's content on that toe-up sock pattern you had your eye on.

Even if you don't have a particular pattern in mind, this is a great resource to browse through.

(There are also a range of craft groups and activities which take place in Sheffield Libraries. Please see the Sheffield Libraries events page for further details.)

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