Letters from one of the most famous - or infamous - characters in this country’s history are housed right here in Sheffield’s archives. Mary Queen of Scots was locked up by her cousin Elizabeth I in Tudor times after she abdicated the Scottish throne and fled to England in 1568. She was considered such a threat to the English throne that she was held prisoner for 19 years until her execution in 1587. But what most people don’t know is that much of her imprisonment was spent right here in Sheffield at Manor Lodge under the care of George Talbot, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury. And two of Mary Queen of Scots’ letters written during her imprisonment in Sheffield are housed at Sheffield City Archives on Shoreham Street.
These are just some examples of the amazing exhibits stored at Sheffield City Council’s archives building in Shoreham Street. More than six kilometres of archives are carefully stacked inside, with thousands of photographs available on online through an ongoing programme of conservation and digitisation.
Other exhibits include records from the Sheffield blitz in World War II which tell the incredible story of the city’s bomb damage and how it affected everyday life. Records of the city’s former workhouses also survive which show what life was like for those who fell on hard times, along with archives from the city’s Victorian police force including mug shots of the city’s most well- known ne’er-do-wells.
And now the archives team have been given national recognition for the work they have done to preserve these historic artefacts and make them accessible for generations to come.
Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards, acting cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “The archives are brilliant. They have so much information about our past and really bring history to life. There’s so much to discover here - more than 50,000 of boxes of material from the 12th century up to modern times, charting the history of the city. All freely available to anyone to wants to look anything up about the history of the community or their family. We’re very lucky to have such a treasure trove here in Sheffield and it’s great that our work has been nationally recognised. Congratulations to the archives and heritage team for all their hard work.”
Sheffield City Archives is the first to have met the highest national standards in Yorkshire for archives and is one of 44 in the country to have been awarded the status of 'Accredited Archive Service' by The National Archives.
More than 50,000 people use the service every year. To plan a visit or for more information see www.sheffield.gov.uk/archives