Sheffield Cutlery


A Quick Visit to Sheffield

Our ‘cottage in the ‘Peak District’ was a house fairly near to Sheffield. As I have never visited the city, we decided to pop in for a quick look. The only thing I know about Sheffield is The Full Monty was set there, and all the cutlery in the world is made there. The last fact might be an exaggeration, though I did hope to buy some cutlery as a memento of my visit.

Lots of reminders of the steel industry in Sheffield.

We found a car park, and set off through the city centre. I was pretty desperate for the loo, and public toilets were hard to find. There was a large John Lewis department store, which looked a good bet, but it didn’t seem to have an entrance. We walked all around it, and eventually decided it was shut. This seemed to be a feature of Sheffield—a lot of large buildings were shut, and many were being demolished.

The city centre was not unpleasant, and there were a few holiday-related events happening—the main one being painted bears for children to find. I spotted a few family groups going round, hunting for bears as they followed a map. Nice idea.

I wanted to see the cathedral, and Son-who-knows-Sheffield confidently set off to show us. We arrived, and it was much smaller than expected. The inside was nice, not too ornate, and there were a few people praying, which is much nicer than the usual cathedral where there are more likely to be people taking photos. I wanted a photo, but it felt disrespectful to take one in the building, so I went and took one through the open doorway.

We wandered through the city, and saw a signpost to the cathedral, pointing away from where we had come. Followed it. Came to ‘another’ cathedral…or maybe Son-who-knows actually is Son-who-doesn’t-know! This cathedral was much bigger, with a slightly dodgy extension, lots of ornate stuff inside, and tourists taking photos. I didn’t spot anyone praying. I think I prefer the non-cathedral.

Slightly dodgy extension on cathedral. One of the bears is lurking outside, waiting to be found by the many bear-hunters in the city.

There was a notice board with a few Sheffield-related facts. Apparently Chaucer mentioned the city, so it’s been around for a while. I also read a little about the steel industry, and we decided to visit the museum, even though I don’t like museums.

We had a quick lunch, and I asked the waitress if she knew where was a good place to buy cutlery, as Sheffield is famous for cutlery. She looked at me blankly, and went to hide behind the counter. Maybe young people don’t realise that all our cutlery comes from Sheffield.

All the cutlery in the world is made in Sheffield. Probably.

Walked to the Winter Garden, but this just turned out to be a lot of plants in the lobby of a hotel (or maybe this was the equivalent of the non-cathedral and map-reading family were mistaken).

We found Kelham Island Museum, which disappointingly is no longer an island, though was well-signposted. It used to be a steel works, and shows the story of the steel industry through the ages. For a museum, it wasn’t too bad (it was fairly small, which helped). I learnt that the women used to tie brown paper over their clothes to protect them from oil, and that the term ‘cutlery’ applies only to knives (spoons and forks are ‘flatware’). They had a small giftshop, and I managed to buy an ‘antique’ sugar spoon (a small spoon with holes in, which I seem to recall one of my grandparents had, whereby you dribble sugar from the sugar bowl to your dish but it is then very useful for sprinkling on strawberries). Although I now know that I did not buy cutlery in Sheffield, at least I managed to buy some flatware.

Some pretty big machines were used in the steel industry.

Have a look at your cutlery next time you use it—I bet it was made in Sheffield.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a good day. Take care.
Love, Anne x

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anneethompson.com

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