Metalwork in Sheffield

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum links:

KS2-3 Arts Award Discover & Explore - exploring a range of art forms; Find out about artists and their work
KS3 Design & Technology - Design Cycle; Product Design
KS3 History - Local Study

Aim of resource:

To explore the history of metalwork in Sheffield and how metalwork items are made.

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of Sheffield's industrial heritage
Understanding of the techniques used in metalwork
Skills to analyse the design process used on an industrial scale and apply it in design work

Discussion ideas:

  • Which other towns and cities in the United Kingdom are famous for making particular products?
  • What do you think of the fact that Sheffield cutlers used ivory?
  • How have attitudes towards using animal products like fur or ivory changed?
  • Why do you think the metalwork trade in Sheffield has changed?
  • Which contemporary metalworker's job would you most like to try and why?

Activity ideas:

Teacher's review:

'This resource could be used in a number of ways – from a product design angle students could use the resource to research and produce a case study into how and why a specific metal is used. It c ould also be used as a starting point to research the history of metalwork in Sheffield.'  - Ben Thompson, Deputy Headteacher, the Business Academy, Bexley.


Metalwork at Sheffield's Millennium Gallery

This resource explores the history of Sheffield's metalwork industry through interviews with metalworkers and watch short video clips of metalworkers in action.

Sheffield’s Metalwork Collection contains over 12,000 objects dating from the 14th Century to the present day. There are unique hand-crafted pieces and examples of the mass-produced cutlery for which Sheffield has an international reputation. Over 800 objects are on permanent display in the Metalwork Gallery in the Millennium Gallery, including objects from the Bill Brown Collection of Historic Cutlery.

Other resources on Sheffield's Metalwork Industry:

In another resource, Metalwork Objects in Focus, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, you can take an in-depth look at some of the objects housed in the Metalwork Gallery.


The videos connected to this resource  were made possible via a grant from the Designation Challenge Fund. They were directed, edited and cinematographed by Eleni Christopoulou of Gorilla Cinema.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Museums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery | 
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