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Metalwork in Sheffield


Welcome to the Metalwork in Sheffield learning journey. In this journey, you can learn about the history of Sheffield's metalwork, read interviews with metalworkers and watch short video clips of metalworkers in action.

Sheffield’s Metalwork Collection contains over 12,000 objects that demonstrate the city’s heritage as a world leader in the production of metalwork. It includes silver, pewter, stainless steel, old Sheffield plate, Britannia metal, iron and steel.

The collection dates from the 14th century to the present day. There are unique handcrafted pieces and examples of the mass-produced cutlery for which Sheffield has an international reputation. It is the best collection of its kind in this country and almost certainly the world.

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.

Curriculum Links

KS3 Science:

Unit 9E: Reactions of metals and metal compounds
Section 1: Why are metals useful?

Unit 9F: Patterns of reactivity
Section 8: How does the activity series relate to uses and sources of metals?

KS3 Design and Technology:

Unit 09eii: Ensuring quality production Focus: resistant materials

Learning Outcomes:

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Young people will find out about the history of metalwork in Sheffield and how metalwork items are made.


  • Young people will strengthen their literacy and ICT skills.

Attitude and values

  • Young people will think about their attitudes towards other people by reading information and watching the videos demonstrating that hard work and skill are involved in making metalwork items.

Enjoyment, inspiration and creativity

  • Young people will be inspired and proud that their city is famous and also inspired to visit other museums and galleries.

Action, behaviour, progression

  • Young people will learn that people past and present make their living from metalwork.

The video films 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.

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.

In addition to this resource, there are others that include  short animations showing how some of the objects were made and used. These objects have been chosen because of their unique and interesting nature. To view the short animations please click on the links below:

Turtle soup tureen

Pea knife

Moustache table spoon

Ear trumpet

Cigarette box


You may also want to take a look at: Contemporary Metalwork in Sheffield - Living Metal.

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

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