English Saws


The History of Industries and Toolmaking in United Kingdom

  Reminiscences of Old Sheffield, Its Streets and Its People by Robert E. Leader, 1875    


This book does not claim to be anything so dignified as history. It is only a gathering together of the various threads out of which history is woven—threads which, if not seized and put into tangible shape, quickly escape altogether.

Our local annals afford many illustrations of the loss that has been sustained through want of persons who would take the trouble carefully to chronicle small details, and no one can be fully conscious of that misfortune until he rises from the compilation of such a work as this.

If each past generation for (say) a hundred and fifty years, had possessed its Cap'n Cuttle, who would not only have made a note of what he found, but have left that note where others could find it, my labours would have been greatly lightened.

I used the word "compilation" advisedly just now, for this book is nothing more ambitious. It had its origin in a very widely expressed wish that a number of articles and letters which appeared in The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent in 1872 and 1873, should, as contributions to our local folk-lore, be reproduced in a form more readily accessible, than scattered through the files of a newspaper.

My duty has thus been the modest one of collating, arranging, and (wherever that was possible) of verifying what more competent hands had written. To them, in the first instance, belongs any merit the book may possess.


If I have thrown too flimsy a veil over the individuality of any member of this amicable confraternity, I must trust that the exigencies of editorship will form a sufficient excuse.

But Hallamshire men will feel that an additional value has been given to this gossip by the fact that most of the proof sheets have had the advantage of careful revision by the late Mr. William Swift.

I am quite conscious that not unfrequently events are mentioned in these pages which can hardly be considered properly to belong to "Old" Sheffield. Some of them have occurred within the memory of those amongst us who have not yet reached middle age.



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