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The History of Industries and Toolmaking in United Kingdom


The Ken Hawley Experience by Derek Bateson

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Last night I receive small package from my friend, Simon Barley in UK.  Inside was a book and before even reading the letter I was looking through the book.  What an excellent story! 

Here is a line from the book and a text of the letter with a few photos:

"There is no other comparable collection relating to the history, technology and evolution of tools and cutlery and their manufacture."

Dear Wiktor,

Enclosed with this is a complementary copy of a small book which has been put together by Derek Bateson in conversation with Ken Hawley.

It aims to give a flavor of the kind of collecting which Ken has been doing for almost 50 years, and of the astonishing results of his energy, drive and accumulated knowledge.

It is beautifully illustrated with high-class photographs of a tiny proportion of the 100,000 objects which now make up the Collection.


In March 2010 a new gallery was opened at Sheffield's Industrial museum at Kelham Island, giving the public their first chance to see some of the Collection, displayed in a modern setting, because previously the building provided by the University of Sheffield was not suitable for visitors.

Besides the display space, there are now extensive stores for the bulk of the objects, and space for the ongoing research which is an important part of the work of the Ken Hawley Collection Trust. There is an active group of research volunteers (I have to declare an interest here: I am one of them), cataloguing, preserving and studying the tools themselves, and also the unique tools-to-make-tools which were such a feature of Sheffield's manufacturing methods in the days when specialized hand work was the key to the city’s ability to maintain its huge range of products, and to supply them on a bespoke basis.

Almost all this manufacturing has now gone: changing methods of work and changing tools have rendered obsolete many of the hand tools which were the backbone of Sheffield's output. But if anyone wants to know how it used to be done, especially if they want to know how a complex tool like a saw or a wooden plane was manufactured - or even how a basic tool like a file was produced - the Ken Hawley Collection is the place to come.

Woodworker's Guide to Wood Collection only $79.99 at Shop Woodworking
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English Tools


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