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."
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
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
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
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.