Little Mesters Street

Often described as the backbone of Sheffield’s cutlery and tool making industries, the Little Mesters were a network of craftspeople working out of small workshops or from their own homes.

They were self-employed and carried out the different stages of the production of goods, which were ordered and sold by Master Manufacturers. They mostly concentrated on individual aspects of forging, grinding or finishing and would also specialise in particular products, such as razors, penknives or surgical instruments. At the height of their population in the mid 1800s, Little Mesters were making a vast contribution to the variety of products which bore a Sheffield stamp. Their reputation is one of skilled work and quality products.

Only a handful of Little Mesters’ remain in Sheffield today, two can still be seen working on the reconstructed Little Mesters’ Street at the museum, other workshops can be found at Portland Works.

On the street you can also find equipment used by the Little Mesters, tools made by Sheffield makers, as well as The Hawley Collection Saw Shop.

Take a peek through the window of watchmaker Julius Isaacs & Co, and see items and precision miniature parts that were made for aircraft, aerial photography and radar equipment during war time.

 

Pete Goss

Stan Shaw