I discovered by accident that they have some great events happening at the Manor Lodge Discovery Centre in Sheffield, and so on Monday night I decided to try the "Last of the Little Mesters" talk by Peter Machan. I learned so much! Peter is a retired headmaster who now works at Sheffield Manor and has a great interest in historical Sheffield - especially the cutlery trade. Did you know that Sheffield was once famous for cutlery making as well as steel? His father had worked for one of the big blade making companies. The "Little Mesters" (or masters) were almost all self employed craftsmen who worked in the many hundreds of workshops built right in the city centre - of which many still remain - empty or repurposed usually. A fair few have been turned into nightclubs and bars or student housing. Only a handful of these craftsmen remain today - most in their late 80's.
If you are local, the Portland Works is open on the Heritage Open Day weekend on the 15th September and you can see one of the remaining Little Mesters in his workshop on that day. It is a fascinating place to look around and I know you will love it.