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The Hall and its Collections

The first Cutlers' Hall was built in 1638 on the site of the present Hall.

.The accounts show that the Company bought the land for £69.12s and paid £86.3s.10d. for the construction or conversion of the building itself.  Unfortunately, there are no contemporary pictures of this Hall.

A drawing was executed in the early nineteenth century and is thought by some to be of the first Hall and by others to be of the Tavern where the Company held its meetings prior to 1638.

This first Hall was demolished in May 1725 and the site cleared for the building of the second Hall - this time at a cost of £430.10s. 

In 1720s, the Company decided that rather than improve its present Hall, it would look for a better piece of land on which to build a new Cutlers' Hall. 

Negotiations were undertaken with the Duke of Norfolk's agent, Mr. Henry Howard, who offered the Company a large parcel of land close to where the present Town Hall stands. However the ground rent for this land was set at £22, but the Company would only agree to £21.13s 3d.  Therefore, for the sake of 6s 9d, the scheme foundered and the Cutlers' Hall remained on its present site.

By 1827, the state of this second Hall was causing a great deal of public concern.  A letter appeared in the Sheffield Independent saying:"Its (the Cutlers' Hall) exterior appearance is unworthy of the Company to whom it belongs, and its interior accommodation are not only bad, but disgraceful to a body of so much importance."

In 1832, the present Cutlers’ Hall, the third on this site, was built following the demolition of the second Hall.

It was designed by two architects, Samuel Worth and Benjamin Broomhead Taylor, who had both submitted plans, but when the Company was unable to choose between these plans, the two architects agreed to work together.

Main hall central chandelier
The centre chandelier in the Main Banqueting Hall  (Image courtesy of Thomas S. Dinsdale)

In 1867, the Hall was extended to the rear, with the addition of the Main Banqueting Hall on the first floor with the Hadfield Hall beneath and in 1888, the frontage was extended westward.

It is a Grade 2* Listed building and is considered to be one of the finest Livery halls in the country.  When the Foundation stone was laid in 1832, the Master Cutler stated that: "...this Hall is intended not only for the Cutlers’ Company, but for the general purpose of the Town."

The building cost the Company £8,846.12s.1d, with a further £1,092.3s.2d spent on furnishings.

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The Portraits in the Hall

The portraits displayed in the Cutlers’ Hall are predominently of men linked to the Company and Sheffield trades,  of prominent Sheffielders and national figures.  Even a list of the subjects is an interesting social comment.  The portraits are on the ground, first and second floors of the Hall, in public and in private rooms.  More details of portraits

Featured Collection Images

Left to right.  The Norfolk Knife, made for the Great Exhibition in 1851 by Joseph Rodgers and Son; A silver and silver-gilt rose bowl made by James Dixon and Co, designed by Charles Holliday, 1965 Sheffield hallmark; Light fitting from the RMS Olympic, (sister ship to the Titanic) dismantled in 1936.

The Company's Silver Collection

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The Company acquired most of its magnificent collection of silver as a result of the generosity of Sir Stuart and Lady Goodwin, who, during the middle years of the twentieth century, purchased Frederick Bradbury's collection which they then gave to the Company of Cutlers. The Company is now the proud owner of over 900 pieces, which include a Sheffield marked piece for every year since the establishment of the Sheffield Assay Office in 1773.

The Company's Archive Collection

The Company archives span the years from 1614 to the present day and provide a wealth of information about the development of the cutlery industry; the men who made the cutlery and the gradual overtaking of this industry by steel manufacture.  The Company's records relate only to its own activities and include minute and account books, photographs, letters, charity contributions as well as involvement in transport links in the 18th century.  Anyone wishing to consult the archives should contact the Archivist, via the Contact Us page.