The Ken Hawley Collection Trust became a legal entity in August 1995 with the initial aim of raising funds to acquire the collection and thus ensure that this unique part of Sheffield’s heritage was able to stay in the city. The Trust’s initial work led to a major award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in December 1998 which, with other donations, made acquisition of the collection possible.
The Trust had already agreed with Ken Hawley that the collection should be moved from his home, where in the main it was stored, to larger and more secure premises where the collection could be sorted and a start made on a more comprehensive cataloguing and recording of the collection’s contents. The collection quickly found a new home in Mappin Street through the generosity of the University of Sheffield.
The University of Sheffield building in Mappin Street, Sheffield
The Trust worked on several projects including a major exhibition in the Millennium Galleries in 2003 titled ‘A Cut Above the Rest’ which celebrated the heritage of Sheffield blade manufacture, and smaller travelling exhibitions in locations such as the Central Library which brought attention to the oral history project in 2008.
A Cut above the Rest Exhibition, 2003 Millennium Galleries, Sheffield
Although clearly successful in a key number of ways, public access to the collection remained limited until the evolution of the partnership with the Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust (SIMT) which sought to re-site the collection to Kelham Island Museum providing both a public dimension supported by improved storage and research facilities. The ambitions of the partnership were realised with the award of a major lottery grant from HLF in 2008 and the Hawley Gallery at Kelham Island Museum opened in March 2010. With a further extension opened in 2013 funded by the River Don Millowners' Association.
The Trust is grateful for all the financial support it has received over the years, from Sheffield University and from charities, firms and individuals. The generosity of the University of Sheffield in providing accommodation is especially acknowledged as is the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund in granting money to the Trust which secured the long-term future of the collection. Funding from the British Library and from the Yorkshire Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and River Don Millowners' Association is also acknowledged.
The Trust relies on donations to enable its volunteers to continue to preserve the knowledge of the collection and maintain and develop it for future generations. Donations can be made through local giving.com - click below - or by cheque payable to 'The Ken Hawley Collection Trust' and sent to the Hawley Collection, Kelham Island Museum, Alma Street, Sheffield, S3 8RY.