Sheffield City Archives digitises 100,000 historical items to Picture Sheffield service

It gives the people of South Yorkshire an illuminating glimpse into the lives of their ancestors in centuries past, and after a “painstaking task” is more accessible than ever.

Sheffield City Archives is open again for ‘order and view’ services, meaning library users will be able to access photos from through the ages as well as maps, letters and historical documents.

The re-opening has coincided with the completion of digitising nearly 100,000 historical photos, letters, postcards, posters and other documents to Picture Sheffield, the online resource that provides a vast collection of preserved original records and printed material relating to the city and the surrounding areas from the 12th century to now.

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Peter Evans, heritage services manager at Sheffield City Archives said: “It’s been a painstaking and lengthy task to document and scan thousands of records to ensure that the materials will be available for many more years.

Peter Evans, Archives and Heritage Manager, for Sheffield City Archives, looking at some of the artefacts.

“We have extensive collections of books, pamphlets, photographs, church registers, newspapers, census records, minutes, diaries, films, maps, deeds, records from schools, hospitals, businesses and charities, family estates as well as personal papers.”

The Archives and Local Studies Team, based at Shoreham Street, receives regular praise from customers, who they have helped by carrying out research to uncover unknown facts or to piece information together. This helps customers complete gaps in their “half-remembered stories”, says the service.

Members recently received a message of thanks from the grandson of an 80-year-old woman.

It read: “I cannot thank you enough for helping me with this. My grandma has for the last 80 years only had one photo of her dad and now has another.

The Sheffield City Archives, on Shoreham Street, Sheffield, which holds over 100,000 images online and over half million manuscripts and documents has re-opened to members of the public.

“I showed her the photo over lunch and she had a few tears of joy.

“So thanks once again; you have made an old lady and her grandson very happy.”

The service holds documents and records relating to ancestors that may have serviced in World War One, local Parish records from 1538, birth, marriage and death records, trade directories from 1774 to 1974, workhouse registers between 1838 to 1930, and census returns for 1841 to 1911 (they are not available until 100 years have passed).

There are also study guides on themes such as the General Strike, Suffragettes, and the Miners’ Strike of 1984 to 1985.

Peter Evans looking at some of the artefacts.

Coun Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sports and Leisure, said: “To have such a fine collection of local history, from the 12th century up to the present day, and a team of skilled archivists who can help people discover their past or the city’s past is so appreciated.“It’s a resource that brings so much happiness to people, it answers questions, it sparks interest and

all the time we’re building on the collection to make sure we continue to capture history.”

Picture Sheffield (picturesheffield.com) is a non-profit making service provided by Sheffield Local Studies and Archives.

Income received from picture sales and donations is used to cover the cost of managing and developing the service. A small team of volunteers add more than 100 extra images every month.

Anyone with photographs that they would like to have added can call the team on 0114 2039395.