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The Special Collection: Collections


Banner image for the Collections page.

Photograph of the shelves in the Readships and Literary Cultures Collection.

Shelves in the Readerships collection

Popular Culture and Literary Taste Collection 1900 - 1950

This collection of books reflects the wide range of literary tastes during the first half of the 20th century. These long-forgotten lending library favourites are rarely preserved systematically elsewhere: university libraries have never collected this type of fiction, while public libraries disposed of such books once they fell out of fashion. 

The collection consists of over 1200 novels by 229 different authors. It's located in its own pod on level 2 of the Adsetts Library. You can find out more about the project and the collection in this essay How it all Began: the Popular Culture and Literary Taste Special Collection by Professor Chris Hopkins.

You can also search the collection through a dedicated page on the library catalogue or read reviews of the books on the collection blog.

Close up of a Festival of Britain teapot.

Festival of Britain teapot

The Festival of Britain

In 1947 King George VI's Government decided that the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 should be marked by national displays in the Arts, Architecture, Science, Technology, and Industrial Design.

The 1951 Festival of Britain was a showcase of British contributions to art, design and industry and a chance to celebrate and raise the nation's spirits after the austerity of the war years.

In the 1970s we acquired a box of Festival items. These included press releases, letters, and some official guides. Building on this, the library began to acquire a wider range of Festival literature and commemorative ephemera - such as posters, postcards, teapots, toys, glassware, and medals. The collection now comprises about 2000 items covering not only the main South Bank exhibition but also numerous regional events as well.

2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the Exhibition.

Front page of the 1907 Conversazione programme, Sheffield Technical School of Art.

opening of the new extension in 1907

Archives of The Sheffield School of Art

Established in 1843 as the Government School of Design, the School changed names and locations several times until becoming part of Sheffield Polytechnic and subsequently Sheffield Hallam University. The School is now known as the Sheffield Institute of Arts.

The archive includes annual reports, prospectuses, student records, correspondence, photographs and examples of student work, as well as books, cuttings etc. on former students; for example, C. S. Jagger, Frederick Varley, Arthur Lismer, Omar Ramsden, Godfrey Sykes, John Hoyland and George Fullard.

Close up of the spines of the Art Journal.

Art Journal

The Sheffield School of Art Library

This collection is the remainder of the library salvaged from the School of Art building, then on Arundel Street when it was struck by an incendiary bomb in the Sheffield blitz of December 1940.

It represents the holdings of a typical art college library of that time.

Highlights of the collection include catalogues from the Great Exhibition of 1851 where the school had won a number of prizes, a number of volumes of engravings by Piranesi including Vedute di Roma and Carceri d'invenzione. A 1766 edition of George Stubbs' The Anatomy of the Horse, 138 plates from Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion published by the University of Pennsylvania, 1887. Sir William Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum and The History of St. Paul's Cathedral as well as publications by Palladio and Robert Adam.

The oldest item in the collection is part of a Latin Dictionary, dating back to 1561 -  Dictionarium latinae lingust. Vol.3. (1561) by lexicographer Ambrogio Calepino, an Italian Augustinian monk.

Peter Wall Image

Peter Wall Archive

Peter Wall was born in Nottingham. He worked on the Nottingham Evening Post before gaining a degree in English Literature at Hendon College (now Middlesex University). After graduating, he took up a teaching post at Wakefield College.

Peter became a leading figure in establishing Media Studies as an academic discipline in the UK, fighting to make it accessible to young people from non-traditional backgrounds. He set up a media centre in the 1980s, and established links with Sheffield Hallam University in the 1990s, allowing mature students to study the first year of a Media degree in their home city (with the second and third year taught in Sheffield).

Peter wrote more than 30 key textbooks, and combined teaching and writing with working for examination boards. He held several senior positions throughout his career, including chair of examiners for Media Studies for the AQA exam board.

He retired in 2013 and died in 2017.

The archive that Peter left includes over two hundred and forty important and rare items by Simon Cutts, Ian Gardner, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Patrick Eyre, Jonathan Williams, Stuart Mills, and Karl Torok amongst others and spans Coracle, Tarasque, Blue Tunnel and New Arcadian presses. The collection includes journals, booklets, posters, boxed texts, postcards and several letters

Photograph of Clive Hollis, Master Cooper, David Morgan Rees Collection.

Clive Hollis, Master Cooper

David Morgan Rees Collection

David Morgan Rees worked in Industry before he became an academic lecturing in PR Studies. As a photographer and freelance writer, he concentrates on rural subjects. He has contributed to BBC Radio and publications such as 'Yorkshire Life', 'The Dalesman' and 'Yorkshire Journal'.

Yorkshire crafts and craftspeople

This collection of photographs of Yorkshire craftsmen and women were taken during the 70s to create a visual record of traditional skills before they were forgotten.

It comprises 50 framed photographs as well as negatives, contact prints, information boards and leaflets about the archive. A selection of David's photographs has been exhibited under the title: 'Privileged people' in several venues across Yorkshire.

Some of the photographs from this series are on permanent display in the Quiet Study Area on Level 4 of the Adsetts Library.

More information about David and this collection can be found on the Yorkshire crafts and craftspeople website.

In the Palm of a Dale

This is a collection of photographs and negatives from David’s book and subsequent exhibition - In the Palm of a Dale: A Portrait in Words and Pictures of a Yorkshire Dales Village.

Close up of the head of George Fullard's Walking Man.

Fullard's Walking Man

George Fullard

George Fullard was born in Darnall, Sheffield in 1923. As a teenager he enrolled at the Sheffield School of Art where he studied until he was eighteen. He then enlisted in the army and was seriously wounded fighting in Italy. He never fully recovered his health and died in 1973, just as he was gaining a substantial reputation as an artist.

Before leaving the School, he completed a portfolio of drawings which were inspired by the scenes around him in the aftermath of the Sheffield Blitz of December 1940. The work consists of a series of 17 completed drawings and a large sketchbook. This was part of his application for a place at the Royal College of Art in London, which he took up after the war. The value of the drawings as a precursor of Fullard's later work is clear and the form of much of his sculptures can be traced back to these youthful sketches.

You can access more images of Fullard's work in Sheffield City Centre by selecting this link

Fullard in Sheffield Map

A map of George Fullard's artwork in Sheffield showing the location of each sculpture or artifact and a walking route. Click on each marker for a picture & description..

Photograph from the Undermined exhibition showing placards and a policemen.

Photograph from the Undermined? Exhibition

Undermined?: Britain and the miners' strike

Photographs by Martin Jenkinson, John Harris and John Sturrock (1994). 43 photographs, catalogues and captions originally forming an exhibition shown at The Crucible and then Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield.

Photograph of the Penguin Specials.

Seasons of League Football a Penguin Special

Penguin Specials

The collection can be found on level 2 of the Adsetts Library. You can search the collection through the library catalogue.

Adsetts Library [map pdf]
Collegiate Library [map pdf]

Sheffield Hallam University
City Campus, Howard Street
Sheffield S1 1WB