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The Special Collection: About

Archive of the Sheffield School of Art and library items too fragile/rare/precious for the shelves.

About the collection

The Sheffield School of Art was founded in 1843 and after many successful years, merged with the College of Technology to become Sheffield Polytechnic in 1969, which in turn became Sheffield Hallam University in 1992.

The older and more fragile items from the library stock took on an identity which set them apart from the main library, and the Special Collection rooms were slowly formed. In 2008 the Psalter Lane Campus was closed and the contents of the library were moved to Adsetts Library at City Campus.

New accommodation for the Special Collection was provided within Adsetts Library, and two specially equipped rooms with climate control and archival quality shelving systems were created, which will ensure the safety and security of the collection, and ease of use for visitors.

What do we have?

Within the collection we have the archives from the School of Art, memorabilia, pamphlets and books from the 1951 Festival of Britain, student artwork, and paintings and drawings which include examples by Etty and Fullard.

The collection was greatly enhanced by the late John Kirby the former librarian at Psalter Lane including a set of film posters from the 50's and 60's which he acquired from local cinemas, realising their importance to both film studies and graphic design.

We also hold a varied photography collection which includes 43 photographs from the exhibition 'Undermined? Reflections on the Miners' Strike of 1984-85', and photographs which were funded by Arts Council England.

We intend for the collection to continue to grow and develop, and we hope that we can share our enthusiasm and encourage visitors to become interested in interacting with the collection and use it as it has always been intended - to inspire and educate.

How we can help you

Based in Reading Room, you can consult our items at will and a member of staff will be on-hand to show and explain material and retrieve it from the Store Room. The Reading Room can also be used as a working area, with sockets for laptops/mobile devices and a large table to lay out papers.

The Sheffield Blitz

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Picture credit: Jeck M. via Flickr

The Special Collection has developed from what was salvaged from the library and art collection when the School of Art building was struck by an incendiary bomb in the Sheffield blitz in 1940. After this, the School moved to temporary accomodation and then to the former Bluecoat School on Psalter Lane in 1951.

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

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