Tools & Trades History Society

The Hawley Tool Collection

The Hawley Collection

Ken Hawley

Ken Hawley with a knife from the Collection

The Hawley Collection, with which TATHS enjoys a special relationship, is an internationally important material record of tool making, cutlery manufacture and silversmithing from Sheffield, together with complementary material from Britain and the rest of the world.

The collection is unique in that it combines finished artefacts and work in progress to illustrate how things were made. Together with published catalogues, archival material, pictures, photographs, tapes and films, it records the development of many of Sheffield's manufacturing processes and products and the skills of the workpeople involved.

The collection of over 100,000 items was assembled over his lifetime by the late Ken Hawley, a tool retailer in Sheffield, and is now owned by the Ken Hawley Collection Trust and housed in Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield. Ken was a founder member of TATHS and President until his death in 2014. He was an enthusiastic and respected member of the TATHS Northern Group.

Visitors are able to

  • look at tools on show;
  • by appointment, study the vast number specimens not on show;
  • study catalogue and archive materials setting the wider context.

Although TATHS and the Hawley are independent of one another, we recognise that we share common interests. To develop ways of working together we have arranged that a nominated individua known as the Link Trustee, can be appointed to sit on the management committee of each body.

The Hawley Collection is an extraordinary facility, and members are encouraged to visit it if ever in the area. We'd also encourage members to make a donation towards the work of the collection; they can do this by accessing the Hawley website and clicking on the DONATE button.

To learn more about Ken Hawley and his collection, read "Ken, his life and achievements"

watch the videos here and read his obituary here.

If you have specialist knowledge of tools and feel you could help answer questions that they receive, please contact the Hawley, who maintain a register of TATHS and other individualswho can answer queries on specialist subjects and see if you can volunteer your services.