Alternative Reference numberLD1793-1841
TitleSheffield Trades Technical Societies
AdminHistoryThe National Trades' Technical Societies were established in Sheffield in 1918 to provide vocational educational facilities for the body of workers in industry and commerce who were neither students of technical institutions nor members of any scientific society. The organisation sought to establish societies and promote their cooperation with an appropriate educational body. They also assisted firms by sending them technical lectures, exhibitions and other educational opportunities of interest to them.

The Sheffield Trades' Technical Societies (originally the 'Sheffield branch of the National Trades Technical Societies') owed their origins to a trade dispute in 1889 when employers in the cutlery trade refused to pay workmen for faulty knife blades. The workmen maintained that the 'waster blades' were due to faulty steel which cracked during hardening, this being supplied by the employers. An approach was made to the Principal of the Trades Technical School by a skilled forger called Billy Wardley, whereupon the cause of the problem was determined. Thereafter there was a realisation that technical information about cutlery steel could be helpful to the workmen, leading to an increased cooperation between the technical experts and the men from the workshops.

Professor William Ripper (1853-1937), who was then the head of the Department of Applied Science at the University of Sheffield, took a leading part in this development and he arranged a series of special lectures to get different sections of industry involved. The regular attendance of workmen and managers led Professor Ripper to propose the idea that a technical society be set up to link science with industry. In Nov 1918 the workmen who had attended the original course were invited, along with employers and managers, to meetings for the cutlery, file and tool trades. Following these meetings, a Trade Technical Society was set up for each of these industries (see LD1793/2 for the minutes of these early societies). From this initial beginning of three societies, the number of societies steadily increased and by 1960 there were 25 in Sheffield (and 15 more in other parts of the country). Together they formed Sheffield Trades Technical Societies, which was part of the National Trades' Technical Societies - part of the Association of Technical Societies for 'Men of Practical Ability'.

Source: 'The Sheffield Trades Technical Society: a historical resume' by Jack Fouldes (LD1793/CB/6).
DescriptionMinute books of Sheffield (and National) Trades Technical Societies, 1919 - 2000 (LD1793/1)

Minute books of individual societies, 1917 - 1966 (LD1793/2)

Account cash and receipt books of Sheffield Trades Technical Societies, 1940 - 1967 (LD1793/3)

Correspondence of the Secretary of the Sheffield Trades Technical Societies, 1948 - 1972 (LD1793/4)

Trades Technical Societies publications (year books, handbooks etc.), 1935 - 1975 (LD1793/5)

Miscellaneous (newscuttings, photographs etc.), 1926 - [1997] (LD1793/6)
Date1917 - 2000
Extent109 items
RelatedMaterialSheffield City Archives:
Records of the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society, 1918 - 2011 (formed in 1933 as one of the Sheffield Trades Technical Societies, largely through the efforts of David Flathers and Mr. W.H. Bolton, Secretary of the Trades Technical Societies), (MD8002).

Sheffield Local Studies Library:
The Sheffield Trades Technical Societies' handbook, 1919-1920 to 1965-1966 (607 S).

Sheffield Trades Technical Societies - visits and programmes, 1953-1977 (607 S).

Picture Sheffield:
Photograph of William Ripper, early 20th cent (s08376) and a Societies' visit to Arbor Low, Derbyshire, 1945 (y00344-y00345).
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