The Traditional Heritage Museum

Inside The Traditional Heritage Museum

The Traditional Heritage Museum (THM) at 605 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, closed in 2011.

The THM was part of the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (NATCECT) at the University of Sheffield. It developed from the Centre’s material culture collections, inaugurated in 1964 primarily as a teaching and research resource in academic courses in English cultural tradition. The THM was opened to the public in 1985.

The principal displays comprised a range of reconstructed workshops, retail shops and domestic interiors. In addition to the permanent displays the collection included a wide range of material on domestic life and leisure from the Mid-Victorian period until 1970, together with extensive material on English traditional customs and ceremonies.

Building the collection of the materials that were later to be housed in the THM began in 1964, with the inauguration of the National Survey of Language and Folklore by Professor John Widdowson. Although the University of Sheffield owned the THM building and collections, day to day running was the responsibility of Traditional Heritage, the association of Friends of NATCECT. The many volunteers of Traditional Heritage played a crucial role in the life of the THM, making its collections accessible to local people and schools.

In 2011 the University decided to close the Museum, as NATCECT was no longer an operational unit within the School of English, and because the building had become unsuitable for continued public access.

A major project was undertaken to assess the collections and to ensure that as far as possible items of historical and social significance to the city were transferred to local museums and heritage organisations. By the end of the project, 92% of the items in the collection had been transferred to a total of 34 other agencies, a figure which significantly exceeded initial expectations, with most objects remaining in the city and its region.

Among the agencies receiving collections from the THM were Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Archives, the Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust (Kelham Island), the Ken Hawley Collection Trust, and Green Estate, operators of the Manor Lodge historical site.

Descriptive text from the THM’s website has been archived, and is accessible via the links at the right of this page.

Enquiries about the THM should be directed to the University’s Heritage Office.