Perfect 10 are objects of affection in city’s history

Henderson's Relish Bottle, 1900 � Museums Sheffield
Henderson's Relish Bottle, 1900 � Museums Sheffield
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IT was a project which has had all Sheffield talking: a quest to tell the history of the city in just 10 objects.

Seven months ago a team of academics and historians set out to find the artefacts which, better than any others, defined and explained our history.

When they asked the public to nominate suggestions more than 2,000 people came forward with ideas. It caused debate, discussion and more than the odd person asking: can a bottle of Henderson’s Relish be included?

Now, The Diary can exclusively reveal the answer is: yes, it can.

The final 10 chosen objects will go on show at Weston Park Museum next month. They include a 1900s bottle of Hendo’s, a handmade Bowie Knife produced here, and 17th century clay pipes found during excavations at the site of Sheffield Castle.

A Medieval floor tile from Beauchief Abbey will be among the 10, as will Paul Waplington’s painting, Wybourn Estate, a painting of the estate from the Eighties.

Razors, embroidery and a goblet are also included in the picks which stretch from the early mediaeval period to 2007.

“The response from the public has been brilliant,” says Sian Brown, curatorial manager with Museums Sheffield which has run the project with Sheffield University and Sheffield Visual Art Group. “Submissions have ranged from the well-known to the personal, including everything from buildings to oil paintings. It’s wonderful that people have felt a connection with such a diverse range of objects.”

The final 10 were picked by the team after the six month public consultation.

Not included are Nick Clegg’s suggestion of a snooker ball (yellow) or, for practical reasons, something nominated by dozens of Sheffielders: the entire Peak District. It would have been, noted Sian, difficult to fit it in a display cabinet.

Controversially there’s nothing to recognise the city’s musical heritage or the fact football was invented here. This page’s demands to include the sumo wrestlers from Weston Park Museum was also - scandalously - overlooked.

“Obviously, when you only have 10 spaces to fill, not everything can be included,” says Chris Harvey spokesman with Museums Sheffield. “We think we have a very even selection but we understand this will cause even more debate. That’s part of the fun.”

And don’t worry if your personal nomination isn’t there. It might still make.

The whole thing is being hailed, if successful, as the jump off point for a far bigger project: Sheffield in 100 Objects.

Our City, Our Objects runs at Weston Park Museum on Saturday May 10 to October 5.

The top 10

1. A 1900s bottle of Henderson’s Relish, the Sheffield culinary institution established in 1885.

2. A handmade Bowie Knife produced in Sheffield in 2007 by Reg Cooper, who has worked in the city’s cutlery industry since 1945.

3. An embroidery sampler made in 1840 by Elizabeth Dungworth, aged 11, a victim of Victorian Sheffield’s high child mortality rates.

4. Seventeenth century clay pipes found during excavations at the site of Sheffield Castle during the 1920s.

5. A silver goblet created in 1980 by Sheffield silversmith Brian Asquith, designer of the iconic bronze fountains in the city’s Peace Gardens.

6. The painting, View of Science Gallery at Weston Park Museum, by Beatrice Adams, a student at the Sheffield School of Art.

7. Ivory-handled razors dating from around 1880 manufactured by Thomas R Cadman and Sons Ltd, a Sheffield company with trade links to India.

8. Paul Waplington’s painting, Wybourn Estate, a 1980s depiction of the area.

9. A Christopher Dresser-designed toast rack made in 1880 by Sheffield’s James Dixon & Sons, one of the major British manufacturers of the Industrial Revolution.

10. A Medieval floor tile from Beauchief Abbey, which was founded in 1176 by Robert FitzRabulf.