Have you tried looking for it on the dog shelf?

On the dog shelf
On the dog shelf
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I’d like to add to Manor boy’s tribute to Trevor Ablett – a great bloke, craftsman, family man and true Sheffielder.

Whenever you went in the workshop at the Edmund Road Drill Hall complex, jointly shared with Reg Cooper, hunting and Bowie knife cutler, machines were switched off and you got their full attention, whether banter or business.

When that likeable Tory toff, Michael Portillo called in to see them on one of his Great Railway Journeys programmes, he was heard to say to his cameraman that it was the most interesting interview he’d done.

Trevor’s hand-made pocket knives are on display at the Millenium Galleries, metalwork section, as well as the various materials used by him in manufacture.

If you are a newcomer to the city, put on earphones and listen to his recording of aspects of the trade. You will hear a genuine, humorous, dee-dah Sheffielder telling you a few tricks of the trade.

I hope Reg Cooper continues making knives, as one of the dwindling number of Little Mesters in this trade. (There is a large and continuous supply of self-employed Mesters, male and female, in the silversmithing trades thanks to Hallam University, the Assay Office, Persistence Works workshops, help from patient and skilled craftsmen such as Bob Lamb, and, of course, demand for the products).

Newcomers to the pocket knife trade are rare, though two people, now established in the craft, Steve Cocker and Grace Horne, got help in the Edmund Road workshop.

Grace also learned some Sheffieldish in the process. When she couldn’t find a tool in their rather cluttered workshop, Trevor suggested”Have you tried ‘dog shelf! (= floor).

Don Alexander

Knab Road, S7