Photographs provide snapshot into Victorian life in Sheffield

Archives and heritage manager Pete Evans scanned the pictures into the city's system
Archives and heritage manager Pete Evans scanned the pictures into the city's system
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A pair of historic photographs which have just been bought by Sheffield Council provide an interesting snapshot into Victorian life in the city.

The pictures of a fundraiser for soldiers in the Boer War arrived in Sheffield on the weekend, after they'd been bought from a private seller on eBay.

An historic photograph on Commercial Street in the city centre

An historic photograph on Commercial Street in the city centre

They show a large group of men and children collecting money for the Mafeking Seaside Fund on Sheffield's streets in 1900.

The Siege of Mafeking was a battle for the South African town. It ended on May 25, 1900.

The men are using ropes to drag a canon through the streets. Some are wearing South African-style military hats, while others have bowler hats or flat caps on.

One man is carrying a large portrait of Robert Baden Powell, who was turned into a national hero by the siege.

A fundraising group on Leopold Street in the city centre

A fundraising group on Leopold Street in the city centre

Sheffield archives and heritage manager Pete Evans said the photos were fascinating.

"One thing you can tell is that there are different social classes involved," Mr Evans said.

"They are snapshots of how our ancestors lived."

He said it was obviously a big event in Sheffield.

"Some people are there in South African uniforms," Mr Evans said.

There was plenty of discussion on the photos on the Sheffield History Forum.

Members were able to pinpoint Canada House on one image and work out it was taken on Commercial Street in the city centre.

The other picture, which is labelled as Leopold Street, shows a large group standing in front of advertising billboards.

There are advertisements for Keating's Powder, Gunston's Pork Pies and Sausages and Nestle's Milk on the boards behind the group.

"The other interesting thing is the advertisement for Blackpool as a resort," Mr Evans, who lives in Muskoka Drive, Bents Green, said.

The photos are in better condition than Mr Evans anticipated.

"Considering they're more than 100 years old," he said.

"It would be interesting to see where they've been for the past 117 years.

"They are good quality. You can see all the detail of the people in the crowd.

"There's lots of social history in just two pictures."

The pictures will now be cleaned and stored in the strong room of the Sheffield Library, and on the Picture Sheffield forum .

"Safe for future generations to see," Mr Evans said.

Mr Evans hoped to now find more information about the Mafeking Seaside Fund and its work in helping soldiers involved with the siege.