Book on poor is a treasure

Handsworth accounts: Sheffield  Archives conservationist  Teresa Januszonok   with the ledger, dated 1798
Handsworth accounts: Sheffield Archives conservationist Teresa Januszonok with the ledger, dated 1798
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...AND here’s another old book causing excitement among our region’s history buffs...

For this leather-bound volume dating back to 1798 came as something of a surprise to staff at Sheffield Archives – when it arrived in the morning post.

The folio contains handwritten accounts of the Overseer of the Poor in Handsworth and lists the names of paupers in the village.

“Almost every week we get items of local interest coming in to us,” says senior archivist Cheryl Bailey. “However it is not often an item dating back more than 200 years comes in so we were delighted for this to arrive in the post. It’s a real treasure and paints a picture of the daily life of this parish official and the parish itself.”

The volume’s survival owes much to 1940s Sheffield Labour councillor Richard Fisher.

He was one of the founder members of the Hospital ‘A’ Board when the NHS was founded in 1948 and is thought to have acquired the book around this time.

It has been passed down through generations of his family before being donated to the archives, in Shoreham Street, city centre.