Festivities at museums take visitors back in time

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Christmases from times past were celebrated at two historical attractions in Sheffield which threw open their doors for traditional festivities.

Visitors stepped back in time to 1940 at Manor Lodge, where a farm cottage has been restored to its original condition, to take a look at how families spent Christmas during World War Two.

Maria Fowler and Judy Needham from the Hamlet Haberdashers

Maria Fowler and Judy Needham from the Hamlet Haberdashers

Food made with authentic wartime recipes was served up, and there was also a chance to try making brandy butter using the ingredients permitted by the official ration book.

Christmas 1940 saw the aftermath of the Sheffield Blitz – two bombing raids on the nights of December 12 and 15.

The Luftwaffe attacks killed 660 people, injured 1,500 and made 40,000 homeless.

Bombs demolished 3,000 homes and a further 3,000 were badly damaged.

Meanwhile, across the city at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, staff and volunteers came together for a special community event, celebrating the different activity groups which meet at the museum.

The Hamlet Haberdashers group raffled off a specially-made quilt, and there was also the debut of a new choir, who called themselves The Tilt Hammers.

The choir performed a selection of workers’ songs from across the world, including songs which originated in Africa and the fields of Sussex.

Nell Farrell, the museum’s community participation officer, said the choir was the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the event.

Nell said: “It’s a celebration of community involvement at the hamlet, from our volunteer stalls and residential craft people to our very own choir with its repertoire of traditional work songs. 
The hamlet, a former 18th century scythe making and crucible steel works, is currently undergoing conservation and restoration work aimed at developing its accessibility and learning potential after it received a grant of £942,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Some of the money has been spent on a new learning centre at the site.