Sheffield dad reveals incredible treasure trove unearthed after one month of metal detecting

This is the treasure trove unearthed by a Sheffield dad who began metal detecting during lockdown.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 9:12 am

Nick Barrett amassed the impressive haul, including historic coins, jewellery and military memorabilia, within just one month of investing in a metal detector to relieve the boredom.

The 34-year-old dad-of-two, who lives in Stannington, took up the hobby after the latest lockdown left him unable to work as a tattooist.

Searching mostly around Bolehill, close to where he grew up in Walkley, his finds so far include an 1891 six pence, a Second World War Enfield rifle bullet and a Disabled Soldiers and Sailors lapel badge from the First World War.

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Nick Barrett with some of the items he has found using his metal detector in Sheffield
Nick Barrett with some of the items he has found using his metal detector in Sheffield

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"I was sat at home climbing the walls a bit so I thought this would be an interesting new hobby and a good way of getting out and exercising,” he said.

"Every time I’ve been out with it I’ve found something. I’ve dug up everything from Second World War bullets, and even one which I believe dates back to the 1850s, to modern jewellery and lots of Georgian and Edwardian halfpennies.

"Probably my favourite thing I’ve found is a Labour Party League of Youth enamel pin badge from the 1930s.

This Labour Party League of Youth pin badge is one of Nick's favourite finds so far

"I got permission from the council to search on any council owned land and I’ve mostly done it at Bolehill, mainly near the retirement flats at the bottom where I remember as a child digging up some bottles with quite old dates on them.”

Nick says he plans to sell some of the jewellery he has found once shops reopen but is keen to reunite any more distinctive items with their owners if possible.

One woman even came up to him and asked if he could help find a silver chain with a pendant she had made when her parents died.

Some of the items Nick has found using his metal detector

His son, aged 10, and four-year-old stepdaughter love joining him, with the younger child ‘convinced she’s going to find a pirate’s treasure chest filled with gold in Walkley’.

Nick’s not in it for the money, though, and says the best thing has been learning about the area’s past.

"I’ve turned into Tony Robinson and I’m sure I’ve been doing my wife’s head in but I’ve learned more in the last month about the history of where I live than I had in my whole life up to then,” he said.

Nick Barrett with his metal detector

"I never knew there used to be a Second World War training ground at Wadsley Common and I’ve only just learned why it’s called Bolehill.

"I always used to think it was because of the bowling green but after finding so much lead I learned it actually takes its name from the lead smelting which used to happen there, and the boles which were used for that.”

Nick invested in a second-hand Garrett Ace metal detector, which he says usually retails for £130-170, and he insists there’s no need to spend too much because most things he’s pulled up were only buried about eight inches below the surface.

His top tips for any budding metal detectorists are to always seek permission before digging up any land, make sure you fill in any holes, do your research to get the most out of it and, most of all, have fun.

Some of the jewellery Nick has found
Nick has dug up lots of old coins
More of the items dug up by Nick Barrett