Wooden cobbles found on Sheffield street could be displayed in museum

Highways supervisor Gary Booth examines some of the wooden blocks at the Streets Ahead depot in Olive Grove.
Highways supervisor Gary Booth examines some of the wooden blocks at the Streets Ahead depot in Olive Grove.
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Wooden cobbles dating back more than 100 years found by contractors resurfacing streets in Sheffield could go on permanent display in a city museum.

Sheffield Council contractor Amey found the cobbles while carrying out repairs in Sackville Street, Crookes, as part of its £2.2 billion Streets Ahead highways maintenance programme.

Moira Coad, communications manager at Amey, said the cobbles had started to disintegrate but have been cleaned and could possibly go on display at Kelham Island Museum.

The contractor is currently working with Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust to see if they could be reproduced as part of Little Mesters Street - a feature in the musuem.

Ms Coad said: "Wooden block cobbles – or setts to give them their more accurate description – are sometimes still discovered under the more modern road tarmac road surfaces of city streets.

“We’ve been told they were probably used to dampen the noise of carts and horses in residential streets and they give a fascinating glimpse of what life in 19th century industrial Sheffield was like for ordinary people.

“Wherever we can, we try to preserve the setts in their original location because most are still in pretty good condition. But on this occasion we had no choice but to remove them because they were starting to come apart and causing problems for road users.”

The announcement comes after similar cobbles were spotted on Hodgson Street last month.

Amey is planning to re-lay the blocks as part of the existing reproduction street scene known as Little Mesters Street, a popular feature within Kelham Island Museum.

Ms Coad added: “It’s early days but we would love people to be able to see for themselves this intriguing piece of Sheffield’s past. At the minute, the blocks are safe and sound inside our depot at Olive Grove Road until we can find them a permanent home.”

Helen Featherstone, director at Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, said: “The wooden cobbles are an intriguing find and they will provide a visual and sensory experience for visitors to be able to easily understand what roads would have looked like in Sheffield in the 19th century.

"We hope to incorporate the wooden cobbles into our Little Mesters street at Kelham Island Museum”.