Continuity and change in a Pennine community : the township of Stannington c.1660-c.1900
The township of Stannington was a distinctive community on the north-western edge of Sheffield before being absorbed within the city in the twentieth century. By 1660 the inhabitants earned their living by a combination of farming and the manufacture of cutlery, albeit on a small scale. This thesis will demonstrate how the life of the community was affected by the boom in the Sheffield cutlery industry from the mid-eighteenth century. At that time the rapidly expanding industry, needing more water-power. began to spread out from the town along the tributaries of the River Don. The steep falls of water down the Loxley and Rivelin valleys encouraged the building of grinding wheels, leading to an increase in the workforce, mainly from the surrounding area of Hallamshire. Rural cutlery trades began to decline in the mid-nineteenth century. due to more efficient and economical methods of manufacture in Sheffield, but the employment gap in Stannington was filled by coal and gannister mining, together with work in the brickyards and paper mills. The continuing industrial growth altered not only the way of life, but the landscape itself as new works and houses sprang up, although farming continued to thrive. We shall see that, in spite of these changes in the economy, there survived a solid core of families, some of whom lived in Stannington for generation after generation, throughout the period covered by this thesis - and beyond. A detailed study of these longstanding families who held public office in the township, the parish and the wider areas of Hallamshire, will show how they adapted to the economic change and continued to give stability to their community. Newcomers to the township accepted and integrated into the ways of the old established families and, in many cases, became part of the core themselves.