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k french

I am looking for a Sheffield historian

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I am looking for someone who wouldn't mind answering some questions for my book please. My area of interest is Sheffield 1939. I am focusing on more on everyday life.

I live close to London so cannot get to Sheffield to do my own research. The internet is useless.

Thanks

 

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Have you tried looking at old local newspapers from the time? They can often give a good picture of local life.

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I have just left you a fairly comprehensive piece on  Sheffield war years and the Blitz.. As a published author with one or two history books under my belt ,I feel hands on research might be needed if your novel is to have any authentic feel.

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2 hours ago, k french said:

I am looking for someone who wouldn't mind answering some questions for my book please. My area of interest is Sheffield 1939. I am focusing on more on everyday life.

I live close to London so cannot get to Sheffield to do my own research. The internet is useless.

Thanks

 

Hello k french, the years 1939-45 are a time of great interest to me through my Mother's stories of life at that time.It depends what you actually want to know. I attend WW2 events, and learn so much from historians taking part, and best of all, is talking to the elder visitors who relate their own experiences to you. It is a shame, you have just missed the WAR Weekend at Kelham Island Museum, an email ad to them may have got some reaction. May I suggest you try contacting the Sheffield Telegraph, they are very good at placing articles of interst, especially to do with Sheffield History. You could also try finding some Sheffield OAP clubs, and place an 'APPEAL for INFO on LIFE in SHEFFIELD 1939' on their web sites, and see what happens. It's worth a try!

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Thank you, some great ideas. I will give it a try. Shame I missed the event! My sticking point at the moment is when I type in the year 1939 all that comes up is the war. My story starts just before the war. I appreciate that events leading up September were big but for everyday life in Sheffield prior to then I can't find information. I want to know about going to dances and the cinema. How long did they have to wait before a Hollywood film was shown. What bands played etc. Where would a young courting couple go. Department stores. I have tried looking up the newsreels that they might have played before a film but no luck. (again mostly war) I have enough to be getting on with my story but I get unstuck when I have to add in anything historically accurate. When I get to the war years, I will have loads to go on :)

I would be very interested in any stories your mother had. I am trying to create a life for my characters. I have stories from my parents but they were too young so it is just bits from what their parents told them. Unfortunately, all my grandparents have passed. 

many thanks once again.

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Have you ever been up to Sheffield, I wonder.?..If not, then I suggest you do...if only to get a feel for the City. We still have several large pre-War housing estates where your characters might have lived as well as streets of terraced houses ( back to backs have long since gone).We also have many buildings which were extant in the period, but sadly few steelworks!

If you can't come up and spend a few hours in our archives doing some historical research for yourself then I suggest you try widening your search terms on the internet and also reading about the period either from histories of the pre-war period or, perhaps, novels ( although there are very few centred on working class) . Within minutes, for instance, I had found for you the release dates of a couple of Hollywood films showing in Sheffield in 1938/9 simply by asking questions. 

Heartshome, makes a good suggestion about asking senior clubs...and as Secretary of one such club I know that many members would be happy answering your questions. However,you would probably need to "lead" them into their personal histories...trust has to be won! But remember ,even the eldest member would probably have only been a school child in 1939...which is nearly 80 years ago!

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Find My Past have the Sheffield Telegraph for 1939 available to view - there appears to be the whole of the year available.  It just needs some thought to find the best search term to bring up information that's relevant.

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3 hours ago, k french said:

Thank you, some great ideas. I will give it a try. Shame I missed the event! My sticking point at the moment is when I type in the year 1939 all that comes up is the war. My story starts just before the war. I appreciate that events leading up September were big but for everyday life in Sheffield prior to then I can't find information. I want to know about going to dances and the cinema. How long did they have to wait before a Hollywood film was shown. What bands played etc. Where would a young courting couple go. Department stores. I have tried looking up the newsreels that they might have played before a film but no luck. (again mostly war) I have enough to be getting on with my story but I get unstuck when I have to add in anything historically accurate. When I get to the war years, I will have loads to go on :)

I would be very interested in any stories your mother had. I am trying to create a life for my characters. I have stories from my parents but they were too young so it is just bits from what their parents told them. Unfortunately, all my grandparents have passed. 

many thanks once again.

Ah! now that gives me a better focus on ideas for details for you.- My Mother was 18 in March 1938, before her 19th Birthday, she had to have all her teeth out due to a gum infection, apparently this happened to many younger people as there was not the medication available as there is now. She was so consious of the fact, she never had a photo taken that showed her teeth. - My Mum was the 2nd of 3 sisters. The elder was married in June 1939. Her dress was made by her best friend, who was a seemstress, and the sister sat of an evening hand covering 39 buttons, in white satin for the back of her dress. ( all 3 sisters wore this Wedding Dress ) My Mum and younger sister were bridesmaids, their dresses were of 'Rainbow Striped Taffeter' Lavender, Pink, & Lemon, & the stripes were 1inch wide, they were sewn on the slant, which made it very effective. ( my Mum had saved this dress, and made me a party dress out of it when I was 7 ) - My Mum's Fiance joined a cycling club in the late 1930s, they were quite a popular thing at that time. I am not sure of the Cycling Club name, but I know it was based somewhere around the Fulwood area, there are photo's I am sure I have seen on Picture Sheffield. - That is another place for you to get ideas from, as there are pic's from all walks of life.- See how you go with this info, I will be glad to help you more if I can.

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Thank you Heartshome I love hearing people's stories. Strangely enough my female character is 17 in 1939! 

I am from Sheffield as are all my family. I already have places for setting etc and  my characters are developed, I know where they live and work etc. My trouble is just accuracy when it comes to tiny details. I know about history in general but when a character says something, a critique will pull it apart if it is not factual-do you get where I am coming from? My book is a work of fiction so it is not going to full of historical detail but if, for example, my protagonist mentions going to see a particular film at a particular cinema then someone might take offense if it isn't right. The internet only brings up so much. What I am after are people's memories of that time and I have exhausted my parent's. They have told me everything that they remember their parents and grandparents telling them. 

I have contacted the Sheffield Telegraph and I will follow up with other suggestions. The information I am after is so small. It is not a plot developer or anything but I want my story to be as real as possible.

Thanks once again :)

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The steel works condition is under "Sheffield War Years and the Sheffield Blitz" and the Cinema piece is under "Cinemas, Theatres and Music Halls"

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Has anyone suggested the British Newspaper Archive? It's possible to get some information for free from this, e.g. Pygmalion starring Leslie Howard playing at the Heeley Coliseum at the start of May 1939.

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Have you seen this copy of the 1939 Sheffield yearbook, at the link below?

There is lots of information on Sheffield and although maybe lacking any personal experiences, provides lots of accurate facts about places, shops, companies, etc.

How about taking afternoon ‘Sunnycup’ tea at Tuckwoods?

or buying Blatts cockroach paste at Howard’s?

or even something as dull as doing your ‘big shop’ at Gowers the Grocers?

Hope you find this useful?

 

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