The Launch of the Stan Shaw BEM Heritage Trail

by Patrick Smith    November 2023

                           Image:  Copyright P.J.A.Smith

Stan at his 'stiddy' in his Garden Street Workshop (2006)

I was fortunate to receive an invitation to the launch of the App. for the Stan Shaw (Memorial) Heritage Trail which took place at the Perch Brewhouse on Garden Street in Sheffield on 28th September 2023, next door to where Stan had his workshop prior to moving to Kelham Island Industrial Museum.


Stan was a highly skilled and well known Little Mester in Sheffield, producing pocket and exhibition knives of exceptional quality, having been determined to learn how to make them by hand since the age of 14.  His work is highly sought after; examples being owned by collectors who include some famous people around the world.  One or two pieces have been presented by Stan to senior members of the Royal Family when visiting the City in years gone by.


In January of this year, I wrote a piece for Sheffield Visual Arts Group's Musings feature about the unveiling of a plaque, in celebration and memory of Stan, which was set into the pavement in front of the steps leading up to the Cutlers’ Hall.  Fundraising for the plaque had been underway for some months following Stan’s passing, at the age of 94, in 2021.  He was still working in his workshop at Kelham Island almost up to the end.


The second stage of the project was to create the App. which people could easily download and which would allow the user to follow a walking trail between places in Sheffield connected to Stan’s working life, whilst at the same time taking in other locations connected to Sheffield’s rich knife making heritage.  The App. was developed by Llama Digital in Sheffield.


Andy Kershaw of Andy Kershaw Media, a member of the fundraising team, welcomed everyone to the Launch, introduced Stan’s wife Rosemary and her family members present and acknowledged the dedicated and valuable part played in the fundraising by the late Cllr. Anne Murphy, a former Lord Mayor of Sheffield who had chaired the fundraising project up until her untimely death in December 2022.



                                  Image:  Copyright P.J.A.Smith

Andy Kershaw makes the introductions at the Perch Brewhouse

Where the specially brewed 'Stan' Ale was available.

Councillor Janet Ridler, Specialist in Heritage Learing and Interpretation spoke enthusiastically at the Launch about the project and its value to the City.


This was followed by Llama Digital’s Stephen Elliott outlining the development of the Trail App. and their aims in this process. As it was so new, Stephen invited anyone to feedback comments on the App. so that any improvements may be made where necessary.


                           Image:  Copyright P.J.A.Smith

Cllr. Janet Ridler speaking about the Trail

The Heritage Trail is in two sections.  The central section starts at the Cutlers’ Hall.  A northern section finishes at Kelham Island Museum.  The sections can be walked separately or combined.  The total distance being around 3.5miles.


The App. is GPS enabled and uses Location Services and Bluetooth Low Energy which will determine your location and trigger notifications when the user is close to one of the locations of interest.


Following the Launch, everyone was invited to visit the small yard and building next door to the Perch Brewhouse which had been Stan’s workshop for some years before he relocated to Kelham Island.  This Garden Street Workshop building has been retained but redeveloped into accommodation. The developer, who was present, kindly allowed us to view the tastefully designed space which had retained several original features including the time-worn stone steps leading up to the first floor room and some impressive roof structure beams which, in my recollection, were not originally visible (Perhaps they had always been visible but now stood out more, made more noticable in the new and contrasting setting).


It was interesting visualising where Stan's work benches and tools used to be.  As this was now a re-purposed building, it did not seem appropriate to take any pictures of the interior but there are several views of the exterior area below from some years ago.


                           Image:  Copyright P.J.A.Smith

The yard leading up to Stan's workshop, which was just around the corner to the right.  The single storey building on the right of the picture has been demolished. It all looks very different today but has been sympathetically developed.

(Image from 2006).

Image:  Copyright P.J.A.Smith

The workshop, at first floor level, on the right. (Image 2006)

                                  Image:  Copyright P.J.A.Smith

The stone steps leading up to the workshop have been retained.

(This image also from 2006).

Just prior to entering the yard, a small plaque (on the wall and visible from the pavement) was unveiled and read out by one of Stan’s grandchildren, accompanied by her grandmother, Stan's wife Rosemary. (See picture below).  It was particularly atmospheric as the light was fading by this time and it made the moment special, as everyone gathered round.


                           Image:  Copyright P.J.A.Smith

Rosemary Shaw, with her granddaugther,

following the unveiling of the plaque on Garden Street.

I have to say, having first visited Stan at Garden Street in 2006, that I had always hoped, in an ideal world, this particular workshop could have been preserved as it had immense charm and would have made another superb mini-museum for the City (although no doubt it would have been difficult to fund, run and access). At least the building remains.  However, the good news is that the workshop which Stan occupied latterly at Kelham Island Industrial Museum is to be preserved as it was when he worked there, thanks to Sheffield Museums.  CEO Kim Streets was present at the Launch and was thanked with a round of applause for her part in this valuable move.


The App. is available for download from the App. Store and other sources.


Hopefully a QR code for the App. will appear here soon.


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