An article appeared in The Sheffield
Telegraph on Saturday July 2 19381 under
the following headline: -
File Cutter's Tools
Ecclesfield Relics For Museum
A collection of a file cutter's tools from Ecclesfield, near
Sheffield forms part of the display of old trade relics in the Victoria and
Albert Museum. The articles were bought from Mr. John Birkhead, who is the
oldest and about the only hand "file cutter" at work in a little shop
in Ecclesfield, where once some 400 people were engaged in cutting files by hand
in their cottages, little shops, gardens or backyards.
Mr. Birkhead is 75 years of age and at 10 years of age he left
school and began to assist his father and mother - cutting the first row (of
For 62 years he has been in the trade and the tools now on view
show signs of many years work. The hammer shaft is almost worn through near the
steel head by the thumb imprint. For 60 years he has done work for Messrs.
Walter Spencer & Co. "I shall cut files as long as I can sit astride
the old stock." Despite the introduction of machines he is of the
opinion that there are no files to equal the "hand cut" which are used
for the finest jobs today and command a good price.
Cuttings Relating to Sheffield. Volume 44, Page 45. 942.74S - from Sheffield
Local Studies Library