Decorative fire side bellows

Contributed by Gabrielle Hall

Decorative fire side bellows

These bellows were made by a forbear, Thomas Linley & Sons, described in 1930 as Sheffield's oldest firm, established in 1632. They have been passed down to my brother through 5 generations. Thomas Linley specialised in industrial bellows, which powered the development of the steel industry that made Sheffield famous. The works was in Stanley Street Sheffield; there is a wonderful picture illustrating the premises at Rotherham Museum. They also exported all over the world and examples of their portable bellows for ships can still be found. In 1864 the works was hit by the Great Sheffield Flood. Their claim for damages provides a snap shot of the tools of their trade. Sheffield Archive has an Letter book from 1829 that illustrates the day to day activity: introductions, bills, chasing debts, going all over the country, deliveries by canal and by Hendersons Wagon and reducing the milk when he wife goes away. A trade that prospered for nearly 200 years and declined for another hundred before being overtaken by progress. My family bellows are a beautiful reminder of the aspirations and practicality of Victorian Society, when a pair of bellows would grace any and every fireplace.

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34, Stanley Street, Sheffield


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