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“Sheffield’s Fairy Prince”

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1 “Sheffield’s Fairy Prince”
Sheffield Archives and Local Studies: History Key Stage 2 Unit 7 (Local History Study – How the locality was affected by the work of a significant individual) Sheffield Lives: J. G. GRAVES “Sheffield’s Fairy Prince” Looking at these kind of pictures, what do you think the area might have looked like say 100 years ago or more? 1

2 John George Graves was born in Lincolnshire in 1866.
He moved away from his family to Sheffield aged 14 to become an apprentice watch-maker and jeweller, where he earned a shilling a week in pocket-money. J. G. Graves ( ) (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s08250) W. Wichman, Watch-makers and Jewellers, Gibraltar Street, Sheffield [where J. G. Graves worked as a young apprentice], c. 1880 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s10605 )

3 Where was J. G. Graves living in 1881 and who did he live with?
1881 Census showing occupants of 165 Gibraltar Street, Sheffield (www.ancestry.com ) ADDRESS NAME RELATIONSHIP TO HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD AGE JOB WHERE BORN 165 Gibraltar Street, Sheffield William Wichman Head 35 Watch-maker Germany Emelia Wichman Wife 36 Sheffield Florence Wichman Daughter 19 Sabina Wichman 17 Lilly Wichman 10 Charles Wichman Son 7 John George Graves Apprentice 15 Horncastle, Lincolnshire

4 Can you think of any places in Sheffield which carry his name today?
From humble beginnings as an apprentice watch-maker, J. G. Graves rose to become a wealthy and successful businessman. He was also Sheffield’s greatest ‘benefactor’ (a person who gives money to help others) and became known as Sheffield’s “fairy prince”. Can you think of any places in Sheffield which carry his name today? Graves Art Gallery, Central Library, Surrey Street (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s06693) Graves Trust Homes, Southey Green (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s27186) Graves Park (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s11126)

5 J. G. Graves started his own watch-making business in Sheffield aged 21.
His first shop was at West Bar and he later set up shops at Furnival Street and Arundel Street. As his business grew he moved into the old waterworks offices on Division Street. He set up one of Britain’s first mail order businesses, selling watches, jewellery, cutlery and an increasingly wide range of products. Business premises of J. G. Graves, Watch importer, Jeweller, Electro- plate and Cutlery Merchant, Division Street, Sheffield (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: y02781)

6 At its peak J. G. Graves’ company employed 3000 people in Sheffield.
Front office Typing room Pictures showing offices at J. G. Graves mail order supplier, Division Street, Sheffield (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: y02782, y02789, y02791 ) Back office

7 As his business grew, J. G. Graves opened premises on other sites in Sheffield….
J. G. Graves fork production at Enterprise Works, St Mary’s Road, Sheffield (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: y02817, y02819)

8 In which other cities did the firm have offices?
In 1902, how many different buildings did J. G. Graves’ firm use in Sheffield? In which other cities did the firm have offices? J. G. Graves Souvenir Programme, 10 March 1902 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: Local Pamphlets, vol. 174 no S)

9 J. G. Graves cared about the welfare of his staff members and wanted them to be happy in their work.
“My dear Friends, As the year draws to a close, I feel a very natural desire to think of you all in some other way than merely as parts of a great business machine…I have felt it a privilege to share your pleasure and try to sympathise with you in your misfortunes, feeling myself, all the time, what a serious matter it is to be responsible…as an Employer ought to be for the welfare and happiness of such a large staff…” Letter from J. G. Graves to his staff, December 1901 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: MP489 m)

10 What might this picture tell us about J. G. Graves?
J. G. Graves and his wife Lucy held an annual party for staff of the company. What might this picture tell us about J. G. Graves? J. G. Graves annual tea party for his staff at his home Riverdale, Riverdale Road, Ranmoor, Sheffield (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: u00367)

11 According to the 1902 programme what sports were there at the party?
J. G. Graves Souvenir Programme, 10 March 1902 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: Local Pamphlets, vol. 174 no S) The J. G. Graves’ company annual party included music, dancing, plays, films, sports, and other entertainment for guests. According to the 1902 programme what sports were there at the party?

12 The success of his business made J. G. Graves very wealthy.
But he spent a lot of his money on gifts for Sheffield to improve life for local people. Pages from J. G. Graves mail order suppliers souvenir booklet (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: v01267 and V01273)

13 What other gifts did he make?
Sheffield Telegraph news article on J. G. Graves’ gifts to Sheffield, 19 July 1945 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Newspaper Collection) What was J. G. Graves’ first major gift to the city of Sheffield in 1925? What other gifts did he make? Graves Park, Sheffield (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s11126)

14 Opening of Matthew Street
Playground, Sheffield, 1931 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s03839) J. G. Graves gifted land to the city of Sheffield for public use, including Graves Park, Ecclesall Woods, Tinsley Playing Fields, Concord Park, and Blacka Moor. He funded playgrounds and public buildings including Graves Art Gallery and Graves Trust Homes. Opening of Surrey Road Playground, Sheffield, 1933 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: u00362)

15 In 1930 he set up a charitable trust ‘The J. G
In 1930 he set up a charitable trust ‘The J. G. Graves Trust’, which still runs today, carrying on his work trying to improve life for people in Sheffield. Graves Trust Homes at Little Norton Lane, Ridgeway Road [Gleadless], and Southey Green (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: S07808, s07811 and s27186)

16 J. G. Graves was an enthusiastic art collector.
He donated thousands of pounds (as well as pictures from his private collection) to local galleries, including Graves Art Gallery and Mappin Art Gallery. Graves Art Gallery, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s06693) Mappin Art Gallery, Weston Park, Sheffield (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00427)

17 He served as a Sheffield City Councillor for many years.
As well as running a successful business, J. G. Graves played a big role in public life. He served as a Sheffield City Councillor for many years. He also acted as a City Magistrate and served for a year as Lord Mayor. In what year did J. G. Graves become Lord Mayor of Sheffield? List of Sheffield Lord Mayors (Sheffield Archives: BIOG/16)

18 How old was he when he died?
Newspaper obituary for J. G. Graves in the Sheffield Telegraph, 19 July 1945 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Newspaper Collection) J. G. Graves died in How much money does the newspaper report say J. G. Graves gave to the City of Sheffield during his life? How old was he when he died? Roughly for how many years had he served on Sheffield City Council? Did he have any children?

19 Recap H How old was J. G. Graves when he first came to Sheffield to work as a watch-maker apprentice? Roughly how many people did his postal order company employ at its peak? What was J. G. Graves’ first major ‘gift’ to the city of Sheffield? How much money in total is he thought to have given to Sheffield in the course of his life? What is the organisation called which aims to carry on his work today?

20 Sheffield Archives and Local Studies
If you would prefer to use this presentation as the basis for a class visit to Archives and Local Studies or in a visit by us to your class please contact us. Students will have the opportunity to see and touch the original items. We offer: Access to original primary source material from Tudor times through to the 21st century. Class visits to the Central Library and to Sheffield Archives. Visits to schools to deliver classroom sessions. Introductory sessions for teaching staff. Online PowerPoint lesson resources.


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