St George's Museum Visitor Book

One of 7 volumes, 1880-1891
The volumes of the Visitor Book offer a rich insight into the geographical origin and social background of the Museum's visitors.

Entries typically contain a surname and initials. Sometimes the first name is given in full. Entries also specify the date of visit, and provide an address. Sheffield addresses sometimes appear with a house number; more distant addresses tend to state the city or the country of origin.

By sampling entries from 1881 and 1882, it is possible to see that that Ruskin succeeded in attracting local workmen and students.

In January 1882, a man called Fred Ward visited the Museum. He gave as his address 155 Walkley Street, Sheffield. Research on the visitor books conducted in the 1980s revealed his occupation to be that of 'warehouseman'. In May 1882, an ironmonger called George Ward visited the museum. He gave the address, 126 William Street. The same research suggests that he was an ironmonger. In July 1882, Mary Waterfall made the trip from nearby Rotherham. A man called George Henry Watson visited in November 1881. He described himself as a student. From further afield, came John Watson on 9th January 1882. He gave his address as 'Kendal'.

These addresses from the north of England are accompanied by the occasional foreign address.

This geographical reach was observed by a reporter for The Pall Mall Gazette, who visited in 1886:

'In the visitors' book it is interesting to note the places from which pilgrims have come -- London, Leeds, Hull, Manchester, Chester, Birmingham, Canada, New York, Australia, and even China' (14 May 1886).

It is hoped that the visitor books will be digitized in the next stage of this project, to facilitate detailed research into the profile of the Museum's visitors.

The date and catalogue number for each volume is given below:

Volume One
September 1880-September 1881 (CGSG03618)

Volume Two
September 1881-December 1882 (CGSG03616)

Volume Three
December 1882 – December 1883 (CGSG03614)

Volume Four
July 1884 – July 1885 (CGSG03615)

Volume Five
July 1885 – July 1887 (CGSG03613)

Volume Six
July 1887-August 1889 (CGSG03617)

Volume Seven
August 1889-July 1891 (CGSG03612)

Inside the Museum
Extension, View 1
Extension, View 2
Extension, View 3
other Exhibits
History of the Museum
John Ruskin
About the Project
Museums Sheffield
Useful Links

Please leave feedback
on Facebook