Sheffield’s Great War is a journey through the First World War with several fantastic speakers each with their own specialism. For more details on our speakers topics please see below, their biographies will follow soon.
Chris Corker – The Narrative of the Great War in Sheffield, and Industry in Sheffield 1914-1918
Chris Corker was born in Sheffield and has lived in the city ever since. He has researched the steel and armaments industry in Sheffield for over a decade and is now branching into research on the metalworking industries in the Hallamshire area from the late 13th Century to the present.
He completed his PhD in business history at Sheffield Hallam University in December 2016, titled ‘The Business and Technology of the Sheffield Armaments Industry’.
The following year he was awarded the annual Coleman Prize for excellence in new business history research by the Association of Business Historians for his doctoral work.
In the last two years Chris has also presented research on Sheffield steel and armaments companies at international business and economic history conferences in Montreal, Canada; Oklahoma City, USA; Jyvaskyla, Finland; and across the UK.
He currently works at the University of York where he is a Lecturer in Management.
Chris Hobbs – Sheffield’s First Air Raid – Monday 25th September 1916
Chris Hobbs was born and has lived in Sheffield all his life. After a career in industry and education, he became the sole owner and holder of the domain-name www.chrishobbs.com in 2002.
Originally a family history site, it now contains hundreds of articles that have a Sheffield connection. Since its inception, the site has attracted both national and international interest and currently has over a third of a million page views per annum. A few of the articles have featured in newspapers, books and periodicals.
The site contains a number of articles that are connected with Sheffield and the Great War, one of which is the attack on Sheffield by a German Zeppelin on 25th September 1916.
Sarah Holland – Rural Life, Farm Work and the Great War in Sheffield
Sarah’s research focuses on agricultural and rural history including the experience of farming families in the 19th and 20th centuries, farm servants and hiring fairs, the relationship between town and country, and rural health.
Sarah was born in South Yorkshire. She completed her PhD in rural history at Sheffield Hallam University in December 2013. Her book: Contrasting Communities: Doncaster and its Rural Hinterland is due to be published in early 2019.
She currently works at the University of Nottingham.
Mike Collins – Sheffield Hospitals in the Great War: Great Challenges
I worked as a radiologist in the city hospitals until retirement. Following retirement I undertook the diploma course at Apothecaries Hall in London. ‘Sheffield Hospitals in WW1’ was the title of my dissertation. I carried out research on the subject primarily at Sheffield Archives.
I have given talks on this subject to local societies and at national meetings. I am a member of Sheffield Hospitals History Group. Currently I am Vice President of the British Society for the History of Medicine.
Sylvia Dunkley – Sheffield’s Women at Work in World War One
Sylvia Dunkley has a doctorate in History from Sheffield University. She was a part-time tutor in social history and women’s studies at the University before being elected to Sheffield City Council. She has been Chair of the City Centre Planning Board, was Cabinet Member for Culture and Sport and a member of the Local Government Association’s Transport Committee. She had the honour to be chosen as Sheffield’s Lord Mayor for 2011/12. As Lord Mayor she was involved in the early stages of the fund-raising for the Women of Steel statue in Barkers Pool.
When Sylvia retired from the Council after seventeen years, she rediscovered her love of history and since then has concentrated in particular on aspects of the history of Sheffield. She also became a volunteer at Sheffield Archives and was asked to produce one of the set of Research Guides compiled for the centenary of the First World War. Her subject was the work of women in Sheffield during the Great War and this interest has since been developed into an illustrated talk and an article.
John Cornwell – Sheffield City Battalion: The First and the Last
John Cornwell has spent almost all his adult life in Sheffield and in recent years has written a number of books mainly about aspects of local history, ranging from a history of King Edward VII School to books on the City Council and Sheffield Eagles RLFC. He taught History and Government at Ecclesfield School for over two decades and was also involved in local politics. He served on Sheffield City Council in the 1960s and 70s and later was the Deputy Leader of South Yorkshire County Council until it was abolished in 1986.
He was a member of the Arts Council of GB, chairing their touring and education committees, Chair of Sheffield Theatres during the period of the refurbishing and launching of the Lyceum, and Chair of the Rugby League’s Youth Commission, and has served on, or chaired, a number of national, regional and local boards and committees.
He read International History at LSE, but believes his real enthusiasm for military history stems from his wartime childhood in the badly bombed city of Hull, where one family home was destroyed by incendiaries and another was damaged by a V1 flying bomb.
Currently, he has just finished a book that recalls the varying fortunes of two volunteers in the Sheffield City Battalion in the Great War. They were two men from different backgrounds, one of whom was killed in the German Spring offensive of 1918, and the other who survived and lived to be 101 years old. Their story will form much of the content of his talk on the 11th November at the City Hall.