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Sally’s Blog: When Will Kirk came to visit

When Will Kirk came to visit

Whiteley’s had a very memorable day on in early February when the BBC came to film with from Will Kirk of BBC’s Repair Shop. The purpose of the visit was to film a segment for BBC1’s Morning Live highlighting endangered crafts. We are well versed with endangered crafts as we have been existed in Sheffield for a very long time making scissors -261 years to be exact. There are now only two companies left now of which we are one!


Will Kirk and the crew arrived around 10am and, bristling with cameras, scripts, microphones and clip-boards. Everyone here was very excited about it, as it is such a welcome recognition of their skills and also that this level of publicity helps to preserve what is left of scissor making in the UK.

First things first, we had made an office available for them to use as a base, and knowing how taxing this sort of thing is, buckets of hot-drinks, sandwiches and biscuits were laid out  for them too.


Initially, we had a fairly speedy stroll around all the processes happening in the factory so they could have an overview of events. Following on from this, the director and cameraman decided what was to be filmed to provide a really interesting back-drop.

Will was very interested in procedures involved in scissor making and how we had kept it going for so many years. Most of the skill here can only be passed on and taught in-house, so it isn’t possible to employ just anybody to make scissors; some skills take years to learn, particularly hand-grinding as displayed by Andrew, or assembly of curved scissors which Steve does (not filmed as we all ran out of time, sadly). For skills like this, we always have one or two younger people learning the trade so that the skill doesn’t die out – this is so important!


I found the interviewing bits rather nerve-wracking owing to being terrified of getting it wrong or drying up ( which happened a couple of times) – words just disappearing out of my brain-so that we had to start again from the beginning; this happened to Will too and he is used to doing this sort of thing! I was worried he was catching it from me, but he was very patient and relaxed and it all went very well in the end.


This wonderful visit was so encouraging for all the people who work here, to know that people are interested in them and their skills and our product – this level of recognition is really great for our fantastic team here at Whiteley’s; sales improve and their jobs are protected and this (small) industry is also protected! We will all be watching Repair Shop from now on, too.

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