Sheffield City of the Book

Welcome to the industrial city of Sheffield, in northern England, in the mid-20th century. 

Listen to our local readers born between 1919 and 1942 and be transported to Sheffield’s past.  To a time without Google or Apple, a time when the world went to war and then re-built itself, a time when most children left school at 14 and most women did not work outside the home.

Sheffield changed our readers and in turn was changed by them.

Visit our Blog to subscribe and comment on the stories we tell.  Join us in looking at our interviewees’ reading journeys*, the books and authors they loved and the libraries and people they met on their way.  And feel free to contribute, whether you’re from Sheffield or are just interested.

Click on Readers’ Voices for their full stories – the audio and written interviews with 58 Sheffield readers.

See how our Research reflects our curiosity about Sheffield readers from across the centuries.

Read on Events about community projects like Flying off the Page where poet Ray Hearne and community artist Jean Compton celebrated reading today with children and their families.

Visit The Artists to see Sheffield artist Lizz Tuckerman’s responses to our readers’ lives. Lizz designed our website.

Poet Eleanor Brown has worked with Reading Sheffield since 2013. White Ink Stains based on the voices of Reading Sheffield interviees was published to acclaim in October 2019 by Bloodaxe Books.

Every city has its own reading culture. The ways readers find books are rooted in the place they came from and the time they lived.  We hope Reading Sheffield will inspire other communities to explore their reading cultures.


Email us at: or stay in touch through Twitter (@readsheffield) or Facebook

* Reading journeys, written by the Reading Sheffield team, are interpretive articles based on our readers’ interviews.  They do not necessarily represent the views of the interviewees.