Paul Stamp is co-author of “Champagne Pattern Knives and Multi-blade Variants” Collector Note and a collaborator on “19th century British Sportsmen’s Knives” Collector Note and the “British Clasp Knives 1905 – 1939” Collector Note.
I grew up in a small village in Yorkshire, not too far from Sheffield, and was aware, even as a youngster, of its worldwide reputation for steel and the multitude of products created from it.
My fascination with Sheffield knives also began from an early age as I was brought up with the idea that a boy should always carry a pocketknife and a piece of string, something I have adhered to to this day (well maybe not always the piece of string!) It is sad to me now that this idea has become demonised in modern day Britain, despite a personal knife being such an important and useful item throughout most of humanity’s history.
A wide variety of work experiences has further developed my interest, as much of the work I have been involved with over the years has also involved the use of a diverse range of knives and other edged tools.
Although this fascination has only grown over the years, as I have, it took me quite a while before I began to collect. My first real collection ‘acquisition’ (as in a knife bought purely for interest rather than use) and entry into the collecting world being when, upon a whim, I wandered into an antique shop and came across an old military clasp knife with spike that reminded me of some of the knives I had as a child. I bought it, researched it, discovered the spike was not actually for getting stones out of horses’ hooves as I had once believed, and set out on a path which continues to delight, inspire, and lead me into all sorts of interesting places, both physically and mentally.
I love history, and antique folding knives, as well as being evocative objects in their own right, provide me with a gateway into investigating and connecting with the past. I am particularly interested both in old trades, and the way that historical knife patterns have tracked societal changes.
Discovering more about the traditional industries of Sheffield has left me completely in awe of the skills of our ancestors, and of the sheer variety of patterns of folding knives that were produced. Just when I feel my interest may be waning, I come across some new pattern or information that opens everything up once more.
Throughout my collecting years, I have scoured every source I could find for extra information on the history of the knives I have found, as well as material on the wider historical context. The lack of information has been quite frustrating at times, and I am therefore extremely grateful to Lawrie, both for making the decision to embark on such a herculean task as this website and the Collector Notes, but also for allowing me to collaborate and contribute, which has considerably deepened and enriched the experience of collecting for me.