Conservation and relocation of two significant type collections begins

Thanks to a £1,409,861 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the Science Museum Group and Sheffield Museums Trust will conserve and relocate two nationally significant type collections.

Historic typesetting collections

The Stephenson Blake Collection consists of the archive and plant of the UK’s last commercial type foundry. By 1937, Stephenson Blake in Sheffield had absorbed all their competitors and acquired a remarkable range of type material dating back to the 16th century. 

The Monotype Collection illustrates the mechanical typesetting method that dominated the world in the 20th century. It originates from the Surrey-based Monotype Corporation, which was the biggest manufacturer of mechanical typesetting for Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. 

The collections demonstrate the role mechanical engineering and type design played in the development of Western communication over six centuries.

Impacted by the pandemic

The collections are currently held at The Type Archive in London. Restricted access during the pandemic disrupted business activities, leading to a substantial loss of income and limited maintenance. The building’s declining environmental condition is causing deterioration to the collections. 

Finding a new home for the collections

Thanks to NHMF funding, The Science Museum Group is working with Sheffield Museums Trust to:

•    Decant the collections from the Type Archive
•    Temporarily store the collections 
•    Perform a collections review and relocation feasibility study 

NHMF’s COVID-19 Response Fund

The £830,000  funding comes from the government’s Cultural Assets Fund, which NHMF has distributed as part of our wider £40m COVID-19 Respond Fund.

Grant awarded
Year awarded