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While traditional manufacturing in Sheffield continued for a long time after mass production became the norm in Germany and America, the little mesters died out as the UK steel industry was rationalised by Thatcherism in the 1980s. Stainless steel did not require their skills, and scant dignity to be had from jobs in the liquorice and mushy pea factories. But after all the factories had closed down, one craftsman showed the world that Sheffield could still claim its place at the high table of cutlery manufacture.

Stan Shaw, was one of the last Sheffield ‘mesters’ to have been apprenticed as a pocket knife cutler in the 1940s, hafting and finishing the knives that had been forged and ground in the factory of Ibberson & Co., before going independent in 1983. He still produces knives from his Garden Street premises, where customers can join a three-year waiting list.

Shaw’s reputation is based largely on the 15-blade Hallamshire pattern knife, like the model pictured, which took over a month to make in 1989.

This exhibition-grade knife could have been made for the Queen, or former US president George Bush senior, both of whom own knives by Shaw. Instead it was the property of Horace Deakin, a former Sheffield pawnbroker turned toolshop owner, whose collection of Stan Shaw knives came under the hammer at Bonhams Leeds on November 14.

All were hotly contested – this pocket knife, fitted with scissors, fleam, button hook, dog comb, peach pruner and screwdriver, selling at £1500 (plus 15/10 per cent buyer’s premium).