Sheffield Plate was based on the discovery by Thomas Boulsover in 1742 , a Sheffield cutler, of a method of fusing a thin layer of silver to an ingot of copper alloy. The plated ingot could then be rolled and treated as a single metal. The new material found a market among the expanding middle classes. They could have tableware and cutlery that looked like silver, at a fraction of its cost. Modern silver plating is now done by electrolysis, and the old Sheffield Plate, made by Boulsover's method is now valuable and highly prized by collectors.
The collections include home furnishing objects and gifts items like tea/coffee pots, samovars, candleholders, trays, jugs, plates and many other items which reflect old English traditions.