Historical information

This electroplated silver teaspoon was made by the Sheffield Silver Plate & Cutlery Company Limited from about 1913 to early-1930s. It was recovered from an unknown shipwreck in the coastal waters of Victoria in the late 1960s to early 1970s. The shipwrecks in the area range from around the 1840s to the early-1930s. It is part of the John Chance Collection.

Sheffield manufactures produced high quality silverware products. In the mid-1700s a cutler, Thomas Boulsover, invented a process to fuse copper between two sheets of silver, which could still be like solid silver then the edges were bound in silver. Items made this way are now referred to as Old Silver Plate. The modern method of electroplating has a much thinner layer of silver.

The firm Sheffield Silver Plate and Cutlery Co. Ltd. was established in 1913 by Mappin & Webb to make spoons and forks using the American Wilzin process, which was a failure. In 1923 the company was incorporated then re-financed and reverted back to the older production method for electroplating. The maker’s stamp usually had the letters “S.S.P. & C. Co Ltd EPNS” and often included an octagon stamp with “SSP”. The firm had the registered trademarks of ‘SILCUTA’ and ‘SILTONA’ and has also used the name ‘Sheffield Nickel & Silver Plating Co. Ltd.’

The firm had manufacturing Works at Priestley Street, Sheffield from 1913 until the 1960s. They also had a London office in 1919 at Atlantic House, 40a Holborn Viaduct, London, E.C.1., then in 1921 at Union Bank Buildings, Charterhouse Street, E.C.1. The company was dissolved in 2000, the last office address being 23 Albemarle Street London, W1S 4AS.


Although this spoon is not linked to a particular shipwreck, it is recognised as being historically significant as an example of cutlery, possibly from a passenger’s luggage or imported for use in Colonial Victoria in the 19th to early 20th century.

The spoon is the only example in Flagstaff Hill’s collection that is connected to the manufacturer Sheffield Silver Plate and Cutlery Co. Ltd., historically significant also, as in 1939 the same manufacturer was a recognised supplier to the British Government.

The spoon is also significant as it was recovered by John Chance, a diver in Victoria’s coastal waters in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Items that come from several wrecks have since been donated to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village’s museum collection by his family, illustrating this item’s level of historical value.

Physical description

Spoon; teaspoon, nickel plated silver, discoloured to brown. Old English design. Inscription on handle. Made by Sheffield Silver Plate & Cutlery Co Ltd., Sheffield.
Spoon has dimpled surface, nicks and dents.

Inscriptions & markings

Embossed logo within sunken elongated octagon [SSP]
Embossed letters following logo, “S S P C & CO LTD EP/NS”