Sheffield Home of Football which launched earlier this month with a new board of trustees, has chosen the former head of Sheffield Libraries & Archives, Nick Partridge BEM, to be its first Chief Executive. Nick will drive forward the charity’s strategy and ambition to create a world class footballing heritage museum in Sheffield alongside a programme of education and awareness about the city’s unique footballing history. Nick led Sheffield Libraries and Archives for eight years until 2022, after having worked across corporate strategy and performance to project managing change in children and adult social care for Local authorities in Sheffield and Doncaster.
In the 2022 New Year’s Honours List Nick received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to public libraries and was cited for his work on ‘placemaking’ using Sheffield’s football heritage. “I became passionate about Sheffield’s football heritage after being inspired by an author talk by the late Sheffield football historian Martin Westby in one of our libraries”, says Nick. “I then found funds from the region’s Society of Chief Librarians to develop a Sheffield Home of Football Walking App using Martin’s extensive knowledge of the key places around the city where football-related historic events had taken place.
“I don’t claim to be an expert on the historic football detail, or even have a footballing ‘brain’, but I am passionate about Sheffield, and how we can use its unique football heritage to educate and celebrate what this city has done in forging the world’s favourite game”.
Last year Nick created space in Central Library for displays organised by FURD (Football Unites Racism Divides) to celebrate the role of women in football in the city, and the libraries hosted several cultural activities alongside the phenomenally successful Women’s Euros. Nick also organised the ‘Sheffield Football Treasures’ day at the Sheffield Central Library in 2018 to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Sheffield Rules. “We welcomed over 2000 football heritage fans to see the collection of silverware from the four Sheffield clubs, Sheffield & Hallamshire FA and the FA cup, and a display of the rules all curated by Martin Westby, and it truly showed Sheffield off as the Home of Football”, says Nick.
Prior to this Nick had careers in FE and IT training and fifteen years’ experience in manufacturing electronics for spacecraft. He has always had a drive to look at quality and systems thinking to improve processes and services for customers within the organisations he has worked in. Nick continues to volunteer his time scanning the city’s historic football documents at the archives and has recently been accepted onto the board of Trustees of the reconstituted Sheffield Home of Football Charity after the sad loss of Martin Westby and Cllr Anne Murphy. The role of Chief Executive is on a voluntary basis until the charity can secure funding for its work.