John George Graves

Sheffield businessman and philanthropist, Lord Mayor and alderman. Made numerous donations and land to the City of Sheffield

Sheffield Cultural Heritage


John George Graves had many lives:
First, an apprentice teenage watchmaker out of Lincoln in Sheffield for work. With an eye towards the future he created one of Britain's first ever mail order businesses, selling watches until expanding, turning in millions.
He was a fastidious art collector and purveyor and funded around £60k into Sheffield's art galleries and libraries, even donating hundreds of works from his private collection into the public realm for everyone to see.
Finally, in 1926, Graves became Sheffield’s Lord Mayor and an alderman.
Yet his philanthropic pursuits never ebbed, as he was to bestow Ecclesall Woods and other private lands on  the community. He even funded the original Sheffield Students Union.
Estimates have Graves' overall financial contributions to the City of Sheffield at around £1 million  - and that's not adjusted for inflation!
Sheffield Cultural Heritage

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