Thursday, 10 October 2019

The Last Car to Walkley (Sheffield)

A postcard titled "The Last Car to Walkley" There is no date on the card and the illustrator who signed the card is a "F. Macleod"

It is a fascinating card and it has left me wondering whether or not the artist was making a point about the activities of the inhabitants of Walkley aboard the last tram. It was of course a full moon

If anyone could furnish me with more details of the artist F. Macleod I would be grateful 

Danville Steet Pitsmoor Sheffield

20th March 2014 - I posted a blog on Frederick Stratford who was the first victim of The Zeppelin Air-raid of 25/26th September 1916. He was also the first nearly 700 Sheffielders to lose their lives in German air attacks on Sheffield during the twentieth century

This is a photograph of Danville Steet, Pitsmoor Sheffield. No date is on the photograph. The street going off to the right is Letwell Place and the building on the corner of it (with big windows)  was Gunby's store. The street below Letwell Place was called Cantley Place.

From the reports of the inquest it seems as though Frederick in his bed at the time of the raid and a piece of schrapnel from an exploding bomb hit him and led to injuries that proved fatal 

The Bay Horse, Silver Street Head, Sheffield

This is a photograph of The Bay Horse, Silver Street Head, Sheffield There is no date on the photograph but judging from the clothes the children outside the pub were wearing, it is was taken circa 1900.

The Bay Horse was part of the estate of the brewer Thomas Rawson & Co. Ltd, one of Sheffield's oldest breweries

Thursday, 3 October 2019

The Crookes Chinese Laundry Murder 1922 - An Update

One of the first articles I posted many years ago was what came to be known as The Crookes Chinese Laundry Murder in which the owner of the laundry Sing Lee was murdered by his employee Lee Doon. His body was then buried in the cellar of the laundry before it was discovered a few days later.

Lee Doon was arrested and charged with the wilful murder of Sing Lee and after a trial at Leeds Assizes, was found guilty and sentenced to death. An appeal against the conviction was dismissed and Lee Doon was executed at Armley Prison in Leeds on 5th January 1923.

For year I have been trying to obtain a photograph of  Crookes where the murder occurred and at last I have located one,

There is no date on the card but I am estimating that the date will be circa 1910 which was about ten years before the murder took place. The actual laundry - 231 Crookes is in the centre of the photograpgh

The One-Legged Pall-bearer - St Mary's Parish Church, South Elmsall, South Yorkhire

I came across this old newspaper cutting which sadly has no date. It was before 2008 because that is when the journalist Gail Robinson who wrote the item received her compulsory redundancy notice from Johnston Press in 2008. It appears that the local press barons decided to close the regional offices of the Sheffield Star in a cost-cutting exercise

The cutting relates to funerals at South Elmsall's St Mary's Parish Church and one in particular which led to a one legged woman being coerced into being a pallbearer at the funeral ceremony.

"It hardly added to the dignity of the occasion" was a bit of an understatement by the vicar Father George Moffat. What is more disconcerting is that the one-legged woman was the only volunteer. If she had not taken a corner of the coffin, I dread to think what would have happened next. 

Litter in Crookesmoor, Sheffield - October 2019

This flyer came through the letterbox the other day

Normally material like this is recycled immediately, but I thought that this splendid imitative requires greater publicity. Litter is a problem in the area where I live and sadly over the years it has got a lot worse. There are many reasons for this deterioration but it is heartening that some people are attempting to reduce the impact that littering has on our lives   

Friday, 27 September 2019

The staff of Attercliffe Road Railway station, Sheffield - date unknown

There is an informative article on the station on Wikipedia. Attercliffe Road station was situated on Leveson Street between Attercliffe Road and Effingham Street at Norfolk Bridge (Sheffield).

According to Modern Railways Magazine, March 1995(page 137) Attercliffe Road station closed on Saturday 28th January 1995.

The Unveiling of the Statue of King Edward V11 - Fitzalan Square, Sheffield - Monday 27th October 1913

This photograph shows the Unveiling of the Statue of King Edward V11 in Fitzalan Square, Sheffield on Monday 27th October 1913.

There is more information on the statue in the Public Art in Sheffield and the Hallamshire Historic Buildings websites

Bit the interesting part of the photograph for me is the background. It shows the shop of Fitzalan Square, No 4, Fisher, Son and Sibray Ltd., Nurserymen and part of the Marples Hotel, both of which were destroyed just over 27 years later on the night of 12th December 1940

Eskdale Road, Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield - Tuesday, 8th May 1945 VE Day

This photograph was taken on Tuesday, 8th May 1945 VE Day. It shows the people of Eskdale Road, Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield celebrating the end of the war in Europe.

Apart from the cat, the cup and the upturned Tizer crate, what is most noticeable about this photograph is the near total absence of men - they can't have been all on active service 

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Murder at Camp 17: Lodge Moor Sheffield - 24th March 1945. - An update

A few years ago I posted an article to the site relating a murder at Camp 17 Lodge Moor Sheffield on 24th March 1945.

A summary is as follows

"It appears that a month or so before the war ended inmates at a German POW camp on the outskirts of Sheffield were enraged when a tunnel which was near to completion was discovered. They had spent many months tunneling. Suspecting an informer they rounded on a GERHARDT RETTIG who had been seen talking to guards near the tunnel entrance. Furthermore in a camp that had a large National Socialist contingent, he was not a Nazi. Once threats were made, it was decided by the Camp command to move him to another camp. But before the transfer was made, Gerhardt Rettig, was chased around the camp by a howling mob before he was severely beaten. He was taken to hospital but died from internal bleeding. "

The four ringleaders of the attack on Gerhardt Rettig were charged with the murder
Unteroffizier Heinz Ditzler
Soldat Juergen Kersting
Feldwebel Emil Schmittendorf
Armin Kuehne
and after a trial at a military court in London Emil Schmittendorf and Armin Kuehne were found guilty and sentenced to death. They were executed by Albert Pierrepoint at Pentonville prison on 16th November 1945"

On Thursday 4th July 2019 The Guardian posted a report about an archaeological dig that was taking place at the site of the camp. What I did not know when I posted the article was that the prisoner of war camp at Lodge Moor, was at its peak, the largest camp in the United Kingdom with nearly 11,000 captives.

The Sinking of the Athenia September 1939 - The Sheffield Connection

I came across this cutting from The Telegraph and Star dated September 1939,  Iwas going to post an article to the website about the sinking of the Athenia and the Sheffield connection.

But whilst researching material I came across this excellent blog on the Athenia and its sinking. by a German U-Boat

It really is an very informative and detailed piece of research and so I decided just to post the cutting to the blog and not post an article to the website. 

Back in Time for the Corner Shop - Hadfields Sheffield

I received an e-mail this week from the producer BBC Back in Time for the Corner Shop

"Dear Chris,

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, but I came across your site discussing your father’s role within the Hadfield Steel Works in Sheffield. I wondered if you might be able to help me – or could point me in the direction of someone who might. 

I am a Producer on a prime-time BBC Two social history series called ‘Back in Time for the Corner Shop’ and I am writing to you regarding the Hadfield Steel Works and looking for previous workers of the site who might be able to speak to us on the programme.

Following the success of previous BAFTA nominated series’ including Back in Time for Dinner and Back in Time for Tea - which regularly reached audiences of 3 million - this new programme will see a modern family transported through one hundred years of domestic and working life as they live and work in a corner shop in the heart of a working-class community.

Guided by presenter Sara Cox and historian Polly Russell, one Sheffield-based family will experience what life was like for working families in Yorkshire as they wear the clothes, eat the food and experience the lifestyle of a different decade each week, reflecting on the social and economic changes of the era.

As part of our 1980s programme we would love to hear from someone who worked at Hadfield Steel works, perhaps someone from a generation of steel workers – and someone who was unfortunately part of the redundancies in the early 1980’s. We would love to hear from them on the programme about Hadfield, how it had played such an important part of life in the area and the effects of its closure in the 80’s. How were they affected personally and also how did it affect the local area?

I was wondering if you knew of any groups or someone who I could speak to, who might be able to help me with this. It is certainly a key part of the history of the area and something we would be keen to highlight in the programme.

I look forward to hearing from you. Kindest Regards Claire"

I replied to Claire but if anyone can help Claire out with ex-employees of Hadfields let me know and I will pass the information on

Welcome Home Hector - An Update

In November 2011 I posted a blog about an iconic photograph that was taken in 1945

Last week I received an e-mail from a descendent of the family

I recently stumbled across your blog on the photo concerning Hector Murdoch returning home after World War 2 and you wondered what became of the people in the photo.

I am married to John's daughter (the boy in the photograph) and can happily tell you that John is still alive and well and living here in Cumbria since about 1974 along with his wife.

My wife can't really remember her grandfather Hector as he died when she was very young but used to go in school holidays to visit her nanny Rose in Norfolk until she died when my wife was around 
18 which was in 1989.

John was also five years of age in the photo and not nine as stated in the blog.


In my defence the information regarding John's age came from a newspaper caption. I thought at the time he looked younger than nine years old but I believed what the newspaper said. You never learn! 

Friday, 26 July 2019

Private Frank Willetts (1920-1942) - Pioneer Corps - An Update

In February 2018  I received this information from a reader of the article I posted many years ago on the Beighton Rail Disaster of February 1942 and the aftermath of the tragedy

"I am getting in touch with you regarding the Beighton Train crash. My Father in-laws uncle Frank Willetts died on the 18th Jun 1942 - as a result of the train crash that happened on the 11th Feb 1942. Would love to know more about it. The family have no information and were never given a reason of his death. Would love to know more"
Since then I have corresponded with the reader and as a result of our joint endeavours I received this information which is an update
" wanted to update you with good news! Because of your article and interest, I have found a cousin of my mother (my second cousin I guess!!). So Frank Willetts has brought us together (by email) and Neil (my mother's cousin) and his wife have been kind enough to send me a photo of Frank, two sketches of his and a photo of Frank's great grandma, so happy!! Thank you Chris for being the connection!

Not a bad result!

Enid Blyton and the Sheffield Connection - An Update 2

I received this information from a reader who came across an article on the website about the author Enid Blyton and her connection with Sheffield

The reader was Cliff Watkin and he sent me two photos from a book that he had privately published in 2010 for

a)    members of the Enid Blyton Society

b)    old BSC colleagues who worked in the British Steel Corporation (BSC) in works in the Sheffield and Rotherham areas

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

George Robert Patchett 1903 - 1974 Sheffield

A couple of years ago I posted an article to my website relating to the tragic death of a five year old girl Doris Hill in a traffic accident on City Road Sheffield on 8th October 1929.

Decsendents of Doris kindly provided me with information which I was able to incorporate into the article. And at the end of the article I asked that if anyone could assist me with any further material to contact me.

In response to my request I received an e-mail from a reader of the article who stated that he was the grandson of George Robert Patchett, the driver of the vehicle that fatally injured Doris.

" I read with sadness and interest the article on your blog at the following link.

George Robert Patchett was my own grandfather, and he was deeply affected by that tragic day for the remainder of his life.

He had two children of his own including Robert Valen (my father) who was an RAF officer killed in tragic circumstances in 1969.

George has (had) 3 grandchildren, myself, my brother Mike and also a granddaughter Samantha who was herself killed in 1967 at the age of 18 months in similar circumstances to little Doris.

Smanatha had been sitting with myself and a group of young friends outside our house in RAF Little Rissington. I ran across the road to get some money from the house as an Ice cream van had just turned up, Samantha followed and was run over as the vehicle reversed back.
My Grandfather was haunted till the end of this days by this event - believing it was payback for what happened to young Doris all those years previously."

The newspaper reports of the time show that Doris's death was just a tragic accident but it clearly affected George for the rest of his life. The loss of his own granddaughter Samantha in 1967 must have been unbearable for George, given the circumstances of her death

Monday, 17 June 2019

Sheffield's Treasures Are Put In Dustbins - September 1939

I came across this newspaper article from September 1939.

Apart from acknowledging the foresight and ingenuity of the Curator, it would be interesting to know where the dustbins were stored once they were full.