Sunday, 18 November 2018

Aircraftman 2nd Class George William Rhodes (1916-1940) - Commonside Sheffield

Photograph taken 25th April 2012
Sec. J.J. grave 5603, Sheffield (Crookes) Cemetery.]

The memorial inscription reads

RHODES. Sacred to the affectionate and happy memories of George William Rhodes, 996999, AC2, RAF, only son of William and Amelia Rhodes, killed on active service August 1st 1940, age 24.
"He shall never grow old."
Also the above William, who died June 24th 1963, aged 73 years.
George William Rhodes appears identical to Aircraftman 2nd Class 996999, Royal Air Force Volunteer reserve, died Thursday 1st August 1940, age 24. Son of William & Amelia Rhodes, Commonside, Sheffield. 

And this is how George died. He was based at RAF Upper Heyford with the  16 OTU (Operational Training Unit). There were satellite airfields at RAF Barford St Michael, RAF Croughton and RAF Hinton in the Hedges

On 1 August 1940   a Hereford L6067  Training plane crashed near Souldern which is 7 miles north west of Bicester in Oxfordshire

On board the aircraft were the following personnel - all four died in the crash

Sergeant (Pilot) Oswald George DAY   RAFVR No. 742004
Age 24 and the son of Harold Johnson Day and Gertrude Day of Leicester. He is buried in Sec V Grave 126 Gilroes Cemetery, Leicester

Flying Officer (Pilot) George Holland THEVENARD  RAFVR No. 70668
Age 33, the son of Ernest Frank and Margaret Montgomery Thevenard and the  husband of Jeannie Thevenard of Hull. He is buried in Plot 1 Row B Grave 14 in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Middleton Stoney

Sergeant (Wireless Operator) Sydney Nevil BAKER  RAF No. 645894
Age 21 and the son of S G and Annie Baker of Dordon.  He was the foster son and nephew of Mr H E Thorpe of Dordon. He is buried near the south boundary of the churchyard of St Leonard’s Church, Dordon, Warwickshire

Aircraftman 2nd Class George William RHODES  RAFVR No. 996999 Age 24 and the son of William and Amelia Rhodes of Commonside, Sheffield. He is buried in Sec JJ Grave 5603, Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield

One source states that George was a passenger on the aircraft.

Head Office of D North Homes Ltd 63 - 73 Commonside Sheffield.

In the previous blog I posted a photograph of Commonside, Sheffield dated October 2012

In the centre of the photograph is the Head Office of D North Homes Ltd 63 - 73 Commonside Sheffield.

But whilst the building was there, the company had ceased to exist. I am unsure as to why the firm packed up but pack up it did.
But by July 2015 even the building had gone. It was demolished and replaced by a private residential development that are all the rage in Sheffield at the moment.

Photograph taken July 2015

Photograph of a Sheffield Family Commonside Sheffield

I came across this photograph last week that shows a family at the door of a house in Commonside, Sheffield. Unfortunately there are no details on the postcard but given the decorations on the house it must have been for some celebration. Date-wise I would guess circa 1930.

I believe that the house was demolished many years ago. It is difficult to place where the house actually was on Commonside apart from it being on the flatter part. There were some houses demolished at the bottom of Hands Road where it joins Commonside. There is a photograph of the derelict land on Picture Sheffield and that is dated 11th November 1971. And so possibly the demolition took place earlier in the 1960's

If anyone can help please let me know.  

Photo taken October 2012

231 Crookes Sheffield - Paranormal Activity June 2018

Many years ago I posted an article on the Crookes Laundry Murder that took place in 1922 and was to quote the Sheffield Independent

"one of the most sensational crimes Sheffield police have ever investigated"  

Photo taken 2004

In June this year I received this e-mail. It is something I did not expect

"what a fascinating website! I stumbled across it because of a strange occurrence yesterday. I went up Crookes with my friend Sue to browse the charity shops. We started down at the Age Concern shop and made our way up to St.Lukes. When we arrived at the Barnardo.s shop I found a couple of tops I like so decided to try them on. There was a blue vest top and a light chiffon top both on separate hanger so I carried them both into the changing room and hooked them on the inside of the changing room. I tried them both on together, one over the top of the other, then opened the door to show my friend. We both decided it wasn’t me so I proceeded to take them off. I got the hanger and put the chiffon top back on it then picked up the vest top and looked for the hanger but found it had completely vanished I looked all over the 4 ft square changing room but it was just not there. I went to the rail where I had got it from and there were no empty hangers. I told my friend and she agreed how very odd. 

This morning I started thinking about it again and then seemed to remember a story about a murder on Crookes so I googled it and came across your site. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it was that shop. I text a friend of mine who volunteers in several of the charity shops in Crookes and asked him if he’d heard of anything and this was his reply

“Hi, yep the shop is haunted. Think its something to do with the cellar. The manager is called Kim, i used to help out at weekends on till when she was short of volunteers. She mentioned odd goings off in shop. I've seen items fall off rails still on hangers, thats impossible. Weird spooky stuff. I'll pop in after work & get some stories from her. Wouldn't it b eerie if that hanger turned up in ur wardrobe!! “

Have you heard anything about strange goings on?"

I have not heard of anything re paranormal activity at the shop and it does not appear in Valerie Salim's "Ghost Hunters Guide to Sheffield" which is really the standard work on the subject. And so if anyone can throw any light on the matter I would be grateful 


Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Cookridge Haven Home Sheffield September 1922

The attached is from The Manchester Guardian dated 7th September 1922

Superficially it is a case of "nothing ever changes," Nearly one hundred years later, people are still being neglected and abused in adult and children's care homes despite the strict regulatory regimes they operate under, and the governments rigorous inspection schedules(mmm!)

But in this case it appears that four or five old people were accommodated as well as about ten children in this one home in just six bedrooms. The report gives the impression that they did not know how many people were in the home at the time of the Home Office inspection. But what is astounding is that all the children were infested and suffering from malnutrition and the health inspector inferred that "there had never been any permanent improvement."

In other words neglect was the norm. And Eliza King who was matron of Cookridge Haven Home was fined £5 (about £200 in today's money) for running this hovel in a cruel and malicious way. It is almost as if the authorities condoned this state of affairs

To date I have been unable to find anything about the Cookridge Haven Home


Gunner James Samuel King R.A. Died Beighton Sheffield 12th February 1942

Many years ago I published an article on the Beighton Rail Disaster 1942 and its aftermath, and since then I have updated it as and when information has become available 

KING James Samuel. Nationality: United Kingdom. Rank: Gunner. Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery. Age: 32. Date of Death: 12/02/1942. Service No: 11264438. Additional information: Son of Samuel and Bertha Grace King, of Westcliff-on-Sea. Plot R. Grave 12050.

James is buried in Sutton Road Cemetery Southend on Sea. He is buried in buried in Plot R, outside the hedged perimeter of the War Memorial.

In March 2013 I received this e-mail from James' nephew

"Thank you for the information on your web site about the Beighton Train Disaster. I have always wondered about what precisely happened.
My uncle James King was killed in the crash. From the information on the web sites linked to yours it appears he died on the day after the crash so he must have been one of those taken to Sheffield Royal Infirmary. Jim was a 32 year old single man. He had trained to become a draughtsman. But probably due to the difficulty in finding such work in the depression had joined with his brother Stanley to start in about 1938 a sweet making firm in Southend on Sea. The firm continued into the 1960s still trading as J & S King. My two brothers and I were born after the tragedy but we all knew the outline of the story, that a metal girder/plate had sliced into a troop train from a goods train on the other line and killed my uncle and other soldiers.
You ask whether the facts were kept from the families at the time. I suspect not. My grandfather had copies of the Times report of the Crash and also a copy of the coroners report and a report from the Southend Standard amongst his papers when he died. My brothers and I were regularly taken to his grave when I was younger. I remember being shocked once when my grandfather commented that some of the soldiers on the train had been beheaded."

In October 2018 James' nephew contacted me again and kindly supplied me with a copy of his obituary from the local newspaper The Southend Standard

and also a family photograph that shows Jim's parents Sam and Bertha Grace King standing next to his grave at Sutton Road Cemetery Southend on Sea.

"The photograph was taken probably in the mid 1950s on one of the regular visits of me and my family to his grave. Jim’s parents paid for a private grave plot just outside the official Commonwealth war graves plot of Southend war dead. You can see the official war graves and memorial in the background. Their other son Stanley, my father, survived four and a half years in the army and the fighting in Normandy and across Europe into Germany".

The family are attempting to find photographs of the accident. There were photographs taken at the time of the accident but sadly the ones we have been able to obtain are of poor quality. And so if anyone knows of any good quality photos let me know and I will pass the inforamtion on

Saturday, 13 October 2018

George Lambert VC - The Garrison Hotel - 18th June 2018

An article was posted  in the Sheffield Star dated 18th June 2018 about the unveiling of a plaque in the Garrison Hotel to George Lambert VC .

George was the first person to be awarded a Victoria Cross who had a Sheffield connection. I posted the article on George to the website many years ago and over time I have managed to add some additional content, But sadly a photo and or image of George has always proved elusive.

I was invited to the ceremony and manged to take this photo of the event. I am glad that George's bravery and courage are still being recognised today.


Deaths under Anaesthetic - Sheffield February 1935

This is the first post to the blog I have done in over six months. There are a number of reasons for this tardy behaviour but the main one is that I would rather sit outside in the summer sunshine reading a good book, than sitting inside posting content to the blog and site.

Nevertheless, material has surfaced over the period, a lot of which deserves publication

The first is from The Manchester Guardian dated 25th February 1935

Bearing in mind that this was the last week in February, the Coroner remarked that he had already officiated in 12 inquests this year where the victim was under anaesthetic at the time of their death. And that 10 of those deaths occurred at the Sheffield Royal Infirmary. He stated that he was "concerned" at the "unusual number of anaesthetic deaths" that had resulted and suggested an inquiry into the methods used.

I would have expected that any sudden death under anaesthetic would have been investigated by the hospital but it is inferred in the report the this was not the case. In fact you get the impression that if the matter had not been raised by the Coroner, no action would have been taken.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find out the reasons for these "unusual number of anaesthetic deaths" and I have not been able to locate any reports


Monday, 2 April 2018

Irene Wilson May Queen - Sheffield 1937

This marvelous photograph appeared on Ebay this week but the details are non-existent.

It just states "Irene Wilson May Queen Sheffield 1937"

It would be fascinating to ascertain some further details about the photograph. The photograph looks as though it was taken by a professional photographer and the setting is formal.

Queen Victoria Memorial Statue - Fargate Sheffield 1905

I came across this photograph of the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue that used to be situated at the top of Fargate Sheffield near the junction with Pinstone Street (Sheffield)

This is the description from the Sheffield Halllam University Sheffield Public Art Website

""The bronze figure of a crowned Queen Victoria holding an orb and sceptre stands on top of a plinth of limestone blocks. The figure is about 3m high. She is attended by two bronze figures representing Maternity and Labour seated on either side of the main plinth, each about 2m high. 'Maternity' is a young woman holding a baby with her left arm around a young girl . 'Labour' is a young man sitting on an anvil with a sledgehammer propped against his left knee. The base of this bronze is signed: "ALFRED TURNER SC. 1904" - the '4' is somewhat indistinct. "

It was moved to Endcliffe Park on 24th February 1930 as part of yet another "road improvement" scheme that has tended to blight the area over the last century.

There are further details of the statue on the Sheffield History forum

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Family of Henry Hughes (1891 - 1918) - Sheffield and Merthyr Tydfil

Henry Hughes was executed by the British Army on  10th April 1918. He was 27 years old

Information on Henry is scarce but the CWGC records show that he was the son of John Charles and Ellen Hughes. 
I was researching the 1911 Census and found this entry

Name: John Hughes
Age in 1911: 52
Estimated birth year: abt 1859
Relation to Head: Head Gender: Male
Birth Place: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England Civil Parish: Sheffield County/Island: Yorkshire-West Riding Country: England
Street address: 25 New St Sheffield Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Hawker Of Hardware
Registration district: Sheffield Registration District Number: 510 Sub-registration district: South Sheffield ED, institution, or vessel: 8 Piece: 27856
Household Members:
Name Age
John Hughes 52
Ellen Hughes 42
James Hughes 12

His wife of 25 years Ellen was born in Merthyr Tydfil and a check on the BMD registers revealed this entry 

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1886 HUGHES John Merthyr T Volume 11a Page 659 Spouse Ellen Jones

and then there was this entry five years later

Births Mar 1891 Hughes Henry Merthyr T. Volume 11a  Page 671.

Superficially this could be Henry's family but to be certain I would need further information to verify them. I could send of for the certificates and this would undoubtedly help. But they cost £9.25 each at the moment which is prohibitive to say the least.  

Nevertheless three points on the census stand-out - firstly John was unable to read and write - he just placed his mark on the form and someone else must have completed it for him Secondly the family were living in just two rooms and finally their son James was living with them. There was another child that was still living (was this Henry who would have been 20 at the time of the census?) but was not resident at 25 New Street. John and Ellen had eleven children but only two were still living in 1911. 

If Henry was the other son it means that the British Army executed one of their only two surviving children. You are left literally speechless! 

Wingerworth Hall near Chesterfield Derbyshire - April 1924

I came across this cutting whilst researching an article for the site. I was going to incorporate it into an article but I found that there was an excellent website that was devoted to the history of the Hall and its occupants.

The cutting is dated 16th April 1924

Sadly this fine mansion with its many distinctive architectural features was demolished. According to the Wingerworth Hall website

"One of the (Wingerworth Hall) rooms was sold to the St Louis Museum in Missouri. The staircase, drawing room and library were for sale at Robersons of Knightsbridge in 1929, but their fate is unknown. The seventeenth century wing and stable block were subsequently converted and much of the park has now been built on."

And so if anyone comes across this blog and knows the fate of the staircase, drawing room and library please let me know

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Hathersage Open Air Swimming Pool opened 1936

The same paper that featured in the previous blog Sheffield Telegraph dated Thursday 17th March 2016 also carried a report about the eightieth anniversary of the opening of the Hathersage Open Air Swimming Pool in 1936 

The pool was made possible by the generous donation of a noted Sheffield industrialist Mr. George Lawrence who lived in the village. I have a great admiration for George and it is marvelous to see that some of the projects he help fund are still going strong today.   

William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875)

The following cutting is from the Sheffield Telegraph dated Thursday 17th March 2016 and concerns the composer and musician William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875).

It was the bi-centennial anniversary of his birth and a series of events were to be held throughout the year to commemorate the event.

But what the article fails to mention is that William Sterndale Bennett is the only person from Sheffield to be buried in Westminster Abbey  I am unsure of the criteria that are adopted that permit a person to be buried in the Abbey, but a recent publication stated that over three thousand people are buried within the Abbey's precincts. For William to be Sheffield's only burial at the Abbey is rather perplexing given the City's prominence in the late nineteenth and twentieth century

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mr Benjamin Unwin (1799-1881) of Cromwell Street North Sheffield

In my family tree, my great uncle George SANBY married a Maud UNWIN on  13 Feb 1916 at St Bartholomew's Church , Primrose View, Langsett Road, Sheffield
But just six months later George lost his life due to the wounds he received on the Somme. Maud was the 21 year old daughter of Thornhill  Unwin and it whilst I was researching the UNWIN name I came across this obituary in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 9th April 1881.

The theory that grinders are never long-lived is not borne out by the experience of Mr Benjamin Unwin, spring-knife grinder, who died a few days ago at the advanced age of 82, after a life spent in pursuit of his calling. He worked at the trade named without any intermission from his youth until a few years ago, and he never suffered from what is commonly known as the grinders' complaint. He was of a cheerful and hopeful disposition, and scrupulously temperate, which may perhaps have much to do with the manner in which he retained his health, and was unaffected by the injurious conditions of his calling.
In politics he was a sincere Radical. He had a great facility for expressing his opinions, and a singularly retentive memory enabled him to recall with precision the great political events of his time.

Quite a remarkable longevity for a Sheffield grinder who life expectancy on average was barely 35 years of age.

Benjamin was buried in Sheffield's Wardsend Cemetery on 7th April 1881

UNWIN Benjamin 7 Apr 1881 Cromwell St Nth 81

As far as I can ascertain he is not related to Thornhill Unwin and his daughter Maud