Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Melson Family Powell Street Sheffield

I have just posted an article to the site that is based on a brief report that appeared in the Sheffield Daily Independent dated 11th November 1914. The "deeply pathetic" story is an understatement.


But when I researched the family, Gertey's death was just a forerunner of a greater tragedy that was to befall the family within the next year..

I have been unable to find a photograph or illustration of Powell Street where the family lived for so many years. I believe that they were back to back properties that may have been demolished in the early to mid Sixties    

Sheffield Blitz Heroes - George Medals

I came across this article in the Yorkshire Post dated Saturday 8th March 1941. It refers to the award of the George Medal to three civilians from Sheffield for their bravery on the nights of the Sheffield Blitz.

Unfortunately the report does not go into greater detail with regard to location etc but newspapers at the time were subject to strict censorship.

And yes PC Radford did get married to Miss Smith

Surname First name(s) Spouse District Vol Page
Marriages Jun 1941
Radford Samuel Smith Sheffield 9c 1809
Smith Gwendoline R Radford Sheffield 9c 1809

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Murder and Suicide - Psalter Lane Sheffield February 1927

The  following cutting is from The Manchester Guardian dated 2nd March 1927. The case itself was quite straightforward. The son Edwin Firth bludgeoned his father George Herbert Firth with a crowbar and then cut his throat with a razor. In the attack the razor was broken and so Edwin went upstairs, got another razor and cut his own throat.  

But what is unusual is that when a doctor was called to the scene, he "declined" to attend. The Coroner said that "probably" the doctor was told they were both dead and that it was "useless to attend." This is just supposition on the Coroners part, but it appears that the doctor is not obliged to respond to any call. A worrying statement!

The other thing of note is that the son Edwin suffered in the past from Brain Fag, a term that I had never heard of until I read this report


The house where the tragedy occurred - 335 Psalter Lane no longer exists. It was demolished many years ago and was replaced by commercial buildings. 



Sunday, 14 May 2017

A Most Destructive Fire - Sheffield 21st December 1893

"I came across this newspaper report dated 22nd December 1893 which detailed a fire that occurred earlier the previous morning at the premises of  Messrs. G. R. Hovey and Sons, Drapers and House Furnishers. The buildings were at the corner of Angel-street and Castle-street in Sheffield City Centre

DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT SHEFFIELD

One of the largest fires ever known at Sheffield broke out yesterday morning at the establishment of Messrs. G. R. Hovey and Sons, drapers and house furnishers, Angel-street and Castle-street. The caretaker saw that all was safe at 11 o'clock on Wednesday night. He, the housekeeper, and about 60 assistants slept on the premises. About 4 o'clock in the morning they were all awakened by shouts of " Fire," and, without dressing, simply throwing cloaks or rugs over themselves, they hurried from the building.

One young fellow, named Ralph Cole, was missed, but he was afterwards rescued by means of the fire-escape. Later on another male assistant, named Victor Parsons, of Sheffield, was missed. He was seen running along the corridor in the upper-storey at the time the alarm was given, and was also noticed knocking at the doors of the assistants in order to awaken them. From that moment he was not seen again, and it is believed that he was overcome by the smoke and perished in the flames.

The fire spread with alarming rapidity. Piles of masonry commenced to fall, and in a very short time the premises were completely gutted. Several adjoining blocks of buildings were destroyed, and others were greatly damaged, including the Imperial Hotel, on the opposite side of the street. The flames could be seen for many miles. The fire was not put out until late in the afternoon, and last night the firemen were still watching to prevent fresh outbreaks amongst the great mass of smouldering ruins. Six business establishments were completely gutted and 12 other shops extensively damaged. The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is beyond doubt that it originated in the basement or on the ground floor of Messrs. Hovey's shops. Messrs. Hovey and Sons estimate the damage to their premises, stock, and buildings at about £80,000, and, with the amounts estimated by the owners of the adjoining property damaged, the total loss sustained is put down at nearly a quarter of a million."

The following day 23rd December, 1893 another report appeared giving readers an update on the aftermath of the fire

Fire at Messrs. Hovey’s Sheffield
Progress of the Work

The  work  of  clearing away the debris from the scene of the fire at  Messrs. Hovey's premises  in  Angel  street, and Castle street, is being carried out today with as much despatch as possible. The barriers preventing the public passing up and down Angel street were removed this morning, but  locomotion  in  Castle  street  is  still  prohibited.

Hoardings have been erected around the site of the destroyed building,and the firemen are  still  playing  on  the debris which continues to smoulder.  Early this morning, while the work was going on the men came  across  a tin box to one of the assistants, which contained  remains of clothing and other articles. No traces of  the missing assistant, Victor  Parsons,have yet been discovered, and it is now universally believed that  no further  light will be thrown upon his fate. 

The relief fund inaugurated for assisting Messrs. Hovey’s employees has received substantial support,
and to-day each assistant has received the sum of £1 10s. out of the £56 odd in the hands of the treasurer and it is  intended to make further distributions as the subscription list  increases  The dangerous position of the gable wall between Messrs. Hovey's premises and the adjoining property still causes some anxiety, but its height is gradually being diminished by several  steeplejacks in the employ of Mr.W. E. Harrison, who are busily engaged  in knocking it down brick by brick, and although this piecemeal work isslow it is considered more safe than attempting to pull down the large pile as a whole. The crowds of  spectators passing along Angel street are greatly interested in this work, and it is a difficult matter to walk along the thoroughfares

At today's prices, the damage to Messrs. Hovey and Sons premises, stock, and buildings was estimated to be in excess of seven million pounds whilst the the owners of the adjoining properties sustained estimated in total losses of twenty-two million. So overall the total cost of the blaze was nearly thirty million pounds.

It would be 47 years before that figure was exceeded in the Sheffield Blitz of December 1940

There are photos of the premises before and after the fire on the Picture Sheffield site 

 

Friday, 12 May 2017

Bomb Damage in North Derbyshire 1939 - 1944

I came across this report in The Derbyshire Times dated Friday 29th September 1944 that details the bomb damage that North Derbyshire suffered between 1939 - 1944. I was amazed to discover that although the area did not receive a major attack, there was only one fatality and that occurred at Pinxton on August 12th 1940 when one bomb hit a council house causing one fatality.



Unfortunately I have not been able to find any other details relating to the incident. The church at Pinxton (St Helens) has 4 CWGC graves but all were service personnel when they died, There were no deaths in 1940.
Of course at the time strict censorship was imposed and the local newspapers would not have been able to report the incident  

The Bitterness of John Crisp - Walkley Sheffield Spring 1911

A friend of mine sent me this 1911 Census form that they had come across. It was filled in by Mr John Crisp at his house at 75 Highton Street, Walkley Sheffield


In the box marked "Occupation" he wrote "formerly Spring Smith but now thrown on the scrapheap for old age." He was 62 years old at the time.

I posted this information in Wed 21st March 2012 to the Blog and commented that his sentiments seem to have a modern-day ring about them - a case of nothing ever changes!.

At the time I did not know if he managed to turn things around but what I have just found out is that John lived another 15 years and died in April 1926 at the age of 77 at his home in Highton Street

This is his burial record

CRISP, John (Blacksmith, age 77).
     Died at 75 Highton St; Buried on April 26, 1926 in General ground;
     Grave Number 12, Section J1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, D Manterfield: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

His wife Annie died in February 1932 age 82 and is buried with John. They had been married for 52 years which in the early C20th was very rare
   
CRISP, Maria W (Widow, age 82).
     Died at Royal Infirmary; Buried on February 18, 1932 in General ground;
     Grave Number 12, Section J1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, J W Swarbrick: Removed from Sheffield Parish.
 
HIDES, Ann (Widow, age 56).
     Died at 11 Jericho Street; Buried on September 19, 1874 in General ground;
     Grave Number 12, Section J1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: .
     Plot Owner: John CRISP of 11 Jericho Street. Page No
     

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Cater Family of Canal Street, Sheffield

This is a follow-up to the blog I posted on 22nd February 2017 entitled

Child Overlaid by a Drunken Mother - Canal Street, Sheffield December 1900


I have finally posted a full article to the site relating to the Cater family of Canal Street Sheffield. The father and mother John and Mary Cater (nee Brown) married in the summer of 1881 and by the time of the 1911 Census, thirty years later, they had sixteen children, nine of which had died.

The article centres around the inquest into one of the children Mary Ann Cater who died age eight weeks old in December 1900 from "suffocation" - see above

Unfortunately I could not find a photograph or illustration of Canal Street as it was at the turn of the C20th. And as I said in the article I would have been interested to ascertain the cause of death for the other eight children but the current cost of ordering death certificates from the General Record Office is very prohibitive

Samuel Puplett's Failing Memory (1845 1923)

A reader of the site came across an article that I posted many years ago. It recalled the death of Isaac Hornsey in June 1900 who was overcome by ammonia fumes at the brewery and died as a result. This additional information in many ways compliments the article. A big thanks to the reader!


I note your website has a piece on the now-demolished Don Brewery which stood at the corner of Penistone Rd/Green Lane/Shalesmoor. I know your focus is the 1900 Death by Ammonia Fumes story. However, you might find the information below useful or at least interesting.

Found this on the man who made the machine that killed Isaac Hornsey at the Don Brewery: It is from the excellent Graces Guide to British Industrial History

Samuel Puplett was born in Stockport in 1845 and educated at Ackworth School, Yorkshire, Samuel Puplett was a mechanical engineer who set up a business in Birmingham manufacturing ice-making and refrigeration machines. In 1878 he made his first ammonia compression ice machine, in which branch of refrigeration he subsequently specialised, opening offices in Westminster in 1891. He died in 1923, his obituary stating that “it was a source of pride to him that no fatal accident had occurred with any of [his machines]”.

He had clearly forgotten about Isaac Hornsey!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Wesleyan Chapel Princess Street Sheffield

Many years ago I posted an article regarding the events of 25th September 1916 when a lone German Zeppelin bombed the Pitsmoor and Burngreave districts of Sheffield resulting in 29 civilian fatalities, nineteen injuries and 89 properties that were seriously damaged. 

The Wesleyan Chapel that stood in Princess Street was "obliterated" by the raid and was left with one wall standing as this photograph taken at the time shows 



The chapel was never re-built but the congregation continued to conduct services untl Boxing Day 1926.

Nearly ten years after the Zeppelin attack another notable event occurred in the same street. The murder of William Francis Plommer took place in Princess Street on 27 April 1925. Plommer,was attacked in the street by a gang and died of his injuries shortly afterwards. Eleven men were placed under arrest in the aftermath of the murder,and five of them were convicted. Two of those convicted, the brothers Lawrence Fowler and Wilfred Fowler, were hanged in Armley Goal for this murder. It marked the begining of the end for the Sheffield gangs



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

James Kenner's War (1914 - 1918)

A fellow researcher pointed me in the direction of this article that appeared in the Sheffield Daily Independent dated 30th January 1929


James seemed to be an interesting subject for an article on the site especially when I came across this article from the North Devon Journal dated 10th July 1924. The Kenner family had strong West Country links


The Sheffield Daily Independent report seems to have been rather furtive about his war service. James it appears was solely in charge and responsible for conducting chemical warfare on the Western Front by using phosgene (chlorine) gas.

Unfortunately when I began to do more research on James, I came across this article by Lord Todd in The Biographical Memoirs of Members of the Royal Society November 1975 (vol 21). Given the comprehensive nature of the article, I took my research no further. 

It is also interesting to note that until I was contacted, I had no idea that a Sheffield chemist was so closely involved in such a terrible activity. 

 


The First Rock n' Roll Act at Sheffield City Hall

A fellow researcher contacted me with the following question -

Who and when were the first rock'n'roll/pop band to play at the City Hall?

He had found that Buddy Holly and the Crickets played there on March 4th 1958 but asked if I knew of an act before that?

After a bit of delving around, and the help of the excellent Sheffield History Forum, it was a bit of a surprise when we found the answer

According to the listing, Nat King Cole preceded Johnnie Ray by a few days in April 1954, and he was preceded by another jazz singer Sarah Vaughan in 1953.

Johnnie Ray was the first "rock n roll" singer to play there on 19th April 1954.