Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Merry Xmas - not in Crookes

Well I'm afraid I'm not seeing much joviality and celebration in the streets of Crookes at the beginning of the festive period. In fact, everyone you see looks downcast and miserable.

And so in an attempt to at least bring a smile or even guffaw to people's faces, here are a couple of cards I have found in the archives. The first one is one of my all-time favourites




Thursday, 28 November 2013

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Guy Gibson's Memorial - Steenbergen Holland -August 2013

A friend sent me these two photos he took in August this year on a visit to Holland,
They were taken in
Steenbergen-En-Kruisland Churchyard - Steenbergen - Noord-Brabant  Netherlands


They are a memorial to Guy Gibson and Jim Warwick who are buried in the churchyard. The circumstances surrounding their deaths have never been fully resolved but a brief summary.of the theories are on wikipedia   

Berni Inns

I cae across this advertisement for Berni Inns

and it certainly brought a few memories back. I knew that the Norton was a Whitbread pub prior to being a Berni Inn, and so  check on wikipedia revealed that after it was sold by Grand Metropolitan in 1990, it reverted back to Whitbread's ownership under their Beefeater brand

But what I did not know was that by 1970 Berni Inns was the largest food chain outside the USA. It had taken them just 15 years to achieve this

The Mitchell Family - 107 Pitsmoor Road Sheffield - 14th December 1940

I received the following mail this week

"I have spent ages looking through your wonderful sites and have come across the one about civilians who died in Pitsmoor during the blitz.
My sister in laws family were the Mitchell’s of 107 Pitsmoor Road.  I have looked all through the newspapers from the date of the blitz up to their burial on Dec 24th in Burngrave Cemetery and can find no mention of anything much about the blitz.  I can only conclude that this was not reported in full as the authorities did not want the full extent to be know.
Is there anywhere else I can look that will perhaps tell us what their story was ?
Hope you can help"

I check on the Sheffield Indexers site showed the full horror of the tragedy - 4 member of the family were killed hat night and are buried together. The funeral took place on Xmas Eve 1940


BREAN, Annie ((Air Raid Victim), age 22).
     Died at 107 Pitsmoor Rd; Buried on December 24, 1940 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 4358, Section JJ of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: E. P. Cook: Removed from Sheffield Parish.
    

LAYTON, Harry (Greengrocer, age 64).
     Died at 155 Skinnerthorpe Rd; Buried on April 16, 1924 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 4358, Section JJ of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, H.D. Mullett: Removed from St Cuthberts Parish.
    
MITCHELL, Agnes (air raid victim, age 54).
     Died at 107 Pitsmoor Road; Buried on December 24, 1940 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 4358, Section JJ of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: E P Cook: Removed from Sheffield Parish.
    
MITCHELL, Archie (shoe maker (Air Raid Victim), age 14).
     Died at 107 Pitsmoor Rd; Buried on December 24, 1940 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 4358, Section JJ of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: E. P. Cook: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

MITCHELL, Gordon (air raid victim, age 12).
     Died at 107 Pitsmoor Road; Buried on December 24, 1940 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 4358, Section JJ of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: E P Cook: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

I could not add any further information about the event - it is a fact that the press both locally and nationally were heavily censored by the Ministry of Information. And the information that was printed was at best "sketchy" and at worst just plain incorrect.

If anyone can throw any more light on the fate of the Mitchell family please let me know

 

















   

Thursday, 7 November 2013

November 2013 Update

I've just got around to posting updates to some of the articles on the site.

George Lawrence - a request from Brian Ward for further information

The Shocking Xylonite Fire at Netherthorpe Sheffield 14th December 1921 I was contacted by the great-grandson of one of the victim's of the fire and was delighted to supply him with further information on the tragedy

A Grave Affair in Sheffield  in 1862 which covered the cemetery riots at Wardsend Cemetery. A student contacted me in the spring of 2012 and I was able to supply him with references etc. His finished dissertation has been added to the site in pdf format

and finally an actual eye witness account of the Zeppelin raid on Sheffield on September 25th 1916 

http://www.chrishobbs.com/sheffieldsfirstraid1916.htm

There are a couple more items that I need to post but a bit more research is required



Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Flashing Lights


It has been well over three weeks since the last posting, but I can assure my reader(s) that I have not been idling about.

As most people know, everyday life has a habit of interfering with things you enjoy doing. I went for a long overdue eye-test last month - I have worn contact lens every day for nearly forty years. The optician noticed some slight inflamation around the pupils, and said that it was due to the lens sticking to the pupil rather than moving with the pupil. A new set of lens were ordered which was not unexpected as the last time I changed them was in 2010.( I inadvertantly washed them down the sink whilst I was cleaning my lens case!)

Anyway ever since the examination I have had what is termed "flashing lights" in my left eye. At first it was rather disconcerting but I am gradually getting used to them.  I "googled" the condition and ascertained that it was nothing to worry about - it should settle down in a month or two. But what was rather more perturbing is that they are yet another sign of old age!!.

Despite the "lights", I have manged to update a few articles on the website: the most noticable one being The Beighton Doodlebug - Xmas Eve December 1944.

A number of people have contacted me over the years regarding the raid on Xmas Eve 1944. The latest person was a researcher from North Wales who kindly sent me a newspaper cutting from the local paper about a V1 that landed at Rofft Wood near Foel y Crio. It was launched at the time as the one that exploded at Beighton, but this one did not explode. The lack of official records has caused some controversy amongst historians, but there is no doubt in my mind regarding the veracity of the incident.  

 

       

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Gas Masks and Window Masking - Public Information

In the light of recent events in Syria, and the reponse of the international "community", I thought that this would be an appropiate time to remind readers of the procedures to adopt. The last time the British were threatened by a chemical attack the government published this advice in the form of a public information leaflet


Sadly to date the coalition government have issued no advice about what the public should do in the event of an gas attack. A sign of the times!.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Shocking Xylonite Fire at Netherthorpe Sheffield December 1921

Continuing with a theme of industrial tragedies, I have just posted another article to the site concerning a fire in Netherthorpe Sheffield - 14th December 1921 - which claimed four victims including a father and son. The son who died in the tragedy, Thomas Clark left a widow and seven children, with no means of support - an indication of how precarious life was for a worker's family in the 1920's

Sudbury Street 2000
.
Sudbury Street 2012

The fire took place at the Progress Works in Sudbury Street Netherthorpe. The works were demolished many years ago, and I have been unable to date to locate a photo of the place. Two points are worth mentioning - the first is that this tragedy was just around the corner from the site of the Sheffield Boiler Explosion of 1899. (see earlier blog) in which 7 workers lost their lives. And the second point is that I have been able to locate the graves of all 4 victims of the Sudbury Street fire


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Sheffield Boiler Explosion - 1st November 1899

I've eventually posted an article to the site that has been has been in the "digital in-tray" for nigh on two years.

The article on the boiler explosion and subsequent inquest appears in our first book but I have been able to expand it to incorporate additional information.The article also ties in with the tragedy at Daniel Doncasters that occurred 13 years earlier in August 1886.



The site of Messrs Southern and Richardson, Doncaster Street, with Shepherd Street in the background and Ellis Street in the foreground.
The current building, now out of use and boarded up, was most recently occupied by toolmakers Record Ridgeway (photograph 2012)



Tuesday, 20 August 2013

William Astwood's Contemptible Offence - Ecclesall Churchyard



Whilst I was researching the fate of a certain Arthur Gleave earlier this year, I saw this report of William Astwood's activities in Ecclesall Churchyard dating from 3rd September 1925


Obviously the offences that Astwood committed were that serious that they warranted a "special watch" by the police (two constables apprehended Astwood) . And the fine was heavy  as well - over £250 at current prices. In addition the presiding magistrate let his feelings be known in no uncertain terms
.
Nowadays I doubt if anyone would care one jot!

Starved to Death by the Germans - Charles Hurt 1915



I've just posted an article to the site that I came across in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph April 1915. I stated that I know very little about the British POW's in the Great War, but the circumstances surrounding Charles' death are quite harrowing. Their suffering seems forgotten now

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Sgt Wilfred Billingham (1922 - 1943)

I came across this article that was published in The Sheffield Star on Friday 9th August 2013

 The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has this entry for Wilfred

BILLINGHAM, WILFRED
Rank Sergeant
Trade Nav./Bomber
Service No: 1233699
Date of Death: 05/02/1943
Age:  21
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference     Sec. C. (Gen.). Grave 2829.
Cemetery SHEFFIELD (SHIREGREEN) CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Eliza Billingham, of Shiregreen, Sheffield.

The entry also notes that there are another 68 burials that

"are scattered throughout the cemetery. Two special memorials erected one on either side of the path between Sections G and H, on the right hand side, record the names of two servicemen whose graves could not be marked by headstones."

I wonder why not?? Yet another mystery

And on the excellent Findagrave website there are further details of the tragic accident that cost Wilfred his life, as well as a photo of Wilfred's last resting place


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

View From Another Hill - Friday 26th July 2013

These photos were taken from near the top of Townend Street Crookes on Friday 26th July 2013.
A clear blue evening sky and a warm breeze and tremendous views across the city




Incidentally the large stone-built house on the left used to be the house of Professor James William Edington, a Professor of Bacteriology at Sheffield University who was tragically killed in a car accident whilst driving home from a rugby match in April 1939

View From A Hill - 29th July 2013

We are in the process of having the wall at the back of our house re-rendered. I believe that it was last done in the 1950's and over the last few years the covering had deteriorated quite badly.

 
Whilst the scaffolding was up I took the opportunity to check the roof, clear the gutter out and revarnish the upper window frames. I also took the following photographs looking out over the city of  Sheffield



As you can see the the skyline is dominated by the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. You can also see the gathering storm clouds. Ten minutes after these photos were taken, a thunderstorm broke and it bucketed it down. Time to get down from the scaffolding!

I am hoping that the varnish does what it says on the tin - dry's in 30 minutes otherwise it is another trip up the ladder.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Hill 60 Zillebeke 1918

I'm still sorting through the photos that were mentioned in an earlier blog. One which is again not inscribed shows the British trenches at Hill 60 at Ypres.

I am unsure why the photo is in the box but it is only one of  two in the box. The other is of the Menin Gate in Ypres which is where those soldiers who fought on Hill 60 and have no known grave are comemorated. I wonder if there is a link between these two photos and the family?


Monday, 8 July 2013

THE WATCH TOWER - BRADFIELD St Nicholas Churchyard - Bradfield

Whilst I was scanning the aforementioned photographs I came across an old monochrome  postcard of the Watch House at High Bradfield

 
THE WATCH HOUSE - BRADFIELD
St Nicholas Churchyard - Bradfield

The Watch House at High Bradfield was built in 1745 as a place from which to guard newly buried bodies (from bodysnatchers) in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Church. There are apparently only two or three of this type of building still in existence in the country and this is the only one left in Yorkshire.

The house is now a privately owned dwelling.


Old Photographs of Spring Hill Sheffield

Old photographs of Spring Hill Sheffield are not commonplace. And so I was surprised when my next door neighbour handed me a box of old photographs and other miscellanous items that the previous owner had left behind in his house well over thrirty years ago!!.

Over the last week I have been scanning the material found in the box into digital formats, and have found some fascinating content. Unfortunately many of the photos have no information on them whatsoever, but after some research I think I can identify some of the people in them. If I can get enough information I plan to put the information into a coherent form.

Anyway here are the two photographs of Spring Hill that were taken possibly in the late 1950's



The two girls in the photo that was taken in the garden of 35 Spring Hill may have been called Marilyn and Linda Hobson, and were the daughters of the owner at that time James Hobson. The second photo was taken from the front bedroom window of number 35 and shows the "View From the Hill" prior to the construction of the University Arts Tower   

 

George Herbert Lawrence - Hathersage 5th July 2013

For the first time in my life, I was invited to a presentation, or to be more precise, the unveiling of a plaque that was to remember and honour a person that gave so much to the community.

His name was Geoge Lawrence and details of his life and work can be found on my web-site. The Ceremony occurred last Friday and for once the weather was glorious.

The unvieling of the plaque was a fitting tribute to George's works, and as Brian Ward who wrote an excellent biography of George remarked, the title of  "forgotten philanthropist" may now have to be revised.

I was also given the opportunity to meet descendents of George and Elsie, and that was a most enjoyable and enlightening experience for me. It helped me to appreciate just how important George was to both his family and the community.









Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Grave Affairs in the Cathedral "Gardens"

I've just posted the following newspaper cutting from the Sheffield Star dated 6th August 1958 to the Sheffield History Forum. Apparently one contributor wanted to know where the bones that were exhumed from the Cathedral were taken to. Some ended up in Stradbroke at the proposed site of aa garden for old people.




Monday, 17 June 2013

June Talks 2013

I've just completed a further two talks that were arranged to primarily promote our second book.

This involved putting together a new presentation for the talks that featured more of the twentieth century material.

The first of the talks was last Wednesday and formed part of the Broomhill Festival 2013

Sheffield’s Shocking Past: Part 2 – The 20th Century
Date/Time - Date(s) - 12/06/13 (Wednesday)
6:30 pm - 7:45 pm
Location - Broomhill Library
Local historian, Chris Hobbs and local author Matthew Bell bring you some more gruesome, grizzly and long forgotten tragic episodes of 20th Century Sheffield.
Uncovering such tales as the killer cat of Millhouses, death by chimney stack and the horrific aftermath of an American Air Force jet crashing into Lodge Moor Hospital in 1955, plus many more.
The second talk was two days later at the AGM of the Friends of Walkley Cemetery which was held in St Mary's Church South Road Sheffield. 
Both talks went well, and I must admit I did enjoy the experience of speaking about events that many people have not heard of. And of course when you are enjoying something times flies!


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Kenneth Steel and and the Sheffield Castle Painting

I've just updated the article on the Sheffield artist the late Kenneth Steel.

A painting that he was commissioned to do for Brightside and Carbrook Co-operative Society in 1964 was in storage in Manchester, after it was removed from the Society's Angel Street store

The full story appears in this report from the Sheffield Star

I am an admirer of Kenneth's work but for some reason this painting fails to impress me as much as some of his other work. It just seems rather contrived and the perspective seems strange. I think I will have to go and see it "in the flesh" so to speak to see if my impressions are justified 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Joseph Jonas

I've just updated the article on Joseph Jonas, a former Lord Mayor of Sheffield who was stripped of his knigthood in 1918.

An article appeared in the Sheffield Star on May 15th 2013 announcing that his former home Endcliffe Hall was to be turned into a boutique hotel by its current owners The University of Sheffield.

Two weeks later The Star's feature writer Colin Drury produced an article that used material from my web-site

 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

James Dixon - Reloading Tools


In May 2013 a researcher into the family of William Barnsley Allen forwarded me the following e-mail relating to the company of James Dixon.

William Barnsley Allen incidentally was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1916 for his actions on the Western Front, and remains the only student from Sheffield University to have received the award

"I came across your email address on a James Dixon forum site.
By the looks of it you must have studied up on the Dixon empire, my interest is in their production of reloading tools.
I notice there are large amounts of material in regards to tea pots ,and knives and forks, but not much on tools. Did you ever come across any material on tools or patents?
I have their Sporting Catalogue of 1883 and I also own a couple of hundred reloading tools by James Dixon, but I am always on the look out to know more about this company.
My website of Dixon tools can be viewed at www.paulcollis.dphoto.com

I don't know much about the James Dixon forum but if it helps other collectors then please add my site to your forum page, when you go to my website then just open the James Dixon folder and enjoy."

Friday, 3 May 2013

Henry Hurst - Thiepval Memorial

Henry's medals from the Great War were auctioned on EBAY last year. I wrote an article on the sale and found a few details about Henry and his family prior to his death on the "First Day of The Somme"


In April 2013 a friend of mine went to France as part of a tour. He went to the Thiepval Memorial and in the late afternoon of Saturday 27th Aprl 2013 and took a photo of Henry's inscription on the memorial




NOTE:

The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is a major war memorial to 72,191 missing British and South African men who died in the Battles of the Somme of the First World War between 1915 and 1918 with no known grave



Ralph Skelton Woolass 1917 - 1942

I received this e-mail the other day about an article I first posted to my site nearly ten years ago

"Dear Chris,


I was looking at the website you have so kindly created in memory of my brother, Ralph Skelton Woolass, when I noticed that it had been extended and updated with some family details since I printed it out some years ago (and I was intrigued to note that someone else was researching my family history in 2008!).  I therefore list below some details which you were asking for:
Stanley Woolass               b 28/09/1892    d 10/12/1957
                                            Married 07/03/1916
Jessie Gertrude Wolass    b 11/10/1894    d 07/11/1983
Ralph Skelton Woolass      b 23/09/1917    d 16/04/1942
Peter Woolass                   b 10/08/1920
Stanley David Woolass      b 04/07/1930
I have also attached brief details of Ralph's RAF service history, gleaned from various sources as listed, in case some of it may be of interest.
Finally, may I thank you on behalf of my family for the trouble you have taken to set up this wonderful memorial to Ralph, which is very much appreciated. 
Should you require any further information, please let me know. With best wishes,"
I replied to Ralph's brother and thanked him for his time and trouble in supplying me with this information on Ralph's all too brief career in the RAF. Another message followed with further information on Ralph with included a photograph of Ralph in his RAF uniform.

" It occurred to me afterwards that you might be able to use a photograph of Ralph. I have therefore attached a JPEG, which I have left as originally scanned so that you can resize it as required. The photograph was taken professionally in Salisbury, presumably when he was posted to Ibsley in late 1941. By some strange coincidence, I also spent most of my time at Ibsley when I was doing my National Service with the RAF some 8 years later, much to my Mother's distress.

My brother Peter joined the Territorial Army and was mobilised just before the war. He spent some time in the desert with the 8th Army, then in Italy, before finishing up as an Officer with the BAOR in Germany.

I'm sorry that I omitted to thank you also for the excellent memorial to Percy Charles Pickard, who was Ralph's cousin as noted. These two websites alone must have involved a lot of work and time - thank you so much for all your trouble. Please also thank your friend who took the photograph of Ralph's memorial in South Anston."



There is also some additional information on Ralph at the excellent Rotherham War Memorial's site 





 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

George Orwell Sings The Blues

And whilst I was finding the cutting of our late prime minister's first poll-tax victim, I also found this from the late Ray Lowry - his finest work!

George Orwell and the Sheffield Connection

George Orwell in Sheffield

John and Audrey Rushton - A Day To Remember

As the country enters a period of profound mourning and despair at the passing of a former politician, I dragged up this old newspaper cutting which amply demonstrates the sheer misery that a "conviction" politician can cause


John and Audrey Rushton seem to have been airbrushed from history - I can find no on-line mention of John's trial and sentence, and given their ages, in all probability, they are no longer here to witness the death of the person who caused them so much grief and anguish. And of course John may have been the first to be sentenced for the crime of non-pyement but he was by no means the last

In fact looking at the last link, it is interesting to note the total lack of support the future Lord Bedwelty gave to his imprisoned colleague. He should hang his head in shame 


Pig Styes for Discharged Soldiers


A sign of things to come



This was reported in the national press on 7th July 1918, but given the lamentable provision of affordable social  housing in Sheffield who is to say that it will not happen again.

I am also going to see if I can get some more information on these two families - it would be interesting to find out their fate



"Sheffield - a city on the move, due to a lack of secure affordable housing.

54% of Sheffield's affordable housing has been lost since 1980! (As of 2010 - and even more has be lost since then!)"

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Who Murdered Eleanor Hammerton?

I've just posted an article to the site that I've being meaning to complete for he best part of a year. 

Eleanor was murdered by an  unknown assailant in her draper's shop on Ecclesall Road on Saturday 13th January 1945. It as to be the last unsolved murder in Sheffield until June 1975 when a NCP car park attendant John Wortley was murdered in a city centre car-park 

Th final touch was when I mentioned the case to some-one I met at the Sheffield and District Family History Society AGM a week last Monday (18th March 2013). She kindly searched the records of Ecclesall All Saints Churchyard and located Eleanor's last resting place. And then she  went and took a photograph of the grave



Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Sheffield & District Family History Society - 18th March 2013

I was invited to give a talk on Monday night at the Sheffield and District Family History Society's Annual General Meeting. It was held at Cemetery Road Baptist Church which I believe is one of Sheffield's ever dwindling band of grade listed buildings

The title of the talk was 
18th March – Sheffield’s Shocking Past
Chris Hobbs recounts some of the most gruesome and grizzly episodes of Victorian Sheffield.

Well Chris Hobbs did not recount episodes from Sheffield's Victorian Past. Instead he recounted just one incident from the era, one incidentally that has not seen the "light of day" since 1869.

It is always a bit of a risk, but by doing the talk this way I was able to bring out the main themes in the book - Sheffield's Shocking Past - and also focus on a particular event and its aftermath. It was, to summarise a demonstration of how I research an article.

The meeting was very well attended with over 80 people in the audience, and at the end of the talk, I received a a very generous round of applause.And what was even nicer was that a few people came up to me at the end of the talk and said that they really enjoyed it. 

I get the impression that most authors who are invited to give talks of this nature tend to give a precis of their book and little else. Well in Sheffield’s Shocking Past there are 61 deaths and to recount all or even a few of them, would far exceed the allocated time.It is far better to construct a talk using original material, and hope by doing this, you "inform and entertain the audience"

At the Eagles Nest - Summer 1976

I came across these photographs the other day - I had not seen them for years. The date back to the summer of 1976 when I went around Europe on an Inter-Rail pass



A much more youthful photo of me and a fine picture of the Eagle's Nest. There is a rather good web-site about the Eagles Nest or The Kehlsteinhaus to give it it's German name. When I visited it the site it was just really a very pleasant cafe with some fantastic views. The views are still there of course but it looks as though the cafe has received a major upgrade, and it has become much more of a major tourist destination with guided tours etc

It is also the highest altitude I've ever been to on foot - a shade over 6,000 feet. Whether or not, I will get higher than this in future is doubtful but you can hope I suppose     

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Career Opportunities - Adulterating Charlie


It is not often that a man of my advancing years gets a job offer never mind one that offers high wages and bonuses together with paid leave. I received this rather familar e-mail on Monday from a well known European company
"Good day!

Our company is engaged in sales of pharmaceutical additives. The company is well known all over the world, also in Europe. Therefore, in connection with the expansion of our production market is recruiting staff in your area.

To work needed representatives residing directly in the country, who can speak on native language and necessarily on English.

The main requirements to the applicant as follows:
- Accommodation in Europe
- Knowledge of the English language, as well as all reports and documents we have only English
- Responsibility and sociability
-Knowledge in the field of international bank transfers

Responsibilities:
-Talks with customers
-Control over payments in your area
-Record keeping
-Reports of all news to head office

Job offers:
-High-wage
-Instant bonuses
-Payment of taxes
-Paid leave
-Career

If you are interested, please send your contact details to this email address Dewayne@ecceuropaeu.com

As I fitted all the criteria I decided to go for it as they say. But when I did my background checks I found out  that the company concerned was not just a European one but a world-wide one with particularly strong links to Latin and South America and Asia. And then I realised that the "pharmaceutical additives" were not in fact pharmaceutical but non pharmaceutical. ie they were added to the pharmaceuticals afterwards as I way of keeping costs down and profits up

By this time I was becoming unsure, did I want to spend all my time in front of some weighing scales.on the kitchen table waiting for my new work colleagues to visit me . And the answer was No I did not. And so here I am writing this blog rather than "reporting news to head office" .

The First Bomb To Be Dropped

I've just finished reading "The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in theBath"  by Jane Robins, that centres of the many criminal activities of George Smith. There is much to my surprise a "Sheffield connection" which I will have to research more thoroughly.

But the author does mention in the book a little known event in Dover (Kent) that was the first of its kind ever to happen on the British mainland - the dropping of an aerial bomb from an "aircraft" for want of a better word.

The details are as follows


"The raid on Dover on December 24 1914, the first time a bomb was dropped from the air on England, ...

At around 11 in the morning a single German Taube airplane, flown by Lt. Von Prondzynski, crossed the Channel and arrived over Dover . The pilot pulled a bomb from the cockpit floor, and dangling it over the side of his machine apparently aimed it at Dover Castle , a pretty sizeable target. He missed by 400 yards. Instead of hitting the symbolic castle guarding the coast the bomb landed on a kitchen garden on Leyburne Road. The explosion excavated a crater about four feet deep in the plot, and broke a few windows of the nearby rectory of St James’ Church. And it did claim one casualty, the rectory’s gardener Mr Banks, who had been pruning a tree and was knocked to the ground by the blast. Banks was only bruised and battered, and lived to tell the tale, as did the German pilot who veered off back to Flanders and safety.
In a neat piece of historical symmetry Dover would be the last British town to suffer an air raid just before the Armistice in November 1918 ".

A piece of the shell was mounted and is in the Imperial War Museum with the entry as follows

"Fragment of the first bomb dropped on English soil during the First World War. The bomb, which landed near Dover, at 10.45 a.m. on 24th December 1914, was dropped by a single German aeroplane which then went home. Three days before a German aeroplane had made its appearance above Dover and had dropped two bombs which, aimed presumably at some part of the harbour, had fallen harmlessly into the sea. This fragment was presented to King George V by the Anti-Aircraft Corps, Dover. Nearly 9,000 German bombs of a total weight of 280 tons were dropped on British soil in fifty-one airship and fifty-two aeroplane attacks during the First World War. In all 1,412 people were killed and 3,408 others were wounded as a result of these raids, London suffering more than half of the casualties -670 killed and 1,962 injured."

Thursday, 28 February 2013

The future Baron Clegg is telling lies to me

And as I was still feeling very apprehensive after mi Lord Ashdown's demand for money, I then received this e-mail from the future Baron Clegg

"Subject: Letter from the Leader: Five days
From:    "Nick Clegg" <leader@libdems.org.uk>
Date:    Sat, February 23, 2013 11:17 am

Dear Friend,

Five days. That is all we have got left to make sure the people of Eastleigh send Mike Thornton to Westminster as their new MP. Five days to make a difference.

I went back to Eastleigh this week. And each time I visit, I am overwhelmed by the number of volunteers, from all over the country, who are giving up their spare time to come and support our excellent candidate Mike. Our HQ is buzzing with people and among the army of activists you can spot Vince, Shirley, Simon, Kirsty, Tim and Ed and many more.

On Tuesday Mike Thornton and I visited the Rose Bowl cricket ground where, by bringing international matches to the venue, the Lib Dem Council is helping create 500 new jobs and bring millions of pounds of investment
into the local economy.

It's one of the many examples where the Lib Dems on the Council and the Lib Dems in Government are making a difference, creating a stronger economy and a fairer society.

It is a truly amazing campaign being fought by our team and I would like to thank everyone who has supported it so far. But now is not the time to let up. We know that it's going to be tight and we don't take any vote for
granted.

Tax fairness has dominated this campaign. £600 back in people's pockets this April thanks to Liberal Democrats raising the tax-free personal allowance. In Eastleigh, real-terms cuts to council tax every year for the
last ten years. And our ongoing battle to deliver a mansion tax to make sure the wealthiest in Britain pay their fair share in these difficult times. Fairness for all on tax, from national government and from local government: that's the message that's cutting through strongly in Eastleigh and around the country.

I will be back in Eastleigh - more than once! - and I really hope I'll see you there. If you can't make it there are lots of other things you can do to help.

Click here now to either donate
<https://eastleighlibdems.nationbuilder.com/donate> or volunteer
<http://www.eastleighlibdems.org.uk/volunteer> - it's going to be close between Mike and the Conservative - your help will be crucial.

Five days to make a difference. Five days to make sure the Liberal Democrats' voice in Eastleigh, in Westminster and across the country is heard loudly and clearly.

Best wishes, Nick Clegg Leader of the Liberal Democrats 

I am not sure if the future Baron Clegg is telling the truth. When I asked for the £600 that Clegg has promised me in six weeks time to be paid in used tenners, his agent who had the acronym HMRC did not know what I was talking about. Whilst he did acknowledge that this was money I have earned and had taken off me before I saw it, he did give me rather short shrift.I was old that I certainly will NOT be getting £600 of my money in my pocket this April and that's that

I should have known that even in these difficult times I can still rely on the future Baron Clegg to tell lies - it seems to be a problem with his cohorts as well.


"Mi Lord Ashdown is on't ear'ole"

From time to time you get e-mails that beggar description but a couple of weeks ago I received this plea from mi Lord Ashdown

"Subject: Please do this today
From:    "Paddy Ashdown" <internalcomms@libdems.org.uk>
Date:    Tue, February 12, 2013 12:47 pm

Dear Friend,

When we won Eastleigh in 1994, it was a breakthrough for Liberal Democrats. This by-election can be as well.
We have, in Mike Thornton, a fantastic local candidate who can continue
our record of service to Eastleigh. He is also the only candidate who can stop the Conservatives winning.

But, we’ve only got a few more days to win this election.

Keith House, who is running our campaign, will tell you that he knows what
we need to do to win. He’ll also tell you that at the moment he doesn’t have enough money to do it all.

Make a donation to the campaign today and Keith will put it to work right away. <https://eastleighlibdems.nationbuilder.com/donate>

To give you just one example, a donation of £25 today will allow us to contact an extra hundred voters in Eastleigh before the weekend. Only Mike Thornton can beat the Conservatives in this campaign, and cannot afford to lose by a few votes.

Give whatever you can afford today, and you’ll make all the difference.
<https://eastleighlibdems.nationbuilder.com/donate>

Thank you, Paddy"

We'll this mail seems far removed from those sent from my "good friends in Lagos" who on the receipt of my bank account details will transfer funds to it - an arrangement that they assure me will benefit both parties to the transaction.

But mi Lord Ashdown doesn't want a reciprocal arrangement like my friends in Lagos. He wants me to send any amount of money from my bank account to a Mr Keith House (no details given) who will, with my money contact other working people.and ask them to support this group  .

I don't like that sound of that at all. And my fears were heightened when I found out that "Mike Thornton, a fantastic local candidate" has taken the place of someone who is going to prison for lying to everyone about his crimes. And the person who is going to prison is a multi-millionaire that owns seven properties.

I think mi Lord Ashdown would find it more beneficial to ask Mike Thornton's predecessor for some money - he won't be able to use it when he is doin 'time. And being charitable to mi Lord should give some peace of mind whilst he languishes in jail 



Thursday, 21 February 2013

John and Mary Shirt - Highfields, Sheffield


JOHN SHIRT appears in the 1851 Census. - John is living with his wife MARY in Barrack Yard in the Highfields area of Sheffield. His occupation is given as Carter. and his place of birth is Barlow, Derbyshire (the same as Mary's)

In February 2013 I went to a Vintage Craft Fair at St Marys Church, Bramall Lane Sheffield. St Marys was the local parish church for the district and I knew that JOHN and MARY were buried there from the burial records
SHIRT John 18 Mar 1853 74 London Rd
SHIRT Mary 21 Jul 1857 76 London Rd

All the gravestones were laid flat many years ago, and in fact some of the graves were removed to make way for "road improvements" But I was surprised to see laid flat on the floor near the door, a memorial to JOHN and MARY

 




I would like to know if John and Mary are still resting in St Mary's or if they were removed in the 1960's. It certainly makes you think!

Fred and May Hemsworth 1942

I received the following e-mail the other day from a researcher who lives in Calgary Alberta Canada

"I was doing some genealogical research on my grandmother, Phyllis Travis, when I came across your beautiful photo of my Auntie May and Uncle Fred Hemsworth's wedding.

My grandmother was raised as May's sister, although she was a cousin, adopted by Elizabeth Travis when her parents died just after the turn of the last century. Phyllis moved to Canada in 1918 and her daughter (my mother) moved to Scotland after WW2 to marry an RAF navigator she had met when he was training in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I was born in Scotland and many of my favourite childhood memories are of visited Auntie May and Uncle Fred in their home in Sheffield.

If you are interested I have several pictures of Fred and May taken in the mid forties to early 1950s. I have forwarded one in a seperate email to you of  the couple emerging from their bomb shelter in the back garden that they sent to my grandmother assuring her they were both well despite the German air raids on the Sheffield steel industry. The picture was taken in early 1942.

And this is the marvelous photo she sent


More information can be found at Fred and May's Page

And the shelter - the following is edited from Wikipedia

"The Anderson shelter was designed in 1938 by William Paterson and Oscar Carl (Karl) Kerrison in response to a request from the Home Office. It was named after Sir John Anderson, then Lord Privy Seal with special responsibility for preparing air-raid precautions immediately prior to the outbreak of World War II, and it was he who then initiated the development of the shelter. After evaluation by Dr David Anderson, Bertram Lawrence Hurst, and Sir Henry Jupp, of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the design was released for production.
Anderson shelters were designed to accommodate up to six people. The main principle of protection was based on curved and straight galvanised corrugated steel panels. Six curved panels were bolted together at the top, so forming the main body of the shelter, three straight sheets on either side, and two more straight panels were fixed to each end, one containing the door—a total of fourteen panels. A small drainage sump was often incorporated in the floor to collect rainwater seeping into the shelter. The shelters were 6 ft (1.8 m) high, 4 ft 6 in (1.4 m) wide, and 6 ft 6 in (2 m) long. They were buried 4 ft (1.2 m) deep in the soil and then covered with a minimum of 15 in (0.4 m) of soil above the roof. The earth banks could be planted with vegetables and flowers, that at times could be quite an appealing sight and in this way would become the subject of competitions of the best-planted shelter among householders in the neighbourhood. The internal fitting out of the shelter was left to the owner and so there were wide variations in comfort.
Anderson shelters were issued free to all householders who earned less than £250 a year, and those with a higher income were charged £7. 1.5 million shelters of this type were distributed from February 1939 to the outbreak of war. During the war a further 2.1 million were erected.
The Anderson shelters performed well under blast and ground shock, because they had good connectivity and ductility, which meant that they could absorb a great deal of energy through plastic deformation without falling apart (This was in marked contrast to other trench shelters which used concrete for the sides and roof, which were inherently unstable when disturbed by the effects of an explosion - if the roof slab lifted, the walls fell in under the static earth pressure; if the walls were pushed in, the roof would be unsupported at one edge and would fall). However, when the pattern of all night alerts became established, it was realised that in winter Anderson shelters were cold damp holes in the ground and often flooded in wet weather, and so their occupancy factor would be poor. This led to the development of the indoor Morrison shelter 
At the end of the war in Europe, households who had received an Anderson shelter were expected to remove their shelters and local authorities began the task of reclaiming the corrugated iron. Householders who wished to keep their Anderson shelter (or more likely the valuable metal) could pay a nominal fee.
Because of the large number made and their robustness, many Anderson shelters still survive. Many were dug up after the war and converted into storage sheds for use in gardens and allotments."

It looks as though Fred and May's Anderson Shelter was certainly up to scratch! 


Monday, 4 February 2013

Richard 111 - Now is the winter of our discontent"

 
 
Astounding news that the body of Richard 111 has been located in a Leicester Car Park  after lying there undisturbed since 1485. And his remains are in a remarkable state of preservation

He was the last English king to die in battle (and the only English king to do so on English soil since Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066). And of course his fame rests on the opening lines of Shakespeare's play Richard 111  
 
"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried".
 
 
 
Personally speaking I would like to see the body re-interred where they found it, after all it had been lying there for nigh on 530 years. But it appears that it is now going to be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral (which is news to me as I never knew that Leicester had a cathedral).
 
But apparently it has and full details of his re-burial can be found with this link.