Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Walk in Crookes, Steel Bank and Walkley Saturday 28th February 2015



Here are the notes from the walk


Punch Bowl - Crookes

St Lukes Wesleyan Methodist Church – architect William John Hale

Although conventional in plan, the detailing of St Luke's (1899-1900) makes it stand apart from the great mass of Methodist chapels. Samuel Meggitt Johnson, Chairman of the liquorice allsort manufacturers, George Bassett & Co, covered the £4,000 cost of the chapel and adjacent Sunday school and this generous funding gave Hale greater scope in preparing his designs. He took the Perpendicular Glossary Term style favoured by chapel architects at the beginning of the twentieth century and transformed it into something quite individual - the way in which the railings reflect motifs used in the porch window lintels and in the carvings on the top of the buttresses is typical of Hale's care in detailing. The church closed in 1985 and has been converted to flats under the name Hale Court


Old Heavygate Inn - The actual pub came into being in the nineteenth century, but the building prior to that may initially have been a farmhouse and then at the beginning of the eighteenth century became a place where tolls were collected. Above the doorway to the bars is this date stone stating the year 1696 and the initials of the owners. I seem to recall the E standing for "Ellis"

On a Harrison’s map of 1637, Steel Bank is named and there's evidence of Heavygate Road already existing. The name could well predate this map and could be an ancient name that's survived. Certainly Crookes was connected to the village of Owlerton by the pack horse track which descended Walkley Lane and continued to Owlerton. 

There has been a discussion over the years as to how the building/pub got its name.  One explanation is that it is related to the name of a field adjacent to the farmhouse, and the gate that secured it. Another is that it is named after the " heavy" gate was placed across the road where tolls were collected But my preference is for this explanation. 'Gate' probably doesn't mean gate here. It's more likely to mean 'road' from Middle English derived from Old Norse 'gata'. So a 'heavy' gate is a steep road. And 'Heavygate Road' is a tautology, and the pub sign is a misunderstanding. A variation on this is that heavy means muddy or hard going and gate means road.
In the book "A Short History of Walkley" by Albert Stacey (1985) he states that.
"Later the road that went over Steel Bank became a turnpike road and a heavy gate was placed at the point where Heavygate Inn was later built. The first licensee of the Heavygate Inn was John Webster. He was keeper of the Tollgate. His family had farmed Steel Bank Farm years before. In the time before the Heavygate Inn was built in 1698 a survey was made by Harrison in 1637 and a view from Steel bank was mentioned where one could look down on the town of Sheffield....."
Sadly he does not give a source, evidence or exact dates for the above statement and so I cannot use it as a fact. But he does indicate that the "Heavygate Inn was later built" which seems to infer that the Inn replaced an earlier building. According to a 1855 map, the area is open countryside . But when the tolls were abolished in the mid-nineteenth century, it is thought that it was then that the Heavygate became a public house.  
Walkley Hall
 
The Sheffield Local Studies Library indicates that the Hall was 'probably built by William Rawson in 1600', and that it 'was demolished in 1926 to make way for the present housing estate'.

Walkley Cottage

Ruskin founded the Guild of St George in 1871 and first visited Sheffield in 1875 when the Guild founded the St George's Museum at Walkley


The museum was built to house a collection arranged by Ruskin for the people of Sheffield, including prints, plaster casts, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, books, minerals, geological specimens and coins. By 1890 the museum had outgrown the Walkley cottage and was moved to Meersbrook Park.
Henry Swan was curator of the St George's Museum between 1875 and 1890. He was the first curator of the Museum, and the only curator who served at the Walkley site.
Ruskin gave an account of his arrangement with Swan in Letter 62 (February 1876) of Fors Claverigera: 'I have appointed a curator to the Sheffield Museum, namely, Mr. Henry Swan, an old pupil of mine in the Working Men's College in London; and known to me since as an estimable and trustworthy person, with a salary of forty pounds a year, and residence. He is obliged at present to live in the lower rooms of the little house which is to be the nucleus of the museum:-- as soon as we can afford it, a curator's house must be built outside of it' (Works, 28, p. 529).
Sale of Cottage The cottage at Walkley was sold by the Guild in 1895. The rear extension was demolished, and the cottage rebuilt as a training home for young women, called Ruskin House. 
inscription above the door is from that era...GIRLS' TRAINING HOME RUSKIN HOUSE
That our daughters may be as corner stones
polished after the similitude of a palace Psalm 144:12 – The house is now flats

 At this point, the building was reorientated so that its main entrance faced southward, on to Bole Hill Road. Henceforth, the building was listed as an address on Bole Hill Road, rather than Bell Hagg Road where it was originally sited.



Sale of Land Four small plots of land near the Museum were sold in 1905 Further land was sold off for development later in the century. With the construction of new homes, Bell Hagg Road has ceased to be accessible from the old cottage 
Most of what you can see is later than Ruskin's time, from when it was the 'Naughty Girls' Home'.  

Bolehill School built 1896

Walkley Cemetery opened 1880


 Other tin chapels around at this time at Wadsley Bridge and, I'm told, around Rural Lane, Wisewood. I've also a feeling that Crookes Baptist Church, off Mulehouse Rd, also started as a tin chapel.



These are Cocked Hat Cottages, that were built around 1860. The Unwin family owned a quarry on the Bolehills and lived here. This end of the building was a stable with hay loft. The un-surfaced lane that ran by was called Cocked Hat Lane, from which the cottages took their name.


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