Friday, 18 August 2017

The Lawson Family of Green Street Sheffield - June 1920

And on the same page that the two unveiling's of the war memorials were reported, there was this report that shows another side of Sheffield after the war

It is from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 28th June 1920

Green Street does not exist anymore - in fact I have been unable to find its location. The report is unequivocal in its description of the filth and sqaulor the family were living in. But what is remarkable is the statement that the head of the household Charles Lawson made in court. He said that this kind of thing, that is "gross child neglect" had been going on for 20 years and blamed his wife for it.

If that is the case and I have no reason to doubt Mr Lawson what were the "lady inspector of nuisances" and the Town Clerk's Department doing in that twenty year period. The report infers that more than one visit was made but it appears no action was taken. A familiar story

And what did Mr Lawson do in that period - nothing according to his statement, it was all his wife's fault. But I do find that difficult to believe! He should have received a far greater sentence as the family was his responsibility and not solely his wife's.

It would be interesting to know what happened to the family. I just hope that the children were not scarred by their childhoods but I think that unlikley    


Wickersley War Memorial (Rotherham)

Whilst I was attempting to research the current location of the St Michael's (Neepsend) war memorial (see previous post) I came across this newspaper cutting from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 28th June 1920, In fact(it was adjacent to the St Michael's cutting.

But thankfully this memorial is still there and what is more a local historian has posted an excellent article on the servicemen that appear on the memorial.

Neepsend St Michael and All Angels, and Wicker Holy Trinity - War Memorial

At the prompting of a friend, I was asked if I knew anything about the whereabouts of the war memorial that was in the long demolished church of St Michael and All Angels in Neepsend Sheffield.

The excellent Sheffield Soldiers of the First World War site does have a transcription of the names on the memorial that was prepared by the vicar at the time but sadly no photograph

I was able to locate a press cutting from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 28th June 1920 which gives an account of the inauguration of the memorial in the church.

St Michael and All Angels was closed in 1952 and demolished three years later. It is believed that the war memorial was moved to the custodianship of Wicker Holy Trinity..

Wicker Holy Trinity Church still stands at the corner of Johnson Street and Nursery Street but is now The New Testament of God

I contacted the church and asked if they knew anything about the war memorial but sadly they did not.which is not really surprising. According to the National Archives the Wicker Holy Trinity church was merged with Christ Church Pitsmoor Sheffield in 1972.

If anyone can offer any further information on the whereabouts of the memorial then please contact me.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The War Dead - 1939 - 1945 War Graves Commission Statement

I came across this article in The Times dated 4th October 1945

I was unaware that requests had been made for the repatriation of the fallen both during and after World War 2. Whilst I recognise the distress and anguish that non-repatriation may cause relatives and friends of the deceased, I think that the principle of "equality of treatment" is paramount The Imperial War Graves Commission were fully justified in re-stating their position. 

Arbourthorne School (Sheffield) Class 3A, circa 1948.

The following is a a class photograph from Arbourthorne school (Sheffiled) with Ivy Hill on it (third from right, back row), The photograph was taken circa 1948.

The back of the photo says: 
Arbourthorne school Class 3A, Teacher Mr Whitham.
Back row L-R: P. Copley, M. Hopcroft, S. Stott, J.Pearson, M. Naylor, J. Marsden, I. Hill, R. Beety, B. Schofield.
Front row: P. Finlay, M. Hopkinson, M. Stimpson, J. Wheatly, S. Thompson. 

If anyone can recognise any of the pupls in the photograph please can you let me know

Saturday, 15 July 2017

A Sheffield Funeral - November 1925

I just cannnot seem to get away from involving myself in Methodist Chapels in Sheffield. The other day I sat down and read through this months edition of Grapvine Magazine and came across this photograph in the excellent column "Immortal Words." The writer Jason Heath uses archive photographs that are in the possession of his family business John Heath & Sons. and places them in a historical context.

Jason identified the location as Carver Street Methodist Chapel - the shop Runwell Cycles was opposite the main entrance. Furthermore Runwell Cycles did not start trading until 1925 which dates the photograph post 1925. Jason points out that double funerals are rare and given the presence of  fireman in full ceremonial dress concluded that the funeral was that of two of their colleagues. His great great uncle Joe officiated at the funeral - he is the man with his back to the camera checking that the coffins are steady and correctly positioned.

I did check first with the British Library Newspaper Archive but could find no instances of death in service for Sheffield firemen in the mid to late 1920's. 

I contacted Jason and referred him to the article. He confirmed that it was his firm John Heath & Sons that were the funeral directors that day. The boys' father Cllr. Melling was Chair of the Sheffield Watch Committee which would explain the presence of the ceremonial guard and the mourners were certainly dressed for a cold day in November.  

A mystery solved but whilst I was verifying the material I came across some more information about the origins and history of Carver Street Methodist Chapel. I think I might be embroiled again at sometime in the future 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Wards Pub Guide - Sheffield Best Bitter

I Have just posted a pamphlet to the site that I came across whilst going through some old booklets that I have accumulated over many years.

It is a publicity pamphlet but unlike much of the material that is produced today, the content in this booklet is both interesting and informative.

The maps are in the article. I was going to expand this pamphlet but I discovered this full history of the brewery and the people who made it on this site

I would like to know though the names of the four employees of the brewery who lost their lives in the Sheffield Blitz of December 1940. I have asked the owner of the site if he has any idea who they were but if he doesn't I will have a go at finding them. 

Thursday, 29 June 2017

St John's Wesleyan Chapel Crookes Sheffield

Whilst I was engrossed in religous matters concerning the erection of Wesleyan Chapels in Sheffield (see previous blogs) I came across references to St John's Wesleyan Chapel in Crookes. This is from the Leeds Mercury dated 23rd January 1890.

I had never heard of such a Chapel in Crookes but with a capacity of 800 it must have been a large building and prominent to boot - "one of the finest set of religious building's in Sheffield." 

A little research revealed that St John's Wesleyan Chapel in Crookes was no other than Crookes Valley Methodist Church which is situated in Crookesmoor


This report is from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 29th July 1890

The building and its adjacent premises served the people of Crookes and the surrounding district for over 100 years but it suffered a long and painful death. For many years it was derelict but it has now been converted to student flats and apartments.

The Mysterious Poisoning of Ernest Foster - Crookes. Sheffield May 1896

I've just posted an article to the site titled "The Mysterious Poisoning of Ernest Foster - Crookes. Sheffield May 1896"

It is based on an report that appeared in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Saturday 30th May 1896.

I have disagreed with the verdict but one of the more interesting parts of the report is that it was initially thought that the poisoning was due to the consumption of tinned lobster by the deceased. I was not aware that tinned lobster was available in Crookes in the late nineteenth century never mind eaten!

The other point is that that they produced the tin at the inquest at the Royal Hospital six days after it had been opened. It appears that the smell was over-powering for want of a better word! 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Death and Funeral of Pablo Fanque - Leeds May 1871

Many years ago I posted an article to the site - The Hendersons Were Not There (Neither Was Mr Kite) Sheffield 1848 which had its origins in the Beatles song "For The Benefit of Mr Kite"

Last week I received this e-mail from a researcher who came across the article and asked this question

Dear Chris
I hope you do not mind me contacting you. I have been reading your fascinating article about Pablo Fanque and I had a question about the article you posted.  You mention Wallett taking part in the funeral procession- and I wondered if that was indeed the name of his favourite horse at the time or whether it was in fact his friend W.F. Wallett?
I am researching Pablo's life and your mention of Wallett is the only one I have come across- if it is the name of his last favoured horse it would appear to be a fine tribute to his good friend!
Best wishes in advance
Grant Philpott

ps I have posted the section below for ease of reference!

2. 1871 - By the 1860’s Pablo’s circus was in decline. Pablo died on 4th May 1871 at the Britannia Inn, 22 Churchgate, Stockport, at the ripe age of seventy-five.
Churchgate, Stockport, Cheshire, 1871 (RG10/3664 4 73 19)
Pablo Fanque, lodger, 61, Norwich, Norfolk, equestrian circus proprietor
Elizabeth Fanque, lodger, 40, Sheffield, Yorkshire
George P Fanque, lodger, 17, Liverpool
Edward P Fanque, lodger, 15, Manchester
William Walker, lodger, 15, Luton, Bedfordshire, apprentice? music
Mary Walker, lodger, 13, Glasgow, Scotland, ditto, music
He had been there with his second wife, Elizabeth, and two sons, George and Ted, since at least the beginning of the previous month. Pablo’s funeral took place in Leeds Woodhouse Cemetery and was a spectacular occasion. The hearse was preceded by a band playing the ‘Dead March’, followed by Pablo’s favourite horse, Wallett, and four mourning coaches. The deceased and his horse were brought from Stockport by train, and were met by throngs of well-dressed spectators.

Thankfully I was able to answer his question - when I posted the article The British Library Newspaper Archive had not been digitalised

This is from the Leeds Times dated 13th May 1871

It appears that Wallet the horse followed the hearse but Pablo's dear friend Mr W F Wallet who the horse was named after, was detained in Hanley Staffordshire and so did not attend the funeral

Ebenezer Wesleyan Reform Chapel, Bramall Lane, Sheffield

I am starting to get worried now as this is the second time in less than a month that I have posted a blog that relates to Wesleyan Reform Chapel's. A sign from above perhaps?

But like the one I posted on the Weselyan Chapel at School Road, Crookes this does include a photograph that has not been seen before

Ebenezer Wesleyan Reform Chapel, Bramall Lane, Sheffield

This photograph appeared on the Sheffield History Forum and shows the chapel in its prime.

The above photograph was taken by a family member whilst the chapel was in the process of being demolished. I have not got an exact date but the photograph is circa 1979 - 80. I believe that the reason for the demolition apart from declining attendances was that it stood in the way of the now-fabled Bramall Lane dual-carriageway.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Crookes Post Office Sheffield

I came across this print by the Sheffield artist the late George Cunningham (1924 - 1996) showing a winters scene at Crookes Post Office with the Wesley Hall in the background together with Crookes Endowed School on the left.

I am unsure when the Post Office first opened in Crookes but it had been there for many years before closing in April 2016. The Post Office business was relocated to a store on the main road through Crookes

This photograph was taken ten years earlier in October 2006 and shows the Post Office with Wesley Hall in the background (see previous blog)

 At the time this was written the building remains unoccupied

Crookes Wesleyan Chapel, School Road, Crookes, Sheffield

The first drawing of the Crookes Wesleyan Chapel in School Road, Crookes, Sheffield. It was taken from the Wesley Hall site and shows the Chapel that was built in 1836, the first that was built in Crookes

The photograph below was taken in 1908 and shows the Chapel just before the congregation moved to Wesley Hall (1912).  

The drawing is a very good likeness apart from the sign - it states Crookes Wesleyan Chapel,whereas the photograph has the single word Wesleyan. It is the first photograph I have seen of the original Chapel

The building is still there but it is now flats and apartments  


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


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.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

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

A reader of the site and blog has sent me a newspaper cutting of an inquest that was held into the death of an eight week old baby Mary Ann Cater on 11th December 1900.

December 12th 1900
Child Overlaid by a Drunken Mother

The City Coroner, Mr. D. Wightman, held an inquest, yesterday, at the North Pole Inn, Sussex Street, concerning the death of Mary Ann Cater, the eight weeks old child of Mary and John Cater, of Canal Street.
The child was put to bed about a quarter-past ten on Saturday night. It slept with its mother and father. The
mother gave the child the breast about four o’clock on Sunday morning, and she went to sleep with the child
still sucking. When she awoke again, about quarter-past seven, the child was dead.

Dr. Arthur Hallam had made a post- mortem examination on the body, and had come to the conclusion that the child had died from suffocation. The woman had lost seven children previous to this. It was stated by several persons present, who were not, however, called as witnesses, that the woman was drunk on Saturday evening when she went to bed with the child, and though the woman denied this, the Coroner said no value was to be attached to her statement.

Inspector Stephens, who was present on behalf of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said the mother bore a very bad character for drunkenness and neglect of her children.

The jury returned a verdict that “deceased died from suffocation, but as to the cause there was not sufficient
evidence to show”.

I have dome some research on the Cater family, and it really is at times a tragic tale. I intend to post an article to the site at sometime in the future but at the moment I am trying to find a contemporary photo/illustration of Canal Street, Sheffield circa 1900. The house they lived in was a "court house" or back to back with just two rooms.which was in all likelihood a dingy, squalid hovel.

The site of the house is now occupied by a warehouse/industrial unit

A Painting by Robert Hudson (1852 - 1854)

I posted a blog on 8th February 2017 that contained the obituary of the Sheffield artist Robert Hudson.and two of his works

A reader of the blog has contacted me and asked if I know the location of a painting by Robert that he has in his possession. It is very similar in style to "The Brook in Endcliffe Park" that is held by City Museums and my guess is that the cottage is in that vicinity. But it is only a guess. If anyone can furnish me with a more specific location, I will pass it on the painting's owner

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Public Mortuary For Sheffield -7th April 1884

This is from the Sheffield Weekly Telegraph dated Saturday 12th April 1884 and refers to the opening of the new public mortuary on Monday 7th April 1884 in Plum Lane Sheffield. As you can see below the cutting is the subject of my previous blog Mr Robert Hudson

It is classic Victorian Gothic and in some places it takes some believing that this is how the dead (and the living) were treated in late Victorian Sheffield. 

To date I have not be able to locate a photo of this mortuary on Plum Lane

Robert Hudson - A Sheffield Artist (1852 - 1884)

This is from the Sheffield Weekly Telegraph dated 12th April 1884. I knew nothing about Robert or his work until I found this rather sad obituary.

It appears that he was a talented artist and his work has been acquired by a number of museums. Here are two of his paintings - the first is the brook in Endcliffe Park Sheffield and the second is the church at Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Actions of a Bum-Balliff and the Death of Hugh Saville - Broad Lane, Sheffield 1890

I have just posted an article to the site regarding the death of a 44 year old labourer Hugh Saville at 125 Broad Lane, Sheffield on November 23rd 1890

 The sub-title is "A remarkable case of self-destruction and a wretched story of misery and want". And indeed it was. It received coverage in the local and regional press and the inquest was reported in detail. This cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post dated 27th November 1890

A few points emerged out of it, one of which was the lack of information about the Sheffield Public Mortuary on Plum Lane. It was approximately adjacent to the Museum pub on Leopold Street and was part of the Sheffield Medical School. This is where this inquest and many others were held in the late nineteenth century but there seems to be very little research about the institution.


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Russian Edna's Last Customer - High Hazels Park Tinsley Sheffield March 1954

I've just posted an article on the death of Melanie Birch aka Russian Edna who was murdered in High Hazels park Tinsley Sheffield in March 1954

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Mercury dated Wednesday 24th March 1954

The death and the ensuing court case had a couple of interesting aspects and I must admit that I was surprised at the verdict given by the jury.

The other point of note is that Russian Edna is buried as Melanie Birch in Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery. Buried in the same section of the Cemetery, is another Sheffield "character", a certain Billy Foulke. 

Christopher and Louisa Green - Scargill Croft Sheffield 1900

I have just received these two local newspaper reports. They relate to the deaths of a married couple Christopher and Louisa Green who died three months apart in 1900. They both committed suicide by drinking spirits of salts (hydrocloric acid)

April 10th 1900
The Sheffield Coroner held an inquest at the George and Dragon Inn, Bank Street, this morning, on the body of Louisa Green, aged 39 years, wife of Christopher Green, labourer, of 17, Scargill Croft, who died on Sunday, from the effects of poison. Deceased had been a fairly healthy woman, but addicted to drink. Recently she complained of pains in the head, and said, “she wished she was dead”. On Friday night, whilst intoxicated, she drank about two ounces of spirits of salts, which she and her husband used for cleaning old medicine bottles. She did not tell anyone about it, and was somewhat better the next day. On Sunday she was taken ill, and went to bed at nine o’clock in the morning. Two hours later she told her husband what she had taken, and said she wished she had not done so. She also told her mother-in-law that no one was to blame but herself. She died shortly afterwards. It was stated that, when in drink, deceased had remarked she would drown herself, and on two previous occasions had drank some of these salts. She had been rather depressed lately, owing to being unable to get another house.
The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane”.

July 23th 1900
An inquest was held at the Sheffield Royal Infirmary this afternoon, by the City Coroner, on the body of Christopher Green, aged 37 years, labourer, of Scargill Croft, who died in the institution from the effects of poison. The deceased was a hard drinker and on Wednesday afternoon came into the house intoxicated. He went upstairs and shortly afterwards shouted for his mother. He told her he had drunk some spirits of salts, which he used for cleaning old medicine bottles. He was removed to the infirmary and died on Friday night. The deceased’s wife committed suicide a few months ago by taking spirits of salts. Since his wife’s death the deceased had been in very low spirits and had threatened to take his own life.
The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane”.

What is noteworthy about the couple is that they were related to Maria Laycock. Maria and her four children were murdered by their father Joseph in White Croft, Sheffield in July 1884. It was Sheffield's worst case of multiple murder.

I posted most of the details in the article Murder at White Croft - The Aftermath  An article on the tragedy itself can be found at Murder at White Croft. As one of their descendents pointed out, they do seem a rather dysfunctional family.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

The mother, the medium and the murder that changed the law - Frederick Nodder 1937

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I received the news that an article I had assisted on had made it to the main pages of the BBC News website. 

The journalist who wrote the article mailed this  

"The story went up this morning and I was pleased to see how much made it through the editorial process. It has made it on to the news front page.

Many thanks for your invaluable help.

Any questions and comments, don’t hesitate to get in touch."

I posted the article on "The Execution of Frederick Nodder 1937" many years ago. Apart from an excellent account of the trial(s) in the Famous British Trials series of books, there was very little on-line or in print about the murder and the main protaganists.

A few years after the article was posted, I was able to trace Nodder back to his birth in Sheffield in 1887 which no-one had done before. 

As I said at the end "Frederick Nodder, the abductor and murderer of Mona Tinsley in Newark was a resident of Sheffield for much of his life - I wonder what his brothers, sisters and extended family thought of his actions?. It would be interesting to find out"

I never have.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Death of Patrick and Beatrice Conroy's child - June Sheffield 1953.

I have just posted an article to the site concerning The Death of Patrick and Beatrice Conroy's child - June Sheffield 1953.

The  papers relating to this case will not be released until 2029 under the 75 year rule, and so I have had to piece together events from newpaper reports. It is quite an unusual case inasmuch as it started out with a charge of concealing a birth and ended up with the parents of the child being tried and convicted for murder at West Riding Assizes in December 1953.

The following cutting is from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Mercury dated 2nd December 1953

I was also able to use the cutting for an article I posted many years ago  - Death on Longley Crescent Sheffield 1953. which concerned the death of 25 year old John Hall at the hands of his father Charles. The difference between the two cases is staggering but the final penality was the same

Trees Planted Round Western Road Council School Sheffield April 1919

The following is from the Sheffield Independent dated 5th April 1919 and refers to the planting of trees on Western Road/Gilott Street. They were to serve as a memorial for the former pupils of Western Road Council School who served their country in the Great War. 64 of those former pupils never returned


The teachers and scholars of Western Road Council School have adopted an excellent method of perpetuating the memory of former pupils who have served in the war.  Around the school in Western Road and Gillott Street 97 trees are being planted, sycamore and plane trees alternately in the former road and various trees in the latter.
A tablet will be placed outside on the school wall bearing the inscription:  “The trees in Western Road and Gillott Street were planted in grateful appreciation of the part taken by former pupils of this school in the great war 1914-1919.”  Later a carved oak tablet bearing the names of those pupils who fell in the war will be placed in the central hall of the school.  Altogether 401 boys from the school served in the war, 64 were killed, and 12 gained distinctions.
The first ceremony, the tree planting, took place yesterday afternoon preceded by a gathering in the school over which Councillor J. Kaye presided.  He said he considered it a magnificent scheme and impressed the boys with the necessity of seeing that the trees were kept free from damage.
Rev. V. W. Pearson delivered an address in the course of which he told the boys and girls that one of the things they could do for the service done for them by those whose memories they commemorated was to try to make England a place better worth living in.
Patriotic songs were well sung by the scholars, conducted by Mr. W. H. Cotton, head-master. And afterwards the scholars, with flags flying marched into the road where the trees were planted by Miss M. Maxfield, Rev. V. W. Pearson, Councillor J. Kaye, Messrs T. W. Quine, I. H. Morris, W. H. Cotton, Miss Hassall and Miss Corner, and the top boy or girl of each class.  The singing of more patriotic songs brought the ceremony to a close.

Nearly one hundred years later, this war memorial is to be decimated by the agents of Sheffield City Council. Whilst I admit the issue is a complex one, it should never be forgotten what these trees represent. All those concerned in the proposed destruction of this memorial should take this on-board but I feel somehow they won't

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Makers of Crookes, Sheffield - A Walk on Saturday, 7th January 2017

I received this information today from Brian Holmshaw about a heriatge walk that is he is leading in Crookes this Saturday. 

"I know that you have a particular interest in Crookes and wanted to mention a walk I’m hosting in Crookes this Saturday. They are part of a series of heritage walks focussing on industrial and social history to co-incide with Year of Making Sheffield, one each in different suburbs of Sheffield. So far I’ve covered Neepsend, Little Sheffield, Hunter’s Bar and Heeley in the autumn. Crookes is planned for this Saturday, with Shalesmoor and the Antiques Quarter planned for February.

I have already let Anne Marples, and the folks at Crookes Forum and Walkley Forum know about it. But if you know of others that might be interested locally then please let them know."