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."