Wednesday 13 March 2024

The Suicide of Lawrence Sanderson - Sheffield 1922

 The following press cutting appeared in the Gloucester Chronicle dated Saturday 4th November 1922

There is a distinct lack of Information in the cutting apart from the fact that the inquest took place in Sheffield on Wednesday 3rd November 1922 and that the father was called Charles Sanderson.

But the report in the People (6th November 1922) the following day certainly was an eye-opener. It appears that Lawrence has shot himself by the roadside and that the first thing the parents knew was when it was flashed up on a cinema screen at the cinema they were visiting.

It is unbelievable that this could happen but happen it did.

Unusually I have been unable to find any information on the family. I do not know what an "asylum pensioner" was but I can only guess that the father Charles Sanderson was suffering from a long-term disability that restricted his ability to find work. This may have been as a result of injuries sustained in the Great War - why else would Charles Sanderson still have a revolver in his possession.   

Bray Street Darnall Sheffield

 I came across this photograph showing the backyard of a house in Bray Street Darnall

It was taken I believe in 1940 and shows an excellent Anderson Shelter and the proud owners. 

Bray Street was the home of my grandmothers aunt and uncle Joseph and Jane Sanby, In fact Joseph died at 48 Bray Street in April 1910, thirty years before this photograph was taken.

The second photograph shows Bray Street Darnall Sheffield in 1966 - the whole street was demolished soon after and is now just a meaningless cul-de-sac


Shiregreen Cemetery - Sheffield March 2024 - An update

 On 23rd March 2022 I posted a blog on the events that had taken place in Shiregreen Cemetery Sheffield.

A report on a newsfeed gave an update to the current state of affairs. I should add the newsfeed does tend to use over-emotive language to describe the current state of play but that unfortunately is the norm nowadays.  

" Outrage over a 37 ton marble gravestone, dedicated to the ‘King of Sheffield’ in Shiregreen Cemetery continues, almost two years after it was unveiled.

The grave marks the resting place of Willy Collins, known to some as the ‘King of Sheffield’. A spat between the council and traveller family began in March 2022 when Sheffield council confirmed that the grave was erected without planning permission. The monument is said to be made of a whopping 37 tons of solid Carrara marble and features a solar-powered jukebox which plays his favourite tunes, as well as flashing LED lights and a lifesize 6ft 2in statue of Willy himself.

Believed to have cost around £200,000, the tribute ‘fit for a king’ also features four flagpoles and a marble bench, as well as depictions of Jesus Christ and biblical scenes. The private plot, which is thought to be one of the largest graves in the UK, was unveiled in March 2022 after the 49-year-old died when he collapsed on holiday in Majorca in July 2020.

A month after his death, hundreds of people came out to attend the funeral of the bare knuckle boxer, who was very well known in the Darnall area of Sheffield. Despite its whopping cost and size, the imposing marble structure was branded an “eyesore” when it was unveiled, with some left questioning how the “monstrosity” was ever allowed to be built, while other mourners expressed their frustration after they were told they weren’t allowed to put up small picket fences around graves for their loved ones. 

The council currently has “no further updates” on the removal of the grave, despite saying in March 2022 that they were “considering” their “next steps” - which prompted Willy’s family to warn that there “would be war” if the memorial was touched. This saw the family hire a security guard to monitor the colossal shrine, with Willy's widow threatening "very bad riots" if the council touched it. 

But during Yorkshire Live’s visit to Shiregreen Cemetery in February 2024, the grave remains in its full form and could be spotted from far away, standing significantly taller than all of the graves.

A spokesperson for Sheffield City Council said: “We are currently trying to address this situation and there are no other updates to report at the moment.” The council confirmed that the grave was built "without permission" in March 2022, saying that it exceeds the maximum dimensions permitted for a grave site, and that they were “considering” their “next steps”.

Councillor Alison Teal, executive member for sustainable neighbourhoods, wellbeing, parks and leisure, said: "We are aware of a large memorial which has been erected in Shiregreen Cemetery. This memorial was built without permission and we are currently considering our next steps.

"Cemeteries are a place where people can come, pay their respects and visit loved ones who are no longer with us. We understand memorials are deeply personal, however we must have rules in place to ensure fairness."

People of Sheffield were quick to share their opinions on the Shiregreen Cemetery grave after it was unveiled, with some branding it an ‘eyesore’ and ‘monstrosity’ while other mourners shared their frustration that they’ve not even been able to have a picket fence put up around graves for their loved ones.

Sharon Jones wrote: “How has something this big been allowed when people aren't even allowed a little picket fence or similar around plots,” while Rosy Ashton said: “My son is buried in Wisewood cemetery and we were ordered to take down a small stone trim around his grave. One rule for some and another rule for others.”

Catherine Elizabeth also took to Facebook to say: “He's allowed THAT, but the rest can't even put a tiny border in front of a normal headstone!”

Jackie Wilson wrote: “So the Cemetery will now be invaded by sightseers. "I'm sure other mourners will appreciate it ! How insensitive and tacky.”

As I stated in the first blog there has been a constant stream of stories over the years of Sheffield City Council imposing harsh and in many cases unnecessary regulation on the bereaved families.

Yesterday I located this article dated 13th October 1996 which demonstrates the alacrity with which Sheffield City Council deal with transgressions in its municipal cemeteries.   

Sadly this alacrity seems to have deserted the council in the matter of Willy Collins last resting place. Two years on there are no further updates but Councillor Alison Teal, executive member for sustainable neighbourhoods, wellbeing, parks and leisure, did confirm that the Council are aware of a large memorial which has been erected in Shiregreen Cemetery. "This memorial was built without permission and we are currently considering our next steps". "Cemeteries are a place where people can come, pay their respects and visit loved ones who are no longer with us. We understand memorials are deeply personal, however we must have rules in place to ensure fairness."

Well I can honestly say that I cannot see any evidence of fairness at all. Sheffield City Council have not taken any meaningful action in nearly two years which is so unlike their normal stance when it comes to enforcing sanctions against miscreants. I wonder why this is? 

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Tom Robinson - Walkley Cemetery Sheffield 1908

 I have just come across this receipt that appeared on an auction site. It dates from 1908 and relates to the purchase of a grave at Sheffield's Walkley Cemetery,

The purchaser of the grave is one Tom Robinson of 161 Howard Road Walkley who paid the sexton J Bingham £3.12s.0d for the plot. Mr Bingham appears in an article I posted to the site in April 2022 and was regarded at the time of his death in 1917 as being one of the most respected men in Walkley.

The price Tom Robinson paid in 1908 is roughly the equivalent of £300 in today's money.

Section G is at the bottom of the main path in the cemetery and is is where my great grandparents and other family members are buried.

Joseph Jonas - Paul Gutheinz - An update

In March 2021 I was contacted by a writer who was authoring a book on Paul Gutheinz (1875 – 1941), He was related to Paul Mauser in Oberndorf / Germany, who had worked (as a bookkeeper) for Joseph Jonas in the years 1892 to 1897.

The writer had come across my article on Sir Joseph Jonas who had what could be called an "interesting life" and was a leading figure in late C19th and early C20th century Sheffield

The author has just contacted me and said the book has now been published (including English translation). Here are the details.

This is the front cover  of the book and full information can be found at a dedicated website 

The book costs 29 EUR + 17 EUR for shipping, in total 46 EUR, which would be around 39 GBP.


Monday 26 February 2024

Defacing Walls - Sheffield July 1909

The following cutting is from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 27th July 1909 and it appears in the Letters section of the paper.

I must admit I had a wry smile when I came across it - I wonder what he would have thought of todays "graffiti artists" and "taggers"!   

It appears that boys and youths were in the habit of using chalk on public buildings in Sheffield and this had raised concerns amongst the papers readership about the disfigurement of the said walls..

However NEMO the writer of the letter has upped the concern by referring to another form of "mural decoration" that of spitting. He adds that the main target is Sheffield Town Hall which was only opened 12 years earlier and raised fears that the newly constructed Post Office in Fitzalan Square will suffer a similar fate.

His solution - warning notices, the installation of spittoons and a dedicated striking for matches is admirable but I feel would have had little impact given that humans are creatures of habit. 

Friday 23 February 2024

Thirty-four Years On - The Grand Hotel Sheffield March 1950

This cutting is from the Sheffield Telegraph dated 13th March 1950.  

The print is not the best but the phrase "but looking at you the years drop away, and I remember you as you were" is a very apt caption. 

Mr James Henderson F.C.A. - A Sheffield Philanthropist

I came across this article in The Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated Friday 17th October 1930 that appeared under the "Who's Who in Sheffield" section.

Well, I have never heard of him but when you read the narrative you wonder why you never did. 

His family connection is also interesting - his brother in law Sir Harry Johnston has an interesting entry in Wikipedia

"Explorer, colonial administrator and artist Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston studied painting at the Royal Academy Schools from 1876. From 1879, he travelled through Africa as a painter, natural history collector and journalist, journeying through Tunis, Angola and along the Congo River. He joining the consular service in 1885 and spent three years administering a British protectorate in eastern Nigeria. He later obtained treaties on which the UK based claims to Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He later became the first British Commissioner in Malawi and published some 40 books on African subjects. Knighted in 1896, he was Consul General in Tunis for two years and then Special Commissioner in Uganda from 1899 to 1901".

Tuesday 2 January 2024

View From A Hill - Tuesday 2nd January 2024 - Sheffield

This blog is now over thirteen years old - the first blog was posted on Wednesday 17th November 2010. And this is the 657th blog in that period. A rough calculation means that on average I post about fifty blogs a year, or one a week  

Last year 2023 I posted thirty-four blogs which was below average but that has been the case in five of the last six years. It was only in 2020 that I posted in excess of fifty and that was the year I was put under house imprisonment by the UK government. 

I still enjoy posting material that catches my eye and so I have no intentions of retiring even though I am well past retirement age. 

And so a big thanks to the many readers who have contacted me in the last year, I have been able to update a few of the earlier articles on my website with new information and that is always a pleasurable and rewarding experience.  

And so all that remains is to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year

Friday 22 December 2023

Death on Wentworth Street, Netherthorpe, Sheffield - May 1900

Wentworth Street in the Netherthorpe district of Sheffield no longer exists. The terraced houses that lined this street were demolished in the late 1950's and replaced by the tower blocks that look over what is no known as the Ponderosa.

It was a vibrant working class area in the early C20th and my research into my ancestry showed that my great grandfathers eldest brother William Sanby and his family lived there for a time.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 15th May 1900 carried this report of a tragic incident that led to the appalling death of a six year old boy Frederick Burton.

The verdict of "accidental death" was a forgone conclusion and possibly was the only verdict the jury could return. But it does seem rather inadequate. The collision with the wall does seem a pure accident but there is nothing accidental about the defective condition of the wall and the fact that is had been neglected for a "considerable" time. The rider also pointed to the fact that it was the responsibility of the city authorities and inferred that they had been negligent in this respect.

It is a shame that negligence did not feature in the verdict

Frederick is buried in a grave in Sheffield's City Road Cemetery - Sheffield Indexers

Burton, Eliza (Widow, age 76). 
     Died at 5 Wood Fold; Buried on June 17, 1933 in General Portion ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Burton, Fredk. (Child, age 6).
     Died at 14 Wentworth St; Buried on May 15, 1900 in Unconsecrated ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Burton, James (Clerk, age 62).
     Died at 97 Hoyle St; Buried on November 29, 1904 in Unconsecrated ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
McDermott, Sarah (Widow, age 78).
     Died at 48 Summer St; Buried on November 14, 1901 in Unconsecrated ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. 


Edward Pope and the murder of Henry Watts - Greenhill Sheffield February 1939 - An Update

 About three months ago I posted an article to the site the covered the death of Henry Watts in Greenhill Sheffield in February 1939. The tag line was "It would be difficult to imagine a more clearer case of murder."

The assailant Edward Pope was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging at Leeds Assizes. The jury did pass a recommendation for mercy which the trial judge forwarded to the appropriate authorities for consideration.

After due consideration Edward Pope was reprieved and his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. It was clear that Edward was suffering from a form of paranoia but he did not meet the threshold for a defence of insanity.

The 1939 National Register has him as an inmate at Maidstone Gaol but three years later his probate record shows that he died on 8th June 1942 at Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight. He was 49 years old 

His effects that he left to his widow Winifred amounted to £15000 in todays money. But it is looks as though Edward did not receive any meaningful treatment for his mental condition(s). Parkhurst had and probably still does have a reputation for being one of the toughest prisons in the UK. I would think that any treatment Edward did receive would be purely incidental. And I think that it would be very unlikely that he would have received any visits from family given the wartime restrictions that were in force in the Isle of Wight.       

Monday 18 December 2023

The Sad Death of William Drabble - Sheffield September 1930

I came across this report from the Manchester Guardian dated Saturday 4th October 1930

I was a bit puzzled by this report at first. The resumed inquest took place on Friday 3rd October 1930 and it states that William was found dead on the morning of Thursday last week which would have been Thursday 25th September 1930. His trip to London was on Saturday 20th September 1930 and he returned the next day Sunday the 21st.

He must have been absent from work from Saturday the 20th until Wednesday the 24th because when he did arrive at work on Thursday the 25th he found a letter on his desk suspending him from his post pending a full explanation for his absence. 

This evidently was the final straw for William who then shot himself in the basement of the shop. Of course this does beg the question of why a loaded gun was available to William at the time. Did he keep it at the shop or did he take it from home with the intention of killing himself at the shop.

This is a copy of William's burial record from the Sheffield Indexers site - the location of the shop is vague on the record. It is also worth noting that William was buried just 2 days after his sad and untimely death 

 REVILL, William Reginald Drabble (Manager, age 35). Died at 42 Steesan? St; Buried on September 27, 1930 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 10466, Section P of Abbey Lane Cemetery, Sheffield. Plot Owner: of . Page No 142