Monday, 27 December 2021

Alexander Stacey (1834-1897)- A Sheffield Impresario

 I was going to post an article to the website relating to this cutting that is from The Era dated 16th January 1897. It concerns the death of Mr Alexander Stacey at his home 122 Upperthorpe, Sheffield.

But there is an excellent site that concentrates on the historic photographs of historic theatres and the Lyceum is one of them and so I decided that I would just post Alexander's obituary to the blog and leave it at that.

The house where Alexander and his family lived in Upperthorpe is still there


Women's Screams Cost Man's Life - Sheffield October 1928

 I came across this report in The Manchester Guardian dated 31st October 1928 quite a few years back

On the face of it it looks as though it would be worth an article on the website. But there is a major problem - there is a total dearth of information in the report - there are no names, no locations, no identifying features: absolutely nothing beyond the fact that the inquest was held in Sheffield on 30th October 1928 and that the victim was a Corporation employee.

I tried the British Newspaper Archive for the period in question and there were no reports at all. Well none that I could locate.

And it got me to think whether or not this incident ever happened. It has all the hallmarks of a spoof or prank  probably initiated by some reporter(s) who were short on copy at the time of publication. Apart from the lack of information I doubt if a Coroner would use the phrases at the foot of the report.

I may be incorrect in my assumption - if so please let me know

Friday, 24 December 2021

Xmas Day in the Sheffield Workhouse 1883

The following report is from the Sheffield Independent dated 26 December 1883

"The inmates of the above Workhouse were yesterday provided with their Christmas treat. It consisted, as usual, of the substantial dinner of roast beef and plum pudding. A pint of beer was allowed for everyone except the imbeciles and children. They has coffee, as also did everyone who preferred it. The total number of inmates in the house this Christmas is 1334... after dinner they were briefly and suitably addressed by the Chairman (Ald. Hunter). The inmates were then dismissed to their various wards to pass the afternoon in recreation, various friends having kindly sent a quantity of illustrated papers and books for their use. `the old people were supplied with tobacco and snuff and the children with oranges. An excellent tea was given them, and to-day (Wed) there will be a magic lantern entertainment kindly supplied by Mr Rodgers. The Sheffield Pillow Mission sent their usual Christmas present of a letter and illustrated card to each inmate."

It is  a rather sobering thought that "the number of inmates in the house" that Xmas Day was 1334, but it elicited no comment from the reporter. The other point of note is the reference to "The Sheffield Pillow Mission." I have never heard of this organisation before and so I can only speculate that it was tied in with some form of Methodism or Non-conformism. 

Monday, 20 December 2021

The Suitcase of a Gentleman - Sir Joseph Jonas Sheffield

 In July 2021 I was contacted by a reader of my site and blog who stated

"I am clearing out some items, one of which is a lovely crocodile effect gentleman’s suitcase.  It is generally very good condition with many of the original accessories, some with silver tops and antique ivory handles etc. The front of the suitcase has JONAS on one lock and SHEFFIELD on the other.  I googled this and came up with your fascinating article on Sir Joseph Jonas.

I was about to put the suitcase on Ebay but perhaps there is a better home for it in a museum or at the Jonas Hotel?"

It was a fascinating find and I attempted to put the reader in touch with descendents of Sir Joseph who had contacted me in the past. But they eventually must have decided to place the case on Ebay. It had a starting price bid of £250GBP and I was slightly tempted to buy a piece of Sheffield history. But on reflection the handle was detached and the contents looked incomplete and it would have cost me more money to renovate it. In the end I decided that it just was not worth it. Infortunately I do not know if the case sold and what price it fetched but it is still an interesting item       

St Michael and All Angels church Neepsend Sheffield - Location

 In September 2017 I posted an article to the blog relating to the missing was memorial at St Michael's and All Angels church in Neepsend Sheffield.

Sad to say that the war memorial is still missing but a friend read the blog and kindly sent me a map of where the church stood. It faced Neepsend Lane and from the map it looks as though it backed onto houses on Percy Street.

Neepsend Lane and Percy Street are still there but there is very little left from the early C20th.  

Stanley Woolass's present 1915

 Quite a few years ago I posted an article to the website relating to the life and tragic death of Ralph Skelton Woolass. Ralph was a fighter pilot in WW2 and was on a channel sweep on 16th April 1942 when his Spitfire was shot down by a Me109 off Cap de la Hague in Northern France.

His brother kindly assisted me with additional information in 2013 which I placed on the blog 

Last week a reader of the site sent me three images

They stated that they had " bought a book in a charity shop. The book is a 1912 RL Stevenson book and is presented to Stan Woolass from a friend in 1915 with a Latin quotation. In hoc signo vinces" 

NB For those readers of the blog that are not conversant with Latin it conventionally translates into English as "In this sign thou shalt conquer". The sign means The Cross

I was wondering whether this is the Stanley Woolass who was the father father of Ralph. The dates seem to match up. If it is Ralph’s father, he will have been 23 Years old at the time he received the book."

Although I cannot be certain I think that on the balance of possibilities the book was gifted to Ralph's father. A very interesting find  

Thursday, 9 December 2021

The Grave of Ada Bradley - Wadsley Churchyard Sheffield

Many years ago I posted an article to the site relating to the brutal murder in Sheffield of nurse Ada Bradley (April 1923)

In December 2021 I was asked by a friend if I knew where Ada was buried in Wadsley Churchyard. Quite a few years ago I did attempt to find the grave based on the photograph that was taken at the time of Ada's funeral but without a grave reference it was a thankless task. I was put in touch with volunteers at Wadsley Church who kindly undertook some research into the location of Ada's grave.

This is their reply

"I looked up the grave then and found the only candidate was a grave plot just in the name of Bradley AA82/2 in the 1921 to 1933 section adjacent Prescott Road. It is unusual not to have a christian name in our grave plot records and there is no headstone. 
There is one other possible grave plot, EE46/3 in the 1908 to 1921 section adjacent Vainer Road. This is the grave of Mary Bradley and then Joe H Bradley. Ada`s sister and grandfather?? If Ada was a subsequent burial in this grave she is much more likely to have been unrecorded in the grave plot records. Again no headstone so I have no other information.

My records are based on the grave plot registers. The only other avenue is to check the burial registers which are in Sheffield Archives. As you have Ada`s funeral date this is very easy to find. The entries do not usually mention the grave plot number but there is a tiny chance. Either way there is no headstone to add to your story.

To find AA82/2 enter from Prescott Road and go down the edge of the field to the 22nd row below the path. Bradley plot with no headstone is 3 plots from the boundary wall. We have ten Bradley grave plots in total, 5 with headstones, but I assume you are not interested in them"

A disappointing end to the search and also a surprising one. Given the cruel nature of Ada's death and the very large crowds who attended the funeral I would have expected a headstone or similar memorial but there is none to be found.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Richard Johnson and the Atlas Lodge of the Sheffield Equalised Druids

I came across this entry in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated Saturday January 24th 1904 which refers to the death of a Mr Richard Johnson at the Cross Scythes Hotel Totley;Sheffield and his funeral that took place two days earlier.

Apart from noting that Richard had worked for 40 years at the firm of Messrs. Bury of Penistone Road Sheffield, it also states that Richard was Treasurer for Atlas Lodge of the Equalised Druids in Sheffield for 22 years. 

I have never heard of the Atlas Lodge of the Equalised Druids in Sheffield. The Ancient Order of Druids still exist and is still a viable organisation.  


However there is an old thread on the Sheffield Forum dating from 2007 that gives a bit more information about the organisation

"White's 1919/20 Directory suggests that there were 2 different kinds of 'Druids' in Sheffield. As well as the "Equalized District Order" in Queen Street (Mr Short already secretary) there is...
Sheffield Equalized Independent Druids (Isaac Wright, general sec.), at 35 & 37 Suffolk Road.
I wonder if the 'Idependent' means there had been a split in the Order, with this being a 'breakaway' group.

I also found these in the Sheffield Local Register (digest of local news stories up to 1908 )
12 Oct 1891 - The Druids’ Society: Sheffield Equalised District decides by 9018 votes to 282 to secede from the order [this secession allowed on 26 Feb 1892]
8 Aug 1892 - First Quarterly meeting of the Sheffield Independent Druids; secession completed.
9 May 1898 - Half-yearly meeting of the Sheffield Equalised Independent Druids. Membership, 21,134; capital, £72,723. 12s. 10¾d....

 There are lots of other mentions of both organisations. It seems that the Independent Druids (and possibly their rivals) were running into financial problems after 1900 when outgoings were exceeding income by substantial ammounts"

The Sheffield Indexers state that Richard is buried in Grave Number 25, Section C of Walkley Cemetery Cemetery alongside his wife Emma

JOHNSON, Emma (~, age 66). Died at 40 Woollen Lane; Buried on June 6, 1897 in ~ ground;

Grave Number 25, Section C of Walkley Cemetery Cemetery, Nichols Rd  Page No 36

JOHNSON, Richard (~, age 70). Died at Cross Scythes Hotel Totley; Buried on January 21, 1904 in ~ ground;      Grave Number 25, Section C of Walkley Cemetery Cemetery, Nichols Rd Page No 45

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Beauchief & Abbey Dale Railway Station Sheffield

I came across the postcard showing the Manchester Express roaring through Beauchief & Abbey Dale Railway Station Sheffield. Unfortunately the card is not dated but the indications are that the station was still in use, The Wikipedia entry quoted below states that the station closed on New Years day 1961 

"The station was built by the Midland Railway in 1870 and was designed by the company architect John Holloway Sanders.

The station served the communities of Beauchief, Woodseats and Ecclesall and was situated on the Midland Main Line between Millhouses railway station and Dore & Totley station, near Abbeydale Road South in Abbeydale. The station was originally called Abbey Houses and later Beauchief & Abbey Dale station.

The station was opened on the site of Hutcliffe Mill at the same time as the main line from Chesterfield. At opening it had two platforms, but this was increased to four with the widening which took place between 1901 and 1903. It closed on 1 January 1961. The stationmasters house survives as a private residence and the nearby Abbeydale Station Hotel was renamed the Beauchief Hotel. In 2018 the hotel site was redeveloped as apartments.

Photographs of the stationmasters house taken in March 2011

Sheffield Telegraph dated 25th May 2017 had this report on the development of the site. 

"Proposals to create a development of 30 properties on the site of the former hotel and restaurant on Abbeydale Road South are recommended for approval at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

The scheme would involve creating six two-bedroom apartments in the existing hotel building, as well as putting up a new block of 12 two-bedroom flats and 12 detached homes.

A report to councillors said just five objections had been received since the plans were lodged. Reasons for opposition included the impact on air quality, and fears the proposal would ‘overdevelop’ the site. Neighbours also claimed the character of the old hotel building itself would be affected.

However, the report said: “The extension to the main hotel has been amended to ensure that the new development does not detract from the distinct character and appearance of the original hotel. The extension and hotel are both four floors in height; however, as the ground levels fall away to the rear of the existing hotel, the overall height of the extension is significantly lower than the original building.

The site was a ‘sustainable location’ and the layout was ‘reflective of the wider area’, officers added.

“The proposal involves a range of different house types that have been designed to ensure the living conditions are of a good standard.”

Officers also accepted the outcome of a review that concluded offering affordable homes ‘would not be financially viable’.

“It is considered that the applicant has proposed a good quality housing scheme,” said the report.

Brocco Street Netherthorpe Sheffield

Brocco Street was where my great grandparents Edwin and Mary Sanby (nee Broomhead) began their married lives together and started raising a family in 1879. They were living next door to my great great grandfather Edward Broomhead who was a widower by then

This photograph was taken in 1902 and shows Brocco Street looking up from Edward Street towards Solly Street. The district name was Netherthorpe.

Sixty years later in 1960 Brocco Street as a residential area had disappeared being replaced by small scale commercial and industrial units

And sixty years later in 2020 it is now a student quarter

I suppose the photographs mirror the changes that have occurred in Sheffield over the last 140 years but I feel there is a constant theme running through all three photographs - the dire quality of the buildings that have been erected on the street. "Nihil (umquam) mutatur" as they used to say!


Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Ebeneezer Elliott (1781 - 1849) - Upperthorpe Sheffield

There is quite a lot of information on-line and in-print relating to Ebeneezer Elliott (1781 - 1849) but the other month I came across a postcard of his house in the Upperthorpe district of Sheffield. He lived at this address from 1834 until his retirement in 1841 after which he moved to Great Houghton near Barnsley. 

He is also remembered by a statue that is located in Sheffield's Weston Park

Photograph taken August 2012