Tuesday 23 October 2012

Off The Shelf Festival - Sheffield 2012

Old Dog and New Tricks spring to mind. When our book was launched in April, our publisher asked if we would be interested in giving talk(s) on the said book. We agreed and it was arranged that we would do three talks in the Autumn at Sheffield's Off The Shelf Festival 

After quite a bit of thought and research during the summer I brought together a presentation that I thought would illustrate the main themes in the book, as well as engage those people who attended the talks.

Now rather foolishly I anticipated that not many people would be interested in C19th Sheffield history and even less so in the ramblings of a middle-aged man in such matters. Hope wrong can you be. The first talk at Firth Park library on a Monday afternoon in mid October attracted around 60 people, none of whom walked out. And the second took place at Sheffield's Central Library last night and attracted over 100!. 

Now for someone who has spent his life avoiding public speaking and the like, I should have found the prospect daunting and nerve-racking but the opposite was the case. Even when the PA system packed up last night half way through the talk I just carried on as though nothing had happened.  

The presentation was well received and we did receive some favourable comments about the talk and its contents afterwards.   

I am certainly glad that I agreed to do the talks but I honestly thought that they would only attract a few people at best. I have one other at Crystal Peaks library on Thursday 8th November 2012 at 2.00 and I must say that I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

English Mother Dies on Son's Grave - DEATH THROUGH GRIEF

From the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated September 1925

Came across the following newspaper cutting purely by chance - it certainly makes you stop and think!

I managed to find one of her sons through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database -

Rank: Lieutenant
Date of Death:     27/03/1918 - Age:     35
Regiment/Service: East Yorkshire Regiment  11th Bn.

Additional Information:  - Son of Frederick John and Alice Augustine James, late of Seaview, Isle of Wight.

Childen's Train on the Air - 1946

Whilst I was researching a murder case the other day, I came across the following article in the Sheffield Telegraph from 1946.

Nowadays, a day's outing to Cleethorpes would be looked upon with disdain but for the 500 children who went on the train in the summer of 1946 it must have been a wonderful if not magical experience.

You tend to forget the hardship and at times the fear that the children must have suffered in the preceding six years whilst the country was at war. For many it would have been their first glimpse of a beach and the sea.
It's importance in showing "that life was getting back to normal" was demonstrated by the fact that the BBC were covering and recording the event. I wonder if the footage still exists?

The other praiseworthy note in the article is that they were accompanied on their trip by volunteer teachers. 

Of course such trips would not be possible today - 500 children on a train would give our franchised rail network a severe case of the "health and safety's". And imagine the paperwork the teachers would have to do to comply with current practices and regulations - they would be too exhausted to accompany the children by the time they had completed all the forms and assessments

Monday 1 October 2012