Thursday 30 October 2014

A Walk in Darnall and Carbrook (Sheffield) Thursday 30th October 2014

A walk of approximately 2 miles starting at the English Institute of Sport (S9 5DA) and ending at the Carbrook Hall pub (S9 2FJ). This tour will explore the history of the area, and look at some of the unnerving parts of its past. Find out how fact and fiction can blend into one when looking at the supernatural side of Sheffield.

Brompton Road Attercliffe

697 Attercliffe Road

732 Attercliffe Road Station Hotel

Nidd Road Darnall

Fitzmaurice Road Darnall

Cocked Hat Public House - The Pickard Family

Spence Broughton

The robbery took place on 29 January or 9 February 1791 (sources differ[4][5]) at Ickles, on the Rotherham edge of Attercliffe Common. Broughton and his accomplice John Oxley stayed in Sheffield the night before the robbery and then walked out of the town on the Rotherham road where they met the mail coming towards Sheffield. However, they intended to rob it on its way back to Rotherham so they lay in wait for it to arrive. George Leasley, the boy driving the mail cart described that he was led into a field, blindfolded with a handkerchief, and his hands tied behind his back and fixed to a hedge. After about an hour he freed himself and found his horse, but the Rotherham post bag was gone. Broughton and Oxley escaped towards Mansfield. On their way they went through the contents of the post bag and found that the only item of value was a French bill of exchange worth £123, they disposed of the rest of the contents in a brook, and parted; Oxley proceeding to London to cash the bill.

Broughton and Oxley were arrested, along with John Shaw, in London in October 1791 following further robberies at Cambridge and Aylesbury. Broughton was sent to Newgate Prison, and Oxley to Clerkenwell Prison. Though it has since been alleged that Shaw was the instigator of the crimes, at trial Shaw gave evidence that Broughton was the ring-leader—Oxley alleged that he did this because he and Broughton shared an interest in the same woman. Oxley himself escaped from Clerkenwell on 31 October, 1791 leaving Broughton to stand trial alone.

The trial took place in York on 24 March 1792. Shaw testified that Broughton and Oxley had come to him after robbing the Rotherham mail to ask him where they could cash the £123 bill. Next to testify was John Close, who said that he had met Broughton in London looking for Oxley, and Broughton had complained to him that Oxley had not given him his share of the proceeds from the robbery. John Townsend, the arresting officer, described the events on the day of the arrest, after which the jury found Broughton guilty and the judge, Mr. Justice Buller, sentenced him to death by hanging "and afterwards to be hung in chains on the Common, within three miles of Sheffield, where the robbery was committed." The trial took only 90 minutes.
Spence Broughton was executed at Tyburn near York on 14 April 1792. In the days before his execution Broughton is purported to have shown great remorse, writing:    Surely I have greatly transgressed the laws both of God and man! In what manner shall a sinful wretch, like me, presume to approach the throne of mercy? Alas! My repeated provocations do now wound me to the very soul.
At his execution he is reported to have professed his innocence, "saying that he was a murdered man; that, though he came down with the intent to rob the mail, he was six miles from the place at the time of the robbery", though he admitted receiving part of the proceeds.

On 16 April Broughton's body was taken to Attercliffe Common to be hung in a gibbet. George Drabble, the keeper of a pub called the Arrow that was located near the site, reported that crowds started to gather on the common the day before. The gibbet is reported to have attracted 40,000 visitors to the Common on the first day alone Broughton's body remained hanging in the gibbet on Attercliffe Common for nearly 36 years. It was finally removed in 1827 when Henry Sorby, who had bought the land it stood on, had it cut down because he had grown tired of trespassers on his land. The remains of the gibbet post were claimed to have been rediscovered in 1867 when a solid oak post was found embedded in a framework in the ground during excavations for the cellars of some new houses in Clifton Street, Attercliffe Common. The discovery once again drew large crowds to Attercliffe Common.

The length of time that the rotting body of Spence Broughton hung on Attercliffe Common and the great interest that it attracted led to Broughton becoming a hero of local folklore. One story was that a group of drunken potters from the Don Pottery, passing the site of the gibbet, threw stones at the skeleton and managed to dislodge two fingers. Taking these as trophies they were calcined and incorporated into the body of a jug

Carbrook Hall 

is in the Attercliffe district of the city, the original building was owned by the Blunt family from 1176. This was rebuilt in 1462, and was bought by Thomas Bright (Lord of the manor of Ecclesall) in the late 16th century. His descendant, John Bright, was an active Parliamentarian during the English Civil War, and the building was used as a Roundhead meeting place during the siege of Sheffield Castle. Most of the building was demolished in the 19th century, what survives is a Grade II listed stone wing that was added c1620. It is now used as a public house that claims to be "Sheffield's most haunted public house".

  • Puritan/Roundhead - John Bright?
  • Old lady in a mob cap (earlyC20th)

  • 1980 Old man with a flat cap

  • 1982 monk like figure with a hood

  • Movements of inanimate objects - changes in air temprature - apparitions   

The Ghosthunters Guide to Sheffield by Valerie Salim - 2 volumes


Wednesday 29 October 2014

Clarence Taylor died 31st May 1916

I participated in the workday at Walkley Cemetery last Saturday 25th October 2014, a rather pleasant autumnal day. We were tackling a rather overgrown section of section B

when I discovered the following memorial that was in marvelous condition albeit slightly slanting

Clarence was a stoker on the battle-cruiser HMS Queen Mary when she was hit by German shells at the Battle of Jutland and sank The casualties were 57 officers and 1,209 men killed; 2 officers and 5 men wounded. One officer and one man were subsequently rescued by German destroyers. 

After the loss of Queen Mary, Admiral Beatty supposedly turned to Chatfield and said the memorable line "There's something wrong with our bloody ships to-day." (Chatfield. The Navy and Defence. p. 143.)  

I was going to post an article to the site but there is a comprehensive amount of information available about the Battle and its aftermath, hence this blog 

Private Clement Hobbs Bible

My grandfather Clement Hobbs served in the Welsh Regiment in the Great War as it was called then. His certificate of discharge (No1822) states that Private Clement Hobbs who enlisted in the Welsh Regiment at Pontypridd on 13th August 1914 and was discharged 4 years and 17 days later (29th August 1918) on the grounds that he was no longer physically fit enough for war service. A description on the form states that he was 5ft 5" tall, pale complexion, grey brown eyes, brown hair and that he had a small hole in his left cheek (bullet wound!) together with a scalded left calf.

He was also shot in the chest but the bullet his pocket bible. I still have the bible and this summer I loaned it  to Weston Park Museum in Sheffield for an exhibition they were doing in connection with the centenary of the start of the conflict

Monday 13 October 2014

A Walk In Crookes (Sheffield) Saturday 11th October 2014

On Saturday 11th October 2014 I was the lead in a walk that was organised by Activity Sheffield.

"Stories of Crookes Cemetery
Saturday 11th October, 3 to 5pm.  Meet at Barretts CafĂ© (S10 1TF). Chris Hobbs will lead this 2 mile walk around Crookes, with a particular focus on the cemetery and the stories of people who lay there. We will find out about the gruesome Chinese Laundry Murder which caused the papers to tag it "one of the most sensational crimes Sheffield police have ever investigated".

It was the first time I had ever done this type of activity and so I took a fair bit of time planning the route (about 3km or 2 miles). I also wanted to include some information that is on my website and also some which has not yet been posted

These are my notes that I used on the walk. It started outside Barretts Cafe on Crookes near the junction with Springvale Road

422 - 424 Springvale Road - 5 civilians killed on the night of the Sheffield Blitz

HARRISON, Annie (WW2 Civilian War Dead, age 64).
Died at 424 Springvale Road on 12 Dec 1940; Buried on December 30, 1940 in General ground;
Grave Number ~, Section OO1 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Entered as Unknown' Death Identity 571-574.

HARRISON, Richard Arthur (WW2 Civilian War Dead, age 23).
Died at 424 Springvale Road on 12 Dec 1940; Buried on December 30, 1940 in General ground;
Grave Number ~, Section OO1 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Entered as Unknown' Death Identity 571-574.

HARRISON, Robert (WW2 Civilian War Dead, age 38).
Died at 424 Springvale Road on 12 Dec 1940; Buried on December 30, 1940 in General ground;
Grave Number ~, Section OO1 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Entered as Unknown' Death Identity 571-574.

HARRISON, Richard (WW2 Civilian War Dead, age 62).
Died at 424 Springvale Road on 12 Dec 1940; Buried on December 30, 1940 in General ground;
Grave Number ~, Section OO1 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Entered as Unknown' Death Identity 571-574.

ABBEY, Ada Marion (Widow (killed in air raid), age 77).
Died at 422 Springvale Road on 12 Dec 1940; Buried on December 23, 1940 in Consecrated ground;
Grave Number 8888, Section T of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Widow of William James Abbey. Identified by Wm Ernest Abbey of 36 Slinn St (Son).

98 and 167 Cobden View Road 2 Civilians
BAXTER, Elsie (WW2 Civilian War Dead, age 47).
Died at Wharncliffe Emergency Hospital, Wadsley, on 24 Dec 1940; Buried on December 31, 1940      in Unconsecrated ground; Grave Number 2684, Section D of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield.      Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Injured 12 Dec at 167 Cobden View, Crookes. Wife of      Horace Baxter..

TINGLE, Kate (WW2 Civilian War Dead, age 74).      Died at 98 Cobden View Road on 13 Dec 1940; Buried on December 20, 1940 in Consecrated~ ground;
Grave Number 77, Section L of Walkley St Marys Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Identified by Kate Ethel Ralsron of 52 Sheard Rd      (Daughter).

131 Cobden View Road
Childhood home of Ben Warriss

Cobden View Hotel
The scene of Theresa Unwin's Inquest - 24th October 1888
Jack The Ripper's Sixth Victim!

203 School Road - Childhood home of David Blakely - murdered by Ruth Ellis - Easter Sunday 1955
Dr John Blakely and his trial for murder - February 1934

School Road at its junction with Glebe Road Sewage Gas Destructor Lamp

Wesley Hall - Crookes -
The Chapel had to be enlarged and re-developed several times as the work of the church grew. But it was still too small. Finally, in 1907 the foundation stones were laid for a completely new building, on a new site, that could accommodate up to 1000 people – Wesley Hall.

The new building was designed as an octagonal “Mission Hall”. As one reporter noted: “Wesley Hall looks more like the Hippodrome that a place of worship. And one is thankful for it … it is pre-eminently a place to worship in, to breathe and be glad in.”

The decision to build a new church was not just based on the need for more accommodation. It marked the beginning of a new phase in the church’s mission to the people of Crookes. Since the Wesleyan Chapel was first built in 1836, Crookes had been transformed from a village into a densely populated suburb. The vision for Wesley Hall was that it would be “a church where rich and poor, ignorant and cultured, would all be welcomed, and the Christian cause would be exalted.”

St Thomas Church Crookes
Appeal 1837
"The district of Crookes, including Tapton,Steven Hills,Crookes Moor Side this time contains a population (which is rapidly increasing) of 1500 souls, nearly destitute of Pastoral superintendence and instruction. To provide for this lamentable destitution, a few friends of religion and The Established Church commenced a subscription for building a Small Church..."

The trustees who gave the Church the original £1,350 were
    Miss Harrison of Weston
    Miss Rawson of Philadelphia
    Reverend W.H.Vale of Ecclesall
    Joseph Wilson of Clifford
    George Younge of Sheaf House
The church is a classic Victorian church with a square tower and gothic arch stained glass windows

The foundation stone for the Church which incidentally given by local quarry owners was laid on 30th August 1839 by a Henry Wilson of Westbrook. Local farmers did much of the work for free. The Church had a nave,south aisle and porch, sshort chancel and west pinnacled tower. In fact St Thomas's had the same design as the smaller Christ Church Gleadless which was built two years earlier. (The latter church was the one I was married in ). St Thomas's Church and the adjacent Burial ground were consecrated on October 1st 1840 by the Archbishop of York and the Church soon began rectifying the "lamentable destitution" that had occurred in the Parish
BAPTISM - the first christening in the Church Register occurred on December 6th 1840 when Joseph Dixon (born October 23rd 1840) the son of Joesph and Mary Dixon of Broomhill was baptised. His father Joseph's occupation was that of Groom
BURIAL - On March 23rd 1841 the first burial occurred in the Churchyard. Charles Joseph the infant son of Mr Fairbank of Mount Pigsah near Crookes
MARRIAGE - the first marriage occurred over 16 years after the Church was first opened. On January 1857 Andrew Smith a draper aged 40 of Victoria Street and the son of John Smith a farmer married Mary Brookes aged 30 of Crookes Road. Her father James was a manafacturer
CONFIRMATION - the first confirmations occurred on April 1st 1908 included 48 persons from St Thomas's and seven from St Timothy's. All were aged between 12 - 21

Crookes Cemetery (Headland Road Entrance)
It was opened in 1906, and covers 29 acres (120,000 m2). Over 29,000 burials have taken place since its opening.
Graves of
Sir Stuart Goodwin
 Sir Stuart Goodwin (1889-1969) founder of the Neepsend Steel and Tool Corporation was born at 120 Upperthorpe, he was one of Sheffield’s top industrialists in the inter war period. He later became one of the City’s most renowned patrons, funding Sheffield’s Christmas illuminations for many years and the Goodwin Sports Centre, he is commemorated by the Goodwin Fountain in the Peace Gardens

Henry Boot

John Maxfield

George Chandler and David Piper - Beighton Rail Disaster 11th February 1942

Doreen's last resting place

Corner of Stannington View Road and Mulehouse Road  - Sewage Gas Destructor Lamp

Down Mulehouse Road to it's junction with Crookes

Crookes Picture Palace

The Crookes Picture Palace opened its doors on 2nd December 1912. The building was primarily a brick building with a cement frontage. Above the entrance to the cinema were some embossed decorations and the name "Crookes Picture Palace". The front of the building was flush with the adjoining shops and a blind alley ran down one side of the building to accommodate the queues waiting to see the films. From the small foyer a door on the right gave access to the stalls whilst a series of steps lead up to the rear of the auditorium. The auditorium was a single floor with the audience only sitting in front of the stage. A heavy red curtain covered the screen when not in use.  A raised section at the rear had a steeper rake than the rake in the stalls. The overall capacity of the cinema was 660.

The proprietors of The Picture Palace were Hallamshire Cinemas Ltd. In 1931 a Western Electric Sound System was installed. The cinema remained open until 2nd April 1960 when it shut its doors for the final time. The last film to be shown was the Brigitte Bardot classic "Babette Goes To War" and "Senior Prom" with Jill Corey.

231 Crookes - site of the Crookes Chinese Laundry Murder 1922

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and although rain was threatened, it held off until the walk had finished. There were 25+ people on the walk which was a lot more than I expected. It also demonstrated that there is still  quite a lot of interest in the history of Crookes which is heartening to say the least!

Thank you to everyone who took part