Monday 25 April 2016

The Don Brewery Sheffield - An Update

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.

Looking for something else, I came across a book called Amber Gold & Black (2010) by a chap called Martyn 

In the Barley Wine & Old Ale chapter, there’s a reference (p166) to Don Brewery’s Old Tom, a strong beer favoured by grinders, it seems. Hardly surprising that this particular trade took to strong ale.

Although there’s no Sheffield connection, I have to say the OBJ tickled me. Ditto Old Tom’s Grandfather.

Whilst delving into Amber Gold & Black you might also be interested in this more general Sheffield reference (p167). The specifics are new to me, but the general hardly surprises.

You may know that there’s a bit of H J Dearden’s High House brewery still standing at the bottom of Burton St, close to the old Capel St School (now the Burton St Foundation). Below you can see the remains of the brewery’s smoke stack.

Back to A H Smith’s Don brewery, it’s good to see a bit of it preserved. Well, not the actual brewery, but its warehouse/stores which sat between Infirmary Rd and Penistone Rd, just below St Philip’s church. You may recall the building.

1905 OS.Map

1.    Don Brewery main site.
2.    Don Brewery stores.

Above: 1985, just before the end of the warehouse/stores. Penistone Rd/front of stores; rear entrance was on Infirmary Rd opposite the (bottom) Wellington pub.

Below a picture I took the other day.

The term warehouse hardly does Wine Spirit & Cigar Stores justice, does it? Bet the smell was wonderful.

Monday 11 April 2016

The Titanic Disaster at Heeley Baths Sheffield - August 1937

I came across this article from the Daily Independent dated 27th August 1937 relating to a gala night that was held by Oak Street Methodists Club at Sheffield's Heeley Baths the previous night.

From the brief description it seems as though the Club used a "steamer" as a substitute for the Titanic and some form of explosive device as a substitute for an iceberg. After the crash all that was left of the "steamer" was a "few blown-up tyres."

A couple of things do spring to mind. Firstly it seems as though this scene was enacted prior to the actual swimming and so I assume that the swimmers would have to make their way through the debris field of the Titanic when they were competing. But more importantly, the Oak Street Methodists Club seem to have trivialised one of the greatest losses of life in maritime history. According to the figures 1517 prople lost their lives when the Titanic sank but as far as I can ascertain there was hardly anyone with a "Sheffield connection.". And so why do it? I just cannot see the point of this rather half-baked spectacle.

There may have been some point if the Rev E. Hardy had at least said prayers for those that lost their lives but in the "darkened baths" he merely read a brief narrative that was succeeded by a "searchlight thrown on the water". Strange times!


Dolphin Street War Memorial (Sheffield)

In the course of writing about the UNDY family I came across a reference to a "street war memorial". The memorial in question was on what was Dophin Street in the Darnall district of Sheffield. This was the home in in 1884 of the UNDY family

Dean and Stuart on their excellent Sheffield Soldiers of the First World War site give further details of the memorial. In fact Dean reckons that this "street shrine" was the only one of its kind in Sheffield.


Out of the 48 houses in Dolphin Street 55 served their country in the Great War. And ou of those 55, seven lost their lives and one was posted missing

One of the residents of the street a Mrs Bagnall inaugorated the memorial and roll of honour. and with the aid of neighbours and without ANY assistance from outside sources, erected a shrine to those that served their country 

Richard Undy (1755 - 1855) Clock and Watch Maker and Undy Hill (1886 - 1967)

I wrote an article and a blog about a Richard Undy who died in a tragic manner at Woodburn Juction (Sheffield) in January 1884

The same researcher, who kindly provided me with information about Richard and his family, sent me this material about his paternal grandfather 

"RIchard's grandfather (also called Richard) was a clock and watch maker in East Retford, Nottinghamshire,and some of his clocks still exist today - they will be around 200 years old now, and can sell for about £1000. 

If you look very closely at the clock face, you will see the name 'Richd Undy' and the words East Retford. Richard the clock maker (1777-1855) was also a farmer in later life, and he was quite a wealthy man - which could well be where the money came from, which Richard the grandson left to his widow, Mary."

CHRISTENING - 17 March 1778 - father Richard (1739 - died 1781
DEATH 8 JUL 1855 • Mattersey Thorpe, Nottinghamshire

I have also attached a photo of Undy Hill (1886-1967) who was born in Sheffield. Undy was the nephew of the Richard Undy you wrote about (1852-1884), but he was born after Richard died. 

Undy Hill worked in Renishaw Ironworks and the photo was taken in the 1940s or 1950s, according to his grandson. I think it's a great picture, don't you! It makes me wonder whether his uncle Richard looked similar to him."

Wednesday 6 April 2016

The Upperthorpe Hotel Sheffield

I saw a friend of mine last week at Upperthorpe and he pointed out to me a piece of Sheffield's heritage that has been lost forever.

The Upperthorpe Hotel, like many thousands of other pubs in the country, shut its doors for the last time, quite a few years back. It remained boarded up and was then sold for conversion into private residential/commercial accommodation.

As you can see from the above photo which was taken inthe summer of 2011, the Hotel's frontage has a plaster sign advertising "Wiley & Co Wines and Spirits" and the name of the establishemnt "Upperthorpe Hotel".    

In December 2013 the new owners of the property instructed the building contractors to remove the signage "Wiley & Co Wines and Spirits" and "Hotel" and plaster over it. The only part left was "Upperhorpe" and this was painted over in a rather drab masonry paint. And so another very very small part of Sheffield's commercial heritage has been lost for good. No doubt the new owners had their reasons for the removal but personally I think they were mistaken. 

The Death of Abner Boldock - Skeltons Quarry, Normanton Hill Sheffield - May 1942

I posted an article last month on the tragic death of Eliza Ann Boldock who died on the same day as Queen Victoria made her one and only visit to Sheffield. I also posted details on the blog

Yesterday I received this information from a descendent of the Boldock family

"One of my Boldock cousins sent me some very sad information on what became of Abner Boldock, Eliza's father.

I have sent you the details at the bottom of this email - the story in brief is that Abner's body was found in a pond at Skelton's Quarry, Normanton Hill, in May 1942. He went missing and was found drowned, just as Eliza was - and the sad thing is, it was almost exactly 45 years to the day that Eliza had died, at the end of May 1897.

It would seem that Abner had chosen to end his life in the same manner that Eliza had died, suggesting that he had never properly recovered from her death and suffered from guilt for the rest of his life. How terribly tragic is that!

DATE 20 MAY 1942
PLACE Pond, Skeltons Quarry, Normanton Hill
ADDRESS 457a Richmond Road, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
CAUSE Asphyxia due to Drowning  -  Open Verdict
NOTE Dead Body found 24th May 1942 in Pond, Skeltons Quarry, Normanton Hill
Certificate received from Alan P Lockwood, Deputy Coroner for City of Sheffield
Inquest held 22nd May 1942

Small piece in Sheffield Newspaper reads:

The body of Abner Boldock, aged 79 of Richmond Road, Sheffield, who had been missing since last Sunday, has been recovered from a pond at Skelton's Quarry, Normanton Hill.

Letter received from Office of H M Coroner, The Medico-Legal Centre, Watery Street, Sheffield S3 7ET:

26 February 2008
Abner Boldock (deceased)

Thank you for your recent email requesting information on your Great Grandfather's death.
Coroners are only required to retain records for fifteen years. Regrettably limitations of space mean that we do not keep very much beyond that and we do have nothing of substance beyond the twenty year mark. If I explain that we are dealing with some 4000 cases each year you may appreciate that there would be a very significant amount of storage space involved if we were to keep papers beyond the time required by law.
The only record that we have of Abner Boldock's death is in our 1942 register. This records that the case of Abner Boldock was reported to the coroner. A post-mortem was performed and an inquest was held returning an open verdict - death from drowning.
I am sorry that I cannot assist further.
Yours sincerely

C P Dorries
H M Coroner"

Monday 4 April 2016

Death at Woodburn Junction (Shefield) - The Fate of Richard Undy January 1884

I've just posted this article to the site - Death at Woodburn Junction (Shefield) - The Fate of Richard Undy January 1884. The information that started the article came from a family historian who contacted me to say that her great great grandfather was killed by a train at Woodburn Junction (Shefield) in January 1884

This is a photograph of the junction as it is today - not on a cold dark January night in 1884. And it appears that Richard's death was not the only accident that occurred there in the late C19th. They were a few!

There is also an interesting story relating to his young widowed wife Mary and their two children.

And this as a point of interest is the 301st posting to the blog since it was initiated in November 2010. Where does the time go?

70 Grove Street Pitsmoor Sheffield - December 1940

Many years ago I posted an article to the site listing thoae persons who had died in the Pitsmoor district of Sheffield as a result of enemy action in World War 2. Sadly the list was a large one.

In February 2016 I received this mail from a person in Australia whose family had experienced the full horrors of an air attack

" I just came across your article on the blitz in Sheffield and recognised 3 names I am sure are from my mothers family. Annie (Dutton) Bailey , Arthur Bailey and George Dutton. I know my mum told me her gran lost her son, daughter and husband in the Blitz …  the girl was Annie Dutton. I was trying to find where they were on Google Maps , but the street no longer exists. Do you have any idea where Grove St. Pitsmoor was? I can’t find any record of it.

I know my mum was bombed out of 3 houses , her step -sister told me she thought they were in Bedford St Sheffield and I have found that bomb marking on your map. It is amazing to actually make some
sense from all  the strands of information I have. I live in Australia and my mum died 16 yr ago , so filling in the gaps is not easy! I came to Sheffield two years ago and contacted my mums’ younger sisters for the first time … they don’t have a lot to go on. They had a different father and were a lot younger , so could not help much.

I couldn’t help but feel a terrible dread driving into Sheffield … the stories my mother told me were just so bleak and awful. She lost other family with the war as well - her cousin Ron (?) was an only child and went to the pictures. There was an air-raid and he took shelter at the theatre … his parents had just built a new shelter and all the neighbours went there for safety. It took a direct hit … he found his mothers' finger with her wedding ring intact .  My mum was about 12 at the time , she said everyone was terrified and people didn’t come home for days , as they had to take shelter wherever they were. The sky was on fire and they just kept coming , night after night.  I wish I had written down her story , I am so glad you have posted this .thankyou"

I replied that

"The family are buried together in Sheffield's Burgreave Cemetery. Here is the burial record from The Sheffield Indexers site for their grave

BAILEY, Annie (Wife of Arthur, age 37).
     Died at 70 Grove St. Air raid; Buried on December 21, 1940 in General ground;
     Grave Number 45, Section R1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: G L Vigar: Removed from Sheffield
BAILEY, Arthur (Labourer, age 41).
     Died at 70 Grove St. Air raid; Buried on December 21, 1940 in General ground;
     Grave Number 45, Section R1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: G L Vigar: Removed from Sheffield
DUTTON, George (Labourer, age 32).
     Died at 70 Grove St. Air raid; Buried on December 21, 1940 in General ground;
     Grave Number 45, Section R1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: G L Vigar: Removed from Sheffield

DUTTON, Thomas (Labourer, age 65).
     Died at The Mental Hospital; Buried on April 10, 1947 in General ground;
     Grave Number 45, Section R1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, GW Naylor: Removed from Sheffield

STOKES, John (Carriage Finisher, age 76).
     Died at 32 Brittania Rd; Buried on October 30, 1903 in General ground;
     Grave Number 45, Section R1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: ~ Officiating Minister, C G Holt.

STOKES, Mary Ann (Wife of Jno Stokes, age 67).
     Died at Darnall; Buried on February 11, 1889 in General ground;
     Grave Number 45, Section R1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: S.

A map of the cemetery is here

I am attaching a photo I took in Oct 2009 - Section R1 of Burngreave Cemetery (General Ground) is towards the back of the photo

Have a look at

Here are the family in October 1939, just 14 months before the tragic events of December 1940

Bailey Household (4 People)
70 Grove Street , Sheffield C.B., Yorkshire (West Riding), England
 Start free family tree View original image

George Dutton 03 May 1909 Male Railway Goods Porter Married 124 4
Arthur Bailey 18 Feb 1899 Male Permanent Wag Labourer Married 124 1
Annie Bailey 20 Jan 1903 Female Kitchen Help Married 124 2
Ronald Bailey 02 Sep 1927 Male At School Single 124 3
Ref: RG101/3527D/012/32 Letter Code: KIJN

I've attached the original from the 1939 Register for you

Also attached a photo taken in the late 1950's of 42 Grove Street - No 70 would have been similar. Th e houses were demolished circa Nov 1960

Grove Street no longer exists but when it did ran off Marshall Street and Fowler Street. Both of these streets ran off Pitsmoor Road. Grove Street was very close to Christ Church, Pitsmoor. I believe Fowler St is now Fife St. Have a look at this link