Tuesday 31 May 2016

Spending A Penny - Sheffield September 1988

In the same edition of the Sheffield Star (Tuesday 13th September 1988) that contained the brief obituary on Walter Holmes (1914-1988) - see previous blog, there was this article that was posted by the excellent Stephen McClarence.

In the 27 years since the article was published nearly all the public toilets in Sheffield have been closed down and in some cases demolished. This is mirrored throughout the country - it is estimated that 1782 toilets have been closed in the last decade alone with many coucils offering no public toilets at all.

There is no legal obligation at all for councils to provide these public facilities but it is an area where there needs to be a wholesale re-think. My own opinion is that comprehensive public toilet facilities should be mandatory in areas that are promoting themselves as tourist destinations, and more basic facilities should be compulsory in towns with a population exceeding 10,000 in number. 

The wholesale absence of these facilities in many towns and cities is not accepatable in Britain in the twenty-first century  

Walter Holmes - The First Man To Bring Television To Sheffield

I came across this article from the Sheffield Star dated Tuesday 13th September 1988. It reports the death at the age of 74 of Walter Holmes, a pioneer in the introduction of television to Sheffield after the Second World War. Until I read the article I was unaware of Walter's contribution to the city.

The same edition carried this notice in the BMD column from Walters family

Thursday 19 May 2016

Death in the Old Mans Hut - Abbeyfield Park Pitsmoor Sheffield - 17th January 1938

I've just posted another article to the site that seems a bit irrelevant at first glance. To me it is not. It concerns the sudden death of a former railway employee John Holland who collapsed in the "old mens hut" in Sheffield's Abbeyfield Park.(Pitsmoor)

John was 71 at the time of his death but I am sure not a day went by when he did not think of his son Ernest and the fate that befell him.

The Parental Neglect of Samuel and Annie Nicholson - Napier Street Sheffield 1903

When I received the call yesterday asking me to appear on BBC Radio Sheffield (see previous blog) I was just finishing this article and posting it to the site 


"My great grandfather's eldest brother WILLIAM HENRY SANBY married an ANN MACKEVOY in 1871 and during the course of their marriage had five children. As ANN was from an Irish family, the children were brought up in the Catholic faith. The eldest was a daughter who was born on 24th April 1872 and named after her mother ANN ELIZA SANBY.
I was researching material on Ancestry when I came across this entry from the Court Books of Sheffield - 25th August 1903. A researcher had placed this information in her family tree next to the entry for ANN ELIZA SANBY. Her married name was NICHOLSON by the way...."   

You can read about my reaction in the article! But thankfully for my sanity it was a case of a person not following the case through and as a result they ended up with a case of mistaken indentity. 

But once I had established the facts (and they were very sobering ones indeed) there were a number of surprises in the aftermath of the 1903 child neglect case especially regarding the fate of Samuel and Annie's eldest son Frederick Joseph Nicholson. 

Dr John Blakley of Crookes and his 1934 Trial for Murder - An Update

Many years ago one of the first articles I posted to tthe site was "Dr John Blakley of Crookes and his 1934 Trial for Murder". I came across the incident in a book by Robert Hancock

As I said at the time, "on the face of it this is just a small provincial drama that in most cases would have been forgotten in the mists of time. The reason why it was not forgotten lies in the life (and death) of Dr Blakely's youngest son David. David Blakely was shot and murdered outside the Magdala pub in Hampstead, London on Easter Sunday 1955. The person who pulled the trigger was Ruth Ellis who was hung for the murder  - the last woman to be hanged in England.

Yesterday I was asked to appear on BBC Radio Sheffield and talk about the 1934 court case and its ramifications.  I appeared on Rony Robinson's show this morning Thursday 19th May 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed talking about the 1934 case and its aftermath. For those who want to listen to the interview it is on the BBC Player for a month. It is about 66 mins into the programme after the 11 o'clock news.

I had not looked at the article for a couple of years and so after correcting a broken link or two, I realised that I did not know what became of Dr Blakely after the trial apart from being divorced from his wife in 1940.

Thankfully I was able to access the National Probate Index and found the following entry

Dr Blakely still lived in Crookes at the same address 203 School Road that he did when he started nearly 40 years earlier. He was 67 of age at the time of his death and left just shy of £29,000 in his estate. This is about £600,000 in today's money.

And whilst I was searching the Index I looked up the estate of his errant younger son David Blakely who was murdered by Ruth Ellis just over three years later. Probate was granted to his mother who divorced Dr Blakely in 1940 on the grounds of his (continuing?) adultery. She remarried the following year.  

Tuesday 17 May 2016

The First Burial in Walkley Cemetery Sheffield - Mary Pousty (1806 - 1880)

As you may have gathered from the blog, I am a Friend of Walkley Cemetery and have been since the group's inception. A number of my and my wife's ancestors are buried there.

I came across these photographs that I took nearly eight years ago on 25th May 2008.

 This headstone marks the first burial in the Cemetery and is for a Mary Pousty who was born in Gleadless on 25th June 1908 and "fell asleep in Crookesmoor" on May 9th 1880. Mary was buried two days later on May 11th 1880 age 73 years

Here are a few additional details -

Household Record  1871 British Census Census RG 10 piece 76 Folio 5 Page 4
Shawfield St, St Luke, London Middlesex
Richard Lunn     Head     m          31     1840          Kent  
Martha Lunn     Mother           f     71     1800          Yorkshire    
Mary Pousty     Aunt               f     64     1807          Kent
John P Clegg     Boarder     m     22     1849          Staff
Rodes William P     Boarder     m     22     1849          Staff
Moreton Charles Z     Boarder     m     22     1849          Warwickshire

Household Record  1881 British Census 
Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability
Richard LUNN   Head   M   Male   41   Bromley, Kent, England   Artist In Oil & Water Colours    
Elizabeth Valentine LUNN   Wife   M   Female   33   Armthorpe, York, England   Housewife    
Martha Annie LUNN   Daughter      Female   3   Sheffd, York, England       
Martha LUNN   Mother   W   Female   82   Gleadless, York, England       
Mary Ann POASTY   Cousin   U   Female   41   Gleadless, York, England   Nurse Dom    
Clara Ellen COATES   Servant   U   Female   20   Wisewood, York, England   General Servant Dom    
Source Information:
Dwelling   60 Barbour Rd Census Place Nether Hallam, York, England   Family History Library Film   1342117   Public Records Office Reference   RG11   Piece / Folio   4627 / 39   Page Number   27

1880 Death
Mary Pousty died 2nd qtr 1880 Ecclesall Bierlow, Yorks aged 73 (Derived birth 1807)
1880 Burial
Mary Pousty 11 May 1880 aged 73 Walkley St Mary, West Riding Yorkshire

Incidentally the headstone is in remarkable condition for its age - a testament to the skill and workmanship of the Victorian stonemason 

Holy Trinity Church (Wicker) Sheffield

 Last week I was contacted by a current member member of theChurch - it is now called The New Testament Church of God. I was asked if I could verify if there had been a graveyard and/or burials at the Church. 

I replied that I'm afraid I had no knowledge of any graveyard being on the site. I thought that it would be highly unlikely for two reasons. One it's very close proximity to the river and two, the "disquiet" about the state and condition of city churchyards at that time. Having said that there may have been special dispensation given for a person or family closely associated to the church to be buried either in the church or within its precincts. Again I have no knowledge of this happening at Holy Trinity.

However afterwards I was rather puzzled and so I did some research and found out that there had been a graveyard at the site but only for a short time. A total of nine burials took place in July and November 1859. It appears that the graveyard at Holy Trinity was opened and then closed after 9 burials because it was decided to use the land for a school building. There is no indication to date to say whether or not the graves were relocated elsewhere. If not they will still be under the school building    

The names of the nine burials are 
Surname                    Forename Title Day Mmonth     Year       Aged     Abode 
BROCKLEHURST  Joseph               06     Jul             1859     73         21 Johnson St
GREAVES                Septimus            21    Aug           1859     60         7 Nursery Lane
HILL                         John                  13     Nov          1859     6w        Andrew St
KILNER                   Thomas             04     Sep           1859     3           40 Marcus St
OSGATHORPE       James                 15     Jul             1859     43         23 Stone St
PRIDDON                James                29     Aug           1859     65         Walker St
SAMPSON               Jane                  18     Oct            1859     8           26 Joiner Lane
SCOTT                     Ann Elizabeth     05    Sep            1859     14m     11 Stockton St
TATUM                    William               26    Aug            1859     48         20 Spital Fields