Tuesday 20 February 2018

Mr Benjamin Unwin (1799-1881) of Cromwell Street North Sheffield

In my family tree, my great uncle George SANBY married a Maud UNWIN on  13 Feb 1916 at St Bartholomew's Church , Primrose View, Langsett Road, Sheffield
But just six months later George lost his life due to the wounds he received on the Somme. Maud was the 21 year old daughter of Thornhill  Unwin and it whilst I was researching the UNWIN name I came across this obituary in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 9th April 1881.

The theory that grinders are never long-lived is not borne out by the experience of Mr Benjamin Unwin, spring-knife grinder, who died a few days ago at the advanced age of 82, after a life spent in pursuit of his calling. He worked at the trade named without any intermission from his youth until a few years ago, and he never suffered from what is commonly known as the grinders' complaint. He was of a cheerful and hopeful disposition, and scrupulously temperate, which may perhaps have much to do with the manner in which he retained his health, and was unaffected by the injurious conditions of his calling.
In politics he was a sincere Radical. He had a great facility for expressing his opinions, and a singularly retentive memory enabled him to recall with precision the great political events of his time.

Quite a remarkable longevity for a Sheffield grinder who life expectancy on average was barely 35 years of age.

Benjamin was buried in Sheffield's Wardsend Cemetery on 7th April 1881

UNWIN Benjamin 7 Apr 1881 Cromwell St Nth 81

As far as I can ascertain he is not related to Thornhill Unwin and his daughter Maud

Sunday 18 February 2018

Private Frank Willetts (1920-1942) - Pioneer Corps

In February 2018  I received this information from a reader of the article I posted many years ago on the Beighton Rail Disaster of February 1942 and the aftermath of the tragedy

"I am getting in touch with you regarding the Beighton Train crash. My Father in-laws uncle Frank Willetts died on the 18th Jun 1942 - as a result of the train crash that happened on the 11th Feb 1942. Would love to know more about it. The family have no information and were never given a reason of his death. Would love to know more"

I checked the FreeBMD site and found that FRANK had died in Worksop, Notts. He would have been in hospital there.
Name: Frank Willetts
Death Age: 22 Birth Date: abt 1920
Registration Date: Jun 1942
Registration district: Worksop Inferred County: Nottinghamshire Volume: 7b Page: 48 
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission had very little information about FRANK just that he was a private in the Pioneer Corps, his Service Number was 13038410 and that he died on 18/06/1942
But when I placed the name in a search engine I came across this information on the excellent Salford War Memorials Site together with a photo of Frank's last resting place.  
BIRTH unknown
DEATH 18 Jun 1942
BURIAL Salford Cemetery Salford, Metropolitan Borough of Salford, Greater Manchester, England
PLOT Sec. N. Grave 1364.
MEMORIAL ID 60118914

Frank died four months after the tragedy, and so he will not be remembered as one of the 14 who were killed that night. And it makes you wonder how many more died as a result of the injuries they received in the crash.  

Thursday 15 February 2018

The Marriage of Bernard James Sanby and Margareitta Annie Howitt at St. John's Church, Sandiway, Cheshire - June 1906

I came across this small report in The Cheshire Observer 16th June 1906

It announced that the marriage of  Bernard James Sanby and Margareitta Annie Howitt at St. John's Church, Sandiway, Cheshire was the first to be held in the newly-built church. The church is still going strong today

Photo by Peter Vardy


The first wedding to take place in the new St. John's Church, Sandiway, Cheshire, was that I celebrated on Tuesday of Mr. Bernard J. Sanby, of Northfield, Knutsford, a well-known Manchester merchant, and Margareitta Annie, second daughter of Mr. J, J. Howitt, of Rosslyn, Cuddington. Fully one hundred guests accepted invitations to the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. J. Edwards, vicar of Christ Church, Blackpool.

Cheshire Observer 16th June 1906

SANBY is my grans maiden name and over the years I have researched the surname. They all originate from the area known as South Lincolnshire and West Norfolk. Bernard's great grandfather James Sanby was born in Thurlby, Lincs in 1769 and died in Holbeach in 1848. My great (x4) grandfather Joseph Sanby was christened in Holbeach in 1776. There is a link between these "branches" but to date I have been unable to confirm it. 

Within a year the couple had a daughter Kathleen Ewan SANBY

Chester Courant 3rd April 1907

BIRTHS. SANBY On the 31st March at Northfield, Knutsford the wife of Bernard J. Sanby, of a daughter.

But in November 1911 Margareitta Annie Sanby nee Howitt died and was buried at

21 Nov 1911 • Whitegate, Cheshire, England

Bernard re-married three years later. The name of the bride was Margery Yates

Friday 9 February 2018

The Confession of Ernest Bramham - Sheffield March 1945

Another article I have just completed is "The Confession of Ernest Bramham - Sheffield March 1945"

It is related to an article I posted a few years ago concerning the murder of Eleanor Hammerton on Saturday 13th January 1945 at her shop on Eccesall Road

The Manchester Guardian dated Monday 15th January 1945

In June 1975 the Sheffield Star stated that this was an unsolved murder, and in his book on Yorkshire Murders, the author Stephen Wade referred to the victim as a "Heather Hamilton." Both assertions proved to be incorrect - the police did "solve the murder" and the victim was not "Heather Hamilton." but a Eleanor Hammerton.


Sheffield's First Cremation - Eliza Hawley 24th April 1905

I have just posted an article to the site about the first person to be cremated in Sheffield in April 1905, one hundred and thirteen years ago

Her name was Eliza Hawley and she was cremated on 24th April 1905 at Sheffield City Road Crematorium. She was only 46 years of age when she died and was residing at 14 Birkendale, Upperthorpe, Sheffield. But for many years she and her husband were the proprietors of an "eating house" on The Wicker in Sheffield

It was no 114 and was a transport cafe in 1965 when this photograph was taken, It was burnt down in the late 1980's and was later demolished, It was an Indian restaurant/takeaway by then

Eliza has the cremation number "1" but what I would be interested to know is why Eliza chose to be cremated at a time when the process was in its infancy, and why was she the first in Sheffield.

Saturday 3 February 2018

The Marriage of the Rev Frank Yates to Myrtle Robinson Holy Trinity The Wicker Sheffield - July 1926

A few years ago I posted an article to the site concerning the Holy Trinity Church (now The New Testament Church of God) on Nursery Street, Sheffield. It was opposite the Laurel Works where eight people died on the night of the Sheffield Blitz

The Laurel Works

But I came across this real photo postcard by L.D.Swift, 21 St Mary's Lane, Sheffield Yorkshire

On the back of the card in pencil is the 'Wedding of Frank Yates, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Wicker to Myrtle Robinson 1926'.

The wedding was actually on July 20th 1926

According to the directories Frank was vicar at the church in 1919-1920 but I am unsure when he (and Myrtle) left

Intake Tram Terminus Mansfield Road Intake Sheffield

Another old postcard that I have come across featuring the tram terminus at Intake

The Rex Cinema was situated on the corner of Hollinsend Road and Mansfield Road - the Intake tram terminus was situated in the middle of the Mansfield Road just a little further down from the cinema.

The problem with postcards is that there is rarely a date on them - at best you get just a title and a publisher. All I can say is that it was taken prior to 1936 and judging by the dress it was more likely to be the early 1920's. The tram was no 248 and its destination was "City" 

Tapton Cliffe and Lodge 276 Fulwood Road Sheffield

I came across this postcard of Tapton Cliffe Residential Hotel which was situated at 276 Fulwood Road Sheffield

When I checked I found that the residence is now up for sale at a mere £1.75 million. This agents who are dealing with the sale gave a brief history of the property

"History Tapton Cliffe was constructed around 1864 by JohnYeomans Cowlishaw, a well-known Sheffield Cutler. The house was occupied as a private residence until 1920 when The University of Sheffield purchased the building as a hall for female students and this use continued until 1934 when Tapton Cliffe was converted to a residential hotel.

In 1948 the property was sold to the Secretary of State for Social Services and became the Royal Infirmary Sisters’ Home until 1963. The property remained in the ownership of United Sheffield Hospitals and NHS until 1985 when Tapton Cliffe became a private nursing home turning to Tapton Cliffe Clinic in 1990. Since 1995 the building has been occupied by Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Blind Veterans UK."

There is a summary of the Cowlishaw Family History on the above link but it appears that John Yeomans Cowlishaw had a tragic end

Sheffield Local Register
23 Jan 1895 Mr. J. Y. Cowlishaw, of Tapton Cliffe, Fulwood Road, shoots himself: Verdict of coroner's jury," Suicide while temporarily insane."
28 Aug 1895 Tapton Cliffe, the residence of the late Mr. J. Y. Cowlishaw, sold to Mr. J. J. Saville for £4500.
25 Oct 1895 The real and personal estate of the late John Yeomans Cowlishaw, of Tapton Cliffe, Sheffield, proved at £63,879.

The sale in 1895 of Tapton Cliffe would be approximately £530,00 at today's prices which gives a good indication of how property prices in the last 120 years have outstripped inflation