Tuesday 31 December 2019

View From A Hill - 31st December 2019

This blog is the 43rd I've posted in 2019 and the 487th blog I have posted since the blog started in November 2010 

But unlike previous years the number of new articles I have posted to the website has plummeted. I have posted quite a few updates to existing articles but it is not the same as posting original material. This may change in 2020 as I am considering the future of both the website and the blog.

The website has been going over twenty years and I have used nearly 90% of my data allowance with the company that hosts it. I am reluctant to increase the data allowance as this would involve additional costs and so the alternative is either a reduction in the size of the site and/or a restructuring of the material. 

I am also aware that as a sole proprietor of both the website and the blog, there is no successor!   

But on a more upbeat note, a big thanks to the readers who have contacted me in the last year,
And so all that remains is to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Hallamgate Crookes Sheffield

I have never seen this photograph before. It shows Hallamgate Road in Crookes, At the end of the road is the junction with Lydgate Lane and the building you can see in the middle of the photograph is the |Old Grindstone public house.

Broomhill Online have researched the history of the road

"In 1850 Hallamgate Road was a country lane connecting Hallamgate House, standing at the
junction with Crookes Road, with Hallamgate Farm, which stood back from the lane roughly
behind where number 28 Hallamgate Road now stands.

Hallamgate House was built for Francis Hoole and family and was occupied by him certainly
in 1790, if not earlier. The house stood out in its locality in terms of scale and had an
ornamental garden complete with ha-ha, which still exists today. Later occupants were:

  • Peter Frith, optician, from 1839 - 1844; 
  • Charles Hoole, grocer & tea dealer, from 1846 - 1879; 
  • Arthur Wightman, solicitor, Justice of the Peace for the City of Sheffield, TownTrustee, Trustee of the Birley’s Charity, Governor of the Sheffield Royal Grammar School,member of the Council of the University of Sheffield, from 1879 - 1924;
  • J G.Graves Ltd, wireless manufacturer from 1929-1948, who turned the house into the ‘Hallamgate Works’ and sold it to Plessey Ltd. 
  • The site was acquired by the University of Sheffield in 1963 and the house demolished to make way for the student halls of residence.**
At the other end of Hallamgate Road, Hallamgate Farm was the home of the Spooner family

and dated from 1760, so was older than Hallamgate House. The Spooner family had large
land holdings in and around Sheffield and in 1815 Joshua Spooner extended these by
acquiring all the fields between Lydgate Lane and Fulwood Road, purchasing them from the
estate of the Rev. Wilkinson of Broom Hall. The Glossop turnpike Rd (now Manchester Rd),
Lawson Rd, Sale Hill, Tapton Crescent Rd and Tapton House Rd were all built on land once
owned by the Spooners.

The end of Hallamgate Road that joins Lydgate Lane is pretty much the same today as it ever was,
which is why the road is narrow at that end. However moving towards the junction with
Tapton House Road, the route of the road remained undetermined until after Hallamgate
Farm was demolished at the turn of the 20th century. An early ‘indicative’ route that would
have produced a straighter road was abandoned and the change of plan left a curious
triangular remnant of land that was undeveloped until the 1930’s. The footprint of this
‘false start’ is clearly visible on the ground today.

The houses along Hallamgate Road were built at various times over the period 1890 to 1930
and one can follow the pattern of development through the OS maps. There are several fine
Edwardian houses in the road; the Pevsner Guide to Sheffield draws particular attention to
no.20 in ‘Domestic Revival’ style, built between 1901 and 1905. It was the home of Bernard
Hobson, eldest son of John Hobson, in 1912. Hallamgate Farm itself disappears from the OS
map at the same time as nos. 16, 20, 28. 30 and 32 appear for the first time, in the 1905 map."

Note ** the student halls of residence were in turn demolished in the winter of 2014 and the University of Sheffield sold the land to private developers. The site is now occupied by private flats and appartments

Walkley District Municipal Window Box Competition 1913 (Sheffield)

This rather magnificent postcard shows the first and second prizes in the Walkley District Municipal Window Box Competition of 1913

There is no indication of the actual location but given that the row of terraced houses are on the level, and brick-built it would point to the Providence Road area of the district but that is a pure guess,

It is a shame that the card is in black and white as I am sure that the display would have been a riot of colour.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Park Hotel Wadsley Lane Hillsborough Sheffield - a 1950's photograph

I was looking through some old family photographs and came across this one that was taken outside the Park Hotel Wadsley Lane Hillsborough Sheffield

There is no date on the photograph but I would estimate that it was taken in the early to mid 1950's. The man on the middle row third from the left is my wife's grandfather Harry Simpson. Harry lived just up from the hotel on Dunella Road and the Park was his local watering hole.

Park Hotel Wadsley Lane Sheffield 

Sunday 22 December 2019

Lansdowne Picture Palace (1914 - 1940) - corner of London Road & Boston Street, Sheffield

On the same page of the Sheffield Telegraph dated Friday 19th October 2007 that gave details of the future of Sheffield's Old Town Hall and Courthouse, there was also a smaller article on a building that I always called the Locarno but I guess that is just a sign of my age

The building started as the Lansdowne Picture Palace which was at the corner of London Road & Boston Street, Sheffield

There is an excellent photo showing the site prior to its construction

 The boy crossing the road is barefooted but thankfully it looks as though it was a fine day

The Cinema Treasures website has his excellent summary of  the Lansdowne Picture Palace

"The Lansdowne Picture Palace was designed by architect Walter Gerard Buck of Campo Lane, Sheffield. It stands at the junction of London Road and Boston Street and opened on 18th December 1914. Brick built, it had a marble terracotta facade in white and green with a Chinese pagoda style entrance with arched windows on the side elevation.

Seating was originally for around 1,250 but by 1940 was reduced to 965 due to cramped conditions. In the days of silent films it had a ‘Bijou Orchestra’ with seven players, later increased to twelve in the 1920’s. A two show a night policy was adopted with matinees on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Little seems to be documented about the syle of the auditorium. The Lansdowne Picture Palace closed abruptly following the air raids on 12th December 1940 although damage was said to be negligible. The final film shown was Carole Lombard in “Vigil Of The Night”.

In 1947 the cinema became a temporary store for Marks & Spencers. In the 1950’s it became a Mecca Dance Hall called the ‘Locarno’ later changing into ‘Tiffany’s Night Club’. It had several more incarnations as a night club with different names and the frontage was painted black, its last name being ‘The Bed’.

Recently, following three years of closure, the original white marble facade with bands of darker stone has been restored with stained glass windows inserted and the front of Lansdowne Picture Palace is now a Sainsbury’s ‘Local’ supermarket. The auditorium was demolished and a development of student accommodation has been built at the rear of the former cinema"

The following photo was taken after the night of the Sheffield Blitz and shows what was left of the Hermitage public house which was only about 50 yards away from the Lansdowne Picture Palace. the fact that the cinema was shut even though damage was said to be negligible is puzzling to say the least 

I am pleased that the frontage of the building has been restored as its "pagoda" style is rather unique in Sheffield but over 90% of the original building was demolished in order that the student development could proceed. I do not think the two structures compliment each other but that is just my opinion   

Christmas in Sheffield - December 1878

The following is from The London Times dated December 1878, 141 years ago

"The distress and destitution among the working people in Sheffield are now far more serious and more extensive than was the case last year.

To give an idea of the scarcity of work, it may be stated that at one place where formerly 1,200 men were engaged only 40 are now employed.

It is also feared that the Government contracts for plates have left the town, inasmuch as the large firms cannot compete with Barrow, Middlesbrough, Swansea, and Newport houses, who have the advantage of carriage by sea.

The last contract for 20,000 tons of plates went into South Wales, and thus £300,000 is lost to Sheffield.

The destitution among the working people is appalling. Hundreds areliving in houses stripped of furniture, without fire, and are dependent upon the generosity of the neighbours. Prompt measures of relief are being taken. Soup kitchens will be opened and children's dinners supplied in a few days."

Merry Christmas, Dec 24 1878

The Prevailing Distress.

With the severe weather which has set in, the distress at Sheffield continues to increase.

The Mayor announced yesterday that it was now so widespread that £10,000 at the very least would be required to meet it.
Up to the present time £2,400 has been spent out of the relief fund at his disposal and he asks for further contributions.
In consequence of the publicity which has been given to the existence of the distress, the Mayor has recieved many letters from all parts of the country enclosing contributions to the relief fund.

One of which comes from the Dowager Lady Stanley of Alderley, expressing great sorrow at the privations to which so many of the working classes in Sheffield are now subjected and enclosing a cheque.
Another comes from a gentleman signing himself "C.D.J." The writer states that although he has no sympathy with the men, believing that the distress was in great measure owing to their own suicidal policy in unreasonably raising the cost of production in every branch of trade by high wages and shorter hours, he could not help feeling for the suffering which the helpless children and wives had to bear for their fathers and husbands improvidence. He therefore, enclosed a cheque for the fund.

In Brightside, where the distress is perhaps the most keen, it is stated that the relief given up to the present time does not exceed 1s. 6d. per family per week, or seven pence halfpenny per head.

This cannot be considered extravagant, as it is considerably less than parish relief.

In consequence of the continuance of cold weather the Executive committee are to consider the question of giving coals as well as food and clothing.

Immediately after Christmas the committee will probably put the unemployed to work breaking stones upon the highways and levelling some recreation grounds.

Ah yes "the workshop of the world"

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Crookes Cemetery (Sheffield) - A funeral procession circa 1930

A few years ago I posted an article on the opening of Crookes Cemetery Sheffield and the reasons why the cemetery was opened.

This article that appears below featured in the local Grapevine Magazine that is distributed in the district on a monthly basis. It is written by Jason Heath of John Heath &Sons (Sheffield)

It contains a photograph from the firm's archives that shows a funeral procession in the Cemetery taken circa 1930. The layout of the cemetery has not really changed - to the left of the mourners is the consecrated section G which then leads to section H at the top of the path. To the right of the mourners would have been a grassed area but this section is now used for current day burials 

Millhouses and Ecclesall railway station - Sheffield

I was going to post an article on the website about the Millhouses and Ecclesall railway station (Sheffield) based on the following photograph postcard that appeared on a well-known auction site

However Wikipedia have a brief history of the station in their article and so I decided not to proceed. The article does state that it became Millhouses and Ecclesall in 1932 which means that  the  photograph postcard is after that date (the signage)

There is a photograph of the station as it stood on Sunday, 22 June, 2008. It is the view north east towards Heeley and Sheffield. The left hand pair of tracks hav been lifted. Out of view to the far left, the old station house is standing   

I had a wry smile when the Wikipedia article stated in the last sentence that " In July 2017, it was proposed by the Local Enterprise Partnership that new stations should be built at Millhouses and Heeley as well as new platforms at Dore & Totley. The plans would be part of a call to have better links in South Yorkshire area as well as plans for a new Woodhead Route reopening.

When I passed over the bridge the other day, work on the station had not yet started. mmm

The Old Town Hall and Courthouse, Waingate, Sheffield

Talk about co-incidence. Yesterday I came across this old cutting from the Sheffield Telegraph dated Friday 19th October 2007. The article voices grave concern over the fabric of building that had not been used since 1996.
In fact this Grade 2 listed building was placed on the Victorian Society's list of most at-risk buildings in the UK that year. 

But sadly this fine historic building (Sheffield does not have too many of them) was left in the hands of private sector developers who proceeded oversee a further marked deterioration in the fabric of the building. Sheffield City Council who sold the building to the private sector kept a serious eye on the  increasingly dilapidated "landmark" building but that was about the extent of it.

There were talks, consultations, studies you name it but the building remained unoccupied until yesterday when it was announced that plans have been approved to redevelop the former courthouse in Sheffield and create "pod" hotel rooms and apartments. Sheffield City Council planners have said the building can be developed while "preserving it as much as possible".

I think the last statement remains to be seen. Sheffield does not have a particularly good record when it comes to restoring historic buildings in a sympathetic and meaningful fashion!       

Friday 13 December 2019

Crookes Valley Park Crookesmoor Sheffield - Twentieth Century Postcards

I came across these three postcards on a well known auction site the other day. All are images of  Crookes Valley Park Crookesmoor Sheffield  dating from the early twentieth century 
The first is circa 1914 and focuses on the bowling green that is still there to this day, 

The second photograph was possibly taken after the first world war, possibly circa 1927 whilst the third and final photograph was taken circa 1935

The park really has not changed in terms of layout since these photographs were taken. The main  difference is that the trees and shrubbery have grown especially around the perimeter of the park. On the third photograph you can clearly see the backs of the houses on Harcourt Road but these nowadays are partly obscured especially in summer 

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Rock Cottage and Nadin Cottage Crookes Sheffield

I came across these two postcards on a well known auction site the other day

The postcards were clearly taken at different times and from a different perspective - the first is more distant and shows the wall of the building to the right in its entirety. And is also features a lot more Crookes residents.

But the main difference is in the title of the postcards - Rock Cottage and Nadin Cottage Crookes. Picture Sheffield does have copyrighted photographs of Rock Cottage and states that the Cottage was demolished in October 1904. So these cards predate 1904

It was situated just before the left hand turn into Toyne Street which still exists. The Cottage would have stood in the middle of  the main road in Crookes 

The other point to note is that both cards shows on the right the chimneys of the old Punch Bowl public house. This photograph was taken circa 1920

Lance Corporal Arnold Luttrell (1897 - 1917) - Oughtibridge Sheffield

Arnold Lutterell, is a name which appears on the Oughtibridge Parish Church Roll of Honour in the parish of Bradfield near Sheffield. The 1901 census shows he is aged 4 born in Oughtibridge, living with his parents, Thomas & Mary.

The CWGC site doesn't list anybody called Lutterell as a casualty but there is an entry for an A Luttrell

Initials: A
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment: York and Lancaster Regiment
Unit Text: 2nd Bn.
Date of Death: 07/04/1917
Service No: 17682

Arnold is buried in Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension with the grave refrence I. G. 65.

He enlisted in Sheffield and from The Sheffield Daily Independent we know that he was gassed in June 1915

But what the records do not show is that his aunt, nieces & nephew were murdered in White Croft Sheffield in 1884 and that his uncle Joseph Laycock was executed the same year for the murders of his family.

Full details can be found on my website

Friday 22 November 2019

Lieutenant George Lambert VC (1819-1860) - An Update

I received this information this week from the Chair of The Friends of Wardsend Cemetery (Sheffield)

"Yesterday (Tuesday 19th November 2019) The Victoria Cross Trust visited Wardsend Cemetery to clean the memorial and tidy the area around the grave of our forgotten VC George Lambert.

At 10.45 am on Saturday 14th December 2019 we will be holding a short memorial event to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth in Markethill in Ireland. Next year the Victoria Cross Trust aim to repair George's memorial and reinstall the stone in an upright position.

A reporter from The Star was present yesterday and you can read the report here: and you can  also read more about George Lambert on our website. There are also links to other sources"

George was one of only seven holders of the Victoria Cross that had a "Sheffield Connection"

The Earl of Arundel and Surrey Hotel Queens Road Sheffield

I came across this old photograph the other day - it was in my late mothers photo album. When she was a child she used to live across the road from the Earl. The house she lived in was demolished in the 1980's to make way for yet another dreary retail park

It must have been taken at the turn of the C20th. You can still make out the firm "John Atkinson Milliners 88 - 90 Sheffield Moor " which is still Sheffield's longest serving department store. It opened its doors in 1872

Thursday 10 October 2019

The Last Car to Walkley (Sheffield)

A postcard titled "The Last Car to Walkley" There is no date on the card and the illustrator who signed the card is a "F. Macleod"

It is a fascinating card and it has left me wondering whether or not the artist was making a point about the activities of the inhabitants of Walkley aboard the last tram. It was of course a full moon

If anyone could furnish me with more details of the artist F. Macleod I would be grateful 

Danville Steet Pitsmoor Sheffield

20th March 2014 - I posted a blog on Frederick Stratford who was the first victim of The Zeppelin Air-raid of 25/26th September 1916. He was also the first nearly 700 Sheffielders to lose their lives in German air attacks on Sheffield during the twentieth century

This is a photograph of Danville Steet, Pitsmoor Sheffield. No date is on the photograph. The street going off to the right is Letwell Place and the building on the corner of it (with big windows)  was Gunby's store. The street below Letwell Place was called Cantley Place.

From the reports of the inquest it seems as though Frederick in his bed at the time of the raid and a piece of schrapnel from an exploding bomb hit him and led to injuries that proved fatal 

The Bay Horse, Silver Street Head, Sheffield

This is a photograph of The Bay Horse, Silver Street Head, Sheffield There is no date on the photograph but judging from the clothes the children outside the pub were wearing, it is was taken circa 1900.

The Bay Horse was part of the estate of the brewer Thomas Rawson & Co. Ltd, one of Sheffield's oldest breweries

Thursday 3 October 2019

The Crookes Chinese Laundry Murder 1922 - An Update

One of the first articles I posted many years ago was what came to be known as The Crookes Chinese Laundry Murder in which the owner of the laundry Sing Lee was murdered by his employee Lee Doon. His body was then buried in the cellar of the laundry before it was discovered a few days later.

Lee Doon was arrested and charged with the wilful murder of Sing Lee and after a trial at Leeds Assizes, was found guilty and sentenced to death. An appeal against the conviction was dismissed and Lee Doon was executed at Armley Prison in Leeds on 5th January 1923.

For year I have been trying to obtain a photograph of  Crookes where the murder occurred and at last I have located one,

There is no date on the card but I am estimating that the date will be circa 1910 which was about ten years before the murder took place. The actual laundry - 231 Crookes is in the centre of the photograpgh

The One-Legged Pall-bearer - St Mary's Parish Church, South Elmsall, South Yorkhire

I came across this old newspaper cutting which sadly has no date. It was before 2008 because that is when the journalist Gail Robinson who wrote the item received her compulsory redundancy notice from Johnston Press in 2008. It appears that the local press barons decided to close the regional offices of the Sheffield Star in a cost-cutting exercise

The cutting relates to funerals at South Elmsall's St Mary's Parish Church and one in particular which led to a one legged woman being coerced into being a pallbearer at the funeral ceremony.

"It hardly added to the dignity of the occasion" was a bit of an understatement by the vicar Father George Moffat. What is more disconcerting is that the one-legged woman was the only volunteer. If she had not taken a corner of the coffin, I dread to think what would have happened next. 

Litter in Crookesmoor, Sheffield - October 2019

This flyer came through the letterbox the other day

Normally material like this is recycled immediately, but I thought that this splendid imitative requires greater publicity. Litter is a problem in the area where I live and sadly over the years it has got a lot worse. There are many reasons for this deterioration but it is heartening that some people are attempting to reduce the impact that littering has on our lives   

Friday 27 September 2019

The staff of Attercliffe Road Railway station, Sheffield - date unknown

There is an informative article on the station on Wikipedia. Attercliffe Road station was situated on Leveson Street between Attercliffe Road and Effingham Street at Norfolk Bridge (Sheffield).

According to Modern Railways Magazine, March 1995(page 137) Attercliffe Road station closed on Saturday 28th January 1995.

The Unveiling of the Statue of King Edward V11 - Fitzalan Square, Sheffield - Monday 27th October 1913

This photograph shows the Unveiling of the Statue of King Edward V11 in Fitzalan Square, Sheffield on Monday 27th October 1913.

There is more information on the statue in the Public Art in Sheffield and the Hallamshire Historic Buildings websites

Bit the interesting part of the photograph for me is the background. It shows the shop of Fitzalan Square, No 4, Fisher, Son and Sibray Ltd., Nurserymen and part of the Marples Hotel, both of which were destroyed just over 27 years later on the night of 12th December 1940

Eskdale Road, Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield - Tuesday, 8th May 1945 VE Day

This photograph was taken on Tuesday, 8th May 1945 VE Day. It shows the people of Eskdale Road, Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield celebrating the end of the war in Europe.

Apart from the cat, the cup and the upturned Tizer crate, what is most noticeable about this photograph is the near total absence of men - they can't have been all on active service 

Sunday 11 August 2019

Murder at Camp 17: Lodge Moor Sheffield - 24th March 1945. - An update

A few years ago I posted an article to the site relating a murder at Camp 17 Lodge Moor Sheffield on 24th March 1945.

A summary is as follows

"It appears that a month or so before the war ended inmates at a German POW camp on the outskirts of Sheffield were enraged when a tunnel which was near to completion was discovered. They had spent many months tunneling. Suspecting an informer they rounded on a GERHARDT RETTIG who had been seen talking to guards near the tunnel entrance. Furthermore in a camp that had a large National Socialist contingent, he was not a Nazi. Once threats were made, it was decided by the Camp command to move him to another camp. But before the transfer was made, Gerhardt Rettig, was chased around the camp by a howling mob before he was severely beaten. He was taken to hospital but died from internal bleeding. "

The four ringleaders of the attack on Gerhardt Rettig were charged with the murder
Unteroffizier Heinz Ditzler
Soldat Juergen Kersting
Feldwebel Emil Schmittendorf
Armin Kuehne
and after a trial at a military court in London Emil Schmittendorf and Armin Kuehne were found guilty and sentenced to death. They were executed by Albert Pierrepoint at Pentonville prison on 16th November 1945"

On Thursday 4th July 2019 The Guardian posted a report about an archaeological dig that was taking place at the site of the camp. What I did not know when I posted the article was that the prisoner of war camp at Lodge Moor, was at its peak, the largest camp in the United Kingdom with nearly 11,000 captives.

The Sinking of the Athenia September 1939 - The Sheffield Connection

I came across this cutting from The Telegraph and Star dated September 1939,  Iwas going to post an article to the website about the sinking of the Athenia and the Sheffield connection.

But whilst researching material I came across this excellent blog on the Athenia and its sinking. by a German U-Boat

It really is an very informative and detailed piece of research and so I decided just to post the cutting to the blog and not post an article to the website. 

Back in Time for the Corner Shop - Hadfields Sheffield

I received an e-mail this week from the producer BBC Back in Time for the Corner Shop

"Dear Chris,

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, but I came across your site discussing your father’s role within the Hadfield Steel Works in Sheffield. I wondered if you might be able to help me – or could point me in the direction of someone who might. 

I am a Producer on a prime-time BBC Two social history series called ‘Back in Time for the Corner Shop’ and I am writing to you regarding the Hadfield Steel Works and looking for previous workers of the site who might be able to speak to us on the programme.

Following the success of previous BAFTA nominated series’ including Back in Time for Dinner and Back in Time for Tea - which regularly reached audiences of 3 million - this new programme will see a modern family transported through one hundred years of domestic and working life as they live and work in a corner shop in the heart of a working-class community.

Guided by presenter Sara Cox and historian Polly Russell, one Sheffield-based family will experience what life was like for working families in Yorkshire as they wear the clothes, eat the food and experience the lifestyle of a different decade each week, reflecting on the social and economic changes of the era.

As part of our 1980s programme we would love to hear from someone who worked at Hadfield Steel works, perhaps someone from a generation of steel workers – and someone who was unfortunately part of the redundancies in the early 1980’s. We would love to hear from them on the programme about Hadfield, how it had played such an important part of life in the area and the effects of its closure in the 80’s. How were they affected personally and also how did it affect the local area?

I was wondering if you knew of any groups or someone who I could speak to, who might be able to help me with this. It is certainly a key part of the history of the area and something we would be keen to highlight in the programme.

I look forward to hearing from you. Kindest Regards Claire"

I replied to Claire but if anyone can help Claire out with ex-employees of Hadfields let me know and I will pass the information on

Welcome Home Hector - An Update

In November 2011 I posted a blog about an iconic photograph that was taken in 1945

Last week I received an e-mail from a descendent of the family

I recently stumbled across your blog on the photo concerning Hector Murdoch returning home after World War 2 and you wondered what became of the people in the photo.

I am married to John's daughter (the boy in the photograph) and can happily tell you that John is still alive and well and living here in Cumbria since about 1974 along with his wife.

My wife can't really remember her grandfather Hector as he died when she was very young but used to go in school holidays to visit her nanny Rose in Norfolk until she died when my wife was around 
18 which was in 1989.

John was also five years of age in the photo and not nine as stated in the blog.


In my defence the information regarding John's age came from a newspaper caption. I thought at the time he looked younger than nine years old but I believed what the newspaper said. You never learn! 

Friday 26 July 2019

Private Frank Willetts (1920-1942) - Pioneer Corps - An Update

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"
Since then I have corresponded with the reader and as a result of our joint endeavours I received this information which is an update
" wanted to update you with good news! Because of your article and interest, I have found a cousin of my mother (my second cousin I guess!!). So Frank Willetts has brought us together (by email) and Neil (my mother's cousin) and his wife have been kind enough to send me a photo of Frank, two sketches of his and a photo of Frank's mother....my great grandma, so happy!! Thank you Chris for being the connection!

Not a bad result!

Enid Blyton and the Sheffield Connection - An Update 2

I received this information from a reader who came across an article on the website about the author Enid Blyton and her connection with Sheffield

The reader was Cliff Watkin and he sent me two photos from a book that he had privately published in 2010 for

a)    members of the Enid Blyton Society

b)    old BSC colleagues who worked in the British Steel Corporation (BSC) in works in the Sheffield and Rotherham areas

Wednesday 26 June 2019

George Robert Patchett 1903 - 1974 Sheffield

A couple of years ago I posted an article to my website relating to the tragic death of a five year old girl Doris Hill in a traffic accident on City Road Sheffield on 8th October 1929.

Decsendents of Doris kindly provided me with information which I was able to incorporate into the article. And at the end of the article I asked that if anyone could assist me with any further material to contact me.

In response to my request I received an e-mail from a reader of the article who stated that he was the grandson of George Robert Patchett, the driver of the vehicle that fatally injured Doris.

" I read with sadness and interest the article on your blog at the following link.

George Robert Patchett was my own grandfather, and he was deeply affected by that tragic day for the remainder of his life.

He had two children of his own including Robert Valen (my father) who was an RAF officer killed in tragic circumstances in 1969.

George has (had) 3 grandchildren, myself, my brother Mike and also a granddaughter Samantha who was herself killed in 1967 at the age of 18 months in similar circumstances to little Doris.

Smanatha had been sitting with myself and a group of young friends outside our house in RAF Little Rissington. I ran across the road to get some money from the house as an Ice cream van had just turned up, Samantha followed and was run over as the vehicle reversed back.
My Grandfather was haunted till the end of this days by this event - believing it was payback for what happened to young Doris all those years previously."

The newspaper reports of the time show that Doris's death was just a tragic accident but it clearly affected George for the rest of his life. The loss of his own granddaughter Samantha in 1967 must have been unbearable for George, given the circumstances of her death

Monday 17 June 2019

Sheffield's Treasures Are Put In Dustbins - September 1939

I came across this newspaper article from September 1939.

Apart from acknowledging the foresight and ingenuity of the Curator, it would be interesting to know where the dustbins were stored once they were full.

Thursday 13 June 2019

The Funeral of Mr G Middleton - Burngreave Cemetery Sheffield - 16th September 1920

Yorkshire Telegraph and Star dated 20th September 1920

The remarkable feature of this cutting is that Mr G Howell worked for the same company in Sheffield for over 40 years. Howell and Co were based at Wincobank in Sheffield and were Tube manufacturers. A fuller history of the company can be found in the excellent Graces Guide.

The Wicker Congregational Church where the funeral took place was at the junction of Burngreave Road and Ellesmere Road. It was demolished in the mid 1960's

Although not mentioned in the report his christian name was George. When I checked his burial record I found that his son William died less than nine years after his father in 1929. He was just 36 years old

MIDDLETON, George (Secretary, age 57).
Died at Cardigan Nursing Home; Buried on September 16, 1920 in General ground;
Grave Number 347, Section KK of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, A Dring: Removed from Sheffield Parish.
MIDDLETON, William (~, age 36).
Died at Brinkburn, Grenoside; Buried on March 16, 1929 in General ground;
Grave Number 347, Section KK of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, J.A. Halfpenny: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

The Last of the Dennis Dominator Buses - Sheffield June 2006

The following cutting is taken from The Sheffield Weekly Gazette dated Thursday 15th June 2006 and is a report of the last Dennis Dominator Buses to run in Sheffield

Wednesday 12 June 2019

City Bids Farewell To A Tramp - Cyril Griffin Sheffield January 1976

I have just posted a brief article to the site that I obtained from The Guardian dated 5th January 1977

There was a brief thread on the Sheffield Forum in 2005 which added some more information but it was the burial record that I found rather poignant. Cyril is buried in a public grave in Sheffield's City Road Cemetery along with 12 other people - some of the burials go back to the late C 19th.

GRIFFIN, Cyril (Electrician, age 52).
Died at British Home Stores Haymarket; Buried on January 6, 1977 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 7031, Section V2 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Page No 230 
BMD References
Births Sep 1924 quarter Griffin Cyril Mothers Maiden Name Howe Sheffield Volume 9c Page 839 
Deaths Dec 1976 quarter - GRIFFIN CYRIL Born 19JE1924 SHEFFIELD Volume 3 Page 2047 

It states that he "Died at British Home Stores Haymarket" when the truth is that he died in the "doorway" of British Home Stores and not the actual store. A whole world of difference on a bitterly cold night in December. 

A Bulldog at 167 Crookes Sheffield - 15th September 1924 - The Heroism of Joshua Greatorex

The above cutting is from The Manchester Guardian dated 2nd December 1924 and refers to the actions of Joshua Greatorex at a house at 167 Crookes. The report ends by stating that he "undoubtedly saved the boy's life". I wonder what happened to the boy whose life was saved.

The house at 167 Crookes where the attack took place no longer exists. It was demolished after the war and replaced with flats   

As for Joshua, I have found out that at the time of the attack he would have been around 63 years old. He was to live for another 19 years before passing away in July 1943. He is buried in the cemetery at Crookes

GREATOREX, Joshua Frederick (Retired, age 82).
Died at 52 Newlands Drive; Buried on July 31, 1943 in Consecrated ground; 
Grave Number 5159, Section JJ of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield.

Saturday 23 March 2019

The Death of Samuel Brameld - Brightside Sheffield September 1880

This is from The Times dated 8th September 1880 and refers to the death of a steelworks labourer Samuel Brameld in a steelworks accident

Samuel must have suffered an agonising death as he was "terribly scalded about the body" and in addition suffered a broken hip.

As usual The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 11th September 1880 gave a fuller account of the events leading up to the tragedy

And with the help of the excellent Sheffield Indexers site I have been able to locate Samuel's grave in St Thomas Cemetery, Brightside Sheffield and confirm that he was only 28 years old when he died

BRAMELD, Samuel (~, age 28). Died at Carlisle Rd Grimesthorpe; Buried on September 7, 1880 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 127, Section ~ of St Thomas Cemetery, Brightside.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: ~.Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 198  

Enid Blyton and the Sheffield Connection - An Update

I have just posted three newspaper reports from The Times to an article I posted many years ago concerning the author Enid Blyton and her Sheffield connection.

 For most of her writing career, Enid Blyton lived at Green Hedges, a house in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. The house was named by her readers through a competition in the children's magazine 'Sunny Stories'. The demolition of Green Hedges, came about after the house was sold at auction in 1971. The plot where Green Hedges and its gardens once stood is now a small development of  dwellings called imaginatively called Blyton Close.

Sheffield By Night - Kenneth Steel Sheffield circa 1960

I received this e-mail note the other day asking about a work by the Sheffield artist Kenneth Steel

"I have viewed your website regarding Kenneth Steele.

I recently bought a print by Steele knowing nothing about him but because I liked it as it reminds me of Crookes in Sheffield.  I have put it in another frame and the print has faded from the original colours.Have you come across it before and have you heard anything about where the original might be?"

Unfortunately my response was a double negative - I have never seen the painting before and I do not know where the original is. But I said that I would post the details on this blog and hope that a reader would provide some additional information.

And for my part I think it is a rather impressive piece of art 

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Gold Mining in Derbyshire - June 1854

The following is from The Times dated Monday 19th June 1854 but it looks as though the initial report was from the Derbyshire Courier.

I was going to post an article to my site about this facet of Derbyshire's history but found this article that is from Bygone Industries of The Peak which seems to cover the salient points.  I was unaware that the Crown, under the auspices of the Duchy of Lancaster, was the owner of such deposits.  

The Untimely Death of Dr. Alexander Robert R. Hudson - Grimesthorpe Sheffield October 1931

The following cutting is from The Manchester Guardian dated 3rd October 1931 and relates to the sudden death of Dr. Alexander Robert R. Hudson. Alexander was described as "one of the oldest and best known medical practitioners in the city" 

I checked and found that his surgery was at 4 Burngreave Road Sheffield - the house no longer stands but there is a Surgery on the opposite side of the road.

I also checked the excellent Sheffield Indexers site and found this burial record for the Hudson family

HUDSON, Alexander R R (Medical Practitioner, age 64).
Died at Royal Infirmary; Buried on October 7, 1931 in General ground;
Grave Number 3641, Section LL of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, R Walter Hull: Removed from Sheffield Parish.
HUDSON, Constance (Spinster, age 13).
Died at 4 Burngreave Rd; Buried on January 22, 1926 in General ground;
Grave Number 3641, Section LL of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, H Oliver Evans: Removed from Sheffield Parish.
HUDSON, Lydia Constance (Widow, age 98).
Died at High Torr Nursing Home; Buried on August 20, 1971 in General ground;
Grave Number 3641, Section LL of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Removed from Hoysthorpe, Nr. Skegness Parish.
HUDSON, Stuart (~, age 30).
Died at The Mental Hospital; Buried on November 16, 1942 in General ground;
Grave Number 3641, Section LL of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister: L B W Heppenstall: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

The age at the date of death differs from the newspaper report by 4 years but 64 is the correct age as Free BMD has this record

Deaths Dec 1931 Hudson Alexander R R age 64 Sheffield  Vol 9c Page 469

And it looks from the burial record that the Hudson family were not new to tragedy

Monday 18 February 2019

The Death of Elizabeth Trott - Little Sheffield Sunday 23rd March 1806.

I came across this report the other day, It is dated Saturday 29th March 1806 and refers to the death of Elizabeth Trott that occurred on Sunday 23rd March 1806.

Little Sheffield, was a small collection of dwellings which was separate from the main town of Sheffield which was over "the Moor", then a muddy rural area. It is roughly around the bottom of what is now London Road and Cemetery Road.

"On Tuesday a Coroners Inquest was held on the body of Elizabeth Trott, a young woman of Little Sheffield, who in a fit of despair drowned herself in a pond on Sunday last.

The deliberate manner in which she put an end to her existence is somewhat extraordinary; the pond being frozen over, she broke a hole in the ice, just to admin her head, which she put into the water, and her body remained quite dry".

For the end of March it must have been particularly cold that year for ice to have formed on the pond. And poor Elizabeth must have really been in a state of deep despair for her to take her life in such a manner.