Friday 28 February 2020

George Sanby at the River Ancholme near Brigg, Lincolnshire - July 1893

My late grans maiden name was SANBY and over the last 20 years or so of family history research I have acquired quite a lot of information on the SANBY name. In fact most of the Sanby's in Sheffield are related in one way or another.

I found this cutting in the York Herald dated 29th July 1893 under the title ANGLING GOSSIP. The unnamed writer of the article is incensed about the rapid commercialisation of the sport. Whereas at one time fishing was an "honour" nowadays there are proposals for a single match to be worth £100 to the winner (abt £13000 in today's money).

Whilst he admits the he is "old school" and not against matches as such, he bemoans the fact that match fishing by "clubmen" has become increasingly popular, attracting many competitors and spectators.

He then goes onto report on a large fishing match that took place on the  River Ancholme near Brigg, Lincolnshire

My interest is that the person who finished 4th out of 270 in the match was one GEORGE SANBY. I do not know if he was my gran's uncle or cousin but his endeavours at the riverside that day earned him £3 (nearly £400 in today's money) and if he had caught another 2 oz his prize money would have been £5. A sizeable sum of money for a days fishing.

And of course, the writer could not help pointing out that the predominance of the Sheffield men at the top of the match figures was due firstly to their preponderance, and secondly to their good fortune in securing the pegs with the best fishing. The writer certainly does like to carp on about things. !! 

Thursday 27 February 2020

Gilmour's Imperial Invalid Stout - Sheffield 1904

This advertisement promoting the the health giving properties of Gilmour's Imperial Invalid Stout appeared in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph circa 1904.

But unfortunately the brewing of this stout with "exceptional medicinal properties" came to late for the founder of the brewery Duncan Gilmour. He died on 11th January 1889 and is buried in Fulwood Churchyard.

I have not checked on this article on Duncan Gilmour for nine years and I have just found out that the links to the Gilmour Family History are now redundant. I have updated the article.

Esther Ball (1770 - 1828) - The First Burial in the Churchyard of St Philips Church, Shalesmoor,Sheffield 1st January 1829

In the burial registers of  St Philips Church, Shalesmoor,Sheffield is this entry

BALL Esther 1 Jan 1829 Sheffield age 59 wife of  Jonathan.

But what is a lesser known fact is that Esther was the first interment in the churchyard of the newly commissioned church.

It is engraved on her memorial stone.that is inlaid into a wall in Hillsborough Barracks Sheffield

Photograph Taken August 2012
Also remembered on the stone are her son Richard who died in June 1834 

BALL Richard 17 Jun 1834 Sheffield age 30

and a young infant Ann who died aged 11 months

BALL Ann 11 Oct 1835 Sheffield 11m daughter of  William 

I did not know that the memorial was there until it was pointed out to me by Ron Clayton who was instrumental in its relocation (and a few more) from the churchyard

St Philips Church, Shalesmoor,Sheffield was one of the million pound churches and played a prominent role in the life of the district for over 120 years. But like many similar churches it outlived its usefulness and purpose and was demolished in the mid 1950's

Esther's memorial was fortunate to survive - this is what I have been able to ascertain about the fate of those many thousands who were buried there and their headstones.

All the bodies were exhumed under the remit of Sheffield City Council (the church authorities seem to have gone missing). Their department Bereavement Services confirmed that all the remains were taken from St Philips to Abbey Lane cemetery, Section H and placed in a communal grave with no memorials

One descendent whose forbears were buried in St Philips contacted the council to see if anyone had made a record of who exactly was moved. He was referred to the Council's  legal team to see if there were any details collected when licences were gained to exhume the remains. The answer they  received was that it does not appear that any records were made of who was moved. 

A subscriber to the Sheffield History Forum was told that the headstones from St Philips were sold to stonemasons, and some of them, cut into blocks. They can be seen in the retaining wall of the River Porter in Bingham Park (Sheffield). It is certainly true that sections of gravestones are present in the wall, as ornamentation is visible in places. I believe they were also used in the low wall on the path leading down to Forge Dam.  

And so without the actions of  Ron Clayton this piece of Sheffield history would have been forgotten.

As a footnote I was told years ago that the pews and other wooden fittings in the church ended upp on local bonfires and of course  there is the apocryphal story that when they exhumed some of the coffins they were scratches on the inside of the coffin lids. I was very sceptical of this but after reading about the exploits of Mr Heywood and the revival of Joseph Fegan I am not that sure.! 


Tuesday 25 February 2020

The Footpaths of Walkley (Sheffield) - January 1892

This cutting is from the Sheffield Independent dated 19th January 1892 and it relates to the footpaths of Walkley

It did provoke a wry smile given that after 128 years I can answer the readers question. They were  fortunate to experience a time when men placed "careful and constant attention to the placing on ashes on footpaths." The writer laments that during the inclement weather that persisted in January 1892 the persons spreading the ashes were less than diligent to the extent of neglect.

They infer that the reason for this tardiness in the placing of ashes is the fact that a prominent Corporation official has left the area, In relocating to another district, the official has left the citizens of Walkley with the "laborious task" of walking up and done the numerous hills in the district on icy and snow-covered footpaths

The Corporation must have been aware of this criticism and came up with a solution. They decided to do away with the spreading of ashes on the footpaths and pavements altogether. I have lived in the district for over forty years and have never once experienced men playing ""careful and constant attention to the placing on ashes on footpaths.." In fact when winter weather hits the hills of Shefffield, the last thing you will see are corporation employees clearing the footpaths. A grit bin at the top of a few streets is the best you are going to get!

There are no ashes on Spring Hill today (or any day)!

Wednesday 12 February 2020

The Undertakers Conference Sheffield 28th May 1907 and the restoration of James Fegan

I have just posted a quite remarkable article to the site concerning an Undertakers Conference that was held in Sheffield on 28th May 1907 and the "restoration" of James Fegan.

It all stems from the blog I posted earlier today relating to the life and tragic death of Edward Guite, a native of Walkley, Sheffield. I used a cutting from the Nottingham Evening Post dated 29th May 1907 which contained a short report on Edward's transfer to Nottingham Forest FC. On the same page in the adjacent column was this report from an Undertakers Conference 

This is the report

And according to Mr H. A. Sherry who addressed the conference this was not an isolated instance. On a few occasions undertakers have had the task of restoring a corpse that has been certified as being dead by doctors. Unfortunately Mr Sherry does not explain the correct method to restore a corpse" 

This has all the hallmarks of a gothic novel!    

The Barnsley Football Club Mascot - FA Cup Final 1910

Many years ago I posted an article to the site relating to the FA Cup Final Replay of 1912 between Barnsley FC and West Bromwich Albion. It was the only time that a FA Cup Final was held in Sheffield (and to date the only time Barnsley FC have won the Cup!)

And as a result of the article I posted further articles concerning persons associated with the match  The Chairman of the Football Association Charles Clegg who presented the Cup to the victorious Barnsley team, Harry Tufnell the winning goal-scorer and Reverend Tiverton Preedy (1863 - 1928) the original founder of Barnsley FC   

The reception for the team after the match was held at the Clarence Hotel Barnsley and the matchball, was presented to the guest of honour the  Reverend Tiverton Preedy 

But two years earlier Barnsley lost a FA Cup Final after a replay. Barnsley lost the final 2-0 to Newcastle at Goodison Park Liverpool (28 April 1910). The original FA Cup final at Crystal Palace ended 1-1 (23 April 1910).

But for me the Final will be remembered for this magnificent photograph taken outside The Clarence Hotel Barnsley. It shows Amos the donkey, Barnsley FC's official mascot, pictured with his ‘jockey’ outside the team’s HQ .   

Edward Guite (1885 - 1918) - Walkley Sheffield

A couple of days ago I received this information concerning an Edward Guite who was fromthe Walkley distrci of  Sheffield

"I am researching my family history, but was wondering if you might be able to help with my research into my Great uncle Edward Guite (1885 - 1918). Edward had a wholesale pork butchers’ business at 175 Walkley Lane, and died as a prisoner of war in Germany in 1918 (his letters to his wife Clara are in the Sheffield Archive).

Edward was a keen sportsman, playing both football and cricket; there are numerous newspaper references to him. Edward played for Walkley, Doncaster Rovers and Nottingham Forest. The attached newspaper features  his signing for Forest in 1907.

Specifically I was wondering if you could help me identify the team in the third picture and the name of the trophy he has between his legs.

 Any thought would be appreciated"

These are the rather splendid photographs that were supplied by the researcher

It is the third photograph that the researcher was attempting to identify - the team and the trophy and so if any reader of this post can help please contact me and I will pass on the information.

There is a sad postscript to the story - Like millions of other men, Edward joined up and fought on the Western Front in WW1.

"Edward was taken prisoner on 28 March 1918   near the village of Bucquoy  at Rossignol Wood (see attached). It is likely that this was the same action in which Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Cyril Spencer  Watson D.S.O. of the Yorkshire Regiment attached as commanding officer to Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI), was awarded the V.C. for bravery. Edward was uninjured on capture but died of pneumonia in very poor conditions and malnutrition may have been a cause."

This is the information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Lance Corporal GUITE, E
Service Number 47779
Died 20/05/1918
Aged 34
2nd/4th Bn. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Son of John and Sarah Guite, of Sheffield, Yorks.; husband of Clara Guite, of 8, Layton Avenue, Blackpool.

Buried at PREMONT BRITISH CEMETERY Location: Aisne, France
Number of casualties: 563 Cemetery/memorial reference: IV. B. 7.

Monday 3 February 2020

The Pianist at the Marples Hotel, Sheffield - 12th December 1940

One of the first articles I posted to the website nearly 20 years ago was the tragedy that occurred at the the Marples Hotel in Sheffield on the night of 12/13th December 1940 when the Hotel was struck by a bomb dropped by the Luftwaffe

The Hotel is to the left of the photograph

As I stated in the article we can never know for certain how many people died in the explosion that devastated the Hotel. Over the following weeks 64 bodies were recovered from the rubble and the partial remains of six or seven other people were also identified. The force of the explosion and the ensuing collapse of the building meant that only 14 people could be visually identified : the remainder were identified through their personal belongings that had with them when they died. The most accurate estimate is that 77 people were in Marples at the time of the explosion and 70 died as a result of the injuries they received. It was without doubt the worst single incident for loss of life in Sheffield during the whole war.

Last week I received this information from someone who had read the article

"My granny was Mary Ransom (born Dec 1909 died 1998) married to Grandpa Albert 1906-1986/7) I understand grandpa was a fire watcher on the roof of the Childrens Hospital, he had a reserved occupation as a Gas-fitter and plumber.

Granny was an accomplished pianist and I am told that she was due to play the piano on the fateful night in question at Marples. She had to swap with another pianist because my uncle Mike, born 1936, was, poorly and needed to take care of him. It seems an incredible story but likely.Sadly I never thought to question Granny further being only 14 years old hen she died.  I remember asking if she kept her ration book as I was doing a Year 6 project on WW2 and was told quite officiously, "Why would I need to keep it?"

I was fascinated to read the article, sad to see the names of the deceased thinking Granny could have been among the numbers and wondering who the pianist was. I must admit I wish I could find more time to research my grandparents during the war, they are long gone and born probably a generation older than most of my peers grandparents...."

Of course I do not have any idea of who took over from Mary on the piano that night, and I feel it will be nigh on possible to find out. Hence this blog in the vain hope that some reader just may point me in the right direction. It would be fitting to know the name of the unknown pianist

The other side of Fitzalan Square - photo taken 1938 two years before the tragedy

Sheffield City Council Education Offices, Leopold Street Sheffield - 1989

This cutting is from The Sheffield Telegraph dated Friday 6th October 1989.

It relates to the possible sale of one of Sheffield's most historic buildings (There are not many of them).  But looking at this 30 year old cutting is the reason for the sale. Sheffield City Council had severe budget cuts over a number of years and was now facing a cash crisis. Education was in the firing line for these budget reductions and the sale of this iconic building would bring in much needed funds to the cash strapped council.

The last paragraph could have been written at anytime in the last ten years - it goes to show that nothing ever changes when it comes to Conservative governments and state education 

For those interested there is a excellent summary of the buildings history and architecture on the Victorian Web

Photographs 2011 by George P. Landow 

Former School Board Offices. 1880. Leopold Street, Sheffield. The row of buildings originally comprised (a) Central Schools on the left, (b) School Board Offices in the middle, and (c) Frith College on the right. According to Harman and Minnis  the architects unified the separate structures with “single-storey balustraded links” that joined the offices to the college and an arcade — visible in the photograph — that joins the buildings housing the School Board and Central Schools. “The schools end at the corner of Orchard Lane in two blocks, each of three bays, either side of a little bow-fronted link set back between them. The blank wall of the canted block on the corner is relieved by arched niches and delicately carved panels, which include lilies and oak leaves and the emblem of the school board” .

Sheffield. Harman, Ruth, and John Minnis. Pevsner Architectural Guides. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 2004

As you can see, the buildings were sold in the early 1990's and the site was redeveloped into a hotel, offices and bars/restaurants.