Monday 27 December 2021

Alexander Stacey (1834-1897)- A Sheffield Impresario

 I was going to post an article to the website relating to this cutting that is from The Era dated 16th January 1897. It concerns the death of Mr Alexander Stacey at his home 122 Upperthorpe, Sheffield.

But there is an excellent site that concentrates on the historic photographs of historic theatres and the Lyceum is one of them and so I decided that I would just post Alexander's obituary to the blog and leave it at that.

The house where Alexander and his family lived in Upperthorpe is still there


Women's Screams Cost Man's Life - Sheffield October 1928

 I came across this report in The Manchester Guardian dated 31st October 1928 quite a few years back

On the face of it it looks as though it would be worth an article on the website. But there is a major problem - there is a total dearth of information in the report - there are no names, no locations, no identifying features: absolutely nothing beyond the fact that the inquest was held in Sheffield on 30th October 1928 and that the victim was a Corporation employee.

I tried the British Newspaper Archive for the period in question and there were no reports at all. Well none that I could locate.

And it got me to think whether or not this incident ever happened. It has all the hallmarks of a spoof or prank  probably initiated by some reporter(s) who were short on copy at the time of publication. Apart from the lack of information I doubt if a Coroner would use the phrases at the foot of the report.

I may be incorrect in my assumption - if so please let me know

Friday 24 December 2021

Xmas Day in the Sheffield Workhouse 1883

The following report is from the Sheffield Independent dated 26 December 1883

"The inmates of the above Workhouse were yesterday provided with their Christmas treat. It consisted, as usual, of the substantial dinner of roast beef and plum pudding. A pint of beer was allowed for everyone except the imbeciles and children. They has coffee, as also did everyone who preferred it. The total number of inmates in the house this Christmas is 1334... after dinner they were briefly and suitably addressed by the Chairman (Ald. Hunter). The inmates were then dismissed to their various wards to pass the afternoon in recreation, various friends having kindly sent a quantity of illustrated papers and books for their use. `the old people were supplied with tobacco and snuff and the children with oranges. An excellent tea was given them, and to-day (Wed) there will be a magic lantern entertainment kindly supplied by Mr Rodgers. The Sheffield Pillow Mission sent their usual Christmas present of a letter and illustrated card to each inmate."

It is  a rather sobering thought that "the number of inmates in the house" that Xmas Day was 1334, but it elicited no comment from the reporter. The other point of note is the reference to "The Sheffield Pillow Mission." I have never heard of this organisation before and so I can only speculate that it was tied in with some form of Methodism or Non-conformism. 

Monday 20 December 2021

The Suitcase of a Gentleman - Sir Joseph Jonas Sheffield

 In July 2021 I was contacted by a reader of my site and blog who stated

"I am clearing out some items, one of which is a lovely crocodile effect gentleman’s suitcase.  It is generally very good condition with many of the original accessories, some with silver tops and antique ivory handles etc. The front of the suitcase has JONAS on one lock and SHEFFIELD on the other.  I googled this and came up with your fascinating article on Sir Joseph Jonas.

I was about to put the suitcase on Ebay but perhaps there is a better home for it in a museum or at the Jonas Hotel?"

It was a fascinating find and I attempted to put the reader in touch with descendents of Sir Joseph who had contacted me in the past. But they eventually must have decided to place the case on Ebay. It had a starting price bid of £250GBP and I was slightly tempted to buy a piece of Sheffield history. But on reflection the handle was detached and the contents looked incomplete and it would have cost me more money to renovate it. In the end I decided that it just was not worth it. Infortunately I do not know if the case sold and what price it fetched but it is still an interesting item.

Also on Ebay was this note on Sir Joseph - it appears it was removed from a periodical



St Michael and All Angels church Neepsend Sheffield - Location

 In September 2017 I posted an article to the blog relating to the missing was memorial at St Michael's and All Angels church in Neepsend Sheffield.

Sad to say that the war memorial is still missing but a friend read the blog and kindly sent me a map of where the church stood. It faced Neepsend Lane and from the map it looks as though it backed onto houses on Percy Street.

Neepsend Lane and Percy Street are still there but there is very little left from the early C20th.  

Stanley Woolass's present 1915

 Quite a few years ago I posted an article to the website relating to the life and tragic death of Ralph Skelton Woolass. Ralph was a fighter pilot in WW2 and was on a channel sweep on 16th April 1942 when his Spitfire was shot down by a Me109 off Cap de la Hague in Northern France.

His brother kindly assisted me with additional information in 2013 which I placed on the blog 

Last week a reader of the site sent me three images

They stated that they had " bought a book in a charity shop. The book is a 1912 RL Stevenson book and is presented to Stan Woolass from a friend in 1915 with a Latin quotation. In hoc signo vinces" 

NB For those readers of the blog that are not conversant with Latin it conventionally translates into English as "In this sign thou shalt conquer". The sign means The Cross

I was wondering whether this is the Stanley Woolass who was the father father of Ralph. The dates seem to match up. If it is Ralph’s father, he will have been 23 Years old at the time he received the book."

Although I cannot be certain I think that on the balance of possibilities the book was gifted to Ralph's father. A very interesting find  

Thursday 9 December 2021

The Grave of Ada Bradley - Wadsley Churchyard Sheffield

Many years ago I posted an article to the site relating to the brutal murder in Sheffield of nurse Ada Bradley (April 1923)

In December 2021 I was asked by a friend if I knew where Ada was buried in Wadsley Churchyard. Quite a few years ago I did attempt to find the grave based on the photograph that was taken at the time of Ada's funeral but without a grave reference it was a thankless task. I was put in touch with volunteers at Wadsley Church who kindly undertook some research into the location of Ada's grave.

This is their reply

"I looked up the grave then and found the only candidate was a grave plot just in the name of Bradley AA82/2 in the 1921 to 1933 section adjacent Prescott Road. It is unusual not to have a christian name in our grave plot records and there is no headstone. 
There is one other possible grave plot, EE46/3 in the 1908 to 1921 section adjacent Vainer Road. This is the grave of Mary Bradley and then Joe H Bradley. Ada`s sister and grandfather?? If Ada was a subsequent burial in this grave she is much more likely to have been unrecorded in the grave plot records. Again no headstone so I have no other information.

My records are based on the grave plot registers. The only other avenue is to check the burial registers which are in Sheffield Archives. As you have Ada`s funeral date this is very easy to find. The entries do not usually mention the grave plot number but there is a tiny chance. Either way there is no headstone to add to your story.

To find AA82/2 enter from Prescott Road and go down the edge of the field to the 22nd row below the path. Bradley plot with no headstone is 3 plots from the boundary wall. We have ten Bradley grave plots in total, 5 with headstones, but I assume you are not interested in them"

A disappointing end to the search and also a surprising one. Given the cruel nature of Ada's death and the very large crowds who attended the funeral I would have expected a headstone or similar memorial but there is none to be found.

Monday 29 November 2021

Richard Johnson and the Atlas Lodge of the Sheffield Equalised Druids

I came across this entry in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated Saturday January 24th 1904 which refers to the death of a Mr Richard Johnson at the Cross Scythes Hotel Totley;Sheffield and his funeral that took place two days earlier.

Apart from noting that Richard had worked for 40 years at the firm of Messrs. Bury of Penistone Road Sheffield, it also states that Richard was Treasurer for Atlas Lodge of the Equalised Druids in Sheffield for 22 years. 

I have never heard of the Atlas Lodge of the Equalised Druids in Sheffield. The Ancient Order of Druids still exist and is still a viable organisation.  


However there is an old thread on the Sheffield Forum dating from 2007 that gives a bit more information about the organisation

"White's 1919/20 Directory suggests that there were 2 different kinds of 'Druids' in Sheffield. As well as the "Equalized District Order" in Queen Street (Mr Short already secretary) there is...
Sheffield Equalized Independent Druids (Isaac Wright, general sec.), at 35 & 37 Suffolk Road.
I wonder if the 'Idependent' means there had been a split in the Order, with this being a 'breakaway' group.

I also found these in the Sheffield Local Register (digest of local news stories up to 1908 )
12 Oct 1891 - The Druids’ Society: Sheffield Equalised District decides by 9018 votes to 282 to secede from the order [this secession allowed on 26 Feb 1892]
8 Aug 1892 - First Quarterly meeting of the Sheffield Independent Druids; secession completed.
9 May 1898 - Half-yearly meeting of the Sheffield Equalised Independent Druids. Membership, 21,134; capital, £72,723. 12s. 10¾d....

 There are lots of other mentions of both organisations. It seems that the Independent Druids (and possibly their rivals) were running into financial problems after 1900 when outgoings were exceeding income by substantial ammounts"

The Sheffield Indexers state that Richard is buried in Grave Number 25, Section C of Walkley Cemetery Cemetery alongside his wife Emma

JOHNSON, Emma (~, age 66). Died at 40 Woollen Lane; Buried on June 6, 1897 in ~ ground;

Grave Number 25, Section C of Walkley Cemetery Cemetery, Nichols Rd  Page No 36

JOHNSON, Richard (~, age 70). Died at Cross Scythes Hotel Totley; Buried on January 21, 1904 in ~ ground;      Grave Number 25, Section C of Walkley Cemetery Cemetery, Nichols Rd Page No 45

Thursday 4 November 2021

Beauchief & Abbey Dale Railway Station Sheffield

I came across the postcard showing the Manchester Express roaring through Beauchief & Abbey Dale Railway Station Sheffield. Unfortunately the card is not dated but the indications are that the station was still in use, The Wikipedia entry quoted below states that the station closed on New Years day 1961 

"The station was built by the Midland Railway in 1870 and was designed by the company architect John Holloway Sanders.

The station served the communities of Beauchief, Woodseats and Ecclesall and was situated on the Midland Main Line between Millhouses railway station and Dore & Totley station, near Abbeydale Road South in Abbeydale. The station was originally called Abbey Houses and later Beauchief & Abbey Dale station.

The station was opened on the site of Hutcliffe Mill at the same time as the main line from Chesterfield. At opening it had two platforms, but this was increased to four with the widening which took place between 1901 and 1903. It closed on 1 January 1961. The stationmasters house survives as a private residence and the nearby Abbeydale Station Hotel was renamed the Beauchief Hotel. In 2018 the hotel site was redeveloped as apartments.

Photographs of the stationmasters house taken in March 2011

Sheffield Telegraph dated 25th May 2017 had this report on the development of the site. 

"Proposals to create a development of 30 properties on the site of the former hotel and restaurant on Abbeydale Road South are recommended for approval at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

The scheme would involve creating six two-bedroom apartments in the existing hotel building, as well as putting up a new block of 12 two-bedroom flats and 12 detached homes.

A report to councillors said just five objections had been received since the plans were lodged. Reasons for opposition included the impact on air quality, and fears the proposal would ‘overdevelop’ the site. Neighbours also claimed the character of the old hotel building itself would be affected.

However, the report said: “The extension to the main hotel has been amended to ensure that the new development does not detract from the distinct character and appearance of the original hotel. The extension and hotel are both four floors in height; however, as the ground levels fall away to the rear of the existing hotel, the overall height of the extension is significantly lower than the original building.

The site was a ‘sustainable location’ and the layout was ‘reflective of the wider area’, officers added.

“The proposal involves a range of different house types that have been designed to ensure the living conditions are of a good standard.”

Officers also accepted the outcome of a review that concluded offering affordable homes ‘would not be financially viable’.

“It is considered that the applicant has proposed a good quality housing scheme,” said the report.

Brocco Street Netherthorpe Sheffield

Brocco Street was where my great grandparents Edwin and Mary Sanby (nee Broomhead) began their married lives together and started raising a family in 1879. They were living next door to my great great grandfather Edward Broomhead who was a widower by then

This photograph was taken in 1902 and shows Brocco Street looking up from Edward Street towards Solly Street. The district name was Netherthorpe.

Sixty years later in 1960 Brocco Street as a residential area had disappeared being replaced by small scale commercial and industrial units

And sixty years later in 2020 it is now a student quarter

I suppose the photographs mirror the changes that have occurred in Sheffield over the last 140 years but I feel there is a constant theme running through all three photographs - the dire quality of the buildings that have been erected on the street. "Nihil (umquam) mutatur" as they used to say!


Wednesday 3 November 2021

Ebeneezer Elliott (1781 - 1849) - Upperthorpe Sheffield

There is quite a lot of information on-line and in-print relating to Ebeneezer Elliott (1781 - 1849) but the other month I came across a postcard of his house in the Upperthorpe district of Sheffield. He lived at this address from 1834 until his retirement in 1841 after which he moved to Great Houghton near Barnsley. 

He is also remembered by a statue that is located in Sheffield's Weston Park

Photograph taken August 2012 

Saturday 2 October 2021

St. Bartholomew's Church, Burgoyne Road, Walkley Sheffield


The above postcard shows the original St. Bartholomew's Church, on Burgoyne Road in the Walkley district of Sheffield. The large house below it is Walkley Divisional Police Station, which stood on the corner with Langsett Road, 

The church which was built in 1881 last for 100 years before it was demolished and replaced by a new church and apartment blocks. The link shows the new buildings on the site. St. Bartholomew's Church is now on Primrose Hill.

My Gran's cousin George Sanby was married in this church on 13th February 1916 but he died later that year in a Manchester hospital from wounds he received on the Somme. His name features on the Roll of Honour at St Bartholomew's Church, just one of 201 who lost their lives

Charles Henry Cavill of 10 Crookes Road, Crookes, Sheffield

I came across this postcard - the only information on the card is that the photo was taken by a Mr. Charles Henry Cavill of 10 Crookes Road, Crookes, Sheffield.

On the rear of the card are seasonal greetings but the card is unposted and so the year is unknown.

A check on the excellent Sheffield Indexers site revealed this entry in a directory

"CAVILL, Charles Henry (~, Confectioner). Address: 10 & 12 Crookes Road, in 1925. - Recorded in: Sheffield & Rotherham Kelly's Directory.

It appears that photography must have been a side-line for Charles. More of his photos are on Picture Sheffield. 

There is no indication who the three people are on the photo but the supposition is that it is Charles Cavill, his wife and daughter. The ladies appear to be less than merry for some reason! 

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Panic on Gell Street Sheffield 1883 - An update

 Many years ago I posted an article to the site that related to a tragedy that occurred on Monday 2nd July 1883 at Gell Street in Sheffield. It resulted in the deaths of two children and several others were also injured. The tragedy and the aftermath were reported in detail in the local and national press. And it was unusual inasmuch as the Coroner and the jury at the inquest disagreed with each other. Feelings did run high!

Three months ago in June 2021 I received this information from a descendent of one of the victims

"I just wanted to drop you an email to say thank you for the informative page on your website in relation to an ancestor of mine.

The ‘Panic on Gell Street’ of 1883 resulted in the death of my 2 x Great Grand Uncle, John Charles Summers.

My father’s great grandfather, William Henry Summers (older brother of John Charles Summers) passed down a story through the family that his youngest brother died in some sort of accident when William was 16. I apparently it had a huge impact on the rest of the family and the local community due to the tragic nature of it.

Didn’t know what it was until we found this today Many thanks"

Pew Rents - St Thomas Church Crookes Sheffield - 1897

 I came across this slip of paper the other day dating from 1897

It is a receipt for the rent of pew no 26 in St Thomas Church Crookes Sheffield. It is for the period 1st April 1897 to 1st Ocober 1897. It is for the sum of one pound which equated to just over £130 GBP in today's money. The annual rent of the pew would be in today's terms £260 GBP, a sizeable sum.for the poor parshioners of Crookes parish. The only thing that is puzzling me is that I cannot make out the name of the person who is renting pew number 26

I was unaware of this practice but a search found that a John Charles Bennett. a PhD student at the University of Birmingham had actually done a thesis on the subject - The Anglican Practice of Pew Renting 1800 - 1960. There is an abstract from the thesis and a pdf. download for anyone who wishes to explore the subject further.

The Lookout - Saturday 30th September 1882 - Edition No2

A couple of months ago a reader of my website contacted me to ask if I knew of the above publication and if I did could I provide more information 

I replied that I have never heard or seen of the journal before. It states on the tiltle page that it is a critical and satirical journal for Sheffield and the North of England and so I speculated that it may be along the lines of today's Private Eye. But that is suposition on my part. If asny one can supply any further information please let me know

Monday 12 July 2021

Air Raid Damage and Censorship - November 1940

 Over the years of posting material to the site I have on occasion been bedevilled by the effects of wartime censorship that occurred in both world wars. I have understood the need, that, at times certain pieces of information must be withheld on the grounds of national security and preserving the well-being of the population. But at the same time, it must be recognised that the public do need to know what is occurring both locally and nationally, and not kept in the dark. It is a difficult balancing act.

I believe that this joint communique was the result of the fact that London was always being mentioned in the reports whilst other towns and cities that were subject to intense air raids by the Luftwaffe were referred to by a generic title. Sheffield for instance was often referred to as a "north midlands town." It was this lack of recognition of blitzed communities that was effecting public morale.

This cutting is from the West London Observer dated Friday 8th November 1940 and it explains the government's position on censorship and the vital need for secrecy. 

The Smallpox Epidemic - Sheffield 1887 - an update

Last week a reader of the site whose interests lie in C19th medicine and disease contacted me with regard to an article I posted quite a few years ago. The article "The Smallpox Epidemic of 1887 in Sheffield" was based on a report that appeared in The Times dated 7th January 1888.

The reader added this information

" The disease remained prevalent in Sheffield until the early years of the 20th century. Forty seven cases occurred in the city in 1892, and was prevalent during the first half of 1891, before it gradually died out in September. The largest number of cases occurred during March and April 1892,  31 in March and 19 in April, during the whole year 102 cases occurred, of which 4 were fatal. Out of the 102 cases there was no evidence of vaccination in 17. 79 cases were male and 23 female. 35 of the cases had no fixed abode in the city, and were either struck down with the disease while travelling through Yorkshire, or had caught the disease in one of the common lodging houses in town, or as inmates of the workhouse.

In 1901 there were thirty cases of smallpox reported, compared with only two in 1902.  Four cases of the disease were reported during 1905, but none were fatal. There was only one case in 1906, which did not prove fatal.

The diseases which causes excessive death rates in Sheffield between 1895 and 1905, were diphtheria and enteric fever. The chief Medical Officers of Health during most of the period we are writing about were: Harvey Littlejohn, John Robertson, and Charles Scarfield.  Robertson resigned on 1st October 1903, and Charles Scarfield took over his duties on 1st January, 1904."


Monday 21 June 2021

The Crookes and Cobden Branch of the Hallam Women's Conservation Association - 5th December 1932

This photo appeared in The Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 6th December 1932 and shows a group photo of The Crookes and Cobden Branch of the Hallam Women's Conservation Association who were holding a "carnival dance" the previous night.  

The photograph came as a surprise because I never viewed Crookes and Cobden as a hotbed of Conservatism. In fact in the mid to late c19th the district of Cobden was viewed as being the rough area of Crookes. And I never associated Crookes and Cobden with having a carnival especially in December.

But the event seemed very well attended and even though it was in the midst of what was termed the Great Depression, they were all well turned out.

I am going to try and find out some more information on this association as I am rather interested in it.

The Painful Death of Arthur Gee - Upperthorpe, Sheffield February 1901

Rather like the last blog relating to Joseph Taylor, the death of Arthur Gee is also rather troubling.


The Upperthorpe Hotel, Sheffield  - the scene of Arthur's inquest - photo taken 2011

The following report is from The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star dated 28th February 1901 and relates to Arthur' death the previous day.  

It appears that Arthur had bought from the chemist that day "some medicine". The medicine was oxalic acid. Arthur must have ingested it and suffered. Oxalic acid is toxic because of its acidic and chelating properties. It can cause burns, nausea, severe gastroenteritis and vomiting, shock and convulsions. It is especially toxic when ingested. As little as 5 to 15 grams (71 mg/kg) may be fatal to humans.

But his depressed state was due entirely to religious melancholia. Again I have not come across this term but it may have had its origins in the aftermath of the English Reformation. But I would never have thought that it would have surfaced in C20th Upperthorpe which has never a god-fearing district of Sheffield.

Arthur was buried the following day in Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery

GEE, Arthur (Baker, age 23). Died at 44 Upperthorpe R.; Buried on March 1, 1901 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 30, Section O3 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Officiating Minister, S Brook.



The Fatal Shave of Joseph Taylor - Scarborough, Yorkshire - August 1924

 I was going to post an article to the site concerning the unusual death of Joseph Taylor purely on the grounds that I had never come across this particular cause of death before

The report is from The Manchester Guardian dated 10th September 1924 and relates to an adjourned inquest into the death of Joseph Taylor in Scarborough the previous month. The cause of death was deemed to be anthrax that was contracted whilst shaving with a safety razor.

The Manchester Guardian 10th September 1924 

I checked this on-line and there were a number of articles that explained how anthrax was transferred from a shaving brush and the history behind it. It was a lot more widespread than what I thought it would be. And the above article in Live Science (apologies re the advertising) ominously notes

"Although the risk of contracting anthrax today from an animal-hair shaving brush is extremely low, the report "serves to remind those interested in a return to 'natural grooming' that use of untreated hair from horses, pigs, badgers, or other animals" poses a potential risk of getting anthrax spores into openings on the skin,"  

We have been warned! 


Friday 18 June 2021

Was Arabella Elizabeth Tetley alive when she was interred? - Leeds Yorkshire 5th March 1888

The following report is from the regional press and relates to an inquest that was held on Monday 5th March 1988 in Leeds. It concerned the burial of a Mrs Arabella Elizabeth Tetley at Woodhouse Cemetery the previous month. The gravedigger a Mr Posey contended that whilst he was backfilling the grave he heard the "sound of knocking underneath his feet" and summoned his colleagues from other sections of the cemetery. But by the time of their arrival no further sounds were heard.

The matter was brought to the attention of the Home Secretary who asked the Leeds Borough Coroner to investigate the whole matter. 

A classic case of Victorian Gothic!

Joseph Senior of Crookes, Sheffield (1880 - 1914)

 Last month I received an email from a reader that stated

"I wonder if you can help. We have found this small metal plaque in our garden. It reads j. Senior. 70 st thomas road crookes. Do you know what it could be?"

and attached a scan of the plaque

I replied that it was an interesting find - my immediate thought was that it was related to "The Bard of Crookes" Joseph Senior, I posted an article to the site quite a few years ago

Joseph Senior was well known in the district for his works and poetry. But on reflection I was uneasy about the address - 70 St Thomas Road. The addresses I had from the UK Census all pointed to 30 Crookes and Crookesmoor not St Thomas Road

After some thought I decided to check if there was a grave in either Crookes Churchyard or Crookes Cemetery. There was no entry in the former but a check on the excellent Sheffield Indexers site revealed that a Joseph Senior was buried in Crookes Cemetery along with 3 others

SENIOR, Joseph (Farmer, age 34).
     Died at 70 St Thomas Road; Buried on January 29, 1914 in Unconsecrated ground;
     Grave Number 2639, Section D of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield.

Armed with this information it was easy to find Joseph in the 1911 UK census, Th transcript is below 

NAME: Joseph Senior
AGE IN 1911: 31
STREET ADDRESS: 70 St Thomas Road Crookes Sheffield
Name Age
Annie Elizabeth Senior 32
Joseph Senior 31
Maurie Staniforth 19

I cannot be totally sure but on the balance of probabilities I would say it was either a house no. or it could be some form of marker/stamp, Joseph was after all a cowkeeper/ farmer by occupation and so it may have been used in this context

If any reader can add anything about the plaque please let me know


Thursday 17 June 2021

The Murder of Nurse Ada Bradley - April 1923 Sheffield

The following report is from the Illustrated Police News dated Thursday 19th April 1923 - the same edition as the one mentioned in the previous two blogs.

I posted an article about the murder to my website 13 years ago and have added to it over the years.

I had not seen this report before but the case was well reported in the local and national press which is not surprising given the savage nature of the attack.


The tragic death of John Biggar at Macclesfield - Thursday 19th April 1923.

 The following report is from the Illustrated Police News dated Thursday 19th April 1923 - the same edition as the one mentioned in the previous blog. 

Illustrated Police News dated Thursday 19th April 1923. 

It is inferred at the inquest that this was the Biggar family's attempt to keep themselves together as a family - in the workhouse, all families were separated on arrival. After eviction from their house for the non-payment of rent they had "tried to live" in a bell-tent in a field. Sadly their son John fell into a nearby lime-pit whilst chasing ducks and met a terrible death. 

That the case is a "very pathetic one" is an understatement - it was and still is a disgraceful one.


The removal of lead from Messrs. Tarbuck's, Warren Mews London - Thursday 19th April 1923

The following report is from the Illustrated Police New dated Thursday 19th April 1923. 

Whilst I realise that the theft of metal was and still is a serious offence against property, I cannot help but smile when I came to the section when the miscreants realised that they had stolen a lead shell with a body in it, and then they ran away "at top speed." 

And the two police officers who had the task of returning the body to the mortuary.

Thursday 15 April 2021

The Queen and Prince Philip's Visit to Sheffield - Thursday 18th November 2010

As the nation enters into its seventh day of mourning following the death of Prince Philip last Friday, I thought it would be fitting to remember a previous visit to Sheffield by the Royal Couple on Thursday 18th November 2010. 

The Sheffield Star dated Wednesday17th November 2010 carried a report on the following days agenda which was centred around the University of Sheffield. The report was accompanied by a photograph of the Queen that was taken in 1954 the last time a reigning monarch had visited the University.

It was not the last time they visited Sheffield. The last time Queen Elizabeth II visited Sheffield was on Thursday 2nd April 2015 for the Royal Maundy service where she honoured 89 men and 89 women in recognition for their service to the church and local community.

It appears that thousands of people awaited the Queen's arrival outside the Cathedral. The Cathedral Choir was joined with Her Majesty's Chapel Royal Choir to accompany the Queen while she distributed two pouches of specially minted Maundy money to each recipient.

Remarkably this was the first time the Royal Maundy had been distributed in Sheffield since it's inception in the seventeenth century. 


Tuesday 23 March 2021

Annie Shimlisky (1904-1922) Shoreditch London "Amazing Letters of Girl Suicide"

The third and final post today and again it concerns poison. Carbolic acid is still widely in use today in the manufacture of industrial products, and as an anti-bacterial measure.   

The cutting is from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 22nd January 1922 and refers to an inquest that had taken place the previous day in Shoreditch London.

The victim was 17 year old Annie Shimlisky not Shimnlisky as in the report. The sentiments expressed in the letter have a modern ring to them, and I am sorry to say a certain amount of truth. There is no doubt that Annie was sane in the legal sense when she made the decision to end her life and that the verdict recorded by the Coroner was an incorrect one. Annie did not act on a fit of "impulse" and she was "responsible" at the time. A verdict of suicide due to chronic or acute depression may have been more appropriate verdict than the one delivered by the Shoreditch coroner. 

Messrs, J.T. Leaper, Ltd of Crookes Sheffield - Dispensers of Strychnine - 11th July 1939

 This is from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 11th July 1939 and relates to the sale of a "medicine" by a chemist in Crookes Sheffield

Messrs, J.T. Leaper, Ltd of Crookes Sheffield were a wholesale as well as a retail chemist and I was amazed that strychnine was dispensed and sold in such a fashion.

For those readers who are not familiar with properties of strychnine these are its effects

" it can fatal to humans and other animals and can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through eyes or mouth. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction, making it quite noticeable and a common choice for assassinations and poison attacks. For this reason, strychnine poisoning is often portrayed in literature and film, such as the murder mysteries written by Agatha Christie

Ten to twenty minutes after exposure, the body's muscles begin to spasm, starting with the head and neck in the form of trismus and risus sardonicus. The spasms then spread to every muscle in the body, with nearly continuous convulsions, and get worse at the slightest stimulus. The convulsions progress, increasing in intensity and frequency until the backbone arches continually. Convulsions lead to lactic acidosis, hyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis. These are followed by postictal depression. Death comes from asphyxiation caused by paralysis of the neural pathways that control breathing, or by exhaustion from the convulsions. The subject usually dies within 2–3 hours after exposure."

From Wikipedia

The fact is that Mr Leaper was not prosecuted for selling the preparation but was prosecuted for not being present when the drug was sold over the counter. It was considered at the time a tonic but if taken to excess it "produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction"

Needless to say, strychnine is now longer on sale in Crookes!  


Private Richard Lancaster (1882 - 1914) No 8372 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd 12 Bde 4 Div

I came across this article from The Metro newspaper dated 05th July 2007 concerning the delated funeral of Private Richard Lancaster (1882 - 1914) 8372 who served with the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd 12 Bde 4 Div and was killed in action on 10th November 1914, aged 32.

Richard's body remained buried undiscovered for 90 years before it was unearthed. He was identified by his identity disc and regimental cap badge. Two other soldiers from the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers were found nearby but they were not identified. All three received military funerals

Further details can be found on the Burnley in the Great War website


Monday 22 February 2021

The Few - July 1939

On the front page of the Sheffield Star & Telegraph was this small article featuring the views of Flight Lieutenant C E Reynolds, the Officer Commanding the North East area. He was responding to reports that recruitment to the R.A.F. had halved in recent weeks, and that the current figures were nearly the lowest in the last twelve months.

The Officer Commanding the North East area was not alarmed though and referred to a number of factors that caused the drop in recruitment such as paid holidays etc. 

What Flight Lieutenant C E Reynolds did not know at the time is that this report appeared on the 11th July 1939 and in 7 weeks time the country would be at war with Germany. I wonder if he was alarmed then!

Mr Thomas Wardley receives an intimation - Clun Street Pitsmoor Sheffield - October 1906

The following cutting is from the Yorkshire Telegraph dated 6th October 1906 and refers to death in service of a 16 year old signalman Leonard Wardley. Leonard was drowned off Portland when the HMS Landrail capsized.

I was contemplating posting a full article on the circumstances of Leonard's but whilst researching content I came across this information on a Dorset diving site. It appears that Leonard was the only casualty of the incident and that it was not possible to recover his body.

As for Thomas he is buried alongside 19 others in a public grave in Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery. He died in 1912 in the Sheffield Union Workhouse. Also in the grave are his wife Elizabeth (52) who is referred to in the article and three of their children who died in childhood. They were certainly no strangers to tragedy,

WARDLEY, Agnes (Dau of S. Wardley, age 14). Died at 43 Clun Street; Buried on October 5, 1898 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 90, Section K1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. 40277 Attending Minister: Arthur Sykes.

WARDLEY, Albert (Dau of Thos Wardley, age 5 months). Died at Clun Street; Buried on November 5, 1886 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 90, Section K1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.

WARDLEY, Beatrice (Dau of Thos Wardley, age 4).Died at Clun Street; Buried on November 5, 1886 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 90, Section K1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.

WARDLEY, Elizabeth (wife of E Wardley, age 52).Died at 43 Clun Street; Buried on September 18, 1906 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 90, Section K1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Officiating Minister, Edw D Dannatt.

WARDLEY, Thomas (Night Watchman, age 60). Died at Sheffield Union; Buried on June 27, 1912 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 90, Section K1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Officiating Minister, Thos Torrens : Removed from St Cuthberts.


Thursday 4 February 2021

Denise Marsden (1935 - 2008) Sheffield Family History Society

I was digging ouy some information the other day relating to family history, In one of the books I consulted a bookmark "flew out"
I had never seem the bookmark before and so it came as a bit of a shock when the bookmark was in fact a memorial. I believe Denise was a founder member of the Sheffield and District Family History Society and was very active in their activities

Mr Charles Roberts - the Founder of Robert Brothers The Moor Sheffield

I came across this obituary dated 11th July 1939
The store was on The Moor in Sheffield. The first photograph was taken in the aftermath of the Second World War and gives a hint of the devastation that was inflicted on the city in December 1940 by the German Luftwaffe. The second was taken in 2008. The original store was demolished and was rebuilt in the 1950's. But it only had a limited lifespan. Robert Brothers ceased trading and was occupied by a series of firms and was eventually boarded up.