Saturday 31 December 2022

View From A Hill - 31st December 2022

This blog is the 45th I've posted in 2022  which is an increase on 2021. I have also managed to post a few more articles to the site, one of which was Sheffield 1931. It was based on a newspaper cutting from ninety-one years ago today and reviews the year in Sheffield. I must admit I had a wry smile at times at the antics of Sheffield City Council.

It is a shame that that articles of this nature have more or less disappeared - when the local press could review the successes and failures of the city. Of course this year would be "interesting" with the closure of major city centre stores and the installation of shipping containers on one of Sheffield's main thoroughfares. There have also been a plethora of "green initiatives" which normally involve costs and disruption to the people of Sheffield. The people of Crookes and Walkley have been vexed this year  with "low traffic neighbourhoods" whereby the Council placed plant holders in the roads on an ad-hoc basis and blocked access to properties and businesses

I fear it will only get worse in the years to come

Anyway a big thanks to the many readers who have contacted me in the last year, I have been able to update a few of the earlier articles on the site with new information which is always a pleasure  

And so all that remains is to wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2023

Thursday 29 December 2022

Sheffield's First Air Raid Victims of World War 2 - 28th-29th August 1940

One of the first articles I placed on the site many years ago was one about the loss of life that occurred on 12th December 1940 when the Marples public house in Fitzalan Square was flattened by a Luftwaffe bomb. It was the single biggest loss of life in Sheffield during the whole war.

But there were a number of other occasions when lives were lost as a result of Luftwaffe activity. The last two people to lose their lives in Sheffield were George Macbeth and William Trevor Wilde. They were killed on Clarkhouse Road in Sheffield on Monday 20th October 1941 but their deaths were caused not by a German bomb but by an anti-aircraft shell that exploded in the road near to them. The Last of 631 Fatalities - Sheffield 1939-1945.

And so to round the articles off I thought that it would be fitting to ascertain who were the Sheffield's first air raid victims of the Second World War. I have just posted the article to the site

Friday 30th August 1940

Of the three fatalities I noticed that two victims were taken to Sheffield's Royal Infirmary and it was at the hospital that they died from their injuries some hours later. But ALFRED ASPINWALL died at his home at 25 St Stephens Road which seems to indicate that he died at the time the bomb hit the property. And so ALFRED ASPINWALL was the first person to die in Sheffield from an air attack in the Second World War. 

For those with a long memory I posted a blog in March 2014 regarding Sheffield's first air raid victim Frederick Stratford who died in the Zeppelin attack of September 1916  

Private Herbert Greaves (1889-1917) - 6th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Battalion:

A young soldier who died on the Western Front during World War 1 has finally been laid to rest just yards from where he was found.

This was the strap line that appeared in article that appeared on a government website in November 2022 - Sheffield soldier of the Great War laid to rest 105 years after his death

It is quite a poignant article but ultimately an uplifting one as well. I wanted to know whereabouts in Walkley the Greaves family lived - and the 1911 UK Census provided an answer - 58 Channing Street. The Street is still there but the house was demolished in the 1960's. Channing Street is in Lower Walkley and now forms part of the Langsett Estate


Name: Herbert Greaves

Birth Place: Walkley, Sheffield

Death Date: 15 May 1917

Death Place: France and Flanders Enlistment Place: Sheffield

Rank: Private : King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Battalion: 6th Battalion

Regimental Number: 28126

Type of Casualty: Killed in action Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

1901 Census

1911 Census

Thursday 22 December 2022

The Grief of Alice James - Douchy-les-Ayette, France August 1925

 Quite a few years ago whilst I was in the Local Studies Library in Sheffield I came across this small report from a local newspaper which I scanned and saved. I found it profoundly sad that Alice had passed away whilst visiting her sons graves in France. It was nearly seven years after the war had ended and her grief was still there.

I came across it again the other day and after searching the British Newspaper Archive I found this article from the Evening News dated 19th August 1925 which gives a fuller account of the circumstances surrounding her death

The articles are misleading inasmuch as they state that Alice collapsed whilst visiting the graves of her two sons. I checked with the CWGC site and found the following


Regiment & Unit East Yorkshire Regiment 11th Bn.Date of Death Died 27 March 1918

Age 35 years old

Buried or commemorated at DOUCHY-LES-AYETTE BRITISH CEMETERY II. H. 4. France

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Headstone Placeholder

Country of Service United Kingdom

Additional Info Son of Frederick John and Alice Augustine James, late of Seaview, Isle of Wight.



Regiment & Unit Canadian Infantry 1st Bn.

Date of Death Died 15 June 1915

Buried or commemorated at BEUVRY COMMUNAL CEMETERY 50. France

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Headstone Placeholder

Country of Service Canadian

Additional Info Son of Frederick John and Alice Augustine James, of "Woodstock," Seaview, Isle of Wight, England. Born in Surrey.


The two sons are buried in different cemeteries. Alice collapsed and died whilst visiting the grave of her son Rupert. Her grief must have been overwhelming  


Wednesday 21 December 2022

The Suspicious Death of Jadish Chandera Bhatta - Brinsworth Rotherham Friday 1st May 1931

I have just posted an article to the site - The Suspicious Death of Jadish Chandera Bhatta - Brinsworth Rotherham Friday 1st May 1931.

Jagdish's suspicious death was not the only one that occurred in Sheffield around that time. The deaths of Elizabeth Alice Smith in 1922 and Florence Hargreaves in 1926 are covered my site  - both deaths aroused controversy, and the verdicts that where delivered by the coroner and his jury were highly questionable. It is the same in this case.

The other interesting point to note is that I found it difficult to find local press coverage of the case. The above cutting is from the Scotsman dated 8th May 1931 and I found two more from the Manchester Guardian and Observer. The only notification on-line was from a Singapore newspaper - The Straits Newspaper dated 22nd May 1931 dateline Sheffield 9th May 1931. I could have used the cutting but I would have run the risk of ending up in Changi Goal for copyright breaches. The prohibition notice on the site was a fearsome one and a rather worrying development 

Saturday 26 November 2022

The Origins of Philadelphia Sheffield England

The photograph below was taken in November 2021 and shows Infirmary Road in Sheffield. The building in the centre is the former George 1V public house and to the left Paget's Builders Merchants. But for many years this area was known as Philadelphia - the name is rarely used nowadays and I am unsure why this is the case. The area is usually referred to by its street names Penistone Road and Infirmary Road and/or adjoining areas such as Shalesmoor, Upperthorpe or even Hillsborough  

But the other day I came across this correspondence I had years ago with a fellow researcher who was also interested in the name Philadelphia and how it came to be used as a name for a district/area of Sheffield. These are our thoughts!

The Quaker-Pennsylvania connection is interesting reading,, I realise that religious movements have been very significant engines of change. But back to the name Philadelphia. If I've understood your theory correctly, you are linking 'Phil' from St Philips (church) and a version of 'delph' from a dig, dugout area or similar. This does have the appeal of simplicity. 

 However, for me I would need to see a clear connection between the specified geographic area and the church's arrival. If, for example, we have a reference to Philadelphia that predated the 1828 St Philips consecration this theory would be dead in the water. The absence of such a reference may simply be that we can't find one, not that one doesn't exist. Incidentally, how do you know that the church owned this land, certainly prior to it being entitled Philadelphia? 

 I could easily buy the delph bit as it seems almost impossible that early development in this area, be it industrial or residential or both, was not accompanied by some sort of digging or earthworks. It could be that such a dig connected to raw materials for local industry, such as iron-ore or coal. This said, I still find it too much of a leap to actually get to the name Philadelphia without the local name's 'inventor' being unaware of the Pennsylvanian place. This was clearly in existence by the mid-to-late 1700's. Not only that, but given Philly's role in the developing colony, I find it hard not to suspect that even in late-18th century England, including Sheffield, the colonial Philadelphia was quite well known here. 

 My hunch is still that there is a connection [if only by name] with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I agree with you that I doubt Sheffield's Philadelphia was so named because of some steel connection.

 My suspicion is that our Philadelphia connects by religion. This might not be a formal link, for example between a specific Sheffield Quaker church and the developing trans-Atlantic Friends movement of the 17th & 18th centuries. However, it could be that local Quakers looked to important developments in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and took the name for their community. 

For this, however, I need to establish that there is some Quaker connection with the land around Gilpin Street. This could be a place of worship or it could be a concentration of Quaker residents. In itself this wouldn't prove my theory, but it would be strong circumstantial evidence. 

Another key might be if the Gilpin Street area was being developed at the same time as the big push in the US to have their Philadelphia as a key Quaker location. This period, from your helpful link, seems to be the late 17th century/early-to-mid 18th century. I would have thought that by the third quarter of the 18th century the still colonial Philadelphia would be fairly widely known in England, particularly amongst English Quakers. The Friends would probably have looked to it as a key spiritual reference point.

In my 1841 Whites Sheffield Directory it lists the following names which are initially listed under the road "Penistone Road" and then under a separate heading for "Philadelphia."


Philadelphia Steel Works

Co.; J.J. Spurr, agnt

MOORWOOD J. tanner

ROBERTS A. beer house

LARNER H, beer house

RODGERS W, millwgt

OWEN R, cooper



SHAW Mrs. E.


DIXON J. vict

PEACE C. file mfr



GREEN Misses, school

BATTIE A. bookpr

RILEY H, whsman




FRITH Eliz. vict

All the names listed on Penistone Road before the Philadelphia Steel Works are listed with a house number but all the names after (as shown above) are not. I don't know if this meant that these people lived within the works grounds or that they lived on Penistone Road or the Philadelphia area, do any of the surnames look familiar?

I have just checked the directory section of the book and as an example it lists the following names from the list above,

PEACE, Charles, file manufacturer; house, Long Row, Philadelphia

LAROM, Rev. Charles, Baptist Minister, Philadelphia

RODGERS, William, millwright and engineer, Philadelphia

Did you know that 

1) the name Philadelphia is derived from the ancient Greek term for 'brotherly love.'

2) the walls of the city of Philadelphia in Turkey are rumoured to be built from the bones of the christians that perished in the holy wars (actually a very porous rock)

 3) Philadelphia was also an ancient city of Asia Minor northeast of the Dead Sea in modern-day Jordan. The chief city of the Ammonites, it was enlarged and embellished by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) and named in honor of him. 

 4) In addition to the well known city in Pennsylvania, there are other US name-sakes in Mississippi, New York and Tennessee

 5) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the "City of Brotherly Love," was founded in the late seventeenth century as a Quaker colony by William Penn

 6) In the UK, Philadelphia is a village in Wiltshire just outside Bath, a district in Newcastle and of course a certain well know location in Sheffield

Tuesday 22 November 2022

The Death of Mr Walter Cawthorne 36 Liberty Road Stannington Sheffield December 1931

I came across this article from the Sheffield Daily Independent dated 31st December 1931. I was unable to ascertain the circumstances of the "street accident" that led to Walter's death but it must have been in the days running up to Xmas for there is a burial record for Walter at Christ Church Stannington Sheffield 

CAWTHORNE Walter 26 Dec 1931 55 36 Liberty Rd D

He was buried on Boxing Day 1931

However what I was unware of was the fact that the Sheffield Daily Independent newspaper ran a FREE INSURANCE SCHEME that covered both husband and wife for for fatal accidents and certain non-fatal accidents. In this case, Walter's widow Harriet received a payment of £50.00 just days after the funeral. At todays prices that would be nearly £2400 which must have been a useful sum especially if Walter was the sole income provider.

The other thing of note is the speedy settlement of the claim - four days after the funeral. How times have changed!!

Mr. Frederick Phoenix - The Phoenix Theatre, Langsett Road, Sheffield

Many years ago I posted an article to the site on The Phoenix Theatre Langsett Road Sheffield. And like many other articles on the site I have added information and material as it becomes available..   

I was researching another article just recently and I cam across this obituary for Mr Frederick Phoenix, the proprietor of The Phoenix Theatre 

From the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 25th September 1926

What I did not know is that The Phoenix Theatre was the first "Picture Palace" in Hillsborough and only the third in the whole of Sheffield. The first "Picture Palace" in Sheffield was the Tivoli in Norfolk Street Sheffield 

Thursday 17 November 2022

An Obituary of Sir Montague Maurice Burton (15 August 1885, Lithuania – 21 September 1952, Leeds)

I came across this obituary in a newspaper which mirrors more or less the entry in Wikipedia.

But what I did not know was that !his name forms the origin of the expression The Full Monty." which is of course the name of the film that portrayed Sheffield in all its glory in the 1980's. 

I was also unaware that the headquarters of his business were in Sheffield. His store was at 582-588 Attercliffe Road. This was one of two Burton stores on Attercliffe Road; the other store was located at 787-783 Attercliffe Road. A foundation stone was laid at no. 582-588 by Stanley Howard Burton in 1931. The upper floor was known as Burton Buildings and it is this floor that I think may have been the headquarters of his business.

"Sir Montague Maurice Burton (15 August 1885, Lithuania – 21 September 1952, Leeds) founded Burton, one of Great Britain's largest chains of clothes shops.

Born a Lithuanian Jew (Moshe Osinsky) in Kaunas province, he came alone to England in 1900. In 1901, he was staying in Cheetham, Manchester. He started as a peddler, then set up as a general outfitter in Chesterfield in 1903 selling readymade suits bought from a wholesaler. Following his marriage to Sophie Marks in 1909 the name of the company was changed from M. Burton to Burton & Burton. They had one daughter (1910) then a son (1914). On the birth of twin boys in (1917) he gave his name as Montague Maurice Burton. However, he had not changed his name legally, which caused problems during the First World War.

By 1913 he had five men's tailor shops with headquarters in Sheffield and manufacturing in Leeds. He had four hundred shops, and factories and mills, by 1929, when the company went public. His firm made a quarter of the British military uniforms during World War II and a third of demobilisation clothing.

He was knighted in 1931 for "services to industrial relations" and was a Justice of the Peace for many years. He died while speaking after a dinner in Leeds. The funeral was at the Chapeltown Synagogue.

He endowed chairs in industrial relations in the University of Leeds and Cardiff in 1929 and Cambridge in 1930. He also endowed chairs of international relations in Jerusalem (1929), at Oxford University (1930), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (1936) and The University of Edinburgh (1948).

He is commemorated in the Montague Burton Residences, which are student flats at the University of Leeds.

It has been suggested that his name forms the origin of the expression The Full Monty."

There is a fuller biography of his life and influence on the excellent Hidden Treasures site 

Tuesday 18 October 2022

The Effingham Street Gasworks Explosion 24th October 1973 - Sheffield

I was contemplating posting an article on The Effingham Street Gasworks Explosion 24th October 1973 but found that there was some material on-line and I could not really add to it. The only information missing was the inquest into the \fatalities but I located a copy of the Times report of the inquest which took place in Sheffield on 2nd May 1974. This was over six months after the tragedy that claimed the lives of six men.

  The Times 3rd May 1974

Thomas McGravie (1893 - 1956) D Company 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders

 I was going through some old photos that were left by my late Grandmother and came across this 

On the back was the inscription "Thomas McGravie D Company 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders 

I have no idea why my grandmother had the photo but she did work in the Great War in Wharncliffe Military Hospital and I wondered if she had met Thomas there. There is certainly no family connection and so it is a bit of a mystery why she had the photograph

I found some information on Thomas and his family from a subscriber on Ancestry including his medal cards and they tie in with the inscription on the photograph. 

Name: Thomas McGravie
Military Date: 1914-1920
Military Place: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, United Kingdom
Regiment or Corps: Gordon Highlanders
Regimental Number: 537, 2865193

Birth 1893 • Edinburgh Scotland
Birth of brother Walter McGravie(1895–1964) 1895 • Edinburgh Scotland
Birth and death of sister Euphemia McGravie(1897–1897)
1897 • Twin Mary Birth and death of sibling Mary McGravie(1897–1897) Twin Euphemia
Birth of sister Winifred McGravie(1898–1977) 24 April 1898 • Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Birth of sister Margaret McGravie(1900–1973) 7 Feb 1900 • Edinr, Edinburghh
Residence Edinrgh St Cuthberts, Midlothian, Scotland
Birth of brother Michael (Mick) McGravie(1904–1987) 24 May 1904 • Edinburgh
Birth of sibling Colin Methven McGravie(1905–1953) 13 Oct 1905 • Edinburgh
Birth of sibling Wm John Douglas McGravie(1908–1966) 4 Nov 1908 • Edinburgh
Residence 1911 • Colchester, England Marital Status: Single
Birth of sibling Charles Watson McGravie Anderson(1913–) 28 Feb 1913 • Edinburgh
Military 1914-1920 • England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, United Kingdom
Death of wife Margaret Milne Brand 1935
Death of father Thomas McGravie(1865–1943) 1943 • Church Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
Death of mother Margaret Douglas(1866–1948) 21 May 1948 • Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Death of sibling Colin Methven McGravie(1905–1953) 28 Aug 1953 • Edinburgh Scotland

Name Thomas McGrovie Register Type Cremation Death Date 19 Apr 1956 Burial or Cremation Date 21 Apr 1956
Burial or Cremation Place Edinburgh, Scotland

Saturday 1 October 2022

The Heartless Conduct of Ernest Bromhead - Sheffield - Nottingham 1914

I have just posted an article to the site with the title "The Heartless Conduct of Ernest Bromhead - Sheffield - Nottingham 1914"

"The children had been found by the inspector to be very badly clothed, with only "apologies for boots"

"it was one of the most shocking cases the Bench had ever had before them"

The case came before the magistrates in Nottingham but the destitution and squalor took place in Edgar Street Pitsmoor Sheffield  

Edgar Street circa 1970

It was a bit challenging getting the right person - the surname BROMHEAD is often a BROOMHEAD. But I believe I have the right person and family. But what I found was that the information on "Ancestry Family Trees" was misleading to put it politely. In fact of the 16 trees that included Ernest Bromhead all were incorrect to a lesser or greater extent. None of them mention his second wife and a couple of the authors have given him a totally fictitious family based in Huddersfield. 

And of course none mention his "heartless conduct"    

Saturday 24 September 2022

The Millthorpe Aircrash - Derbyshire 12th May 1955

This report appeared in the Times dated 13th May 1955

I was going to research the circumstances surrounding the crash at Milthorpe near Holmesfield but I found this excellent article. It is an impressive piece of research.

It names the pilot as 19 year old Pilot Officer Robert Anthony Tritton of Stonehouse, Gloucestershire who was killed instantly in the crash. It also identifies the site of the crash as Brookside Farm on Mill Lane, Millthorpe in the Parish of Holmesfield, Derbyshire.  

Another Overturned Charabanc - Sheffield 1907

 Many years ago I posted an article to the site about the tragedy that occurred at Moscar near Sheffield on 25th August 1907

But there was an earlier incident that year involving a charabanc outing from Sheffield. This report is from The Scotsman Friday 14th June 1907

The Derwent Valley Water Works at Birchinlee is covered in Graces Guide. and was a popular day out for the people of Sheffield. The report does not state where the accident occurred but thankfully there were no fatalities. But eight people sustained injuries that required hospital treatment.

I am also wondering if this was the first incident of it's kind in the Sheffield area - it pre-dates the Moscar tragedy by two months. 

Thursday 22 September 2022

Bertram Kirk's Wooden Shed - Meadow Head Allotments Sheffield - February 1926

This is also from The Sheffield Daily Independent dated 26th February 1926, the same edition that carried reports of the late Florence Hargreaves inquest and the prosecution of Sheffield's first licence evader. 

It appeared that due to a severe housing shortage in 1920's Sheffield, Mr Kirk and his family took to living in a wooden shed on Meadow Head Allotments which contravened so many local by-laws the corporation were compelled to seek the demolition of the wooden building. 


Wooden Building on Meadow Head Allotments. 

When Bertram Kirk was summoned at Sheffield yesterday for failing to remove a wooden building- from the Meadow Head allotments within the period allowed by the local authority, Mr. G. H. Banwell, prosecuting, said the maximum penalty which could be imposed was about £400. 

Mr. Banwell said that on January 25th last year, defendant was told not to use the building as a dwelling house. He received the formal notice to remove the dwelling and afterwards was convicted before the Court. 

The period which had expired since the date of conviction was 211 days (the penalty which can be imposed is £2 per day). Mr. F. W. Scorah stated that defendant had a wife and child, and had applied to the Corporation fo» a house, but his name was about the 6,600th on the list. 

Although the Corporation wanted to turn him out they were not prepared to find alternative accommodation. 

He asked for an adjournment that defendant could make an appeal to the Ministry of Health. 

The magistrates (Mr. Peter MacGregor and Sir Henry Hadow) said if defendant wished to lodge a local appeal they would allow him 14 days to do so.

The case was taken up by the local MP Mr Frank Lee who raised the matter in the House of Commons. a couple of days later.

From the report it appears that Sheffield Corporation had been making strenuous efforts over the preceding months to ensure that the Kirk family were without a roof over their head. But the fault according to the report is that when faced with notice of eviction and demolition of his home, Mr Kirk did not follow the correct appeals procedure 

Mr Neville Chamberlain (yes the peace in our time man) had specifically referred in December last to the appeals procedure under the Housing Acts but to date, no appeal had been received. He therefore declared that Sheffield corporation were now at war with Mr Kirk's family (sorry I just could not stop myself writing that!)

There was a vague undertaking that Mr Chamberlain would look into the matter but Sheffield corporation accused the minister of appeasing the soon to be homeless! 

The fate of the wooden building and the Kirk family are unknown  


"Pirates of the Ether" - Sheffield's First Licence Evaders - February 1926

 I have just posted to the site another piece of Sheffield's "criminal past". I came across it after a conversation with a neighbour earlier this week. I am a bit mystified why I missed the article in the past because it appears next to the report of Florence Hargreaves inquest (see The Strange Death of Florence Hargreaves - Sheffield 1926). 

The Sheffield Daily Independent dated 26th February 1926 carried this report of  these miscreants who listened to their radios in the comfort of their modest dwellings. One can only applaud the magistrates for their leniency towards these wrong-doers

Of course Helen was the first of thousands of Sheffielders who were to face the the wrath of the magistrates for failing to obtain the appropriate licence.  



Monday 19 September 2022

Maurice Madden's Last Day - Friday 02 July 1915 Nether Edge Sheffield - An update

Earlier this summer I posted an article to the site that centred around the death of a 10 year old boy Maurice Madden who was killed by a motor vehicle in July 1915

The Madden family lived on Montgomery Road Nether Edge Sheffield

The tragedy was fairly well documented in the local press at the time. However in November 2021 there was an article that was written for The Grapevine Magazine by Mr. Jason Heath of the funeral directors John Heath and Sons. In the article there was a request by the author for further assistance in identifying the road etc and two months later in January 2022 there was a response under the title "Lost Funeral Found"


I believe that the photo of the funeral was taken in Montgomery Road but it may not be that of the boy Maurice Madden. The reason for this is that his father also called Maurice Madden died more or less two years to the day after his only son Maurice. (July 1917).

I think that the only way the funeral can be identified is by referring to the weather for the day of the funeral. The son's took place on 4th July 1915 and the father's funeral on 7th July 1917. If one of those days was "a gloomy Sheffield day" then it just may identify whose funeral it was.


Saturday 17 September 2022

The 1871 Census - Sheffield

 This is from the Manchester Guardian dated 20th April 1871 and shows the census returns for Sheffield

Between 1861 and 1871 the population of the six townships that comprised Sheffield had increased by nearly 30% whilst the population of Crookesmoor had increased by 62%. It is a phenomenal rate of increase in just ten years

But the greatest increase occurred in Attercliffe where the population more than doubled. In fact it increased by a staggering 120% in the space of ten years  

Friday 16 September 2022

Suicide at Winnats Pass, Castleton, Derbyshire. - January 1927

 I have had this article for quite a few years. It is from The Scotsman newspaper dated 12th January 1927 and is a report of an inquest that was held into the deaths of Miss Marjorie Stewart and Mr Harry Fallows. They were found in a cave at Winnats Pass, Castleton, Derbyshire 

I was going to research the tragedy by accessing the British Newspaper Archive to see if I could add further information to the events that unfolded. However I found this article on The Monocled Mutineer website that is very informative and explains fully the events that led up to the tragedy and the aftermath. It is an excellent piece of research  and one I could not better


Friday 29 July 2022

Maurice Madden's Last Day - Friday 02 July 1915 Nether Edge Sheffield - an Update

Earlier this year I posted an article to the site with the title "Maurice Madden's Last Day - Friday 02 July 1915 Nether Edge Sheffield"

It was a family tragedy that received widespread coverage in the local press due to the fact that Maurice was only ten years old when he was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle near his home in Montgomery Road, Nether Edge Sheffield

This afternoon I was going through some old magazines, one of which was the local advertising magazine called "Grapevine." In the January 2021 edition there was this article that was submitted by Mr. Jason Heath of John Heath and Sons. It refers to a photograph that was taken in Montgomery Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield by the company  some hundred years ago. There were no details on the photograph but a couple of local residents definitely identified the houses and the road as being Montgomery Road, the same road were the Madden family lived and died. 

Of course you can never be sure but the funeral could well be that of either the son Maurice who died in July 1915 or his father who died two years later in July 1917. Apart from the location the fact that the aforementioned trees are in leaf would point a funeral that took place in summer rather than winter. 

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Queen Elizabeth 11 Last Visit to Sheffield - Thursday 18th November 2010

 From the Sheffield Star dated Wednesday 17th November 2010

Her Majesty was accompanied by her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and I am pretty sure that this was his last visit to the city prior to his death on 9th April 2021.

The photo below is Sitran which is part of the University of Sheffield and was opened officially by the Queen  on Thursday 18th November 2010

It is opposite the Royal Hallamshire Hospital on Glossop Road and is adjacent to what was Hanrahan's and later Loch Fyne's 

Hugh Dixon - the first prisoner of war to return home to Sheffield 1945

 I came across this article from the now defunct Sheffield Weekly Gazette dated Thursday 10th March 2005. It relates to the death of Hugh Dixon who died at the age of 84. In the article it refers to the fact that Hugh was the first prisoner of war to return home to Sheffield in 1945. 

 It is a harrowing story of Hugh's captivity at the hands of the Nazi's. There is an article that was written in the Sheffield Star dated 12th April 1945 that may furnish further information and so I have made a note of it for my next trip to the Local Studies Library   

Monday 27 June 2022

The Funeral of Squadron Leader Ken "Hawkeye" Lee (1915 - 2008)

 This cutting is from The Sheffield Weekly Gazette dated Thursday 7th February 2008 and refers to the funeral in Sheffield of Squadron Leader Ken "Hawkeye" Lee (1915 - 2008), one of "The Few" 

There is also a book that has been written about Ken 

Kenneth 'Hawkeye' Lee Battle of Britain Ace: Battle of Britain & Desert Air Force Fighter Ace Hardcover – 17 Feb. 2011
by Nick Thomas  (Author)

Following training Hawkeye Lee received his commission and was posted to 501 Squadron which was sent to support the Expeditionary Force in France, arriving on 10 May, only hours after the Blitzkrieg had been launched. Lee quickly opened his score, claiming several bombers during the first week of operations. Having been wounded when his Hurricane exploded following a dogfight, Lee was briefly rested but soon rejoined the Squadron before they moved to their first Battle of Britain base at Middle Wallop. Lee scored more damaged and destroyed enemy aircraft and by the end of July he was Mentioned in Dispatches. Lee was forced to take to his parachute for the second time. He later recalled how each of the Squadron s aces , even Ginger Lacey, had been shot down at least twice during that summer. Lee was later posted to 112 (Shark) Squadron, flying Curtis Kittyhawks on Fighter and Fighter-Bomber missions in North Africa and then to 260 Squadron which was heavily involved in the lead-up to the battle of El Alamein, seeking out and destroying enemy troop columns and fighting off the Luftwaffe which still had air superiority. In March 1943, 123 Squadron began Fighter-Bomber operations against Mediterranean targets, during one Lee was hit by AA and made a forced landing in an olive grove. He was captured and sent to Stalagluft III just in time to play a key role in the Great Escape.


Friday 27 May 2022

Images of the Sheffield Flood - March 1864

I have never written about the Sheffield  Flood of March 1864 on the grounds that the tragedy was well covered both in print and on-line and there was nothing really I could add to the narrative. Two of my wife's ancestors had their businesses and property damaged and made successful claims but so did many others.

However quite a few years ago a neighbour gave me the following photocards of the disaster. He had had them in his possession for some years and seemed to believe that they were taken initially from lantern slides taken at the time of the disaster.  

Images of the Sheffield Flood - March 1864

Sheffield Whitsuntide Fair - May 1869

This is a report from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 19th May 1869 and refers to the annual Sheffield Whitsuntide Fair that was held 153 years ago this week

Sadly the print and image quality is poor and so this is a transcription of the report - apologies for any errors. The other amusing part of the report is the jaded recollections of the reporter who was sent to view the affair. Apart from the Queens Menagerie from Wombwell he was not at all impressed by the event!


The Sheffield Whitsuntide fair of 1869 is precisely similar to that of last year, and to those of twenty years previous. There are same novelties to attract not only the attention of youth but even children of larger growth. There is food for the body and food for the mind. You "simply pay your money and take your choice." 

Should you feel hungry and wish to dine economically score of portly purveyors are at your service, and having replenished the inner man the vulgarities of the " noble art of self defence" claim your patronage. In their saloon, for the trifling charge one penny, the human face divine can be beaten to a pulp with the gratifying knowledge that it has been accomplished by the renowned Ben Caunt, —the world famed Molyneaux, or the ever-to-be remembered rival of Tom Sayers. 

Next you have the Hottentot Venus, a peculiar specimen of humanity weighing sixty stones, more or less, who might have been considered " a beauty had not itinerant showmen recently introduced to the British public the French Giantess whose colossal dimensions we should be afraid to describe. 

Tbe man who rejoices in the possession of three legs and thirty toes should not be permitted to pass his days in solitude. So his keepers are of opinion, and during the time he is " on view " may be safely computed that it is £2 per hour to their advantage. 

But the most attractive feature in the whole fair is the Queen's Menagerie, Wombwells Royal No 1. This noble collection has been several times exhibited in Sheffield, and on each occasion has received well-deserve patronage. is one of the largest in Europe, and comprises lions from South Africa and Barbary, tigers from the haunts of India, leopards from the Cape, the ocelot from Chile and Mexico, tibetan sun bear and the polar bear, the Tasmanian devil from Van Dieinan's Land, wolves from Egypt and Lapland, elephants from the southern part of India, and host of other wild and tame animate and birds, which to the student of natural history as well as to the public at large, must prove interesting and instructive. 

The quantity of provisions necessary for the animals in this establishment is very large. The carnivorous or flesh eating animals require about 2 cwt. of meat daily, and it composed generally of bullock's shins, hearts, and heads; lion requires about 121bs. of solid flesh; tiger about the same, a leopard 51bs.; bears are fed almost exclusively on bread and sop; monkeys on rice, bread, sop, and fruits; and the herbivorous animals are fed much the same as horses. As a proof of the excellence of the menagerie it may be stated that it has been patronised by Royalty on four separate occasions. 

There are other attractions "too numerous to mention," all of which, no doubt, will have sight-seers galore. The horse fair was not nearly so well attended as previous years, nor were the animals offered for sale much value. They were mostly cart horses, but the demand was very limited. The cheese fair was an equal failure. There was not one fifth of the usual quantity exhibited, and of little not more than half was sold. Cheshire thicks realised from 80s. to 95s and Derby cheeses from 80s. to 90s.

The Death of William Blackshaw, Sheffield Union Workhouse December 1882

 In Sheffield's City Road Cemetery there is a public grave (Grave Number 11933, Section X) that houses 14 bodies. Most of them died at their own addresses in Sheffield but all were so poor they could not afford to pay for a grave. One of the persons in the grave is William Blackshaw and this is his burial record

Blackshaw, William (Cutler, age 40). Died at Union Workhouse; Buried on December 13, 1882 in Consecrated ground;  Grave Number 11933, Section X of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.

He died in The Sheffield Union Workhouse but the manner of his death caused a great deal of consternation at the subsequent inquest.

This is the report from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated December 19th 1882. As a footnote opium tincture or laudanum was widely used in the 19th century as a pain killer or sleeping aid; it was highly addictive, leading to many of its users forming a drug addiction.

 Nurse Thompson was censured for her neglect which was self evident from the report but for the Coroner to threaten her with a charge of manslaughter was a over the top but he obviously thought it was warranted


Sunday 24 April 2022

Places in Time - The Art of Kenneth Steel - Sheffield December 2021 - May 2022

 Many years ago I posted an article to the site relating to the life and work of a Sheffield artist Kenneth Steel  At the timer I had never heard of him and there was hardly any information either on-line or in print. But he had an interesting life that had more than its share of tragedy and sadness.

Since then awareness of his work has increased and over the last four months there has been an exhibition of his work at Sheffield's Weston Park Museum.

I visited the exhibition yesterday and to be quite truthful I was staggered by the number of exhibits and also the quality as well. It was very well laid out and informative. I just did not realise how prolific Kenneth was as an artist and also the range of his works. I did not know about his Mallorcan and Mediterranean works and so that was a bonus. 

All in all the exhibition did Kenneth proud and I hope it does bring his life and works to a wider public. 

Kenneth now has a dedicated website that vividly portrays his works and so is well worth a visit

The exhibition closes on Monday 2nd May 2022 and so there is only one week left to visit it.



Friday 22 April 2022

Loxley Cemetery Sheffield Open Day - Monday 2nd May 2022

 A friend has asked me to post the following flyer on my blog. The event is for an Open Day on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May 2022 at Loxley Cemetery Sheffield 


Friday 8 April 2022

The Tormented and Appalling Death of Ellen Thorpe - Sheffield November 1881

 I have just posted an article to the site entitled "The Tormented and Appalling Death of Ellen Thorpe - Sheffield November 1881" It was based on a cutting that I had from the London Times dated 7th December 1881 and relates to the death of 12 year old ELLEN THORPE.

The Sheffield Coroner stated that it was "the most abominable case of ill-treatment he had ever known" and severely admonished the father JOHN THORPE for his conduct and actions.. The Coroner did take the matter further but the eventual outcome was not what he and the jury had in mind when they delivered their verdict.

Note The insurance of £5GBP that he was due to as a result of her death is about £425 in todays money

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Sgt. G H Newman was hacked off in Gallipoli - October 1915

 A researcher contacted me last week with this query

"I am currently doing a tidy up for the Sheffield Soldiers on the Gallipoli Campaign . It is taking longer than I thought as quite a few casualties are listed as Mediterranean ,Balkans or died at sea so have to wade through to see where they actually died  . 

Anyway came across an interesting little aside . Sheffield Evening Telegraph 2/10/1915 P4 In a letter from a Sgt G H Ramsden 6th Y & L  he seems to be unhappy about the status of other Sheffield soldiers . " Our battalion comes from Sheffield and Sheffielders have forgotten about them for their pets the Sheffield City Battalion " 

This is the first time I have ever come across any resentment towards them ,have you noticed anything.

I certainly had not and so I checked the article from the Sheffield Evening Telegraph

The print is not very good for this blog and so I have transcribed the article below


Hard Task in Dardanelles Landing. 

The Editor has received the following letter from Sergeant G. H. Ramsden, York and Lancaster Regiment, somewhere in the Mediterranean, asking Sheffielders not forget them : Just line to let you know how proud Sheffielders ought to be of the boys from the old place. We had to make a new landing, and the Yorkshire brigade had a hard task, but did it wonderfully well. Although lost terribly, we managed to drive the Turks back five miles, but it was awful work. Rifle and shrapnel fire killed and wounded many of our brave fellows. We are present holding trench on tlhe front, many of us not having had time for a wash after 10 days of stiff fighting. I don’t know how much longer we shall be here before are relieved, but we are about worn out, not having had a night's sleep since we landed. Our battalion mostly comes from Sheffield, and the boy say that the Sheffielders have forgotten them for their pets — the City Battalion. However, as Sheffielders yet, so don’t forget the boys out here, as we cannot buy any “cigs,” and have to depend what they give us

Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Saturday 02 October 1915

The researcher and myself pondered the class angle which may be part of the bitterness but we think the following may be the main reason for the resentment that the lads in Gallipoli felt towards the City Battalion

I replied

"Attached are my findings - I do not have access to the Folio 3 (WW1 Pension) on Ancestry but have a transcript which is transcribed below.  

I am sure that  he is one and the same as the letter writer and in civilian life he was working class. He does mention in the letter that most of his battalion (6th York & Lancs) were Sheffielders but if you contrast the disaster that they were experiencing in Gallipoli with the military activities (and publicity) of the Sheffield City Battalion in 1915 you can plainly see why they were hacked off a treat."

Although the Sheffield City Battalion was supposedly open to all it had a strong representation of the professional and commercial classes and they spent 1915 in the UK at various training camps rather than at the front line

What Sgt Ramsden and his lads did not know was what awaited the Sheffield City Battalion the following year


George did make it back to the UK but with a disability - he died in 1948 at the age of 69 

WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers

Name: George Harry Ramsden
Rank: Sgt
Record Type: Disability
Birth Date: 1878
Residence Place: Attercliffe Sheffield 
Military Service Region: Yorkshire, North East Military Country: England
Discharge Date: 10 Apr 1919
Service Number: 682340
Corps, Regiment or Unit: Labour LCNC Service Branch: Military (Army)
Title: WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers
Description: PRC Ledgers
Reference Number: 70226, 4/MR/No.27
Next of Kin: Name Relation to Soldier George Harry Ramsden

1911 Census

Name: George Harry Ramsden
Age in 1911: 33
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1878
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Male
Birth Place: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England Civil Parish: Sheffield
Country: England
Street Address: 24 Howden Rd Sheffield
Marital status: Married
Occupation: Joiners Tool Maker
Registration District Number: 510 Sub-registration District: Attercliffe
ED, institution, or vessel: 16 Piece: 28004
Household Members:
Name Age
George Harry Ramsden33
Gertrude Ramsden 33
Annie E Ramsden 8
Mary Ethel Ramsden 4
George Harry Ramsden 2
Bertha Ramsden 3/12

George's burial record  - he is buried alongside his wife Gertrude who died in 1943

RAMSDEN, George Harry (Joiner Tool Maker, age 69).
     Died at 153 Richmond Road; Buried on March 13, 1948 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 1047, Section ~ of Handsworth Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Orgreave Lane ground.
RAMSDEN, Gertrude (Wife of George H Ramsden, age 63).
     Died at 153 Richmond Road; Buried on April 15, 1943 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 1047, Section ~ of Handsworth Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Orgreave Lane ground.

In May 2022 I received further information that re-enforces the notion of the Sheffield City Battalion being "pets", one surprisingly that still exists to this day

""The 6th Battalion Y&L was not in fact a Territorial Army unit but one of hundreds raised on the outbreak of war as Service Battalions.  I am not sure where they were recruited but trained near Grantham,  not in Sheffield.   By WW11 it was a distinguished Territorial Battalion.
I can well understand your comments about the Sheffield City Battalion being the "pets".   I can tell you that that exists to this day.   When the Y&L Monument in Weston Park,  next to Sheffield University,  was cleaned in conjunction with improvements to the Park,  the Council put up a Notice Board all about the Pals totally ignoring the fact that over 8,000 thousand Y&L died in WW1 of which a small number were Sheffield City Battalion.
Your knowledge is certainly correct."