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