Wednesday 27 September 2023


 I have just posted an article to the site that I have been working on for the last few years. It is the first new one I have posted in over three months and so it is rather overdue.

The title "Death at Sutton Bridge Lincolnshire" is really a bit of a misnomer because no-one really knows what happened - there were no eyewitnesses and the tragedy occurred in a desolate section of the River Nene near Bay Sands. Sutton Bridge is the nearest village.

There was very little on-line or in print about the tragedy but nine people lost their lives by drowning in the River Nene. Seven of those who died were from Sheffield including all four members of the Burkinshaw family.

I cannot be sure but it quite possible that this was Sheffield's greatest loss of life in a boating accident and it took place 100 miles away from Sheffield. There was a disaster in Masborough Rotherham on 5th July 1841 when 64 people mainly children lost their lives when a boat was launched and some of the fatalities were from Sheffield. Either way both were terrible tragedies that with foredight may have been avoided. .

The other interesting point is the detailed coverage the incident and its aftermath received in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent. Their coverage of the inquest and the resultant funerals ay Burngreave Cemetery was exemplary.    

Photograph taken 03 March 2005 © Mr James Brown. Source Historic England Archive ref: 197930
Cross Keys Bridge was opened in 1897 as a road and rail hydraulic swing bridge. Two bridges spanning the river Nene had been built previously; the first by Thomas Telford, was opened in 1830-1 and the second in 1850. The current Cross Keys Bridge replaced the latter bridge and was used for both road and rail traffic. It cost £80,000 and is made of steel, iron and wood. When the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway closed in 1965 the tracks were converted to road use and Cross Keys Bridge became just a road bridge.

Tuesday 26 September 2023

John Nicholson (1864 - 1932) Sheffield United - An update

 Whilst I was updating the page on the website and posting the previous blog I had a look at Ancestry to see if there was any other information that had come to light in the last few years

I found a copy of the 1891 UK Census that featured John and his wife Mary Elizabeth living at their house in 97 Pinfold Lane in the Attercliffe district of Sheffield

and a copy of John's probate record from 1932

The intriguing aspect of this is that these are the only two documents that I can find on Ancestry relating to John and his family. Whilst John Nicholson is quite a common name I still would have expected to locate him in the 1881 Census and the 1901 and 1911 Census but I was unsuccessful.

And given his profile I would have expected some links in the Family Tree section but again nothing.
Puzzling to say the least!


John Nicholson (1864 - 1932) - Secretary of Sheffield United Football Club

Quite a few years ago I posted an article to the site that featured John Nicholson who was the secretary of Sheffield United Football from 1899 to 1932 and oversaw some of the most successful times in the clubs history 

In September 2023 I was contacted by a reader of this article who provided me with a fascinating update

" I have been reading your article about Nicholson in regards to his career with Sheffield United and the aftermath of his death. 

I have restored his grave which was crowdfunded by Sheffield United supporters through the group I have called "Sheffield United Preservation Society" which aims to protect the heritage of the club and the greats. Would you be able to assist with any of his ancestors as I saw that you had been contact by them?

I have attached the photos of the grave before and after. I shall look forward to hearing from you, Danny"

I contacted Danny and he kindly forwarded me the following information 

"My name is Danny, I’m part of massive Sheffield United family and loves the research along the way. I am the individual who is created Sheffield United Preservation Society which aim is to preserve the heritage of the football club via different variations. Ensuring former players will get recognised and featured on posts which will allow people to become educated about the club's history.

Nowadays it’s really hard to reach out to the younger generation these days due to technology especially! This way, this will allow the younger generation to know our heroes that laid the foundations of the club that we love today. This addiction started 127 years ago with me great father coming over in 1896 and leaving not a short way from Bramall Lane on Club Garden Road.

I always believe you should know where you come from. This is all started during COVID finding out about my ancestors that I have never heard of. 

My father, John Garrett is the curator of the Legends of The Lane at Bramall Lane in which I’ve grown around the club and grew to know the history of the club. My Dad has been trying for almost 20 years to restore former players grave various supporter's groups but sadly this has been unsuccessful. 

It made me realise, all these people with an unbelievable CV with medals, caps and success at the club were getting forgotten about.

Recently, I have restored Ernest Needham’s grave as well as John Nicholson’s grave. Roughly it costs £60-£80 depending on the state of the grave.

These are including:

-Memorial pot
-QR Code
- Pebbles & slates
-Cleaning products
-image of the individual 

A Facebook page will be created to allow this to happen so if anyone wishes to donate to this cause and be part of this project it will greatly appreciate.

Danny Garrett
Sheffield United Preservation Society"  

Danny also kindly sent two photographs of John's grave - before and after the restoration and refurbishment. Truly a fitting tribute to one of the most important people in the history of Sheffield United Football Club.

As a footnote I would like readers of this blog to visit the Find a Grave website. If you leave a flower on John's page this will then allow it be to become recognised on the site and become a ‘famous’ grave. I think John and his family deserves it.

Saturday 23 September 2023

May Simpson at a bus stop in Angel Street Sheffield - late 1960's

 I came across this photograph purely by chance. My daughter saw it on an online newsfeed from the retro section of  the local newspaper and instantly recognised a much loved family member who sadly is no longer with us.

Sadly it was not the man in hot pants carrying an umbrella. And neither was it the man holding a folded newspaper. But just behind the man with a newspaper is my late mother in laws sister May. It is hard to discern what May was thinking but I think I can safely say that she was not impressed with this latest fashion trend!

From the faces of the onlookers he seems to have attracted everyone's attention but no-one is smiling which speaks volumes for Sheffield in the "swinging sixties"

May died in January 2003 and is noted for being the first person in the family to have had a woodland burial.

Friday 22 September 2023

Bolsterstone - The Village Where Time Stands Still - March of Ghostly Armies over Desolate Moorlands

 I was going to post an article to the website based on this report that appeared in The Sheffield Daily Independent dated 21st August 1931. But when I was preparing it I discovered that there was a Bolsterstone Archaeology and Heritage Group that had their own on-line presence.

The report did not feature on their website and so I decided to post it to the blog rather than my website.