Friday 22 December 2023

Death on Wentworth Street, Netherthorpe, Sheffield - May 1900

Wentworth Street in the Netherthorpe district of Sheffield no longer exists. The terraced houses that lined this street were demolished in the late 1950's and replaced by the tower blocks that look over what is no known as the Ponderosa.

It was a vibrant working class area in the early C20th and my research into my ancestry showed that my great grandfathers eldest brother William Sanby and his family lived there for a time.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 15th May 1900 carried this report of a tragic incident that led to the appalling death of a six year old boy Frederick Burton.

The verdict of "accidental death" was a forgone conclusion and possibly was the only verdict the jury could return. But it does seem rather inadequate. The collision with the wall does seem a pure accident but there is nothing accidental about the defective condition of the wall and the fact that is had been neglected for a "considerable" time. The rider also pointed to the fact that it was the responsibility of the city authorities and inferred that they had been negligent in this respect.

It is a shame that negligence did not feature in the verdict

Frederick is buried in a grave in Sheffield's City Road Cemetery - Sheffield Indexers

Burton, Eliza (Widow, age 76). 
     Died at 5 Wood Fold; Buried on June 17, 1933 in General Portion ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Burton, Fredk. (Child, age 6).
     Died at 14 Wentworth St; Buried on May 15, 1900 in Unconsecrated ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
Burton, James (Clerk, age 62).
     Died at 97 Hoyle St; Buried on November 29, 1904 in Unconsecrated ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
McDermott, Sarah (Widow, age 78).
     Died at 48 Summer St; Buried on November 14, 1901 in Unconsecrated ground;
     Grave Number 12037, Section AA of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. 


Edward Pope and the murder of Henry Watts - Greenhill Sheffield February 1939 - An Update

 About three months ago I posted an article to the site the covered the death of Henry Watts in Greenhill Sheffield in February 1939. The tag line was "It would be difficult to imagine a more clearer case of murder."

The assailant Edward Pope was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging at Leeds Assizes. The jury did pass a recommendation for mercy which the trial judge forwarded to the appropriate authorities for consideration.

After due consideration Edward Pope was reprieved and his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. It was clear that Edward was suffering from a form of paranoia but he did not meet the threshold for a defence of insanity.

The 1939 National Register has him as an inmate at Maidstone Gaol but three years later his probate record shows that he died on 8th June 1942 at Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight. He was 49 years old 

His effects that he left to his widow Winifred amounted to £15000 in todays money. But it is looks as though Edward did not receive any meaningful treatment for his mental condition(s). Parkhurst had and probably still does have a reputation for being one of the toughest prisons in the UK. I would think that any treatment Edward did receive would be purely incidental. And I think that it would be very unlikely that he would have received any visits from family given the wartime restrictions that were in force in the Isle of Wight.       

Monday 18 December 2023

The Sad Death of William Drabble - Sheffield September 1930

I came across this report from the Manchester Guardian dated Saturday 4th October 1930

I was a bit puzzled by this report at first. The resumed inquest took place on Friday 3rd October 1930 and it states that William was found dead on the morning of Thursday last week which would have been Thursday 25th September 1930. His trip to London was on Saturday 20th September 1930 and he returned the next day Sunday the 21st.

He must have been absent from work from Saturday the 20th until Wednesday the 24th because when he did arrive at work on Thursday the 25th he found a letter on his desk suspending him from his post pending a full explanation for his absence. 

This evidently was the final straw for William who then shot himself in the basement of the shop. Of course this does beg the question of why a loaded gun was available to William at the time. Did he keep it at the shop or did he take it from home with the intention of killing himself at the shop.

This is a copy of William's burial record from the Sheffield Indexers site - the location of the shop is vague on the record. It is also worth noting that William was buried just 2 days after his sad and untimely death 

 REVILL, William Reginald Drabble (Manager, age 35). Died at 42 Steesan? St; Buried on September 27, 1930 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 10466, Section P of Abbey Lane Cemetery, Sheffield. Plot Owner: of . Page No 142

Sunday 17 December 2023

Dr Higgins - A Warning from History - Thorne Yorkshire - January 1955

 Yorkshire Observer dated Friday 7th January 1955 had this report  that has a modern day ring to it - if only they had listened to his grave warnings at the time and acted upon them. It would have saved countless lives in my lifetime if just one government had acted on his suggestions,

Frederick Greenwood's "Family" - Collyhurst, Manchester August 1922

The following cutting is from The Manchester Guardian dated 19th August 1922 and I must admit I had a wry smile when I read the report. Collyhurst was a working class district of Manchester and is about one and a half miles north-east of the city centre.  

According to the report Frederick lived alone and was reclusive. But on the day of the funeral 18th August 1922 quite a few relatives attended, the most prominent being a Mrs Clara Hall and her two brothers from Sheffield. They "claimed" that Frederick was their great uncle. Another un-named women from Heaton Park Manchester also "claimed" she was related

For those relatives who were unable to attend the funeral they sent letters "claiming" they were also related to Frederick.  

The Hull Evening News dated 17th August 1922 had this far more detailed report

The last report is intriguing. The Sheffield connection is that one woman turned up on one occasion, got no reply and then went to a neighbours for a cup of tea. And the line that that his relatives may have been unaware of his failing health is clearly troubling inasmuch as they all seemed to know of his death and the funeral.  

However these "claims" of kinship at the funeral seem to be rather strange. As I cannot see any references to condolences in the reports  I can only assume that the "relatives" were more interested in acquiring the assets of the late Mr Greenwood rather the paying their respects to a departed family member . At the time of his death they were worth £18000 which is approximately £715,000 in todays money.    

I would like to know if any of the "relatives" did acquire Frederick's assets. If anyone can assist please let me know 

Monday 11 December 2023

Death on Howden Moor Derbyshire - "Dying Man's Terrible 5 Day Ordeal"  - 1924

I have just posted an article to my website that I have had on the go for the last couple of months. It relates to the death of Henry Starr, a 42 year old forge-man from the Upperthorpe district of Sheffield who went missing on Howden Moors in 1924.

It also gave me an opportunity to use a photograph I took in June 2006 when I flew over the Derbyshire Dames in a helicopter.

Manchester Guardian dated 9th October 1924



Sunday 10 December 2023

Sheffield and Aeroplane Building - November 1909

 This cutting is from the Times Engineering Supplement dated Wednesday 10th November 1909 and contains a startling revelation that I was unaware of. The Sheffield Simplex Motor-Car Co. were considering going into the manufacture of aeroplane engines and had actually purchased a Bleriot aeroplane

 According to the report they were actually designing an aeroplane engine and hinted that they were considering the manufacture of aeroplanes. But at present they had not even conducted experiments.

As far as I can ascertain this is about as far as Sheffield got in the development of aeronautics. From the information I have it seems as though any experiments that were conducted were deemed unsatisfactory and they concentrated on their core business of motor vehicle production 


The Duchess of York's Visit to Sheffield - July 1934 - An Update

Last year, Friday 1st April 2022 to be precise  I posted an article to this blog that featured The Duchess of York's Visit to Sheffield in July 1934. I was going to post an article to the website concerning the visit  but could not use any photos of the visit due to copyright reasons. I was vexed that I would have to pay money to some greedy corporate entity that really has no place in copyrighting the image in the first place.

But last week I came across this cutting from The Scotsman newspaper which goes into far more detail of the visit that its English counterparts but also gives a reason for the Duke of York's absence from the visit. It appears that he was suffering from a poisoned hand and was advised not to accompany his wife to the allotments to dig some spuds. 

On a wider note I have found over the years that non English newspapers often carry far more information about events than the English national newspapers do. Why this occurs I do not know and I have never been able to find a satisfactory explanation