We hope you enjoy your visit to our site which celebrates the history of Yorkshire's most southerly village. Totley is mentioned in the Domesday Book and has a rich and varied past. Its story includes millionaire industrialists, farm labourers, heroes and scoundrels. This website is intended to introduce you to these people and the community's past and hopefully inspire you to look more closely into the history of our village. New material is being added all the time, so to keep up with our research, make your visits frequent!
Try out our Site Search facility, at the foot of the column on the right. It's the quickest way to locate information that might be buried away in more than 480 web pages and over 700 PDF files.
Take the Dore & Chinley Railway for example. In various places in the website, we have technical papers on the Totley tunnel construction; biographies of its chief engineer and main contractor; an archaeological search for the tunnel surveyors' lost sighting towers; reports on accidents to the navvies and railwaymen; a discussion on the extent to which Irish navvies were employed; a transcription of the 1891 census taken at the height of the construction; more than fifty contemporary newspaper articles about the tunnel and an outbreak of smallpox amongst the navvies; an 1884 virtual travel guide; a photo album and lots more besides.
The Site Search is a simple keyword search that works with places or subjects as well as with names of people so you can easily find, for example, "war memorial", Gillfield or even "ivory fluter". Short phrases should be enclosed within double quotation marks. With people's names, it's a good idea to try, for example, "Green Job" as well as "Job Green" since most of our indexes put the surname before the personal name. You may need to download a file or use your browser's find-in-page function (normally Ctrl-F) to move to the precise location.
We would appreciate any comments and queries you have about material on the site.
You can email us at email@example.com.
A poor quality version of this photograph appeared on the front page of Totley Independent Issue 233 in May 2000. It was thought to date from the early 1940s. As well as noting how little Totley Post Office and the Fleur-de-Lys had changed since the photograph was taken, the article mentioned the signpost just inside the farmyard which bears the words Llandrindod Wells 139 miles. The reason for the signpost's existence was not known and no subsequent explanation was forthcoming from the Independent's readers.
From other postcards in the same series, we can now date the photograph to about 1937, four years after the Fleur-de-Lys was rebuilt and the year after Elsie and Herbert Perkinton moved into the Post Office. Also, a newspaper placard appears to say "Britain Warns Franco" which was a frequently repeated headline during 1937 and 1938. The signpost itself was erected in 1931-32 and was one of a number scattered around England to promote holidays in the small Radnorshire spa town, noted for its outstanding scenery and outdoor pursuits. Photographs of bemused motorists looking at similar signposts in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and Fareham, Hampshire appeared in newspapers. The organisers were the Llandrindod Wells Traders' Association who even had the nerve to place a signpost on the outskirts of Bath which drew a stinging rebuke of "Spa Wars" from Punch. The Totley signpost was painted green as was noted in the Sheffield Green 'Un on 23 September 1933. It was the only one in the Sheffield area.
In the 1930s Llandrindod Wells catered particularly for those on motoring holidays of Mid-Wales and was the centre for an annual international six-day motor-cycle reliability trial. It also had its own railway station. Third class monthly return fares to selected holiday locations were advertised in the Sheffield newspapers and priced at 1d. per mile. In 1936 the fare from Sheffield to Llandrindod Wells was 25s. 6d. (153 miles) but special offers would reduce this considerably.
It is not known when the signpost was removed.
Thomas Youdan lived in Totley for less than two of his sixty years but it is for what he did whilst he was here that he is best remembered. The Youdan Cup was the world's first knockout football competition held in 1867 between twelve teams from the Sheffield area with the final played at Bramall Lane cricket ground. The silver trophy was created by Ebenezer Hall's firm, Martin, Hall & Co. When it appeared on Antiques Roadshow in 2008 it was valued to be worth at least £100,000 by silverware expert Alastair Dickenson. We thought it was high time that we found out more about the man whose name it bears.
The Early Years
Thomas Youdan was born in Streetthorpe near Doncaster in 1816, the ninth of ten children of Samuel Youdan, an agricultural labourer, and his wife Hannah (Anne) Hall, who were married at Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire on 30 June 1800. All of the Youdan children were baptised at St. Oswald Parish Church, Kirk Sandal: George (24 January 1802), Charles (24 April 1803), Hannah (22 November 1804), Sarah (12 July 1806), Samuel (5 December 1808), Anne (1 April 1810), Robert (19 January 1812), Jane (2 February 1814), Thomas (19 May 1816), and John (28 June 1818). Charles was the only one who died in infancy. He was buried at St. Oswald's on 10 June 1805.
As a young man, Thomas worked with his father as an agricultural labourer but in 1834, at the age of 18, he decided to follow a number of his brothers who had moved to Sheffield seeking work. At first he was employed as a labourer with the firm of James Dixon & Sons of Cornish Place, Neepsend. Trade was very brisk and Thomas took the opportunity of learning the art of silver plating. He was a clever workman and subsequently found employment as a silver stamper for a number of the large firms in Sheffield.
His career changed after his marriage to Mrs. Mary Bodger, a widow, on 26 November 1843 at Sheffield Parish Church. Mary was born in Rotherham on 31 August 1816, the daughter of Mary and Thomas Naylor, a miner. She married Emmanuel Bodger at Sheffield Parish Church on 24 January 1838. Their daughter, Mary Jane, was born on 19 April 1840 but she sadly died later the same year and was buried at St. John, Park on 27 December. Emmanuel was a brewer and publican who ran the Brewer's Arms at 28 Broad Street, Park until his death at the age of about 27, on 27 August 1843. Thomas Youdan took over the beerhouse following his marriage to Mary and by July the following year Thomas had a second house in Hartshead.
The Surrey Music Hall
Thomas was an ambitious man who had plans to bring high quality entertainment and attractions to his clientele. By 1848 he had moved to a larger property at 66 West Bar which he called Spink's Nest, located where the Law Courts now stand. It had been a well-known pawnbroker's shop run by John Spink until his death on 30 July 1846 at the age of 61. The shop stood on a large corner site that was all owned by Mr. Spink and which totalled about 1,200 square yards. There were three further shops facing on to West Bar, all with dwelling houses behind, and thirteen dwelling houses facing on to Workhouse Lane. To the rear there were stables and a large communal space, known as Spink's Yard. Thomas soon expanded the beerhouse into adjacent buildings and made a concert room and stage which was big enough to put on impressive performances. Fully refurbished throughout, Youdon's Royal Casino opened to the public on 17 March 1849 with musical entertainment every evening and on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.
At the annual Brewster Session held at the Town Hall on 31 August 1849, Thomas's application for a wine and spirits licence was refused by the Bench. Such licences, it was said, were granted to houses to supply refreshments to travellers. The Royal Casino was more like a theatre and although Manchester, Liverpool and other large towns had granted full licences to theatres, Sheffield had not and it would set a precedent.
A further application was made the following year when it was pointed out that Thomas had spent £1,700 to adapt the building to its current purpose. Its concert room could now hold 1,500 people and no fewer than 10,000 people had visited the building during the previous Christmas week. The Casino was closed on Sundays and would remain so and would close at a time in the evening as specified by the magistrates if a licence were to be granted. A policeman was in permanent attendance paid for by Thomas. Although the magistrates acknowledged that it had been proven that the place was conducted in a respectable manner, the licence was again refused for precisely the same reason as before. Application and refusal were to become recurring annual events. Nevertheless the Royal Casino continued to be highly profitable based presumably upon huge beer sales alone as, initially at least, entertainment was offered each night entirely free of admission charges.
It was not only alcohol that was subject to licensing laws. The Regulation of Theatres Act of 1843 required licences for all manner of performances. Thomas often found linguistical contrivances for describing operas and dramas to avoid falling foul of the law. In July 1850, however, he rendered himself liable for a fine of £20 for each of the eighteen nights on which a Mrs. Montgomery gave operatic performances. His defence was that she had been engaged to perform in the ballet Mad as a March Hare, although Mrs. Montgomery had never danced professionally in her life. In September 1850 Thomas changed the name of his establishment from Royal Casino to the Surrey Music Hall. No doubt the name was chosen to draw comparison with Sheffield's most respectable concert hall which was the Music Hall in Surrey Street. Most people continued to call it The Casino.
In the census on 30 March 1851, Thomas and Mary were recorded at 66 West Bar. Curiously, Thomas was described as a silversmith and beerhouse keeper. He never lost his affection for the Sheffield silverware and cutlery trades. With them were a domestic servant and two of Thomas's nieces. Emily Youdan was aged 17 and a barmaid and her sister Harriet was aged 7, the youngest of nine children of Thomas's eldest brother George Youdan, who had married Mary Hudson at Holy Trinity, Hull on 28 March 1826. George and Mary were running a beerhouse in York with three of their sons.
When James Scott moved from Manchester to take a lease on a massive old circus building in Blonk Street and convert it into the Adelphi Theatre, Thomas responded by rebuilding the Surrey Music Hall with an increased capacity of 3,000. It reopened in November 1851 and the following month, Charles Dillon, the lessee of the Theatre Royal charged Thomas with having allowed his premises to be used for the public performance of an unlicensed stage play called Love in Humble Life. Thomas argued on a technicality of law that a performance consisting of dialogue, songs, posturing, music and dancing was not a play which under the law was defined as "every part of tragedy, comedy, farce, opera, burletta, interlude, melodrama, pantomime or any part thereof". The case was dismissed but further cases continued to be brought against him the following year, most notably by James Scott. The Bench recognised that business rivalry was at the heart of the matter and fined Thomas just £5.
On 19 May 1853 Thomas's wife Mary died in Rawmarsh whilst staying at the home of her brother Samuel Naylor, a coal miner. She was aged 36. She was buried at St. Lawrence, Rawmarsh four days later. There were no children from her marriage to Thomas who never remarried. After further nominal fines for staging unlicensed entertainment, Thomas was again taken to court by James Scott in January 1854. It was proven that the Surrey Music Hall had put on event called Chinese Carnival which was an unlicensed pantomime. It played to full audiences whilst the Adelphi had lost money on a properly licensed event that was badly attended. Thomas was fined 42s. and warned by the magistrate against staging further unlicensed seasonal events at Easter and Whitsuntide.
Thomas finally applied for and was granted a three month theatrical licence in 1854 but he allowed it to expire when the court made it crystal clear that his beerhouse licence would not be renewed to run concurrently. Moreover, he would not be permitted to flip-flop between holding the two licences at different times of the year as and when it suited him. The beer licence was the more valuable and, despite repeated assurances to the contrary, the fines for unlicensed performances continued.
The Crimean War
0n 3 January 1856 Thomas announced that he had asked the confectioner George Bassett to bake an enormous twelfth (i.e. twelfth-night) cake to celebrate the end of the Crimean War with Russia. The cake was to be sold at 1s. 6d. per one pound portion to visitors of the Surrey Music Hall on 31 January and succeeding nights. Tickets were sold in advance entitling admission and a portion of cake. Newspaper advertisements said that the cake would contain 154 randomly placed and individually numbered medallions which would entitle the holder to share in "gift money" of £200 divided into prizes with values between 10s. and £10. However, after more than 7,000 tickets had already been sold, Thomas was forced to announce that no prizes would be distributed. He had been warned by John Greenwood, Assistant Solicitor to H.M. Treasury, that if he went ahead with the scheme as advertised he would face prosecution for an illegal lottery. Thomas offered to return the money to anyone who applied for a refund but, apparently, very few did as the price of the cake was very attractive.
When assembled, the cake was between 8 and 10 feet in diameter and 9 feet high and weighed around 4 tons 8 cwt (9,860 lbs). The recipe comprised 1,830 lbs. of sugar; 1,360 lbs of butter; 3,410 lbs. of fruit; 2,050 lbs. of flour; 1,020 lbs. of candied peel and 10,500 eggs. It was baked in sections and united into one mass with 424 lbs. of icing. It was conveyed to the music hall from Mr. Bassett's bakery in Broad Street, Park by three drays, drawn by two horses each. It was originally intended to lay down rails to convey the cake to the front of the stage but this was not feasible and it was positioned at one end surrounded by drapery and festooned by flags of the nations. So many people had asked to see the cake that it was exhibited for three days before it was eventually cut into portions and distributed to ticket holders.
Whilst most people were happy that they got a bargain there were complaints from a sizeable minority that their portion of cake was not properly cooked. In theory this should not have happened because the cake was built up from smaller individual cakes. Mr. Bassett eventually confessed that "some small portions were rather soft" (an understatement) and suggested that by adding a little flour and suet, and mixing with milk, the cake could be converted into "as good and as cheap a plum pudding as could be made." Thomas was not blamed, particularly when it was demonstrated that he did not make a profit from the sale having paid between 11d. and 1s. per pound to Mr. Bassett, and had the costs of printing, advertising and distribution to pay as well.
The Treaty of Paris which concluded the war was signed on 30 March 1856. To celebrate the end of hostilities, Thomas put on a Grand Gala at Newhall Gardens, Attercliffe on 23 and 24 July, featuring the band of the Surrey Music Hall and a variety of singers, dancers, gymnasts etc. A firework display representing the Siege of Sebastopol was performed in front of a giant mural of the scene covering 90,000 square feet of canvas. Admission was 6d. It was so successful that two further events were held at the same location featuring a number of military bands. For the second of those events, Thomas had purchased from George Wostenholm of the Washington Works, 222 top quality, six-bladed spring knives as gifts for the surviving officers and men of the 4th Dragoon Guards. Each knife was inscribed with the soldier's name and rank. 140 were presented at Newhall Gardens on 8 September and the remainder were sent to Leeds and Bradford to be presented there.
To conclude the peace celebrations, Thomas made arrangements for an extraordinary outdoor tea party. Applications for free tickets were invited from 2,000 old women aged 60 and upwards. The Duke of Norfolk gave his permission for the event to take place on a site adjacent to the Cattle Market by the side of the River Don, close to Sheffield Victoria Station. Tables were laid and decorated with flowers. Mr. Thompson of Church Gates was contracted to supply the catering. As with the monster cake, the quantities were enormous and included 800 lbs. of spice cake; 400 lbs. of bread; 160 lbs. of butter; 90 lbs. of tea; 400 lbs. of lump sugar and 60 gallons of cream and milk. Two large kettles were borrowed from the Temperance Society. At a quarter to five on 18 June 1857 the crockery had been placed on the tables and most of the guests had arrived, dressed in their finest clothes, when the heavens opened. Thomas was hard pressed to convey the old ladies to the shelter of the nearby railway arches and thence home. The spice cake was offered for sale at a cheap rate and a fresh batch ordered for a week hence when, thankfully, the event took place in perfect weather. One of the top tables was reserved for the nineteen very oldest ladies whose combined age was 1,668 years. The tea party was watched by up to thirty thousand spectators. It was followed by a ball which was attended by an estimated 12,000 people.
At the beginning of 1856 a group of men from Sheffield's clubs and lodges - Thomas sponsored Oddfellows and Foresters lodges - formed a committee with the purpose of presenting Thomas with a testimonial for the many good deeds he had done for them and for the ordinary working people of Sheffield. When approached in September, Thomas declined their offer saying he had done nothing to merit such an honour but instead proposed that the money they had raised should form the nucleus of a fund to build a monument to the memory of those soldiers and sailors who had lost their lives in the Crimea. Thomas placed newspaper advertisements seeking relatives and friends to furnish him with the names to be inscribed on tablets and engaged the sculptor Edwin Smith to produce designs.
However, his idea quickly caught the imagination of the Sheffield public and it was thought that the memorial should be the work of the town not of a private individual. His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge was invited to lay the foundation stone and Florence Nightingale was invited to attend. She declined but she and her family made generous contributions to the fund. The Duke duly laid the foundation stone at Moorhead on 21 October 1857. In the evening after the formalities were concluded, Thomas entertained about fifty Crimean veterans to a sumptuous dinner at The Grapes Inn, Trippet Lane.
When he was later asked to explain his interest in the Crimean War, Thomas said that he had six nephews in the army and navy, four of whom had served in the Crimea and were currently in India and who might not return home. He felt the need to recognise their service to their country and the devotion to duty of similar men, particularly those who had lost their lives.
It was also in 1856 that Thomas decided to convert the floor below the theatre into a museum and art gallery and began to fill it with all manner of curiosities from nature, art, invention and manufacturing.
Whilst some of the natural history specimens were stuffed, others were very much alive. On 16 April Thomas attended a sale at Wingerworth Hall, Derbyshire to bid on the wildlife collection of the late Sir Henry Hunloke. Thomas's purchases were reported in the Derbyshire Courier three days later:
Lot 91, a pair of Wolves from Sweden, £19 19s.
Lot 97, a brown Bear from Sweden, £26 5s.
Lot 98, a very handsome Russian Bear, £11 11s.
Lot 102, a pair of Esquimaux Dogs, £7.
Lot 110, a nasicus Cockatoo and cage, £4.
Lot 112, pair of Alexandrine Parroquets, £5 5.
Lot 113, a Leadbeater Cockatoo, cage and stand, £7 5s.
Lot 114, a cream white crested Cockatoo and cage, £1 16s.
Lot 118, a penantian and small Parroquets and cage, £7.
Lot 119, Chinese Lory and cage, £2 10s.
Lot 122, blue and yellow Macaw and stand, £1 10s.
Lot 126, Cantelo's patent incubator, or egg hatching machine, £5 10s.
Newspaper reports suggest that almost two thousand people attended the sale. Competition was spirited, except for Lots 91, 97 and 98, the wolves and bears, which realised only a fraction of their original cost. The Swedish bear was described as the biggest in the country. The Surrey Music Hall was closed for several weeks whilst it was adapted to create a menagerie.
In November 1856 Thomas bought a further collection of exhibits from the estate of the late William Younge of Endcliffe including geological specimens, antiques and other artifacts from India, Africa, the Sandwich Islands, Egypt and Pompei. A golden eagle, shot during the war with Russia, was presented to the museum by a Crimean veteran. More than £1,400 had been spent on the museum alone, at a time when there was no public museum or art gallery in the town. Even people who had no interest in the music hall brought their children to see the attractions.
Thomas employed a man called Tom Smithers to look after the animals. He was faithful and hard-working but liked a drink. He had been given strict orders not to leave the premises after the music hall was closed but one evening Thomas heard him on the staircase and supposed him to be fetching whisky. Intending to give him a fright in order to teach him a lesson, Thomas went down to the menagerie and locked the door behind him. Presently he sensed something was moving around in the room and then saw the two bears closing in on him. Although very frightened he had great presence of mind to climb in their cage and managed to partially lock it. The bears growled and shook the cage for what seemed to Thomas like half an hour until Tom returned to find the door locked and his governor shouting. Tom quickly made a plan, forced open the door and entered with a flaming torch in one hand and a bucket of bear food in the other. He managed to get the bears into an empty cage and then freed a terrified Thomas. Soon after, the bears were sold.
To raise the importance of the museum in the community even further, Thomas wanted to exhibit the finest of local skills and craftsmanship. There was no more important trade in Sheffield than cutlery and Thomas proposed holding a contest amongst spring blade cutlers with fourteen prizes awarded to the best in class totalling £50. To encourage entry and to make sure that no contestant was out of pocket, £15 was left in the hands of the adjudicators to award as they saw fit. Ownership of the knives would rest with Thomas who would place the knives on exhibition in the museum but he would not own the design. Entries were to be submitted by 1 January 1857 for evaluation as soon afterwards as feasible. In the event it was not until mid February that the decisions of the judges were announced. First prize went to John Sanderson of Jericho Street, who worked for Joseph Rodgers & Sons, for "excellence of design, utility and workmanship".
The Guardians of the Poor had established a model farm at Hollow Meadows, Bradfield to give unemployed men of the Sheffield Poor Law Union work that would be more useful, productive and healthy than they would otherwise have had in the workhouse. On 14 December 1857 Thomas placed the Surrey Music Hall and its entire company at the disposal of the farm committee to raise funds to provide a Christmas dinner for the unemployed and their families. The house was well filled and the benefit raised the sum of forty pounds which was spent at Rotherham market on two heifers. The animals were slaughtered and the meat weighing 120 st. (1,680 lbs) was shared amongst 175 men, 148 women and 470 children according to family size. A family of two adults and six children received about 12 lbs of beef. It was to be the first of what became annual benefits for the unemployed.
In Court Again... and Again... and Again
Thomas had been fined for breaches of various sections of the Theatre Act in May and August 1857 but worse was to come when on 18 January 1858 he was tried and found guilty of breaking the Lotteries Act. Thomas had been in the habit of attracting enormous audiences by announcing monster raffles but the facts of this case were not straightforward. On 13 January 1858 he announced there was to be a sale of cakes. After paying the entrance fee to the music hall, a ticket was issued bearing a unique number. If that number was later called out from the stage, the bearer of that ticket could bid for a cake against a reserve price. When all of the cakes had been distributed, successful bidders were invited backstage where it was explained that the cake was theirs of right or they could accept a cash alternative if they so preferred. One witness claimed to have bid 8s. against a reserve price of 7s. and later been offered a 5s. cash sum in lieu. Having heard all the evidence, the magistrates decided that since money had been received for all the tickets but cakes given to only certain ticket holders, it was in fact a lottery. Thomas received the minimum sentence under the law: a fine and seven days imprisonment in one of Her Majesty's houses of correction. He was allowed to remain free pending an appeal.
The appeal to the Court of the Queen's Bench was heard on 22 April. It confirmed the decision of the Sheffield magistrates and imposed costs. Five days later a meeting was convened in Sheffield Town Hall to consider a petition to the Secretary of State. By now Thomas Youdan was quite possibly the most popular man in Sheffield thanks to the enjoyment he brought into the lives of so many ordinary people and through his many charitable acts especially to the poor and infirm. The meeting was packed and over a thousand signatures were gathered in under two hours. Speeches of support were given from prominent men who had no personal connection with Thomas or with his music hall. In the middle of the evening a telegram was received from Thomas's lawyer in London and read out to the audience announcing that the Queen would be advised to grant a pardon conditional upon Thomas giving a written undertaking not to re-offend. His arrival at the Town Hall shortly afterwards was greeted with cheers and applause.
Thomas was back in court the following month but this time as a witness to an incident at the Surrey Music Hall on 13 September 1858 when five people died in a panic to escape the theatre after a flash and explosion had occurred in the gallery, followed by shouts of "Fire!". The four men and one women were all local people under the age of 24. Verdicts of accidental death were brought in on all five: William Dale died as a result of jumping through a window whilst Ellen Staley, Frederick Morton, Philip Child and Alfred Sales were suffocated in the stampede down the stairs. Many more were injured. Thomas had been in his room when the incident occurred and was told a shot had been fired. He was quickly on stage to encourage the audience to remain calm and seated. No doubt his quick intervention prevented a far worse catastrophe.
There was no fire, except later to a woman's cloak, which was thrown onto the stage and which Thomas trampled out. The cause of the flash, whether from pistol fire, gas explosion or some other source could not be established despite the most careful collection of evidence by the police and a thorough examination by the coroner. The music hall had reopened only three days earlier following seven weeks of alterations and refurbishment when new gas-lit chandeliers were fitted.
On 25 October 1858 a quite different court case was brought against Thomas when he was summoned to show why he should not pay for the support of an illegitimate child of which the mother, Miss Selina Bollington of Bramber Street, Brightside alleged he was the father. Thomas denied the allegation and the law required that the evidence of the mother must be corroborated on some material point. Selina said that she had been employed by Thomas as a barmaid since 9 November 1857 and lived at the Surrey Music Hall. She claimed that Thomas had slept with her on two nights in his niece's room whilst she was away at school. There were no eye witnesses or even proof that Harriet was away and the court relied heavily on the word of Selina's mother, Sarah, a widow of thirteen years, in adjudicating against Thomas and ordering him to pay 2s. 6d. per week maintenance until the child's thirteenth birthday plus legal and medical costs.
Thomas appealed against the adjudication and, even before the case was heard, he had published evidence to show that both Selina and her mother had given false testimony. Sarah Bollington had
remarried to Cawthorne Wright, a cutler, on 11 April 1854 at Sheffield Parish Church and, although separated, they were still married. Thomas lost his appeal and never acknowledged the child to be
Selina Bollington was born on 23 July 1842 at Shirebrook, Derbyshire, the youngest of five children of Job Bollington, a joiner, and Sarah Brushfield who married at Mansfield Woodhouse on 24 August 1829. Her father had died in 1846 when she was aged four. She was aged 15 when she became pregnant. Her son, Thomas Youdan Bollington, was born on 21 September 1858 and baptised on 4 November 1860 at Sheffield Parish Church. After his mother's marriage, he used the name Thomas Rutherforth Bollington, taking the surname of Selina's husband, George Rutherforth. When he married Mary Elizabeth Boothroyd on 11 December 1877 young Thomas gave his father's name as the fictitious George Bollington.
Thomas claimed that the bastardy case was politically as well and financially motivated. It was brought before the magistrates court at a time when he was being talked about as a possible candidate for St. Philip's (Shalesmoor) Ward in the upcoming elections for Sheffield Municipal Council. After the verdict, his opponents and even some of his supporters suggested that he withdraw his candidacy. The appeal would not be heard until after the election but Thomas begged the burgesses (voters) to suspend their judgment on him until the appeal had been heard.
On the day of the election, Thomas made himself conspicuous by driving about about in an open omnibus, bringing his supporters to the poll. Dressed in a shiny white top hat and light suit, his behaviour was considered more in tune with a man of the turf conveying racegoers to Doncaster than that a future town councillor. Nevertheless when the election results were declared on 2 November 1858, it was Thomas that topped the poll and he was duly elected for a term of three years. In thanking his supporters, he undertook to resign should his appeal fail. When the verdict was known, and whilst still protesting his innocence, he immediately tendered his resignation to Charles Bagshaw, the chairman of the St. Philip's Ward committee but it was declined until such time as the burgesses called upon him to go.
Thomas was also elected to the Board of Guardians for Sheffield. Although not a well educated man, Thomas was able to make an effective contribution to both public roles, championing the causes of the common people, particularly the unemployed, poor, elderly, sick, and children of the workhouse school.
In June 1859 Thomas announced his intention to retire from the day-to-day management of the Surrey Music Hall but would still remain as the proprietor. The Surrey Music Hall was being rebuilt for the third time, this time to a grand design by the respected Sheffield architects Messrs. Flockton and Son. When it reopened in July, the manager was Michael Donnelly (1827-1882), an Irish tenor vocalist. In December 1859 the reason for Thomas's change of circumstances became evident when it was revealed that he had taken a seven-year lease on the Adelphi Theatre and was intending to completely refurbish it. A theatre licence was granted the following year on the basis that the Adelphi would sell neither beer nor spirits. The Adelphi was to be managed by John Coleman (1832-1904), a Derby-born tragedy actor who later became well-known as the manager of the Leeds Theatre Royal.
Thomas moved residence to Lane Head House, Grenoside, taking a lease on a large four bedroom property with servants' cottage, coach-house, stables and six acres of gardens and pasture. He soon settled into his new environment, entertaining eighty old women of the area to afternoon tea and patronising the Grenoside Cricket Club and local horticultural events. When the census was taken on 7 April 1861, at home with Thomas at Grenoside were his niece Harriet Youdan, a cook, housemaid and groom.
In October 1861 Thomas was one of two councillors for the St. Philip's Ward due to retire. He had failed to attend a single council meeting during the year and it was not known whether he intended to stand for re-election. Charles Bagshaw and other committee members who had supported his nomination in 1858 switched allegiances to an opponent. Thomas certainly divided opinions and he was an easy target for criticism and abuse. It was said that his word could not be trusted as had been proven several times in court and that his philanthropy was motivated by a desire to gain maximum publicity in order to boost his personal popularity and increase profits from his business. It made little difference to the electorate for whom, it was said, deeds were more important than words. In the election on 1 November, Thomas was again the clear winner. It was then alleged that he had received ineligible votes and a full recount was ordered which threw out about the same, small percentage of the votes for all four candidates and confirmed Thomas's re-election for three further years.
Thomas showed greater commitment to attending the weekly meetings of the Board of Guardians but his popularity was no more universal. He concerned himself with the business contracts that were awarded for the supply of food and clothing to the workhouse inmates. George Bassett was another guardian and Thomas frequently complained about that quality of the bread, on one occasion throwing onto the committee table inedible bread that had been sent to him by the governor. He found no fault with the cloth supplied to the workhouse but alleged that the contract had been awarded unfairly at a far higher price than could be obtained had there been open competition. At the same time Thomas demonstrated his commitment to assisting the needy by donating £25 to the relief of distress (poverty). As winter approached he supported the creation of soup kitchens and made further donations of money, two tons of swedes and several dozen tons of coal. His niece Harriet also gave 25 tons of coal to the Park District poor relief fund.
Thomas had applied for a six months theatrical licence for the Adelphi Theatre on 30 August 1861 which had been granted. On 25 February following, he approached the court again saying that he had not used the licence as he had been persuaded that there was a greater need in the town for a public hall and was busy adapting the Adelphi for that purpose. Instead he wished to transfer its licence to the Surrey Music Hall which was a much more suited to being a theatre. He was literally laughed out of court.
In March 1862 Thomas was again nominated for election to the Guardians of the Sheffield Union. The election was equally as rancorous as that for the Council and Thomas was singled out for abuse from those claiming to represent heavily taxed ratepayers. The election on 11 April was to return eight from 22 candidates and Thomas attracted the second highest number of votes; George Bassett failed to be re-elected. The first meeting of the new board took place the following week and Thomas was appointed to the House Committee and North District Relief Committee.
Thomas's tenancy on the house at Grenoside expired on 2 May 1862 and he appears to have decided to return to West Bar to live in the ward that he represented. Before that, a huge sale of furniture, curtain, carpets, china, glassware, clocks, linen etc., plus garden tools and several horses and carriages took place at Lane Head House on 3 April. Thomas took a lease on a property at Parkwood View, Wentworth Terrace in Upperthorpe, within walking distance of West Bar.
On 21 November 1862, Thomas re-applied for a theatrical licence for the Adelphi Theatre stating that he had twice held a licence before but had not made use of it. He had contemplated converting the theatre into a public hall but had not commenced work on it and instead signed contracts to bring the theatre up to the required standard to be used for its proper purpose. The application was opposed by Charles Pitt, the lessee of the Theatre Royal on purely commercial grounds, that the town could not support two licensed theatres. After deliberation, the magistrates decided to refuse the application as it would be against the public interest. After that Thomas used the Adelphi as a timber store and as workshops for the construction of scenery for the music hall.
After a further failed attempt at obtaining a theatrical licence for the Surrey Music Hall on 4 September 1863, Thomas returned to court twelve days later with a fresh application. It had been suggested to him by his friends that there were three things that were counting against him. Firstly, he held a licence for the consumption of beer on the premises. Secondly, if he were to obtain a theatrical licence, he could apply to the Excise, and be almost certain to be granted, a licence to sell spirits during the hours of the performance. Thirdly, the music hall had a saloon where dancing was allowed that might attract the wrong sort of clientele. On the basis that Thomas handed over his beer licence, closed his dance saloon and would not apply for a spirits licence, the Bench granted him a theatrical licence to run for six months. Although not required by law, Thomas also agreed to do what he could to enforce a ban on smoking. The court's decision was greeted with applause. The Surrey Theatre opened on 28 September 1863 with a performance of Tom Taylor's drama Ticket-of-Leave Man before a packed audience of more than three thousand. The Christmas pantomime Sinbad the Sailor especially written by Charles Horsman was an even bigger success.
The theatrical licence came up for renewal on 11 March 1864. Thomas asked for it to run for twelve months but it was granted for only six, there being no objections. On the same day, the Dale Dyke Dam broke as its reservoir was being filled for the first time and, in the resulting flood, at least 240 people lost their lives and many more their homes, livestock and livelihood. A relief fund was set up to which Thomas contributed the sum of £100.
Thomas was re-elected to the Sheffield Board of Guardians the following month, the third of the six successful candidates. After further alterations during the summer interval to the Surrey Theatre, including a larger stage and a coffee room, its licence came up for renewal 10 September. Thomas again asked for a period of twelve months and was again granted only six.
The Municipal Elections were due again on 1 November 1864. In order to avoid the unseemly events of three years earlier, the two committees had joined together to form the St. Philip's United Burgesses Association whose aim was to seek the re-election of Thomas Youdan and Richard Searle. Their nominations were expected to go unopposed but at the last moment, Joseph Nadin, a medical botanist who had been narrowly defeated in 1891, was also nominated. Scurrilous placards were published coupling his name with that of Richard Searle who thus had the support of both parties. Perhaps through overconfidence, Thomas had done little campaigning and, to great surprise when the votes were counted, he was left trailing a distant third. Under a half of those on the electoral register cast their vote. On 17 March 1865 Thomas also lost his place on the Sheffield Board of Guardians, the Burgesses Association taking the view that his poor attendance at the weekly meeting did not warrant his nomination.
Surrey Theatre Fire
A week later, on 24 March 1865, the Surrey Theatre was totally destroyed by fire. Police constable Smelt, who was on the West Bar beat, was one of the first men to discover it and raise the alarm at 2.25 a.m. He had passed the building only five minutes before and had noticed nothing but when he returned he heard a cracking sound and saw flames bursting from the roof. Fire services were soon on the scene but by about 4 a.m. the building was completely burned out. So much of the theatre was made of wood: the stage, the scenery, the seating, the roof. Thankfully no one was injured. The theatre was the biggest building in Sheffield. Its outside walls were unusually high and thick and remained intact, preventing the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings or even beyond the block.
The cause of the fire did not require any great forensic examination. Following a very successful pantomime season which ended on 25 February, a production of The Streets of London by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault (1820-1890) began on 11 March. The climax of the drama was the Great Conflagration Scene in which Henry Loraine, as the villain of piece, would set fire to scenery depicting the front of a house. When the "house" was fully ablaze, a small fire-engine and four real firemen, hired from the Liverpool and London Fire Brigade, appeared on stage to put the fire out. In today's Health & Safety conscious world it is impossible to imagine how such a scene could be contemplated.
On the night in question, the performance ended just before 11 p.m. and when the hall had emptied Thomas went over the stage with his stage manager, William Brittlebank. They found some crackers in a bucket and filled it with water. The house lights were switched off about midnight. Thomas then went down to the Adelphi Theatre to check that it was secure and returned to the Surrey Theatre to pick up his coat from his room using a side entrance on Workhouse Lane at about 1.30 a.m. He did not inspect the stage again before going home to Upperthorpe.
The Mayor immediately arranged for a relief fund to support the actors who had lost all their costumes, the band who had lost their instruments and all those in the theatre company who were now out of work. Votes of support were passed for Thomas who had been left in tears as he witnessed fifteen years of work go up in smoke. It was estimated that he had spent between twenty-five and thirty thousand pounds in making the Surrey the finest in the country outside of the capital. The building and contents were insured for £13,000 with the Liverpool and London Company, who had divided the risk amongst four other companies. Any takings from the night of the fire and about a hundred pounds in cash in Thomas's office were also lost. It was a personal as well as financial disaster for Thomas Youdan and also a great loss for Sheffield. As one man put it, "Well, awd rayther it 'ud a bin t' Tawn Hoile."
The Adelphi Theatre, which ironically had been used for the construction of the scenery for the "house" fire, now turned out to be Thomas's saviour. Renamed the Alexandra Music Hall, it reopened on 13 October 1865 with a performance by the Sheffield Choral Union supported by other acts. The theatre had been re-modelled and reconstructed, with a larger auditorium capable of holding an audience approaching four thousand.
By February 1866 the Alexandra was being compared to the old Surrey Theatre, further improvements having been made included the installation of a large centre chandelier said to have been designed by Thomas himself. The following month he applied to the Sheffield Excise for a wine licence for the refreshment room which led to an appearance at the magistrates court on 6 April. The application was refused on the grounds that such licences were awarded only to confectioners' shops and the refreshment room did not qualify.
Totley Vale Cottage
It was announced that on 23 August 1866 there was to be a sale of furniture and furnishings at Parkwood View, Thomas having decided to move "to the country", probably for his health. He had taken a lease on property then known as Totley Vale Cottage, (Grove House), which was owned by John Gray Waterfall.
Amongst the land that came with the house was a field of wheat about 3¼ acres in extent. Thomas decided upon a novel idea to distribute the ripening crop to the poor, seeking the approval and help of his landlord and Rev. J.T.F. Aldred, the incumbent of Dore. Some 25 of the poorest inhabitants from Dore and 22 from Totley were selected and on Saturday, 14 September the crop was brought in and carted back to the homes of the poor, presumably to be threshed by hand. As a further reward, Thomas offered to buy back any remaining straw that was not of use. When the work was done, three or four hundred people from the two villages were invited to Totley Vale for a supper of bread, cheese and beer followed by an evening of music and dancing.
Thomas was persuaded to stand again for election in the Municipal Elections on 1 November 1866. His nomination came only two days before and whilst the Sheffield Daily Telegraph thought that his return could be counted upon as a fait accompli, his late entry into the election undoubtedly weighed against him and he came third of four contestants, with only the top two being elected to council. Although he was defeated in the election, that did not stop Thomas from taking an active role in the town's affairs. Poor relief was a cause he always championed and in January 1867, when a Soup, Coal and Blanket Fund was being mooted, he immediately offered the sum of £100.
The Youdan Cup
Thomas Youdan is now best remembered for the silver cup that bears his name. It is generally recognised as the trophy awarded to the oldest football knockout competition in the world, pre-dating
the English F.A. Cup by four years. Thomas was not himself a sporting man - he had turned out in charity cricket matches - but he frequently donated prizes for sporting events, particularly for
There are those who say the idea of a football competition was his alone but equally it may have been suggested to him as a means of promoting his music hall. On 28 January 1867 representatives of thirteen clubs from the Sheffield area met at the Adelphi Hotel, Arundel Street, to draw up the regulations that would govern the competition and codify the rules under which the matches would be played. Three days later advertisements appeared in the Sheffield press announcing a prize competition for the most original and appropriate design for the trophy. The advertisements were placed by Frederick Corbett, honorary secretary for the competition committee and also secretary of Norfolk Football Club. The competition was judged by a committee made up from members of each club. Initially it was announced the winner was a Mr. Jarvis of Roscoe Works, Infirmary Road but soon after it was decided that the honours and money would be divided. A portion of the design by Wainman Topham, an engraver with Messrs. Barras and Co. of Norfolk Street, would be combined with that of Mr. Jarvis. Wainman Topham (1838-c.1903) later went on to be a landscape artist and was quite well-known locally for his water-colours and pen and ink sketches of old Sheffield. He emigrated to Canada in the late 1880s and by the turn of the century was living in upper New York State.
Sheffield FC, the most prestigious club in the area, withdrew and the competition was held amongst the remaining twelve teams. On 15 February, William Brittlebank printed handbills promoting the competition which ran from 16 February to 9 March. After two knockout rounds there were three teams left: Hallam, Norfolk and Mackenzie. Norfolk were given a bye into the final and Hallam won the semi-final against Mackenzie. Hallam were the eventual winners at Bramall Lane cricket ground. A second place playoff was also contested which was won by Norfolk. Thomas was absent through sickness when the trophies were presented at the Adelphi Hotel on 11 March. The first prize was not to Mr. Jarvis's design owing to the protracted time required for its manufacture. Instead, it was a richly ornamented claret jug created by Ebenezer Hall's silverware firm of Martin, Hall & Co. Thomas later gave a silver dram-flask to Mackenzie, the third placed team, which had three players injured during the competition.
It was intimated that the Youdan Cup would become an annual affair with the Jarvis-designed cup awarded the following year but this did not happen. Nevertheless, Thomas retained a life-long interest in Sheffield football, often awarding prizes at annual general meetings and sports days, particularly for the three teams in the playoffs and for the Garrick club. He also put on benefit evenings at the Alexandra to raise funds for the Sheffield Football Players Accident Society. At the Society's annual meeting in 1872 it was said that without Thomas's continued support the Society would have been defunct.
On 22 November 1867 Thomas bought for £427 property at Totley Bents together with Lower Hare Croft (near All Saints School). Two months later part of this land was sold to Esther Wragg who was then living on Chapel Lane. On 17 December Thomas offered for auction at Totley Vale Cottage, 127 Fat Sheep (Leicester, Lincolnshire, and cross-breds) which were said to be of first rate quality having been well fed on linseed cake, turnips and corn. On Christmas Day the children of Dore and Totley Schools were presented with 6d. each by Harriet Youdan and her friend Rosetta Roland Beal, the daughter of Alderman Michael Beal, a watchmaker and jeweller. At Dore School on New Year's Eve, Harriet and Rose presented the poor women of Dore and Totley with a half-pound of tea each and on 7 January 1868 the same two ladies presented another half-pound of tea to each of the mothers of children at Totley School who had been the best attenders.
Thomas and Harriet's stay in Totley appears to have come to an end around 22 April 1868 when the whole of their furniture, furnishings, paintings, kitchenware etc. plus horses, carriages, pigs, Alderney cattle and farming equipment were put up for sale at a two-day auction. There was nothing in the newspapers to indicate why they were leaving or where they were moving to. Certainly, Thomas had been keeping a close watch on the progress of a proposed railway line from Sheffield to Chapel-le-Frith. The line as described would have been very similar to that constructed more than twenty years later except that it skirted Totley Vale, crossed the Dore to Totley road and entered a 5,280 yard tunnel above Oldhay mill to emerge at Padley. It would have cut through Thomas's private drive to Abbeydale Road and made the daily journey by carriage to Blonk Street a longer one.
The Alexandra - "Tommy's Place"
On 29 July 1868 Thomas applied for a wine licence for the Alexandra Music Hall. Alterations had been made to the premises to make a separate entrance from the road and staircases to rooms on two floors where there were counters serving biscuits, pies, confectionary etc. as well as hot cooked meals on demand. Waiters were on hand all day from around 9 o'clock in the morning. The court had to agree that the place was now fitted out to qualify as an eating-house and as there was no opposition the licence was granted. Thomas returned to court on 26 October to apply for a twelve month licence to perform stage plays. He had, of course, held a theatrical licence for the Surrey Theatre at the time it burned down. Again there was no opposition and, when the Mayor granted the licence, there was a burst of applause from the spectators.
The name of the premises was changed to the Alexandra Opera House and Music Hall - although most people called it The Alex or Tommy's Place. Further alterations to the theatre were made in time for the Christmas pantomime, the most important of which were a new set of luxury boxes. It had taken just three and a half years for Thomas to restore his business to the position it was in before the fire. The annual applications for alcohol and theatrical licences would in future be plain sailing.
For Thomas's Christmas gift in 1869, Harriet and Rose were again on hand to help distribute two thousand half-pounds of tea to the aged, poor and needy of Sheffield. The distribution took place at a packed Cutler's Hall to recipients who had been recommended by clergymen of all denominations throughout the town and by officials connected with various organisations including the Foresters, Druids, Oddfellows, Rechabites and other sick clubs enrolled under the Friendly Societies Act. A further gift of 150 half-pounds of tea was made to the striking miners at Mr. Huntsman's Tinsley Park Colliery.
On 25 March 1870 Thomas and Harriet moved into a large farmhouse at Flotmanby, a few miles inland from Filey. Some wealthy men took up farming later in life as a means of making losses to reduce inheritance taxes but Thomas seems to have genuinely enjoyed being a farmer. It was in the blood; he was an agricultural labourer in early life. He bred livestock, judged amateur agricultural competitions and was a vice president of the Scarborough, Hackness and North and East Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
Whilst out riding on 30 August 1870, Thomas was thrown from his horse, landing on his head. Although well enough to remount and ride home, Thomas was concussed and was still recovering from the accident a week later. He was now in semi-retirement, having left the day-to-day running of the Alexandra to his manager and friend William Brittlebank (1829-1897). The two had been in business together at least sixteen years. William was a printer by trade like his father. He was apprenticed at the Sheffield Iris and later went to work at the Caxton Printing Office at 7 Mulberry Street where another workman was Tom Greaves. When the proprietor, Mr. Wrigley, died in 1855 Thomas purchased the business, retaining William and Tom as his chief assistants. An arrangement was reached whereby they would acquire ownership of the business from Thomas in exchange for printing all his playbills and acting as the manager and secretary for the Surrey Music Hall.
In February 1871 Thomas permitted his name to appear on nominations to fill a council vacancy in St. Philip's Ward when it seemed there would be no other candidate. However, as soon as Joseph Gamble, a steel and file manufacturer, was nominated Thomas withdrew and Mr. Gamble was elected unopposed. The nomination papers gave Thomas's address as the Victoria Hotel on Furnival Street. Evidently Thomas was in the habit of visiting Sheffield about twice a week and he stayed there regularly. He was in the hotel on census night, 7 April. Harriet Youdan was a visitor at 30 Havelock Street, the family home of her friend Rose, who had married Walter Stanton, an architect, the previous month at St. George's, Brook Hill. Harriet, now styling herself Harriette, was one of the two witnesses to sign the register.
On 26 October 1871 Thomas again allowed his name to put forward for the forthcoming Municipal Elections. This time it was for a vacancy in the Attercliffe Ward where the only other candidate was Ralph Skelton, a spade a shovel manufacturer, who was standing for re-election. Once again, Thomas was late entering the fray. Mr. Skelton, a teetotaller, had the support of two associations of burgesses, the leading members of the temperance movement and the religious community. He was seen everywhere addressing meetings whilst Thomas refused to campaign at all.
He did, however, have the support of the beersellers and the miners "to a man". As well as the donation of tea, already mentioned, he had earlier given the strikers 600 6d. four-pound loaves and donated at least £65 to their Widows and Orphans Fund. On election day, 1 November, Ralph Skelton was the victor by 855 votes to 609. With just two days of campaigning by his supporters and without making a single appearance in the constituency, it was perhaps remarkable that Thomas garnered so many votes.
In April 1874 Thomas retired from business and, after many years as its manager, William Brittlebank became the lessee of the Alexandra. The annual application for a theatrical licence was not until 10 December when there was full support for the renewal of the licence.
Thomas still owned the site on West Bar of the former Surrey Theatre. After the fire the site had been made safe and some of the walls had been pulled down. There was a large sale of firewood, boilers, ovens and other metalwork and then the site was properly fenced off. Various schemes had been proposed for its use but none had come to fruition. In July 1874, however, it became known that Thomas was proposing to build a public salt-water aquarium on the ground floor and to erect a concert hall above it. The aquarium would be similar in concept to the one in Brighton, designed by the celebrated pier architect, Eugenius Birch, and opened in 1872. Sea water would be brought daily from Grimsby and raised by steam power to a reservoir on the roof from which it would flow into several tanks. Also like Brighton, the aquarium would have other attractions including a fernery. The concert hall would be nearly as large as the main auditorium in the Albert Hall. It would not have daily performances but would be used only when hired.
By 9 April 1875 Thomas's ambitious scheme had been abandoned because of the logistics of transporting the sea water so far inland and he had no further use for the land. He gave instructions to place advertisements for its sale. An auction was advertised for June but it did not take place until 28 September 1875 at William Harvey's saleroom on Bank Street. Well before the allocated time, the room was filled with interested parties including victuallers and music hall proprietors. On offer was a plot of about 1,292 square yards together with all the (burned out) buildings and materials thereon. An opening bid of £5,000 was raised three times in £500 increments before Mr. Harvey consulted with Thomas who indicated that if the bid were to be raised by a further £100 it would be accepted. That information was conveyed to the saleroom but as no such offer was forthcoming, the lot was withdrawn.
On 4 February 1876 it was reported that the old Surrey Theatre site would be purchased by George Wostenholm, of Washington Works, for the purpose of building a mission but that too did not come to fruition. A few weeks later another proposal was for the formation of a company with a capital of £10,000 made up of 2,000 shares of £5 each. The theatre site would be purchased from Thomas for £8,000, comprised of £6,000 in cash and £2,000 of shares. The proposal was to build a billiard hall on the ground floor and above it a skating rink that could be covered at times for use as a ballroom. Once again, nothing came of the scheme.
By the spring of 1876, Thomas's health was deteriorating. He suffered from bronchitis and gout. His physician, Dr. Charles William Dawson, in practice at Hunmanby, insisted that he go for the air to Southport and on his return Dr. Dawson thought he looked much the better for it. Thomas visited Sheffield on 8 September, lunching with William Brittlebank and then visiting his solicitors, Messrs. Broomhead, Wightman and Moore of George Street. He returned to Flotmanby the next day, spending some time in Scarborough. On 12 November, Dr. Dawson received a letter from Harriet asking him to visit Thomas urgently and found him to be suffering from apoplexy (cerebral haemorrhage) from which he never fully recovered. A second stoke on the 26th proved fatal. He died at Flotmanby House two days later, aged 60. By his own reckoning, the Surrey Theatre fire had taken ten years off his life. On 1 December Thomas's body was conveyed to Sheffield by train where it was met by William Brittlebank and that afternoon he was buried in the General Cemetery.
After the Funeral
The purpose of Thomas's visit to his solicitors on 8 September 1876 was to make a new will leaving his entire estate to his niece Harriet. She was unmarried at that time but on 5 April 1877 she was married to Frederick Stanton, an architect and surveyor, at St. John the Evangelist, Folkton, near Filey by Rev. Robert Mitford Taylor. Frederick was a younger brother of Walter Stanton, the husband of Harriet's friend Rose Beal.
The will, however, was not accepted by a number of Thomas's relatives. Siblings Samuel, John, Sarah, Anne, Jane and possibly Hannah were still living. The case of Stanton and Wife v Youdan came to Leeds Assizes on 31 August 1877 when Thomas's oldest surviving brother, Samuel, disputed the will on the grounds that it had been made when Thomas was of an unsound mind. The court was told that Thomas had no children of his own but his niece Harriet had lived with him since 1849 when she was three years old. He loved her as his adopted daughter and she loved him as her adopted father. He had spent money on her lavishly and sent her to Paris to be educated. Harriet had met her future husband in 1870 and become engaged to be married. For a while she lived away from home but in 1871 the engagement was broken off and she returned to live with Thomas.
Witnesses were called including William Brittlebank, Dr. Dawson, Rev. Taylor and Dr. T. Goodman of Southport to testify that Thomas was of sound mind. His solicitor, Edward Moore, gave evidence about the will which he had drawn up himself on the day in question. He had cautioned Thomas about leaving everything to Harriet but Thomas had been most insistent that she was to be the sole benficiary and that there were to be no other family legacies. On hearing the evidence presented, Samuel Youdan abandoned his case and the court found in favour of the Stantons.
Thomas's land at Totley Bents came up for auction by William Harvey the following month. Bents Croft, containing 1a. 2r. 3p., lay between Strawberry Lee Lane and Moss Lane and was bounded on the east by Bents Lane (now Lane Head Road). It realised £270. Great Green, containing 2a. 1r. 21p., adjoined on the east (and presumably is now the top end of the cricket field). It was knocked down for £220. In September 1878 the old Surrey Theatre site was acquired by the Guardians of the Sheffield Union and Overseers of the Township of Sheffield for the sum of £6,500. Harriet was now a very rich woman having inherited around £25,000 (£3m in today's terms) but that was not the end of the her troubles with the family.
John Youdan, Thomas's brother, was brought up at the Second Court at Sheffield Town Hall on 25 September 1879 to answer a summons by the Sheffield General Cemetery Company that he willfully defaced the inscription on Thomas's memorial stone, contrary to the Sheffield General Cemetery Act of 1846. Walter Stanton gave evidence that he had personally supervised the erection of the memorial which was of a very hard stone, Aberdeen granite, and which cost £200. On the monument was the following inscription:
TO THE BELOVED MEMORY
OF THE LATE
OF THIS TOWN
BY HIS ADOPTED DAUGHTER
HE DEPARTED THIS LIFE
NOVR. 28TH 1876
AGED 60 YEARS.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
William Lomas, a stone engraver, testified that he saw the defendant on 25 August 1879 chipping the monument with a hammer and chisel and asked him what he was doing. John replied that he had cut out the words "adopted daughter" adding that "someone had put it in that had no right to do so, as it was not true." Whilst admitting the offence, John continued to dispute that Harriet was Thomas's adopted daughter stating that, "He never did adopt her" and that she was his niece. He wanted "the truth to be known to succeeding generations." Quite what John Youdan meant by that we will never know. Was he disputing the inheritance or was there some sort of family scandal? The Bench fined him the full penalty of £10 plus costs, or two months' imprisonment. John either couldn't or wouldn't pay the fine and so he spent the next two months in Wakefield Prison and was discharged on 24 November 1879.
There are few traces of Thomas Youdan left for us to see today. His Surrey Theatre was burned to the ground in 1865. The Crimean War memorial which he championed has been taken down and is in store, very badly damaged. The Alexandra Opera House was demolished in 1914. Only one rather blurred picture of Thomas survives, thanks to Councillor Frederick Bland (1860-1934) who photographed it from an original print in the Mitre Hotel, Change Alley in the 1920s. The Youdan Cup, lost for many years, was rediscovered in 1997 and now rightfully belongs to Hallam Football Club who bought it for £1,600 from a Scottish antiques collector. Sheffield United remember Thomas in one of a series of plaques on the perimeter fence at Bramall Lane where the final of the cup competition was played. His name is spelled Youden which, whether by accident or design, is the same spelling that was used to record his baptism and those of his nine siblings in the parish register at St. Oswald Parish Church, Kirk Sandal.
Some of the people we have researched are heroes and others are scoundrels. Thomas Youdan was both. He abused the licensing laws when it suited him; he was lucky not to be imprisoned for holding an illegal lottery; and he was found to have lied in court when he took advantage of a fifteen year old employee. He was also an energetic and imaginative man who made, lost and gave away fortunes and in so doing brought enjoyment to thousands of ordinary people in Sheffield which had a much richer music hall history than other provincial towns. He gave them a free museum and art gallery when there were none, and opera and drama at affordable prices. He supported the poor, sick, elderly, unemployed, and orphaned with real, practical assistance - money, tea, bread, cake, beef, soup, blankets, coal, even swedes and wheat. In his biography of Thomas Youdan for Totley Independent Issue 21 and its summary in Drawings of Historic Totley, Brian Edwards made no mention of the Youdan Cup nor of Thomas's philanthropy. Instead he remembered Thomas Youdan for his undercooked, monster cake. We think he deserves rather better.
We would like to thank our many readers for their correspondence in recent times. Our email address for queries, comments and contributions is:
Martin Hancock asked us whether we had any old photographs of that part of Prospect Road that he used to visit as a child in the 1940s and 1950s. His father was a colleague of Leonard Ernest Sidney Eastham (1893-1977), who was Professor of Zoology at Sheffield University from 1931 until his retirement in 1958. Prof. Eastham moved to our area in 1939 and lived in a bungalow known as The Croft, 138 Prospect Road. When Martin stayed in it, there were very few buildings on that part of the road and the bungalow was in a field set back some way from the road up a private drive. The drive was widened when Rosamond Court was built around 1966 and eventually it became a road leading to the Rosamond Estate which was still being built in the late 1970s. The bungalow then became known as 5 Rosamond Drive. It was recently demolished to make way for a development of five luxury homes called Poynton Wood View. If you have any old photos of the property or the area between Everard Avenue and Prospect Place, we would love to hear from you.
Lynne Harrison is researching her links to the Bartin Family who during the 19th century lived in Shaw House, now a listed building known as Shaw Farm, 25 Haugh Lane, Ecclesall. We have been able to trace the family's ancestry back to the Sheffield cutler, John Bartin, born in 1713 and possibly even earlier to Andrew Bartin from Dumfries-shire. The Bartins lived in Broad Oak Green at least from 1828 whilst the farmhouse itself dates from around a hundred years before. After the death of the third William Bartin (1802-1868), his widow Sarah (nee Hill) continued to live in Shaw House until her own death on 13 October 1877. By 1881 the house had been taken by Joseph Orbell, a huntsman and foxhound expert, who had recently retired from the employment of Earl Fitzwilliams at the Wentworth Estate, Rotherham.
The words Millhouses Cricket Club can be seen in the background of photographs that were lent to us by Garth Inman who can identify his great uncle, Cecil Inman, in many of them. Garth would like to know when they were taken and who else is present. Cecil Inman was born in Sheffield in 1881, the youngest son of Tom Inman and his wife Alice (nee Hawksworth). Tom was the proprietor of Inman's Steelworks at Britannia Works on Furnival Road, Sheffield. Cecil spent much of his life after 1907 in Canada where he worked for the Canadian National Railways until his retirement in May 1946. From the style of clothing and appearance of the people in the photographs, we think it likely that they were taken before World War I. Please follow the link above to see whether you can put names to any of the faces.
Bob Bunyar was in the process of writing a book about Wartime Purbeck when he came across our article on the Shepley Family. Bob wanted to use material from our website in a chapter about RAF Warmwell, where Pilot Officer Douglas Shepley of RAF 152 Squadron was based when he sadly lost his life on 12 August 1940, aged 22.
We were happy to oblige and were able to put Bob in touch with Dick Shepley who was also very pleased to assist. Bob tells us that the two had a very interesting conversation. We thank Bob for sending us a complimentary copy of his splendidly illustrated 83 page book which is now on sale locally in Dorset.
Jeannette Clark is researching her family history. Her grandfather's birth certificate records that he was born at No. 4 Shaft, Totley Moor, on 26 June 1893. John Smith was the son of William Smith, a railway tunnel miner, and his wife Amelia Jewell. No doubt he will have been born in one of the temporary workmen's cottages erected on Joseph Rollinson's land, a short distance from the airshaft on the other side of Moss Lane. We know that the cottages measured 34ft x 16ft and were built of brick with corrugated iron roofs. A separate block of water closets was built some distance to the east. The cottages would have been sparse and shared by more than one family or with lodgers. We know they did their best to make the cottages more homely and many of the families had gardens and kept chickens and sometimes pigs. John's birth was reported to the registrar by Emily Hart who was present at the birth. There would have been no qualified midwife as such and we imagine Emily helped to deliver the baby. In the 1891 Census, she was living in a cottage at No. 4 shaft with her husband John, four children and five lodgers. Three of Emily's children attended Totley Church School. It looks likely that the Smith family left our area soon after the tunnel was completed. We have traced the births of five of their seven children, all born in different counties, suggesting the family led a migratory life following William's work.
Christopher Stokoe wanted to know what his grandfather Frank Smith did for a living. We were able to trace Frank through the marriage of his only daughter Edith to Dr. James Miller Swanson Wood at St. John's Church, Ranmoor on 18 March 1903. Frank Smith led an interesting life. He was born in Harley, near Wentworth, West Yorkshire in 1847, the ninth of eleven children of William Smith and Esther Trippet who married at Wath upon Dearne on 10 October 1829. Like his father, Frank was an ironstone miner but after his marriage to Mary Hoyland at Sheffield Parish Church on 19 July 1869 he became a grocer. In 1872 he moved to Hoyland Nether near Barnsley where his business flourished despite a failed investment in a soap manufacturing business. By 1901 he was able to hand over the business to his son Albert Edward and build South Grove, a substantial six bedroom property with extensive grounds. After Mary's death in 1905, Frank remarried to Mary Ann Shepard and retired to Harrogate where he died on 3 February 1936, aged 87.
Rosalind Waler was moving into a new property in Lincolnshire and was thinking about calling it Monybrook. Her father, Hubert Moorhouse, had called all his houses by that name and Rosalind knew relatively little about her father's family history. Her grandfather, Arthur Moorhouse, was a railway clerk who was born in Sheffield in 1883 and who married Ruth Holding at Dore Christ Church on 24 September 1906. Arthur and Ruth lived at Monybrook Cottages, across the road from Monybrook Farm where Ruth's parents John and Ruth Holding farmed for many years. Arthur Moorhouse played a significant role in the building of All Saints' Church as Vice Chairman of the New Church Building Committee, deputizing for Mr. Milne on several occasions. Arthur was also the chairman of Totley Cricket Club before work commitments caused him to leave Totley in January 1924. We have traced both the Moorhouse and Holding families back to Rosalind's great great grandparents.
Susan Borley contacted us after listening to a repeat of BBC Radio 4's programme about Frank Mottershaw and the making of the first action movie. Susan had traced her father's family back to Richard Mottershaw, a coal miner who was born around 1836 in Lofthouse, Yorkshire and she wondered whether there was a family connection. Frank Mottershaw's ancestry can be traced with a high degree of certainty to his great great grandparents John Mottershaw and Sarah White who married at North Wingfield, Derbyshire on 31 July 1759. Frank is descended through their second son, John, who was baptised at North Wingfield on 7 March 1762. Richard Mottershaw would appear to be the fourth child of George Southern Mottershaw and Sarah Frost who married at St. John the Baptist, Wakefield on 24 October 1825. George was baptised on 7 March 1800 at North Wingfield, the son of William Mottershaw and Deborah Southern who married at Alfreton, Derbyshire on 11 June 1788. We cannot prove that this William Mottershaw was the same as the one who was baptised on 8 July 1760 at North Wingfield, the eldest son of John Mottershaw and Sarah White. However, the ages agree and North Wingfield was then a very small village. If he were, this would make Frank Mottershaw Susan's third cousin, twice removed and Frank Storm Mottershaw her fourth cousin, once removed.
Peter Griffin got in touch with us from All Cannings, near Devizes in Wiltshire. In the graveyard of All Saints Church is a headstone which bears an inscription telling how Josiah Hibberd was seriously injured whilst working on the construction of the Totley Tunnel in 1892. The inscription provides no information about Josiah's birth or his family and Peter was curious to know if we could throw some light on Josiah's life and how he came to be injured. We were unable to find any reference to Josiah's accident but we were more successful in tracing his family history. He was born in 1858 in All Cannings, the sixth of seven children of George Hibberd, an agricultural labourer, and his wife Eliza Ellis who married at All Cannings on 28 November 1846. Josiah was a bricklayer's labourer by 1881 census and in the 1891 census he was in lodgings in Eccles, Lancashire. He was still single and he may have been working on the construction of the nearby Manchester Ship Canal which at that time also included dam building and diversion of rivers and railway lines. Josiah could have been in our area for a no more than a year before his injury. He died on 9 May 1897 at the age of 38 having apparently spent most of previous five years in hospital.
When Jack Burrows died in Perth, Western Australia in November 2020 at the fine old age of 100 years, a scrap of paper found in his belongings led to his long time neighbour, friend and administrator, Trevor Lawton contacting us to try to obtain some information about Jack's family history. That note in Jack's own handwriting gave his mother's maiden name as Maud Griffiths and said that her father had been "killed in a tunnel accident in Dore and Totley tunnel". Jack's grandfather was George Griffiths who died on 13 December 1888 following an explosion during the sinking of number 3 airshaft at Totley Bents. George's widow Florence died soon afterwards and daughters Annie and Maud were adopted separately. Whilst Annie lived the rest of her life in Yorkshire, Maud emigrated to Australia with her husband, John Burrows, daughter Margaret and son Jack, aged just two.
Trish Proctor was disappointed that our photographs of memorial stones in St. Swithin's Churchyard, Holmesfield did not include two family headstones. One marks the grave of Trish's great great grandparents John James Chetwynd, a brickyard timekeeper, and his wife Elizabeth Ann Billam Hague who married at St. Giles, Matlock on 23 February 1890. Two of their seven children are buried with them. The second gravestone is for Emily Sherwin who married John James's younger brother George Edwin Chetwynd at St. Swithin's on 28 January 1889. Trish has provided us with photographs of the gravestones which we have now added to our portfolio. Update In response to Trish's email we have now extended our coverage of St. Swithin's Church gravestones with the great majority now photographed and uploaded.
Michelle Bates wrote to us about her great grandfather, Gilbert Lambert who was born in Shepton Mallet, Somerset in 1872 and who the family believe came to Totley to help build the Totley Tunnel. However, no trace of Gilbert can be found in the 1891 Census when the work on the tunnel was in full swing. As Ted Hancock notes in his new book, it is not uncommon to find migrant navvies being missed off the census, particularly if they were living in makeshift, temporary accommodation like barns and other farm outbuildings. Gilbert married in 1905 to Amy Sturdy who was born in Totley in 1879, the seventh of eleven children of Paul Sturdy, a joiner, and his wife Amelia Matilda Goodison. Gilbert became a ganister and coal miner and he and Amy lived for most of their married life in Sheffield but for a while just before the First World War they lived on Summer Lane, Totley. Amy died on 23 May 1936, aged 56, and Gilbert on 29 February 1940, aged 67. They are buried in Dore churchyard.
Andy Barker told us how much he enjoyed our website having found references to his ancestor Harvey Barber who was born in Millhouses in 1867, the fifth of twelve children of Thomas Barber, a farmer, and his wife Matilda Furness who married on 7 November 1859 at St. Philip, Shalesmoor. Harvey married Ada Randall also at St. Philip on 1 August 1892 and for many years the couple lived at The Grouse, Totley Bents where Harvey was a farmer and innkeeper. Andy has traced the Barber family back to Harvey's great grandfather Georgius Barber, a cutler who married Sarah Oldale whose family unsuccessfully claimed ownership of land that would later become Millhouses Park.
Lauren Sutton is new to our area and wanted to find out whether what she had been told about her property's history was indeed true. The house is known as Bradway House, 60 Prospect Road. Folklore says it may have been a beerhouse called Babes in the Wood that operated when Bradway Tunnel was being built. Bradway House was built around 1832 by Henry Greaves, a farmer, together with two adjacent cottages. We have traced most of the occupants of the property from these early days up to the start of World War Two. In 1861 the house was occupied by the family of William Blake, whose occupation was recorded as basketmaker and beerhouse keeper. However, Blake had left by 1862 and we have not been able to find proof of its use during the period up to 1869 when work on the tunnel was completed.
Dr. Jan Woudstra, of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Sheffield University, asked us whether we knew the age of the cherry trees at the lower end of Abbeydale Park Rise. In the spring, the trees provide a glorious display of blossom whilst at Christmas the trees are illuminated with fairy lights and attract many visitors to see them. Reports produced by STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Groups) suggest the trees were planted in the late 1970s and reference two local residents who can remember contributing £2 into a Council scheme to have a tree planted outside their homes. However, just as Abbeydale Park Rise was built in two phases, it would appear that the cherry trees were planted in two phases also. We have in our collection a picture postcard of the area that we can date to around 1931 which clearly shows a line of small but established trees on the north side of the road.
Jen Ashton asked us about Queen Victoria's Visit to Sheffield on 21 May 1897. Jen had seen in our Virtual Museum a souvenir programme and had one very similar that she had found when sorting through some of her Granddad's belongings. Whilst the size, style and text of the two programmes were the same the border designs were different. It would appear from newspaper reports that perhaps as many as fifty thousand of these souvenirs were printed and given to the children of the district to wave at the royal procession as it passed. Whilst it is just a guess on our part, we wonder whether the version that Jen has with a pattern of rowing boats and oarsmen was given to the boys whilst the version with a flower pattern was given to the girls. Jen hopes to have the programme framed as a most attractive family keepsake.
Nick Kuhn asked us about an original 1920s poster that he bought some time ago promoting the autumn fashions for John Walsh Ltd., the Sheffield department store. In a corner is a blind stamp bearing the name of the owner: Wigmore, Heatherfield, Totley, Nr. Sheffield. The stamp almost certainly refers to a house named Wigmore on the Heatherfield Estate that was built in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The first occupiers that we can trace are John Howarth Caine, a district mineral agent for the LNER, and his wife Florence Jane Prince who married at St. Mark's Church, Lincoln on 24 November 1897. Their only daughter Doris Mary was born on 11 March 1900 in Normanton on the Wolds. The Caine family lived at Wigmore until 1936 when they returned to Nottinghamshire. After Totley was absorbed into Sheffield in 1934 the house would have been known simply as 12 The Quandrant so we can be fairly confident that the blind stamp would have been made for the Caine family.
Bob Brown asked for our help in locating a house named Morrena on Victoria Road (renamed Queen Victoria Road in 1935). Bob's grandparents William and Alice Temporal were living there when his mother, Betty, was born in 1927. The family lived there only a short while before moving to Millthorpe where Betty's brother was born in March 1931. Morrena is not a name that we recognised but we have found a reference to it in 1923 when Frederick George Phipps was living there. He was the company secretary of the newly formed Victoria (Totley) Lawn Tennis Club Limited and Morrena was the company's registered address. The tennis courts themselves were near the southern end of the road, opposite the top of Back Lane. We know Morrena was a single storey property because a newspaper announcement in December 1931 referred to a Frederick William James of Morrena Bungalow. Using an aide memoire that belonged to Ernest Jackson of Totley Rise Post Office, we have been able to trace the route that the postman took to deliver to this area. It would seem that Morrena was at the Prospect Place end of the Victoria Road, probably very close to number 131. If anyone has any further information we would love to hear from you.
When Jack Burrows died in Perth, Western Australia at the age of 100 years, a scrap of paper found in his belongings led to his long time neighbour Trevor Lawton contacting us to try to obtain some information about Jack's family history. The note mentioned that Jack's grandfather was killed in an accident in Totley Tunnel. George Griffiths died following an explosion during the sinking of number 3 airshaft on 13 December 1888 leaving a wife, Florence Woodward, and two young daughters, Maud and Annie. After Florence's death in 1892, both daughters were adopted. Maud Griffiths went on to marry John Burrows, an iron moulder, in Derby in 1906 and had a daughter Margaret the following year and a son John Junior, known as Jack, on 3 February 1920. The Burrows Family emigrated to Perth, Western Australia, in 1922-23. Jack Burrows became an engineer and married Mary Henderson Boyack Ritchie from Fife in 1944. They had no children but enjoyed 71 years of marriage before Mary died on 28 July 2015 aged 97. Jack Burrows, grandson of Totley tunneller George Griffiths, died on 20 November 2020.
Robin Weare wrote to us about George Wainwright, the Totley weaver who, around 1760, offered John Wesley's Methodists the safety of his own home and let them preach there. Robin believes he may be a descendant through George's daughter Elizabeth if she is the same Elizabeth Wainwright who married William Mounsey in Sheffield Cathedral on 31 January 1779. Robin was also interested to discover more about George's parents and siblings. We have found out a limited amount of information which does suggest a connection is possible but that would be confirmed if George had left a will mentioning his daughter in her married name.
Mike Stirgess enjoyed reading about Norwood School and the two elderly Misses Crossland who were still teaching at the school they had started around 1893. Annie Elizabeth Crossland was born on 28 November 1866 and Ethel Maud on 10 July 1879, both in Sheffield. When Mike left Norwood School, "Miss Crossland" would have been aged 77 and "Miss Ethel" would have been aged 63. There was a third sister, Lucy, who doesn't seem to have been involved in teaching but who may have helped with the school administration prior to her marriage. Readers may remember Mike who lived on Meadow Grove Road for about twenty years until his marriage to the daughter of Doris and Percy Wilkinson who had the hardware business in the middle shop of the three facing the top of Mickley Lane.
Michael Lightowler has been in touch with us about Oakwood Collegiate School, Pitsmoor, which he attended between 1960 and 1963. He wondered if anyone had any recollections of the school or the people who were there at that time. The headmistress was Mrs Phoebe Holroyd who started the school in 1925 initially as the Firth Park Kindergarten and, by 1927, as the Firth Park Preparatory School. Phoebe was in her seventies when Michael was there and after she died in 1973 at the age of 85 there was no one in her family with an interest to carry on the school and it appears to have closed soon afterwards. We would like to hear from anyone with memories of the school and, of course, we are always keen to see class photographs which we know were professionally taken.
Amanda Burridge, nee Dawson, contacted us about Charles Cartwright, who was killed in WW1 and whose life story is one of many that we have recently researched. Charles was born on 25 November 1882, one of twin boys born to Rev. George Dawson Cartwright and his wife Maria, nee Root who had fourteen children in all. We have looked further into Rev. Cartwright's ancestry, family and career which took him as far north as York and far south as St. Enoder in Cornwall. Charles's twin brother Edward, who had emigrated to British Columbia in 1906, joined the 7th Battalion Canadian Infantry and died from wounds at 2nd Northern General Hospital, Leeds on 10 October 1916 and was buried at St. Andrew's Church, Wimpole where his father was the Rector.
Robert Lancaster asked us if we had any photographs of All Saints' Church which might show the original iron railings that were fitted at the east end of the Church to protect the public from the drop down to the access passage to the crypt. There is a wooden railing and wire fence there now which is not is not in the best of repair. Sadly we have precious few photographs of the church and none of the east end old enough to show the original railings which could have been removed for reuse during WW2.
Ada Eckersley wrote to us from Australia to ask a number of questions about her great grandfather James Elliott and his younger brother Ernest who for many years was the superintendent and main lay preacher at Totley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on Chapel Lane. The Chapel closed in 1967 and after being empty for several years it was bought by Brian Edwards and converted into a domestic property. From Brian's files we were able to supply photographs of the Chapel before its conversion and a copy of John Dunstan's The Story of Methodism in Totley which mentions Ernest and his wife Lily (nee Tyson). Ernest Elliott was a master builder who built five bungalows on Baslow Road and lived in one of them, number 182. He also built semi-detached houses on Chatsworth Road and Furniss Avenue, at least two of which still have in their drives their original inspection covers bearing his name.
The Charge of the Light Brigade on 25 October 1854 at Balaklava has long since passed from history into folklore, stimulated in no small measure by Alfred, Lord Tennyson's stirring poem which was itself inspired by William Russell's report in The Times, written on the very day of the Charge. Every schoolchild was taught the poem by rote and their parents probably already knew it. Few people who were literate and who could afford a newspaper bothered to read the subsequent official reports. Consequently, the numbers of combatants and casualties have been widely misrepresented ever since, including those which we re-quoted in our article about David Stanley of the 17th Hussars. We would like to thank Stephen Acaster for pointing this error out to us. We have now completely revised and expanded the article and added, in full, David's own account of the Charge which he gave to a reporter from the Buxton Herald in 1875.
Mrs Annie Charlesworth sent us six glass transparencies of the rock gardens at Totley Hall taken, we believe, in the early years following the Great War. They belonged to Miss Mary Milner who was the granddaughter of William Aldam Milner. The transparencies were rediscovered recently when Mrs. Charlesworth was turning out drawers during the lockdown. Towards the end of the 19th century Totley Hall gardens became a well known beauty spot that attracted many hundreds of visitors from Sheffield on open days and the rock gardens became one of its most popular features. William Milner was a keen gardener and horticulturalist with a particular love of daffodils, over 250 varieties of which were grown at Totley Hall. By 1896 he had raised a dwarf form suitable for his rock garden which he named W.P. Milner after his father.
A Canadian correspondent sent us photographs of a set of silver spoons that were bought in a small town in British Columbia. The Morrocco case contained an envelope addressed to Maurice Housley and a note dated 2 July 1889 and signed by Ebenezer Hall indicating that they were a gift to Maurice and his bride upon their forthcoming marriage. The spoons are hallmarked Sheffield 1888 by Martin Hall & Co. Ltd., Ebenezer's own silverware company. Maurice married Fanny Ada Pennington on 3 September 1889 at St. George's Church, Brook Hill, Sheffield. We think they were taken to Canada by their younger son Eric who emigrated to British Columbia in 1924 and that they have remained in the family for the majority of the time since.
Whilst on the subject of Ebenezer Hall, Anton Rodgers, who went to Abbeydale Grammar School for Boys and still has family in our area, send us photographs of three water-colours that had been bought by his grandfather at a sale of the contents of Abbeydale Hall in 1919. One was of a scene said to be in York by A. Wilson, whom we have been unable to trace. The second picture was of Lake Como, by Ainslie Hodson Bean (1851-1918) who lived for much of his life on the Riviera and in North Italy. His paintings of landscapes and lake scenes were exhibited at several London galleries and for a time he became quite well known. The third picture of a seated child with a dog was called Cherries and is believed to be by Juliana Russell (1841-1898). From a very early age Juliana showed a talent for art, drawing religious subjects. Later her compositions were largely scenes from prose, poems and songs. She exhibited regularly at the Dudley Gallery in London and at the Royal Academy.
Rev. Stewart Rayner, who many of you will remember, has passed on a number of items from his days as vicar of All Saints Church and chairman of the governors of All Saints School. Included is the original of this pen and ink sketch by Bill Carter-Wigg whose articles and drawings frequently appeared in Totley Independent from around 1979 until his death on 14 May 1990. It is of "Artists Corner", Penny Lane and shows a building at the bottom of Chapel Fields about a hundred yards up the lane from The Crown. The sketch originally appeared on page 4 of Issue 51 of the Independent for November 1981 and is unusual in that there was no accompanying text. The building is now almost completely hidden behind trees, ivy, and undergrowth, but the sketch appears to show that it is windowless on at least two sides and was presumably used as a stable or barn.
Chris Tombs saw our short piece about Charles Edward Liddell Norris, one of the WW1 soldiers whose name appears on the Roll of Honour at Dore and Totley United Reformed Church. Chris was interested in the partnership between Charles's father, Charles Guest Norris and Joseph Elton Bott to invent, design and build machinery at the Cornwall Steel Works, in Openshaw, Manchester. It seems an unlikely partnership because hitherto Norris had been an agent for "domestic specialities" whereas Bott was a mechanical engineer whose inventions included a circular saw and a pneumatic shell firing gun. Perhaps the arrangement was necessitated by Bott's frequent absence from the country and financial ups and downs. Chris is working on a biography of J. E. Bott and has shared some of his research notes with us.
Stephanie Preston-Hall contacted us about Douglas Henry Loukes, another WW1 soldier named on the Dore and Totley United Reformed Church Roll of Honour. Douglas lived at 40 Main Avenue and was one of three brothers whose families came to live in Totley. Sidney lived at 48 Laverdene Avenue and Charles at 11 Green Oak Road. Charles's son, another Charles, later lived at 22 Milldale Road. Purely by co-incidence, Ian Winter also contacted us about the same family. Ian is related through his wife Marilyn, nee Nelson, who is descended from a fourth Loukes brother, Frederick. Ian was kind enough to let us have some family photographs one of which now accompanies our article on Douglas.
Morag Barker is married to a second generation Australian, whose great grandfather George Albert Barker lived at 16 Richards Road, Heeley before emigrating to Victoria, Australia. We were able to trace the family back to George Barker, a weaver born in Baslow about 1782. A number of George's sons emigrated to Australia in the 1880s. Perhaps the most interesting relation we came across was John "Jack" Hunter (1852-1903), the brother of George Albert's wife Ellen Hunter. Jack Hunter was a footballer who played for Heeley before being poached by Blackburn Olympic with whom he won the F.A. Cup in 1883. Jack played for England seven times and went on to became a professional football coach, whose innovative tactics and revolutionary pre-match preparation have resulted in him being described as "the Pep Guardiola of his day".
Stewart Taylor has written to tell us he has now built a website to display the Taylor Family history in Dore and Totley. You may remember that Stewart has been researching his family history for some time. His grandfather, Shirley Taylor, was well-known in the area from his days as bandleader of the Dore Brass Band and later as steward of the Dore Club. Many of the family worked as scythe smiths for Tyzacks at Abbeydale Works and Little London or as brickmakers for Pickford Holland. Stewart's great-uncle Farewell Taylor was a stone mason who worked on several of the gravestones in Dore churchyard. The website is still in its infancy and Stewart would welcome any relevant photographs and other material that you may have.
Noel Lees came across our website when searching for Frederick Kenneth Arthur Seals, one of the thirteen Second World War servicemen and women who are commemorated on Totley War Memorial. Noel had a relative, John Henry Stirk, who was a crew member of a Lancaster bomber in 1942 that was shot down and all the crew killed. Ken Seals was also a member of that crew and Noel is trying to trace any living descendants of all the crew members. Ken was unmarried when he died but he did have a sister, Elsa Doreen, who was born in Sheffield in 1931 and who married Zygmunt Mazur in Totley All Saints Church on 29 March 1952. Zygmunt was born in Poland in 1925 and became a naturalised British citizen in Sheffield in 1959. What became of Elsa afterwards we do not know. We have not found a death for her but we have found a death for Zygmunt Mazur in Sheffield in 1997. Ken Seals also had a cousin, Alice E. Pulford, who married Robin George Winstone in 1940. Alice and Robin lived in Surrey where they had a daughter, Elise, born in 1953. Elise Pulford married Rodney S. Brown in Kingston Upon Thames district in 1971. Robin Winstone died in 2006. From online electoral rolls we have found Alice Winstone, Rodney and Elise Brown living together at 361 Malden Road, Worcester Park, Surrey in 2008 and it looks as though Alice was still there in 2012. If anyone can tell us any more about Elsa Doreen Mazur or Alice E. Winstone we would be very pleased to hear from you.
Will Swales is researching the history of the Rutland Arms, Bakewell, on behalf of its new owners. One of his tasks is to work out the sequence of Derbyshire land agents for the Duke of Rutland and in that regard he came across Josie Dunsmore's article on the Coke Family of Totley Hall. D’Ewes Coke (1774-1856) became agent for the Derbyshire estates in 1811 and, after his retirement, may have been succeeded temporarily by John Fletcher who signed himself the Duke's agent at Belvoir Castle in 1840 before Captain William Underwood became the Duke's permanent agent in Castle Hill, Bakewell in 1841.
Maya, aged 10, asked us what the old buildings next to the bowling green in Green Oak Park were used for. Green Oak Park was opened on 23 March 1929 by Mrs Sarah Milner, of Totley Hall. The park was on land that had been bought by Norton District Council from John Thomas Carr, a farmer and smallholder who lived at Mona Villas, 37 Lemont Road. As well as 8 acres of land made up of two large fields, the Council also bought a 285 square yard plot of land which provided access to the park for vehicles and equipment. In later years, the buildings would have been used by the Bowling Club (the green having been built in 1956) and by the park keeper. However, the buildings appear to have been constructed in several phases, the oldest of which predates the park to the time when the land was used for pasture. It would probably have been used to stable animals, or garage farm carts, with a hay loft above.
Colin Beal came across a picture postcard of the Rockingham Mausoleum in Wentworth Park, Rotherham that he thought might be of interest to us. It was addressed to Miss Abell, Holly Dene, Totley Brook Road and postmarked Rotherham, 9.45pm, 10 December 1907. Edith Annie Abell was born on 4 February 1887 in Sheffield to parents William Penty Abell, a butcher, and his wife Mary Ann Pridmore. Together with their son William, the Abells relocated to our area in the 1900s living initially at Grange Farm, Dore before moving to Holly Dene and then Melrose on Totley Brook Road. Edith's parents stayed there until at least 1917 but then moved to 17 Chatsworth Road where they stayed for the rest of their lives.
Kenneth Covell wondered if there was a connection between William Henry Theaker of Leadenham, Lincolnshire who married his ancestor Jane Covel in 1860 and Ethelbert Theaker, the newsagent of Totley Rise. We have traced Ethelbert's ancestry back four generations. He was born in Sheffield like his father, Henry Theaker, a general dealer, who married Ruth Jones at St Paul, Sheffield on 6 August 1867. Ethelbert's grandfather was Benjamin Theaker, a joiner, who was born in Retford, Nottinghamshire in 1812, the son of Thomas Theaker, also a joiner, who lived in Clarborough, near Retford. There appears to be no connection with Lincolnshire in Ethelbert's family tree but we know from other studies that many Sheffield families have their roots there. It would not be at all surprising if both families were connected if only they could be traced back far enough.
Rina Pacitti is moving home and wrote to ask about the history of both her old house at number 331 Baslow Road and her new one at number 85b. The former property is the old Totley Police Station which we believe was built around the same time as the corner Post Office which carries a datestone of 1882. It is unlikely to have been purpose-built as it would appear that two lock-up cells were excavated just below floor level in the summer of 1890. We have traced the Derbyshire Constabulary police officers who lived there from John Burford in 1886 to George Thomas Wood who was there when Totley was absorbed into Sheffield in 1934. Rina's new property is a converted outbuilding at the rear of 85-87 Baslow Road, the former Abbeydale Club and later Queen's Social Club. It may have been built around the same time as the main building, circa 1879, and used orginally as a coach-house. The chamfered corner of the building would have been to protect horses from injury as they rounded the tight driveway.
Grace Darney got in touch with us from Canada having read the correspondence from Stephen Acaster regarding photos of unnamed soldiers of WW1. Stephen thought one of the soldiers was wearing the uniform of the Durham Light Infantry and he wondered if men from Totley would join that unit. Grace assured us that they did as her great uncle Alfred Riley had served in that regiment, attesting in Sheffield on 11 October 1905. The family lived for a while in Green Oak and Alfred and his half-brother Robert Riley Lenthall both attended Totley Church School. Whilst Robert survived the war, Alfred was killed in action on 7 December 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai. He is not commemorated on any local war memorial.
James N. Gill contacted us seeking to be put in touch with others who might share an interest in the family history of the Hukin family who feature in a number of articles on our website. George Edward Hukin was a friend of the poet and gay rights activist Edward Carpenter. Many of the Hukins were razor grinders and Jonathan Nicholas sent us some wonderful photographs of his early ancestors and their dangerous occupation. We have now extended our research into this family and it would appear that Jonathan and George Edward are third cousins, twice removed, both being descended from Joshua Hukin (1743-1816), basketmaker of Sheffield and his wife Hannah Glossop (1742-1813). A summary of our research is now published in PDF format at the foot of Jonathan's article.
Peter Wilson had seen our article about Guy Mitchell's Brook House model railway and the accompanying extract from Model Railways and Locomotives magazine for November 1910. Peter asked us a number of technical questions about the railway's construction which we were unable to answer. We are very grateful to Mick Savage, of Sheffield Model Engineers, who supplied us with many photographs of the railway for offering to answer Peter's queries.
Margaret Pepall lives on Queen Victoria Road in a property that stands on the site of an older house that had been demolished. She was keen to learn about the old house and its occupants. In the course of our research we uncovered that living there in 1939 were Jack Vickers-Edwards and his wife Ida. Yet neither were who they said they were. Jack was born Edward Alfred Edwards in Wakefield, the son of Edward Joseph Vickers Edwards, an architect, and his first wife Sara Turner. Jack was a WW1 veteran and his war service record survives naming Ida as his wife. In fact her name was Adelina Clara Greenwood and she was born in Bermondsey, London, the daughter of Thomas Greenwood, a police detective. Jack and Ida finally married in Derbyshire in 1962. He appears to have died the following year in Pontefract. Ida died in Spen Valley in 1973.
Beth Guiver was helping to write a school workshop on WW2 at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and wondered if we might be willing to share the memories of local people who were children in the war years. We were very happy to send her some links to items on our website about the air raid shelters, air raid wardens, home service schooling, the temporary fire station, German PoWs, shopping and rationing, and more besides. Beth really enjoyed reading and listening to the stories and, as she says, personal accounts really help us to understand the impact on people's daily lives as seen through the eyes of children.
Lisa Green saw the correspondence on our website about John Thomas Osborne. Lisa is the great granddaughter of Albert Green who married John Thomas's daughter Ada Beatrice. The Green and Osborne families were close neighbours in Summer Lane in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. Lisa is hoping to visit our area and was keen to know more about the place they lived, the school they attended and the church where they worshipped.
Alison Boneham (nee Douglas) had been sorting out her late mother's papers and came across reference to Norwood High School. She was delighted to find our website which brought back many memories. Everyone remembers different things. It was good to get the memories of a girl about the school - the uniform, the illnesses and the lunches. All the earlier contributions we have had were from boys and yet the school photographs show an almost equal number of boys and girls arranged alternately.
Chris Emsley collects the war medals of men from Sheffield and north Derbyshire. One of these soldiers was Charles Herbert Nunn of Green Oak who enlisted in the British Army on 23 August 1915 and was sent to France on 18 December 1915 to served with the British Expeditionary Force. In March 1916 it was discovered that he was underage and he was returned home. Shortly after his 18th birthday he re-enlisted and was again posted abroad and saw action which earned him the Military Medal.
Pauline Memmott found a certificate awarded jointly by the Red Cross and St. John's Ambulance to Isaac Henry Williams, of Totley, for his services during WW1 as a stretcher bearer. As there was no connection with her own family, Pauline sought our help having found several mentions of Isaac on our website. We discovered that Isaac was a signalman at Dore & Totley Station and he and his wife Ellen lived for many years at 13 Lemont Road. As they had no children, we researched the lives of Isaac's seven brothers and sisters but so far we have been unable to trace a living relative.
Sarah Dean has written to us from Australia about her 4x great grandfather Samuel Dean having seen a small report in our Newspaper Archive. In 1832 Samuel pleaded guilty to stealing a quantity of lead from George Bustard Greaves's Totley Rolling Mill and was sentenced to seven years transportation. Upon arrival in New South Wales he was sent to work for William Cox, the famous English soldier, explorer, road builder and pioneer. Samuel married Catherine Hanlon Mary Kinsella in 1838 and, after receiving his Certificate of Freedom in 1840, he and Catherine went on to have at least fourteen children together. Samuel Dean died in 1899 and his death certificate reveals he was born in Whitechapel in 1811 to parents Samuel Dean, a butcher, and Susanna Duck but so far we have been unable to find any records of his parents or any explanation of how he came to be in Totley.
Graham Wood wrote to us to see whether we could help him locate a copy of a photograph which he remembered seeing, possibly in the Old Nag's Head in Edale, dating from the time of the building of Cowburn Tunnel, the second longest tunnel on the Dore & Chinley Railway. The photo was of a locomotive being hauled down the windy road from Stanage Edge towards Barber Booth. We found from newspaper archives that a trackway had been laid across the moors and that by June 1889 a locomotive was working in Edale, taking spoil away from the eastern portal of Cowburn Tunnel to a tip at Barber Booth and probably bringing bricks and other materials towards the tunnel. As the Cowburn tunnel was not pierced until July 1891, improbable though it seems, there is every chance the locomotive was brought there by this route but so far we haven't been able to obtain a copy of the photograph.
Ellie Phillips got in touch with us about former occupants of her house on Lemont Road. Ellie allowed us access to her deeds including an 1879 indenture which contained a number of familiar names including Thomas Bown (publican at The Cross Scythes), William Robert Poole (farmer and contractor of Brook Hall), Tedbar Tinker and Thomas Kilner (respectively owner and manager of Totley Chemical Works) and Robert Ramsey Poole (headmaster and son-in-law of John Cockerton, Headmaster of Dronfield Grammar School and incumbent of the Abbey Church at Beauchief). In more recent times the house was occupied by a dairyman who use the outbuildings used to make butter.
Barbara Green contacted us having read on our website about the railway contractor, Thomas Oliver, who built the Totley Tunnel. Although Thomas was raised in Chesterfield, for much of his later life he lived in Horsham, Sussex. Barbara wondered whether he was the same Thomas Oliver who was a member of the Mid Sussex Lodge as she has a lodge brooch dated June 16, 1873 that was given to Bro. Tho. Oliver PM in acknowledgement of his service as Worshipful Master, WM 1872 3. Barbara had no idea how it came into her family's possession in Australia and wanted to forward the brooch onto an organization that collects such memorabilia. With help from members of The Horsham Society we were able to tell Barbara that we were 99 per cent sure the two men were one and the same.
Professor Mick Wallis asked us if we knew anything about the present whereabouts of Dr. Frederick Charles Tring, who used to live on Queen Victoria Road. In 1972 Dr. Tring wrote an article about Theodore W. Grubb, a pioneer of adult education. Prof. Wallis was writing about Grubb in a study about the promotion of amateur drama in English villages in interwar England and was trying to locate Grubb's posthumous papers which Dr. Tring had access to in writing his article. Unfortunately we have been unable to help.
James Farrimond has been researching convoy HG.3 which sailed between Gibraltar and Liverpool in October 1939. Unfortunately during the voyage a number of vessels including the SS Yorkshire were torpedoed and sunk. One of the civilian passengers on this vessel was Jeanne Shepley, the only daughter of Jack and Emily Shepley who came to Woodthorpe Hall in 1926. James had seen in our article on the Shepley Family that a book of Jeanne's letters home had been been privately published. He wondered whether he could be given access to the letters to assist him in writing a book on the loss of the convoy. We are pleased that Dick Shepley has kindly offered to contact James.
You may remember that David Hebblethwaite contacted us in seeking anyone who could help him in his quest to investigate the history of his maternal ancestors, the Coates Family of Totley and Dore. David's grandfather Frederick Stanley Coates (1886-1938) was a third generation Totley scythe grinder who, like his father and grandfather, died at a young age as a consequence of his hazardous occupation. We would like to thank David for sending us a complimentary copy of his recently published family history titled Working People and their Northern Roots. It contains an account of David's research into his family since the early 19th century and is set in the wider context of the changing social, cultural and political landscape of the time. Privately published by the author, the book has 105 pages and many family photographs and is available for members of Totley History Group to borrow on request.
Sue Hedges got in touch to see whether we could help her trace Furnace Farm, mentioned in he history of Barberfields Mine and Copperas Works where a light railway was said to operate. We have traced mentions of both the farm and railway in a 1987 Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society and on Wikipedia. The farm may have been known locally as Furness Farm, after an occupant with that name, but its location remains unproven. The railway, however, was thought to run from the Barberfields mine, through Copperas to Smeltings Farm on Ringinglow Road.
Ian Clark asked us if we knew anything about a robbery of the 'newspaper train' of luggage vans which took place as it stood at a signal having exited Totley Tunnel. The train would be stopped before the Dore triangle each evening, waiting clearance to take the Dore South Curve en route to Chesterfield. The robbery was evidently reported on television. So far we have been unable to trace any reference to the robbery which may have been in the mid 1980s. Perhaps one of our many readers might know more?
Paul Burniston sent us this photograph of a framed sketch that had belonged to his late aunt who collected art especially scenes from her home town of Sheffield. Paul asked whether we recognised it and could tell him anything about the scene and the artist. The sketch was of course of The Cricket Inn at Totley by Brian Edwards, dated 1978. It was first published on the front page of issue 14 of Totley Independent, which Brian co-founded and helped to write. It later appeared in Brian's first collection of his sketches Brian Edwards Drawings of Historic Totley, published in 1979. In both cases, the sketch was cut down in width to suit the format of the media but it later appeared in full, just as in Paul's original, on page 40 of Totley and The Tunnel, 1985 where Brian's own house, a former Methodist Chapel, could be see in the background.
Peter Cameron who is an antiques dealer and author contacted us having read the short article by Jon Nicholas on the Hukin family. Jon mentions a Jonathan Hukin born in 1811 and Peter was trying to establish whether he was the same man as Jonathan Wilson Hukin who was a partner in the firm of Hukin and Heath, silversmiths and silver platers of Birmingham and London. We have now put Peter in contact with Jon but from our own research it seems clear that the two men are one and the same as we have traced a marriage of William Hukin, a silver plater, to Hannah Wilson at Sheffield Parish Church in 1805 and the baptisms of nine of their children at the same church with dates corresponding to those in Jon's article. Jonathan Wilson Hukin was born on 30 May 1811 in Sheffield. He too became a silver plater and silversmith, marrying Juliana Chivers at St. Martin, Birmingham on 16 May 1837. The couple had one daughter, Maria, who was born in Sheffield in 1840. There are references in the newspapers to Jonathan Wilson Hukin's partnership with George Hawksley and Charles Haslam ending in 1852 after which it would appear that the Hukins left Sheffield for Birmingham. In later life Jonathan Wilson Hukin retired to Olton, Warwickshire and he died there on 14 August 1891, aged 80.
Sally Knights, from Bristol, got in touch with us having found a record on our website of her grandmother's time in Cherrytree Orphanage. Her name was Mabel Grace Gertrude Wilkes and she was resident in Cherrytree between 22 July 1897 and 30 November 1905. Sally sent us two images of the front cover and the inside plate of a book presented to Mabel in May 1900 as a prize for her writing. Sally also sent us some personal memories of her grandmother and a photograph of a locket which contains photographs of Mabel and her husband Septimus Gale, thought to have been taken shortly after their marriage in 1910.
Jill Wild remembers that her father Arthur Tickner was involved with a local history group in Totley and typed up a newsletter which she thought was called The Totley Pump. Does anyone remember it? Arthur Cecil Tickner lived at 42 The Grove in the the early 1980s and was the Treasurer of TADES, Totley and District Environment Society. We suspect that The Totley Pump was a magazine that he produced for that group, probably before the Totley Independent was started up on 4th July 1977. TADES was certainly around in 1975 when it initiated a project to reclaim the old Pinfold at the top of Chapel Walk. There is a reference in Totley Independent that says that TADES later merged with the Totley Residents Association. Arthur died in 1984.
We are grateful to Sandra Ford for spotting a mistake in the article about Totley Hall Training College written by Anna E. Baldry. Anna had stated that the Principal, Miss Metcalf, had retired in 1972 and the college had then merged with Thornbridge College under Dr. Banfield. Sandra was herself a student at the college from September 1971 until 1974 and she remembers that Dr. Banfield was definitely in post when she went for interview some months before. We have amended the date to 1971 but hope to find Dr. Banfield's precise date of appointment when we visit Sheffield Archives which holds many of the college's records, including full admissions registers from 1948 onwards.
Scott Hump(hries?) asked is if we knew the whereabouts of the former Moss Colliery. Thanks to The A-W of Dore: The Story of the Village's Road Names by John Dunstan and Roger Millican (2002), we were able to tell Scott that the colliery closed in 1941 and the site now forms the Limb Lane picnic area. The mine appears on the OS 6 inch map surveyed in 1935-36 but on earlier maps the same area is marked as a quarry.
Drew Easton, who lives near Edinburgh, was trying to trace the house where his grandparents lived and where his mother, Valerie Joyce Crowther, was born in 1927. Her birth certificate records the address only Abbeydale Park, Dore R.D. although Drew's grandfather Stuart E. Crowther, a representative for Post Toasties (a rival of Kelloggs' Corn Flakes) always referred to the property as being in Totley Rise. The Crowthers were in our area for only a few years having moved here from Bolton around 1926 before moving to Southport by 1930. So far we have been unable to identify their house but have been able to help Drew with information about the accidental death of his grandmother.
Wendy Mustill contacted us having found some hard-to-read handwriting on the plaster that was exposed when she redecorated her home in Woodseats. We were able to identify that it said "C. Keatley, Totley Rise". Cecil Ezekiel Keatley (1871-1935) was a house painter and decorator from Littlehay, Warwickshire, who was shown as living at Brookvale Cottage on Back Lane in the 1911 census and in trade directories until 1925. He later lived at 8 Main Avenue with his wife Sarah Ann (nee Bishop) and two children, Jessie and Cecil Frederick who became an orchestral violinist and music teacher.
Bob Morgan, who lives in Victoria, Australia was doing some family history when he came across our article about Maurice Johnson who, during his time with the Yorkshire Dragoons, served as batman to Capt. Matt Sheppard. Capt. Sheppard was the subject of J.P. Craddock's book Sheffield Hero. Capt. Sheppard's father had been the proprietor of the Cross Scythes around 1895. Bob is related through his maternal great grandmother, Alice Sheppard, who was Capt. Sheppard's sister. Alice spent some of her childhood years in Tsarist St. Petersburg where her father was on loan to Russia Government as a consultant on the development of the Russian railway system. She married a Mr Ellison who was a railway agent and they had four children: Alec, Corby, Patricia and Margaret, Bob's grandmother, who married an Australian WW1 RFC Airman, Herbert Freeman, and emigrated to Australia in 1919.
John Sharp got in touch with us about Glossop Gill, one of the 31 soldiers commemorated on Dore village War Memorial. John wondered whether there was a family connection with his great grandmother Christiana Gill. Glossop Gill was born in Dore and baptized at Christ Church on 14 July 1878. He appears to have been named after his paternal grandmother Ann Glossop (1822-1906), who married John Gill Snr. (1822-1892) in 1846. John and Ann had at least eight children and Glossop was the son of John Gill Jnr. (1853-1915) and his wife Susan(nah), nee Taylor (1858-1928). Christiana Gill was the daughter of Cassandra Fearnehough (1845-1921) who married another of John and Ann's sons, Thomas Gill (1849-1915), in 1870. Glossop and Christiana were therefore first cousins. Like many of his family Glossop Gill became a stone mason. He married Elizabeth Ann Hasman, of Brampton, on 22 May 1905 and the couple had two daughters, Ida and Gladys. In the 1911 Census the family were living at Rose Cottage, Dore. Glossop's army service record has not survived but it is recorded that he was a Private in the Royal Army Service Corps. Glossop died on 15 March 1917 at the Camp Hospital in Romsey, Hampshire and is buried in Dore churchyard. Thomas and Cassandra Gill lived at Oldhay Forge, Totley from around 1901 and the family were still living there there after WW2.
Gaynor Wilkinson wrote to us about the age of her house at the city end of Green Oak Road. We were able to confirm that it was built in the early 1930s, shortly after the completion of the first phase of the Laverdene Estate. Planning permission was given in 1931-32 and building commenced shortly after. We think that by the end of 1933 numbers 1-41 and 2-38 Green Oak Road had been completed together with numbers 1-49 and 2-52 Aldam Road. Picture Sheffield has some aerial photographs of the area during the period of construction.
Katherine Myers couldn't resist buying a few letters at a Flea Market in Tulsa, Oklahoma once she saw the English postage stamps and realized they were pen-pal correspondence. Katherine had no connection with the writer, Margaret Howe, but simply recalled how much she had enjoyed an English pen-pal friendship of her own for more than fifty years. Katherine got in touch with us to see whether we could help her return the letters to Margaret's family who came from Sheffield. We were able to trace Margaret's son Russell who was very surprised and delighted to hear about the discovery of his mother's letters which have now been returned safely to Sheffield.
Adele Earnshaw wrote to us from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand to tell us that she was happy to find records for her ancestors on our website. Adele's great great grandparents Thomas Earnshaw and his wife Elizabeth (nee Thorpe) and five of their children left Dore for New Zealand in 1863, sailing aboard the clipper Mermaid from East India Docks, London on November 12th and arriving in Lyttelton, New Zealand on 16 February 1864. A young man, Henry Schofield of Long Line, Dore, who was a friend of young Thomas Earnshaw, son of Thomas and Elizabeth, travelled to New Zealand with the Earnshaw family. During the voyage Henry kept a diary which is now in the collection of the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. Adele, who is a professional artist, has had a painting project in mind for the past few years connecting the Schofield diary, her family history and New Zealand's history which could take her 18 months to complete. We have been helping Adele and also descendants of Henry Schofield with the British element of their family histories and hope to bring you more of their stories later.
Glynis Haynes wrote to tell us that she had enjoyed reading our article on the Totley Tunnel Memorial: The Irish Question as her great grandfather James Toon had worked on Totley Tunnel, possibly as a bricklayer or navvy and that his son Albert was born on Totley Moor in 1895 according to the 1911 Census. We have found James, wife Agnes and their six children William (born circa 1874), Elizabeth (1877), Lydia (1880), James (1883), Agnes (1886) and Charles (1889) living in Staffordshire in the 1891 Census. They appear to have moved to Totley by the following year, when there is a record of James and young Agnes being admitted to Totley Church School on 22 August. Their address was given as No 4. Shaft, the navvy accommodation on Totley Moor. Another daughter, Nellie, was born in 1892. We have also found a marriage at Dore Christ Church on 23 January 1893 between their eldest son William Toon and Ellen Thornton. Interestingly both William and his father are shown to be brickyard labourers. The main brickworks that supplied bricks for Totley Tunnel was at Moor Edge and there was a light tramway that connected the works with No. 4 shaft, which was used to lower materials and men down to the tunnel below.
Neill James asked us if we could help him find where his great grandparents William and Jenny Cockshott were buried. The family had moved to Brook Lynn, Grove Road, Totley Rise shortly before 1900. Sadly William and Jennie died within a few weeks of each other both aged just 44, Jennie on Christmas Eve 1904 and William on 9 February 1905. The parish registers for Dore Christ Church show that they were both buried there although no headstone can be found. Their four children were aged between 5 and 17 at the time they became orphaned. Younger son James Percy Cockshott went to live with his uncle Samuel in Eaglescliffe, Durham. He enlisted in the King's Own Hussars in London before being transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. James was killed on 11 September 1918, during the 'Advance to Victory', a series of battles fought in Picardy and Artois during the last few months of the war. James's body was never recovered. He is incorrectly remembered as 'David Cockshott' on the Roll of Honour inside Totley Rise Methodist Church. James is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial along with 9,846 other officers and men who were killed in the period from 8th August 1918 to 11th November 1918 and also on the parish war memorial at Eaglescliffe & Preston on Tees and at the Friends School at Great Ayton, where he was educated.
Carol Beadle has sent us some details of her family tree and would like to know more about her ancestor Mark Green who was was born in Totley in about 1775. He married Helen Linney at St. Peter's Church, Old Brampton on 16 February 1802 and went to live in the Brampton area for the rest of his life. Carol is descended from Mark Green through his eldest daughter Charlotte (1806-1880) who married Thomas White at Old Brampton on 1 January 1829. From fragmentary accounts of the Totley Overseers of the Poor, it appears that Mark Green received an allowance of 2 shillings per week from 1832, a sum that was increased by 6d. following a visit to him by the Overseers in February 1836. The accounts for 1842 mention that this was because he was disabled and no longer able to work as an ironstone miner. Mark Green died at Red Row, Brampton of "gradual decay" on 22 February 1853, aged 77, and was buried on 24 February. Carol would love to hear from anyone who may be researching the same family. If you write to us at our usual email address, we would be delighted to put you in touch.
Amanda Hodgkinson is researching her husband's family tree and asked if we held any information about Sampson Hodgkinson who appears in five censuses for Totley from 1841 to 1881. In particular Amanda was keen to know where exactly in Totley Bents it was that Sampson lived and worked. Sampson was the eldest son of Joshua Hodgkinson from Great Longstone and his Totley born wife Maria (nee Green). He was baptized at St Mary's Parish Church, Stockport in 1802 and came to live in Sheffield, marrying Mary Gregory at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in 1830. The couple had five sons and four daughters between 1831 and 1845 and appear to have moved to Totley Bents around 1838. The Tithe Map for the following year shows that Sampson was occupying a small cottage next to his father who lived at Turner Croft, a property which included just over an acre of arable land. Both properties were rented from the Rt. Hon. Digby, Lord Middleton. Sampson and his father were millwrights, and in addition to their properties at Totley Bents, Joshua also rented more than 18 acres of land from the Waterfall Brothers, John Gray and Henry, at what is now Totley Grove including Totley Scythe Mill, together with its associated dam, mill pond and fields. Joshua died in 1853 but Sampson continued in his trade at Totley Bents for the rest of his life. He died on 17 February 1884 at the age of 80 and was buried at Dore Christ Church in the same grave as his wife Mary who had died before him on 21 August 1882.
Nigel Cheetham asked us for information about the wartime anti-aircraft/searchlight position on Wing Hill, just off White Lane. Nigel has permission to use a metal detector in the area and says he has already discovered a number of small finds. Over the years, several correspondents have made reference to the site in the pages of Totley Independent including Jean Smithson, Jack Abson, Bob Carr, Jack Hedley and Mike Roberts but so far we have been unable to find any further information. Can anyone help?
Whilst sorting through some of his late father's possessions, Craig Newbould came across an old grocery account book which must have belonged to a previous owner of the house at Summerville, 21 The Quadrant, Totley. The account book was issued to a Mrs. Dye by Walter Evans, the grocer who had a shop on Hillfoot Lane and later at the top of Main Avenue. Craig very kindly scanned images of the pages which make fascinating reading, showing the day to day purchases of an ordinary family and the costs of those goods in 1929 and 1930. We have been able to find out a small amount of information about Fred and Elsie Dye who lived in the house from around 1926 until their deaths in 1952 and 1979 respectively.
Basil Abbott sent us his memories of working in C.L. Marcoft's garage in the Chemical Yard during the 1950s. Jack Clarke was in charge and the garage got to deal with some really top class cars like Jaguar, Lagonda, Aston Martin, Armstrong Siddeley and Alvis. Between them Jack and Basil built a two-seater sports car which was raced at Snetterton track in Norfolk.
Oliver Miller asked us whether we had any information about the history of the stone-built house on Main Avenue that he and his family will be moving into as the estate agents were unsure of the its date and thought that it might have originally been an old Totley farmhouse. This seems unlikely to us as the house does not appear on OS 1:1,250 maps before the mid 1930s when it is shown at the east end of a large field lying between the long back gardens of houses on the north side of Green Oak Road and the public footpath between Main Avenue and Totley Hall Lane. The house seems to have been variously numbered 52 or 54. Adjacent to the house was a curved drive or track leading from Main Avenue to a large structure in the centre of the field, which might possibly have been a barn or workshop and which seems to have existed until being demolished in the 1960s to make way for a southerly extension to Sunnyvale Road. In 1936 the house was occupied by Edith and Frank Parker, a master dairyman, and may have been known as Meadow View. Peter Battle remembers that the Parkers kept chickens and sold eggs but this ended with the road extension. Does anyone have any further information about the house or about what the structure in the field might have been?
Margaret Page found her ancestors Mary and Sarah Cockcroft in our transcription of the Cherrytree Orphanage admissions book and wrote to express her thanks. The sisters had been admitted in 1868 following the deaths of their parents from typhoid. We were able to supply Margaret with a small amount of additional information that we held on the sisters and were interested to learn that Sarah went to live in Halifax where she married Walter Wade and had seven children. Mary went to live with an uncle in Lancashire before marrying William Rose and having a daughter Annie. After the death of her husband, Mary emigrated to Canada with her daughter and son-in-law, Jack Sharples. We are keen to follow up the story of the sisters in more detail for an article for our website.
Sue Kruk (nee Lamb) wrote to thank us for our website having found a couple of school photos of her late cousin's wife, and her sister. After Sue's father Dennis Lamb died in 1978 she contacted her uncle John "Jack" Cantrell Lamb, who lived in Dore Road, and found a shared enthusiasm for family history which was continued with her cousin Richard and his wife. When time permits Sue hopes to fill in gaps in the history of the Lamb/Cantrell families which were well established in Sheffield and before that at West Markham, Nottinghamshire for centuries. Sue now lives in Hampshire and we are always particularly happy to help anyone living at a distance who has "S17" family history connections.
We have been contacted by Sue Adam who is a volunteer at the Minster Church of St George in Doncaster. Inside the church is a memorial dedicated to the men of the Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons who died during the First World War. The memorial has recently been restored and research is being carried out on the men named on the memorial and also the men who attended a service in 1921 when it was dedicated. The team of volunteers intend to have a service of re-dedication in the autumn of 2018 and they would like to contact relatives of the men in order to invite them to the service. Sue had read our article on Maurice Johnson, who had fought with the Yorkshire Dragoons on the Somme (1916), Ancre (1916), the Somme again (1917) and Ypres (1917). We were delighted to put Sue in touch with John Johnson, Maurice's son, who has expressed his interest in supporting the event. As a tribute to his father, John has sent us a lovely family photograph taken at his brother Maurice Junior's wedding in 1951.
Gordon Wainwright has been in touch with us about a newspaper cutting he found about his great grandfather Thomas Glossop, a cutler and razor manufacturer who was well known amongst cricketing and gardening circles. We have pieced together a biography of Thomas from newspaper articles and have received further help from Thomas's great granddaughter Anne Rafferty who has been researching the family history for many years. Gordon also supplied us with two class photographs from the 1960s which we have added to our photo album for Totley County School and also two photographs of the Totley Union Cycling Society fete held on 18 July 1914. We would love to hear from anyone who can name any of the people in the photographs.
Our article on John Edward Greenwood Pinder's early life of misfortune and petty crime reached the attention of Eric Black who is a direct descendant of John's grandfather Robert Pinder (1789-1866), a farmer at Totley Bents. Eric has provided us with a wealth of information about what happened to the family after John's release from prison in 1911. John Pinder appears to have decided that the future for his family lay in America, eldest son Robert having already emigrated there in 1909. Unfortunately John was refused entry and sent back to England and he and his wife Jane eventually settled in Manchester. However, all of John and Jane's nine children were to emigrate to the United States by 1923 with the sole exception of their eldest daughter Louisa who died in England in 1913 at the age of 21.
Paul Whitaker has written to us about Samuel Hill, the clockmaker who worked in Totley in the 1770s before moving to Sheffield. Paul recently inherited one of Samuel Hill's long case clocks from his cousin Rhys D. Whatmore. The clock has a brief history of its maker pasted inside which was written by Henry Meades, watch and clockmaker of London Road Sheffield. Paul wondered if we had any more information. Not much is known about Samuel Hill's life but have now traced some further newspaper accounts referring to his business in Broad Lane, Sheffield which you can read by following the link above.
David Norris, a lecturer in Serbian Studies at Nottingham University, has written to us in connection with an article on our website about Frank Storm Mottershaw who visited Serbia in 1904 to film the crowning of King Peter. David wanted to know if we had any further information about the visit or about the film-maker after his return to England. We are delighted to have been able to put David in touch with John Mottershaw who provided us with the original material and who has very kindly agreed to help David with his research.
Sue Orme asked us who built the houses on Meadow Grove, one of the smaller roads on the New Totley estate which was originally conceived around 1908 by the Sheffield restaurateur, John Richard Hudson (known as "J.R."). The first property on Meadow Grove (or Princess Street as it was originally called) appears to have been "The Bungalow" which was advertised for sale in 1913. Building of the estate was curtailed by the war but by 1925 Meadow Grove had at least five properties: The Bungalow, Glenaire, Fairhaven, Silsoe, and The Newlands. Unfortunately we have not yet been able to match up these names with current house numbers. Most of the remainder of the New Totley estate was built in the 1930s by local builder Charles Linley Marcroft. However, at least some of the older houses on Meadow Grove were built by Rowland Edward Sheard (1900-1991) who was J. R. Hudson's grandson, his father Rowland Adamson Sheard having married J. R.'s daughter Nellie in 1899. In the mid-1930s when the Meadow Grove houses were being constructed, Rowland Edward and Nellie Sheard were living with J.R.'s widow, Eliza Ann Hudson (nee Barker) at 9 Main Avenue. The distinction between Meadow Grove and Meadow Grove Road appears to have been made in modern times, the house numbers being continuous.
We have had a very interesting enquiry from Ron Wijk of Nieuw-Vennep in the Netherlands. Ron sent us images of two drawings made by the celebrated Dutch painter, Anton Pieck, simply annotated "Totley", and wondered whether we could identify their locations. Ron is an admirer and collector of the artist's work and he has followed his journeys and photographed the places he pictured. One of the drawings is of "The Cottage" which is now part of a larger house know as Old Orchard, Hillfoot Road. The second drawing is of Green's Draper's Shop and attached house, which used to stand next to the Old Post Office at the top of Hillfoot Road, opposite Cross Grove House. We think we have found out why Anton Pieck visited our village. His eldest daughter, Elsa, married an Englishman named Charles Bambery and from Sheffield telephone directories we can see that the Bambery family were living at 20 Main Avenue in the early 1960s.
John Timperley is the latest person to write to us with memories of Norwood School, which was located in the rooms attached to the Dore & Totley United Reformed Church on Totley Brook Road. John attended the school from 1945 until 1949 when he went up into King Edward's'. As an unaccompanied seven year old, John had a ¾ mile walk from home to the bottom of Bocking Lane to catch a tram to Beauchief corner and then a bus to school. John remembers among his teachers. Miss Ford, Mrs. Atkinson and Miss Duckworth, and a number of the pupils from his final year: David Crawley, Peter Morton, Dorothy Sawyer, Toni Pollard, Rachel Leah, and Brenda Bennett. If there is anyone amongst our readers who was at Norwood School at the same time as John, he would very much like to hear from you. We can put you in touch if you write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stretton Smith, who moved to Totley a few years ago, asked us about the history of Marstone Crescent as there was nothing about it on our website. The estate was originally called Marstone Grange Estate and was built by Charles Lindley "Len" Marcroft between 1936 and 1945. Len Marcroft was a well known local builder who had earlier built The Quadrant and who had a builder's yard in the old Chemical Yard. After The Quadrant was built he moved into number 14. The land that the Marstone Grange Estate is built on belonged to butcher and farmer Colin Thompson. Local legend has it that Len Marcroft went into partnership with a certain Mr. Stone to build the new estate, hence the portmanteau names given to the two new roads: Marstone Crescent and Stonecroft Avenue. This may well be true but we have no knowledge of Mr. Stone and only in 1936 Len had set up a Private Limited Company with his son Donald. Aerial photographs from the early 1930s show fields where the Marstone Grange was later to be built but the OS map, surveyed in 1935-36, shows that building had commenced at the out-of-town end of Marstone Crescent. By May of 1937, Len Marcroft was beginning to advertise his houses in the Sheffield press, eliciting the help of bandleader Roy Fox to publicize them. The Electoral Register for 1936-37 appears to show four families living on Marstone Crescent but none yet on Stonecroft Avenue. The photograph above is the only one we have seen showing the estate during its construction and was taken from high up on Bradway Bank. Most of Marstone Crescent has been built and a start has been made to building the high levels shops on Totley Rise but there is no sign yet of building on Stonecroft Avenue which we think was only completed around 1945. The photograph, therefore, probably dates from the early 1940s.
Vivienne Graham has written to us from Devon about her three great-great-great-great-great uncles, William, John and Charles Jones, master-cutlers of Bradway, who were leasing a converted lead smelting mill at "Hay House" on the Sheaf in 1751. Vivienne would like to visit Totley and see where her ancestors were working. With the help of Brian Edwards's Totley Transcripts and Margaret Oversby's paper "The Water Mills of Dore & Totley", published in 1977, we have been able to confirm that the Jones brothers were renting part of the smelting mill at what later became Totley Rolling Mill, located at the confluence of the Oldhay and the Totley Brooks. The Rolling Mill mill manager's and labourers' cottages still stand, of course, even though the dam, mill pond and high weir on Oldhay Brook have long since disappeared.
John Andrews is researching the history of tennis in Sheffield and is interested in knowing more about the tennis courts that used to exist at The Grove end of The Green. From old estate plans it would appear that these courts were on land purchased by Herbert Melling in 1924 and built three or four years later. How long they survived is not known. We would like to hear from anyone who has more information about these courts and also the tennis courts that used to exist at the Mickley Lane end of Queen Victoria Road around 1920.
Kim Lindsay wrote to us from Germany having found a brief reference on our website to Norman Arthur Denson. Norman Denson was born in London in 1894 and baptized later that year in Crich, Derbyshire. He came to live with his uncle, Arthur Leonard, at Brinkley, 4 Dore Road, sometime before the 1911 census and attended King Edward VII School in Sheffield. He served in the Great War (A/Capt) and afterwards became a partner in the accountancy firm of Poppleton & Appleby, moving to Harbourne near Birmingham in the early 1920s. He was a keen cricketer and Territorial (Lt-Col) but died young at age 41 on Las Palmas where he had gone shortly before his death. We have been able to provide Kim with a few snippets of extra information about Norman Denson but what he wants most, and what we don't have, is a photograph. Can you help, please?
Howard Adams has been in touch with us having read Roger Hart's account of Norwood School in the early 1950s. Howard has remembered many of the people and found a couple of photographs from those days, one a class photograph taken around 1959 and the other a photograph of himself with two other boys dressed in football kit which included boots with nailed-on studs that proved to be very painful on the long walk to and from the playing field at Greenoak Park. Christopher Rodgers has sent us two more photographs from his days at Totley County School but is unable to give precise dates or name all but a few of the people pictured. One is a photograph of Mr Courage's class and the other a photograph of a music lesson where the children are playing instruments including triangles, cymbals, tambourines, drums, and rhythm sticks.
Jo Baker has written to us from the Midlands to see whether we knew of two properties on Main Avenue that were lived in by her grandparents in the 1910s. Jo's grandfather, Smith Jackson, was a wholesale draper who had a business at 61 Norfolk Street, Sheffield. The family had moved to our area from Oldham, Lancashire. We can see that by the time of the 1911 Census, Smith Jackson, his wife Rose (nee Chadwick), and three children were living at "Rosedene". They must have been one of the earliest families to live in the New Totley estate that had been conceived in 1908 on garden city lines by John Richard Hudson, a well known Sheffield restauranteur. From Kelly's directories we can see that the Jackson family were still living at Rosedene in 1912 but by 1917 they had moved into the larger, detached "Osborne House" and remained there at least until 1922. The two properties were designed and built by Sydney Lawson Chipling, the architect, surveyor and contractor for the estate who lived at Moorhayes, Bushey Wood Road. The houses still stand and appear to have altered little since the days when the Jackson family lived there.
Our open meeting on School Days has led to a number of interesting contributions. David Hope and Nicholas Botterill remember their time at Totley County School. David attended the school between 1952 and 1958 and then moved on to King Edward VII School. As well as his memories, he has provided us with a number of photographs and done really well to remember most of the names of his classmates but there are some faces that we would like your help with to identify. Nicholas was at the County School between 1967 and 1974 and the two articles when taken together make interesting reading about what had, and what hadn't changed over the years. Roger Hart's school days were at the time when the County School was being built and All Saints School was almost full and so he went to Norwood School which was located in the church hall and rooms at Dore & Totley United Reformed Church on Totley Brook Road. Again there is a photograph with faces you may well remember. Finally, we are very grateful to Karole Sargent, the headteacher at Totley All Saints School, for allowing us access to an archive of school material including the 1909 School Pageant.
We are grateful to Angela Waite and All Saints' Parish Church for giving us access to Baptismal and Kindergarten Birthday Rolls dating from 1926 to 1941. We have transcribed the names, addresses, birthdates and baptismal dates and created an alphabetical index of entries for you to search. We have also been given a large number of parish magazines dating from the 1980s which we will be scanning in due course.
Gillian Walker brought us a document folder full of material about the 1st Totley Scout Group which we have now digitized. Most of the material was collected by Arthur Percival Birley in the period 1949-51 and the archive has many interesting documents pertaining to the building of the scout hut on Totley Hall Lane. They came into the hands of Derek Maltby, Gillian's father, following Arthur's death in 1991. The 1st Totley Scout Group was formed in 1944 and was located in Totley Hall which at the time was in private ownership. When the hall was sold to Sheffield Corporation the Scout Group had to urgently find alternative headquarters. The archive details how this was achieved. In addition four Newsletters survive, two from the 1940s and two from 1971.
Helen Matthews is researching the history of her house on Abbeydale Park Crescent and the people who lived in it after receiving the deeds and being fascinated by the information included in the beautifully written old legal documents. We have been able to help Helen with the early history of the Abbeydale Park Estate but seek the help of our readers for information about one of the former owners of her property. Oswald Tyler lived there between 1969 and 1977. Ozzie Tyler was, of course, the well known landlord of the Fleur de Lys during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Alan Dale wrote an appreciation of Ozzie in Totley Independent, issue 275, shortly after his death in 2004. If you have any photographs or stories about Ozzie, we would love to hear from you.
Eric Renshaw has been able to identify the teacher in this photograph of Totley County School in June 1956, sent to us by Clive and Sue Bellamy (nee Beatson). Her maiden name at the time the photo was taken was Miss Sheila Brown. She was at the County school for about four years before going to Hong Kong around 1959 to take up a position teaching the children of members of HM forces stationed there. After her tour of duty, Sheila came back to the UK and then went abroad again taking up a similar position as before in Malaya, as it was then called.
We have been surprised and delighted to receive correspondence from members of the family of Dr. Rice K. Evans, the American Vice and Deputy Consul in Sheffield, who lived in Totley from 1909 to 1928. Our article on the Evans Family was one of the earliest to appear on our website in the spring of 2013. Brian Duckworth, from West Roxbury, Massachusetts, wrote to say how much he enjoyed reading the article. Brian married Rice's great granddaughter Katherine Evans Eskin. Katherine's sister, Cornelia (Neal), who lives in Munich, had come across the article and mentioned it to other members of the family. Brian's email was followed shortly afterwards by one from the sisters' father, Otho Evans Eskin. Otho has sent us extracts from his memoirs and given us permission to publish them together with several family photographs.
Mark Day wrote to us to see whether it was still possible to purchase a copy of Edward Mayor's fine historical map of Totley. We have none left ourselves but we were able to put Mark in touch with Edward who was able to send him a copy. Subsequently arrangements have been made with Edward to undertake a small reprint and offer the maps for sale through the Totley History Group website price £5.
Over the years there has been a good deal of debate in the pages of Totley Independent about the origins and history of Scouting in our area. Andrew Jones has pointed out an error in the article A Little Scouting History which we have now amended. Andrew also told us about the excellent website at www.sheffieldscoutarchives.org.uk which tells the history of Scouting in the City of Sheffield from 1909 until the mid-1990s when the City Association was discontinued and Sheffield Districts were absorbed into the County.
Wylma Stevenson has read the first instalment of Anne White's article in issue 379 of Totley Independent and asks where the Chemical Yard was located. We have been able to send her a map of the Totley Rise area in 1898 with Totley Chemical Works clearly marked between the Totley Brook and Queen Victoria Road. The yard was where Tinker & Siddall first manufactured chemicals in the 1840s. By 1857 Tinker & Co. had extensive chemical works there and, by 1889, Thomas Kilner was manufacturing pyroliginous acid, naptha and charcoal. The area was later used for various purposes including a blacksmiths, the Brookvale Laundry and C. J. Marcroft's builders yard. The structures that remain from those early days are Back Lane, Brookvale Cottage, Ford Cottage and the cobbles from the old ford across the brook that was later replaced by a footbridge. We have also provided Wylma with links to Anne's earlier articles and the Oral History she kindly recorded for us.
We had two enquires from New Zealand within 24 hours of each other. Jenny Roberts is putting together a family history and is interested in finding out more about her husband's second great uncle, John Roberts, the silversmith and benefactor who lived at Abbeydale Hall from 1851 until his death in 1888 and who paid for the building of St. John's Church. In particular, Jenny would love to find a portrait or photograph of her ancestor. So far we have been unable to help so if you know of one we would be delighted to hear from you. Murray Bardsley, who lives in Hamilton, will be visiting our area and hopes to find the grave of Robert Bardsley, his grandfather's brother, who died in infancy and was buried at Christ Church, Dore in 1902. It seems probable that there is no gravestone. We have contacted the Parish Office who inform us that there is a plan to the location of burials but, as the graveyard is full, responsibility now rests with Sheffield City Council and they have kindly agreed to pursue the enquiry on our behalf.
John Johnson has sent us two more photographs of his father Maurice Johnson. One photograph shows Maurice in his WW1 uniform and we have added it to the short biography that we compiled after our exhibition at the United Reformed Church. The other photograph shows Maurice together with other members of the Cross Scythes Bowling Club, and is the second of such photographs that John has sent us. We would like to know when these two photographs were taken and the names of other people in them.
Jerry Wilkes wrote in appreciation of Ted Hancock's latest talk and of our website as an information source for the family history that he and his cousin Brian Ward are undertaking. Jerry was born in Totley, the son of Bertha and Ted Wilkes who had a painter and decorator's business at 329 Baslow Road. For a few years after leaving school, Jerry worked on Totley Hall and Moneybrook Farms before a career change in 1959 took him into Sheffield City Police. For a time he worked on the Dore and Totley motorcycle beats where his local knowledge was put to good use. In 1965 he transferred to the police force in Somerset, where he now lives.
Paul Hibberd was a schoolmate of Clive Bellamy between 1953 and 1959 and was delighted to see the Totley County School class photographs that Clive and wife Sue have sent in. Paul reckons that between them they could probably name around 90 per cent of the children.
Jonathan Nicholas has read Christine Weaving's article on our website about George Edward Hukin, a Totley razor grinder and friend of Edward Carpenter, the academic, poet, writer and free-thinker. Jonathan has traced The Hukin Family history back to the early 1800s when the family first arrived in England.
Clive and Sue Bellamy sent us two wonderful pictures of a May Queen ceremony and a puzzle. The event took place around 1953 and Sue knew the identity of three of the five girls in the pictures but couldn't name the other two. With the help of Peter Swift we now think we have found the answer to this particular puzzle. Clive went on to tell us that his father was Harry Bellamy who was park keeper in Greenoak Park for several years until he died in 1970 at the early age of 51. Clive would love to have a picture of his dad in his uniform, but unfortunately he hasn't been able to find one. Can anyone help please?
Annie Bradford has been looking for images of Totley Grange, the big house that she lived in as child from around 1954 to 1960. Annie remembers an elderly lady called Mrs Flowerday who was a trustee of the Earnshaw Trust which owned the property. The house had been divided into flats and Annie remembers the grounds included a sunken garden, a semi-circular paddock, woods which were home to a large rookery, and a huge monkey puzzle tree. She also remembers the long sweeping drive with a lodge house at the entrance on Baslow Road. Picture Sheffield has a photo of this lodge house (ref S05413) but we have never seen a photo of the Grange itself other than in the background of a photograph that appeared in Totley Independent Issue 352, when it was being used by J G Graves Ltd. as a wireless depot. We would be delighted to hear from anyone who has, or who knows of, any photos of Totley Grange which was demolished in 1964-65 to make way for the Wimpey estate.
Phil Kelly has seen our article on the Evans Family of Ohio. Dr. Rice Kemper Evans, the American Vice and Deputy Consul in Sheffield, who lived in Totley from 1909 until 1928 when he returned to the United States. He was an acclaimed rock climber and Phil has located several photographs of Evans, three of which are included in the book Peak Rock which Phil co-authored.
Robert Lunn, from Melton Mowbray, was one of many railway enthusiasts who came to listen to Ted Hancock's excellent talk about the Dore and Chinley Railway. Both of Robert's maternal great grandfathers worked on this railway line; one was a stone mason who lived in Hathersage and the other, Duncan Macfarlane, who lived on Totley Rise, was the cashier for Thomas Oliver & Sons, the contractors who built the section of line between Dore & Totley and Hope stations.
Kevin Randell has recently moved into a house on Abbeydale Road South and is interested in learning more about the history of the area, being fascinated by the old carved gateposts that stand close to his house. These belonged to Brinkburn Grange which was demolished around 1938. The history of the Grange has appeared in several of the books written by Brian Edwards and in articles he wrote for Totley Independent and Dore to Door. At first Brian believed that the Grange had been built in the late 1880s but he later revised this date to 1882-83, saying that it had been built by Thomas B. Matthews, head of Turton Brothers and Matthews, the Sheffield steel, file and spring manufacturers, who lived there until 1892. On looking at newspaper articles and advertisements, however, we now believe that Brinkburn Grange was built in 1873, around the same time as St. John's Church, Abbeydale, and probably by the same person, John Roberts of Abbeydale Hall. The crenellated styles of the two buildings are similar and it was John Roberts who in March 1872 sold off the fixtures and fittings of the old Bradway Mill which stood nearby. When Roberts sold the Abbeydale Park estate to Ebenezer Hall in 1880 it would have included Brinkburn Grange and West View Cottage. Certainly by March 1884, Hall owned the whole of this estate as witnessed by his protracted dispute with the promoters of the Dore and Chinley Railway. Brinkburn Grange was offered to let in September 1873. The first occupant appears to have been John Unwin Wing, a chartered accountant, who lived there from 1874 until he moved to Totley Hall in 1881. After Thomas Matthews, Brinkburn Grange was occupied by Douglas Vickers, director of Vickers, Sons & Co., engineers, until 1897, then James William Elliot, a cutlery manufacturer, until 1904. By the time of the 1911 Census, Dr. John Henry Wales Laverick, the managing directory of Tinsley Park Colliery Co. Ltd, was living at Brinkburn Grange, and the Lavericks were still living there after the war. Our research continues.
Fred Row has written to us to see whether we know anything about the old stone ruins by the side of the railway line at the foot of Poynton Wood, where Fred played as a youth in the 1950s. We strongly suspect that Fred is referring to the remains of the grotto (or folly) belonging to Ebenezer Hall of Abbeydale Hall whose grounds were cut in two by the building of the railway line in the latter part of the 19th century. The grotto was built against a spring at the foot of the wooded Bradway Bank and Ebenezer would take his guests across a now lost footbridge over the River Sheaf to have afternoon tea in this shady spot. The remains including two large stone pillars can still be found amongst the undergrowth.
Paul Gardner has alerted us to the death in Totley of his great grandmother's brother, Frederick Charles Bell, a 24 year old engine tenter who died on 17 July 1891. The death certificate shows the place of death as "Totley Bents" and the cause of death as "accidentally crushed between the cogwheels of a winding engine". Paul had assumed that Frederick was working on the construction of Totley Tunnel and he wanted to know more about the accident. We have been able to trace a newspaper account (now added to our Newspaper Archive) which says that Frederick was employed by the Totley Moor Fire Brick Company to operate a stationary engine used to haul heavy waggons up a steep slope out of the brickyard. We know that in response to numerous fines for conveying heavily laded waggons along the public highway, a light tramway had been built from the brickyard running about half a mile over Totley Moor to number 4 airshaft where the bricks could be lowered down the shaft. It would appear that Frederick died when he was attempting to lift the engine and his clothes became trapped in the machinery. His body was taken to the Cricket Inn which in those days was used both as a temporary mortuary and as a place for holding inquests.
Vicky Marsh has written to us about her grandmother, Mary Shaw, who was brought up in Cherrytree Orphanage between 1919 and 1930 and who went on to marry a bank manager, settle in the south-east and retire to a lovely thatched farmhouse cottage in Cornwall. With three children and five grandchildren of her own, Mary gave the appearance of having a completely conventional background, only revealing her upbringing in an orphanage later in her life. We were delighted to be able to give Vicky copies of the Cherrytree records that we hold and identify her grandmother in a 1927 All Saints' School photograph. It was the first time the family had seen a photo of Mary as a child.
Richard Verrill has told us the story of how, in 1940, his father came to buy and rebuild a wrecked MG P-type car, registration MG 3880, that previously belonged to Pilot Officer Douglas Shepley of Woodthorpe Hall. The car had been borrowed by another RAF pilot who had unfortunately driven it into the back of a tramcar during the blackout. Richard hopes to trace any early photographs or recollections of the vehicle, and also to find out what became of the car after it was sold by his father. We have been able to put him in touch with Dick Shepley, himself an MG enthusiast, who has old photographs of the car and the log book dating from when it belonged to his uncle.
David Bindley tells us that his father Lawrence Ernald Bindley was born in 1899 and lived at Rose Villa, Totley Brook Road. He was called up to serve in WW1 and was listed as a schoolboy; subsquently he was called up again in 1939 for WW2 and was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force, lucky to return to Britain through Dunkirk. David has more family history information which he has kindly offered to send us.
Ted Jones has been in touch with us regarding the family of Ethelbert Theaker who, with his wife Helena, ran a newsagent and tobacconist shop at the bottom of Totley Rise in the early part of the 20th century. Ted is the great grandson of Ethelbert's sister, Harriet Maud Theaker. We are very grateful to Ted for the information he has supplied including a family tree and this delightful photo card of Ethelbert's mother, Ruth, which dates from 1904 when she ran the Britannia Acadamy at Old Havelock House, 2 Myrtle Street, Heeley. She styled herself Mme. Theaker M.B.A.T.D., (Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing) and later U.K.A (United Kingdom Alliance of Professional Teachers of Dance). She advertised her Adult Learners' and Improvers Classes regularly in the Sheffield newspapers teaching "Waltz, Schottische, Lancers and Veleta" in one term.
Chris Hobbs has sent us a cutting from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Monday, 23rd February 1920 which we have transcribed and added to our Newspaper Archive. The cutting relates to the death and funeral of Jack Slack, a well-known and much loved local man who received a very favourable mention in part five of the memoirs of Dan Reynolds. Dore Christ Church parish records show the burial of John Hollely Slack, aged 58, of Croft House Farm on 21st February 1920.
Eric Renshaw has been in touch with us from South Staffordshire. Eric grew up and lived in Totley from 1932 to 1960 and he remembers many of the people and places mentioned in articles that feature on our website. Eric has very kindly written down his memories, many of which are of a sporting nature, and supplied us with a lot of photographs.
The photograph below is of Dore and Totley High School in May 1933. It was given to us by Gordon Grayson of Brook Hall. Gordon, who is in his nineties, cannot now remember any of the names of the students other than his own. Perhaps there is someone on the photograph that you can recognize?
When our website was created in September 2012, one of the first items it carried was a request for information about Eileen Keatley from her daughter Vita (or Vida?) Anderson. Whilst our own research uncovered a few facts about Eileen's family links in Totley, that's as far as it went. Recently, however, Chris Foster and Gladys Smith have separately been in touch with us to say they think they may be able to help. Unfortunately with the passing of time and changes in our administration, we have lost the enquirer's address. If you are out there Mrs Anderson, can you please get it touch with us?
Linda Roberts contacted us asking for help in tracing her great grandfather, James Hunter Smith. who had married Maria Sutherland at Dore, Christ Church in 1886. We were able to tell Linda that James came to Totley as head gardener to William Aldam Milner of Totley Hall, probably in 1884. James and Maria Smith had two sons. William James was baptized in March 1889 and Albert in July 1890, both at Dore, Christ Church but by 1891 the family had moved to Attercliffe, where James and Maria remained for the rest of their lives.
Mark Richards spotted on Facebook a Memorial in Crookes Cemetery "to commemorate the unknown Irish navvies who died building the Totley Tunnel circa 1880 R.I.P." and wanted to know who placed it there and why. The question of whether significant numbers of Irish navvies were involved in building the Totley Tunnel has long been debated. Official records say not but stories passed down through generations say that scores of Irish navvies may have died from accidents and disease but, being immigrants, their deaths were never recorded.
John Skelton wonders whether anyone can shed any light on the origin of Sarah Booker, who was born in Totley around 1783. Sarah married John's great great grandfather, James Skelton, at Handsworth in September 1811 and was a farmer and widow by the time of the 1851 census when she was living at Hollins End, Handsworth with her four children, John (bc. 1815), Elizabeth (bc. 1823) James (bc 1828) and Sophia (bc. 1831). She died in 1867 aged 84 and is buried at Christ Church, Gleadless. At the time of Sarah's birth, Totley was part of Dronfield Parish, of course, and many baptisms would have taken place there or at Holmesfield. The Derbyshire Baptism Index 1538-1910 Transcription indeed shows a baptism at Holmesfield on 19 July 1782 of a Sarah Booker, daughter of Rebeckah Booker; the father's name is not recorded. Could this be John's great great grandmother?
Although no longer living in our area, Marlene Marshall continues to follow the progress of the history group and to send us items from time to time, the latest being a photograph of the grave of David Stanley, who fought with the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava and who later lived at the top of Queen Victoria Road where the block of flats named Balaclava House now stands.
David Baldwin is helping to set up an archive of items of historical interest relating to the former Sheffield Hospitals including a collection of brass and stainless steel plaques which were once affixed to the walls of wards at the former Royal Hospital and Royal Infirmary to commemorate the generosity of donors in giving funds for the endowment of beds. David recently came across a plaque saying "This Cot was Endowed by the "Dots and Tots" Concert Party from the Proceeds of Concerts Given Between the Years 1922-1929" and believes this could refer to the Totley Rise Dots and Tots group of Pierrots which, according to a brief report in the Sheffield Telegraph, comprised Miss Muriel Gummer, Miss Lorna Skill, Miss Muriel Dyson together with Messrs Gilbert Smith, F. Chambers and J. Kay plus accompanist. David would like to know more about the troupe. Lorna Skill is mentioned as a soprano in the All Saints' Parish Magazine in 1923 and again in 1924. She also performed with the Croft House Settlement Operatic Society. She was "Susan" in their 1927 production of The Toreador. The Sheffield Star of 21 February 1928 reports their production of The Arcadians at the Lyseum and mentions "Lorna Skill has some difficulty with the Irish brogue, but otherwise on the whole is satisfactory as Eileen Cavanagh."
Heather Rotherham has written to us concerning her great grandfather, John Thomas Osborne, who was a general labourer and who came to live in Totley around the time of the building of the Totley tunnel and remained until his death in 1936. He married twice, firstly to Ada Eliza Dalton in 1893, and then to Mary Jackson in 1903, both times at Christ Church, Dore. Follow the link to an inside page for more information on the children of the two marriages and a connection with the family of Albert Green. Heather believes that she has traced John's birth in Downham Market, on 29 March 1871 but she would love to know more about his earlier life and would also like to contact any of his descendants.
Anthony Cosgrove has written to us asking about a property in our area known as The Dingle, Totley Bank, designed by the arts and crafts movement architect Edgar Wood. Anthony had spotted a newspaper advertisement for the auction of the property in the 1920s. The first appearance in our records of The Dingle, 172 Prospect Road, is in White's Trade Directory for 1904 when the property was inhabited by Rev. William Blackshaw, a Congregational Minister for the Croft House Settlement. In 1922 it was bought at auction by Bill Carter's father, Walter Carter, a steel worker with Armstrong Whitworth.
Val Brodie has sent us memories of Cherry Tree where her mother Barbara Spring worked from about 1935 until she left to marry in June 1940, when she was termed assistant matron. Val's letter and a lovely photograph of her mum are reproduced in full in this inside page about Cherry Tree Orphanage in the 1930s.
Stephen Acaster, a local military historian, has responded to our request for help in identifying two unknown WW1 soldiers from our area. From elements of their uniforms, Stephen has been able to positively identify their regiments.
We are delighted to hear again from Stella McGuire who has sent us a copy of the January 2015 edition of ACID (Archaeology and Conservation in Derbyshire). The magazine contains a fascinating article which Stella has written with colleague Stuart Nunn of the Eastern Moors Partnership on The Search for the Totley Towers: the missing sighting towers used in connection with the construction of the Totley Tunnel. The article includes a spectacular photograph of a similar surving observation tower at Carlesmoor, North Yorkshire.
Sandra Woods is helping a friend to research the family of Charles Smith, who lived at the Old School House in Totley Hall Lane. Although there were several similarly named men in Totley in the early part of the 20th century, we have been able to confirm we have the correct one from the 1936-37 Register of Electors. We have then been able to trace his wife, Lucy Isabella Hill, and their children and several of Lucy's ancestors from transcriptions of Dore Christ Church Parish Registers. Before moving to the Old School House, the Smiths were neighbours of Jo Rundle at Lane Head and she mentions them several times in her autobiography and in the articles she wrote for Totley Independent.
Jacqueline A. Gibbons has written to us from Toronto, Canada about her father, John Humphrey Gibbons, who went into WW1 as a Royal Naval mechanic, then a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps and later RAF. John had two brothers, Tom and George. The family lived at Inglewood, Totley Brook Road in 1916. She would like more information about her family and the house they lived in. After some investigation, we believe the house to be number 24, one of the pair of Victorian semis next to the new URC church hall. We have been able to trace Jacqueline's father in census and military records, of which more later. Jacqueline's email has stimulated us into making faster progress with a gazetteer of street and house names which we hope will be useful; a first step has been to catalogue all of the 1900 or so current Totley addresses and postcodes.
Andrew Russell, who now lives in Hertfordshire, has told us about an article he is writing on the way the railway coming to Totley from Sheffield had an impact on the village and over time changed the area. Part of the article looks at John Ruskin's St. George's Farm. Andrew's article is to be published in The Companion, the journal of the Guild of St. George.
We have exchanged several emails with John Johnson, the youngest of Maurice and Annie Johnson's six sons, about his parents who lived at Lane Head, Baslow Road. Maurice was another of Totley's young men who fought in and survived the First World War and later played an active role in the community.
Paul Wise has written to us to clarify some of the detail in Bill Glossop's article about Harry Brearley. Paul's mother was Barbara Brearley Wise, the daughter of George Henry (Harry) and Nellie Bull who are mentioned in the article. We have appended Paul's letter in full at the foot of Bill's article for you to read.
We have heard from Reg Stones who was an under gardener at Beauchief Hall in the early 1950s, although for the last fifty years has lived in Dorset. Reg has been recounting his memories of the house and work at that time. There are connections with the Milner and Wilson families of course.
Chris Fletcher has written to us about a possible family history connection with Samuel Hopkinson, the local farmer and scythe maker who in or around 1818 opened the Cross Scythes Inn.
Howard Clay is another correspondent with an interest in family history. Howard noticed an article on our website about Charles and Elsie Coates, who were children of Charles and Elizabeth Coates, living at Oldway (Oldhay) Forge at the time of the 1901 census. Elsie Coates was Howard's grandmother.
Professor Martin Jones has written to us to try to obtain information about the history of his new home, Cotsford, Totley Brook Road. The house is built on the plot previously occupied by Rose Bank, which itself was the subject of a recent enquiry by Maggie O'Keefe.
We are delighted to hear from Paul Bennett who is a new resident to Totley and who works at the Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University. Paul has sent us a video clip of the demolition of the Totley Hall College tower which took place on Thursday, 12 August 1999. Tap or click on the photograph above to see the video and read about the demolition.
Chris Pearson, who lives in Somerset, has written to us to see whether we can help him find out more about a railway accident in Totley Tunnel in which his wife's grandfather was killed. We have been able to trace a report of the accident in the Derbyshire Times for 18 August 1944. A Hathersage man, Oscar Andrews was a platelayer working in the tunnel when he was struck by a passing light engine.
Whilst mentioning the tunnel, Ted Hancock - who gave us a fascinating and well-attended talk on the Railway Navvies - has been in touch about material he has spotted on our website. We are very grateful to Ted for his expertise in putting us right on a couple of matters and look forward to seeing his forthcoming book on the whole of the Dore & Chinley Railway.
Roy Ward, whose mother Nora Green lived on Chapel Walk, contacted us with the offer of material from the period of the Great War. Roy has now sent us a number of photographs that belonged to his parents. In some cases the subject of the photograph is known, in other cases not. The photograph above is of Roy's grandfather, Maurice Ward Senior who lived at 1 Grange Terrace. Maurice worked for the Derbyshire County Council as a road foreman.
Maggie O'Keefe has been in touch with us regarding her great grandfather's sister, Elizabeth Peel, who lived at Rose Bank on Totley Brook Road in the 1900s and who is buried in Dore churchyard.
Helen Thorne has written to us about her grandfather Frank Clarke and his sister Lucy Clarke who were at Cherrytree in the 1920s. We have been able to provide Helen with some additional information about what happened to her relatives after they left the orphanage.
Vince Bodsworth, who now lives in Wiltshire, has contacted us with the offer of a comprehensive history of the Ellison Family going back to around 1500. Vince is a grandson of Cymbert Edward Ellison, the younger son of the barrister Thomas Edward Ellison who lived at Totley Grove from the late 1890s until his death in 1920.
We have heard from George Howard Waterfall, great great grandson of John Waterfall, the landowner and businessman who is thought to have built Totley Grove. He has given us some further information about descendants of his great grandfather and his namesake and also pointed out an erroneous date in our article on the Waterfall Brothers which has now been corrected.
Frank Lawson has an interest in old South Yorkshire bricks and recently came across one with C B & Co impressed in the frog on one side of the brick and Totley impressed on the reverse side. Totley has a long history of brickmaking at Moor Edge. Around 1877 George Chadwick began brick and terra cotta manufacture there. Chadwick later entered a partnership with a Mr. Barker, and Frank's brick is likely to have been made by Chadwick, Barker & Co. which in 1881 became the Totley Terra Cotta & Fire Brick Company Limited although the old partnership name was still in use for trading purposes in 1883-84.
Tim Mole, The Editor of The New Mosquito, The Journal of the Salonika Campaign Society, 1915-1918, was kind enough to send us a copy of the issue containing an article by Norman Briffa on Early Heart Surgery on Salonika Casualty. The article tells the remarkable story of Robert Hugh Martin and makes use of a photograph and some material from our booklet Totley War Memorial WW1, 1914-1918.
Diane Neal has written to us from Leicestershire. Diane is researching the Hopkinson family in our area and believes she may be related to the farmer and scythe maker Samuel Hopkinson, who in about 1818 took the opportunity to open the Cross Scythes pub when the new turnpike road was built past his farm.
Peter Oates asked for our help to find the grave of Thomas Biggin of Dore Fields who died in 1861 and is buried in Christ Church graveyard. The gravestone inscription is rather memorable and it was mentioned in Dore to Door Issue 69. Although not among the photographs of gravestones that we had previously uploaded to the website, we have been able to find a copy in our image archive.
Richard Isaac of Brisbane, Queensland, is researching the history of his great grandfather Charles Isaac and his son Arthur Isaac who worked on the Totley Tunnel and were recorded in the 1891 Census at No. 4 Shaft. Charles was an experienced tunnelling worker and had previously worked for Thomas Andrew Walker, the contractor on the Severn tunnel (constructed between 1873 and 1886) and who went with Walker to start work on the Manchester Ship Canal in 1887 before moving to Totley.
John Mottershaw, grandson of the local film producer Frank Mottershaw, has given us a considerable amount of information on the Mottershaw family history and the development of the Sheffield Photo Company which we shall be writing up for the website shortly. John has also very kindly given us permission to publish a photograph taken during the filming of Robbery of the Mailcoach in 1903.
We have also heard from Fiona Lloyd, a great granddaughter of Frank Mottershaw and the granddaughter of Mrs. Spring, who for more than 50 years ran a sweet shop at 51 Baslow Road. Fiona is helping us with her memories of Totley Rise shops and with the Mottershaw family history.
Finally, sisters Jane Wright and Lisa Brassey who run the Rendezvous Cafe are tracing the history of the shops at the top of Mickley Lane and Main Avenue. Any old photographs of the shops that you may have would be of particular interest. If you are able to help, please contact us at our usual email address: email@example.com.
After the usual summer break, you are invited to join the ever-popular Stephen Gay on a virtual railway journey from Sheffield's abandoned Victoria Station to the east coast holiday resort of Cleethorpes. Stephen will explore the history of the line and its surrounding countryside in his usual fascinating way aided by large collection of photographs that he has taken over many years.
During our journey we will pass through the 1,334 yard Kirton Tunnel whose castellated western portal was completed in 1848 for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. Stephen's talk has been split into two parts with the first part from Sheffield via Darnall, Woodhouse, Kiveton Park, Worksop, Retford and Gainsborough to Kirton Lindsey on Wednesday 22 September following our AGM.
The second part of our journey from Kirton Lindsey Station to Cleethorpes via Brigg and Grimsby, with a side trip up the scenic North Lincolnshire branch line to Barton-on-Humber, will be on Wednesday 27 October. We hope that Totley Library will be available for both talks which are planned to start at 7.30 p.m. but this will be confirmed nearer the time.
Pauline Burnett's book The Rise of Totley Rise has been revised and updated. It tells the story of this small piece of land from 1875 when there was only a rolling mill and chemical yard alongside the river a mile from Totley, through Victorian and Edwardian times, two world wars and up to the present day. It has 94 pages including a useful index and many illustrations from private collections. The book is available now from Totley Rise Post Office priced at £5, or through our website when an additional charge will be made to cover packing and postage.
A few copies are still available of Sally Goldsmith's book Thirteen Acres: John Ruskin and the Totley Communists. Totley was the site of a utopian scheme funded by art critic and social reformer John Ruskin. In 1877 he bought 13-acre St. George’s Farm so that nine Sheffield working men and their families could work the land and, to keep themselves busy, make boots and shoes. Sally tells an engaging story from our history with a quirky cast of characters including Ruskin himself, the poet and gay rights activist Edward Carpenter and Henry Swan, a cycling, vegetarian artist and Quaker. The book is available to order online from the The Guild of St. George by following this link.
A recently discovered box of WWII correspondence reveals the story of how a small group of ladies from Dore and Totley recruited knitters from the west of Sheffield and how their efforts made them the country's greatest provider of Comforts for the Minesweeping crews of the Royal Navy. The story is told in Knit For Victory, a new book from Totley History Group. Written by Pauline Burnett, it has 82 pages and many illustrations. It is on sale in local shops and via our website.
The story is told in Totley War Memorial WW1 of the ten men from our village who gave their lives in the Great War. Written by Pauline Burnett, Jim Martin and Dorothy Prosser, a chapter is devoted to each of the soldiers with a family tree followed by as much information as could be discovered about the men and their families. There is also information about their military careers and the actions in which they lost their lives. The book has 64 pages and is illustrated throughout with photographs of the men, their families and the houses where they lived.
St. Swithin's Church, Holmesfield pre-dates Dore Christ Church and was the place where many of the people from Totley worshipped and were baptised, married and buried. Read the inscriptions on more than 750 gravestones in the churchyard including those of Mr. and Mrs. William Aldam Milner of Totley Hall, Jessie Matilda Tyzack (nee Fisher) of Avenue Farm, and Rev. J. A. Kerfoot of St. John's, Abbeydale.
The words Millhouses Cricket Club can be seen in the background of team photos which are likely to date from between 1905 and the early 1920s, very probably pre-war. They were lent to us by Garth Inman who can identify his great uncle, Cecil Inman, in some of the photos and would like to know when they were taken and, if possible, the names of others present. Please take a look to see whether you can put names to any of the faces.
Josiah Hibberd was seriously injured whilst working on the construction of the Totley Tunnel in 1892. He died on 9 May 1897 at the age of 38 having apparently spent most of previous five years in hospital.
Bradway House was built around 1832 by Henry Greaves, a farmer, together with two adjacent cottages. We have traced most of the occupants of the property from these early days up to the start of World War Two.
We have transcribed the baptisms records at St. John the Evangelist, Abbeydale from when the church was consecrated in 1876 until just after the start of World War 1. The records are arranged in alphabetical order based upon the child's name and show the date of baptism, the names of the parents, their home location and occupation.
Nick Kuhn bought an original 1920s poster which had this owners' blind stamp in one corner. The stamp almost certainly refers to a house named Wigmore that was built in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The first occupiers that we can trace are John Howarth Caine, a district mineral agent for the LNER, his wife Florence Jane (nee Prince) and daughter Doris Mary. The Caine family lived at Wigmore until 1936 by which time the house would have been known simply as 12 The Quandrant.
George Griffiths died on 13 December 1888 following an explosion during the sinking of number 3 airshaft at Totley Bents. His widow Florence died shortly afterwards and his two daughters Maud and Annie were adopted separately. Whilst Annie lived the rest of her life in Yorkshire, Maud emigrated to Australia in 1923 with her husband, John Burrows, daughter Margaret and son Jack, pictured above.
George Wainwright was said to have been born in Bamford, Derbyshire in 1714. He learned the trade of linen weaving and moved to Totley after his marriage on 1744. He became an ardent follower of John Wesley who paid many visits to Sheffield and who would have passed through or close to Totley. Preaching was at first conducted out of doors and when Wesley's preachers became harassed by a mob of Totley ruffians in 1760, George offered them safety of his own home. He remained a Methodist for all of his long life, dying in Dore in 1821 at the reputed age of 107.
Oakwood School was started by Mrs Phoebe Holroyd in 1925 initially as the Firth Park Kindergarten and, by 1927, as the Firth Park Preparatory School. Phoebe was still working at the school almost fifty years later when she was well into her seventies. We would like to hear from anyone with memories of the school.
James Curtis was born at sea aboard HMS Chichester in 1790. He enlisted as a Private in the 1st Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards in Sheffield in 1812 and served in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War. He later fought in France and Belgium taking part in the Battle of Waterloo. In later life James lived at the Cricket Inn where his son-in-law William Anthony was the licensed victualler. He died in Heeley in 1882 aged about 91.
Charles Paul lived in Totley in later life. He was a local historian and archaeologist who was an authority on the history of Sheffield, especially the two areas he knew best: Attercliffe and Ecclesall. His books and letters to local newspapers were published under the Latin form of his name Carolus Paulus.
Towards the end of the 19th century Totley Hall gardens became a well known beauty spot that attracted many hundreds of visitors from Sheffield on open days and the rock gardens became one of its most popular features. Mrs Annie Charlesworth sent us six glass transparencies of the rock gardens taken, we believe, in the early years following the Great War.
Anton Rodgers send us photographs of three water-colours that had been bought by his grandfather at a sale of the contents of Abbeydale Hall in 1919. One was of a scene said to be in York by A. Wilson. A second was of a seated child with a dog believed to be pianted by Juliana Russell (1841-1898). The third was of Lake Como, by Ainslie Hodson Bean (1851-1918) who lived for much of his life on the Riviera and in North Italy.
A Canadian correspondent sent us photographs of a set of silver spoons that were bought in a small town in British Columbia. The case contained a note signed by Ebenezer Hall indicating that they were a wedding gift to Maurice and Fanny Housley. We think we may have traced how they got to Canada and where they might have been since.
Green Oak Park was opened on 23 March 1929 on land that had been bought by Norton District Council from John Thomas Carr, a farmer and smallholder of Mona Villas. In later years, the buildings were used by the Bowling Club (the green having been built in 1956) and by the park keeper. However, the buildings appear to have been constructed in several phases, the oldest of which predates the park to the time when the land was used for pasture.
We believe the old Totley Police Station at 331 Baslow Road was built around 1882. Two lock-up cells were excavated just below floor level in the summer of 1890. We have traced the Derbyshire Constabulary police officers who lived there from John Burford in 1886 to George Thomas Wood who was there when Totley was absorbed into Sheffield in 1934.
David Stanley lived in Totley Rise in the later years of his life. Born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, he joined the 17th Lancers when he was 19 and rode in the Charge of The Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava where he was seriously wounded. For the first reunion of veterans in 1875, he told his story to a reporter from the Buxton Herald.
This picture postcard was addressed to Miss Abell, Holly Dene, Totley Brook Road and posted in Rotherham on 10 December 1907. Edith Annie Abell was born on 4 February 1887 in Sheffield and her family came to live in our area in the 1900s, staying for the rest of their lives.
Charles Herbert Nunn enlisted in the British Army on 23 August 1915 and was sent to France on 18 December 1915 to served with the British Expeditionary Force. In March 1916 it was discovered that he was underage and he was returned home. Shortly after his 18th birthday he re-enlisted and was again posted abroad where, in addition to this trio of medals, he was awarded the Military Medal.
This certificate was awarded jointly by the Red Cross and St. John's Ambulance to Isaac Henry Williams, of Lemont Road, for his services during WW1 as a stretcher bearer. We are seeking anyone who can help us pass it on to a living relative.
In 1832 Samuel Dean pleaded guilty to stealing a quantity of lead from the Totley Rolling Mill and was sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. He sailed on the Mangles and upon arrival in New South Wales he was sent to work for William Cox, the famous English explorer and pioneer. After receiving his Certificate of Freedom in 1840, Samuel became a farmer and went on to have a very large family. Samuel was born in Whitechapel around 1811 to parents Samuel Dean Snr. and Susannah Duck. His descendant Sarah Dean would like help in tracing his ancestry.
Ellen Topham was born in 1889 in Nottingham. Her parents had been living together since 1862 but had never married so it was most unusual that, after their deaths, Ellen was accepted into Cherrytree Orphanage. Even more so since her father, Snowden Topham, had been acquitted somewhat unexpectedly in a widely reported manslaughter trial. Ellen remained at Cherrytree until her death from pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 15.
Mabel Wilkes was a resident in Cherrytree Orphanage between 1897 and 1905. Her granddaughter Sally Knights sent us these images of a book presented to Mabel as a prize for her writing. Sally also sent us some personal memories of her grandmother and a photograph of a locket which contains portraits of Mabel and her husband Septimus Gale.
John Henry Manby Keighley was living at Avenue Farm when he enlisted in 1916. He fought in France with the Cheshire Regiment but after home leave in early 1918 he went missing. The Army were unable to determine whether he had deserted or returned to the front and been either killed or captured by the enemy. In August 1919 he was formally presumed killed in action but it appears he did not die but returned home to his family.
Horace Ford was admitted to Cherrytree Orphanage on 26 October 1888 at the age of six. He left at the age of 14 to become an apprentice blacksmith and farrier. Soon after his 18th birthday Horace enlisted in the Imperial Yeomanry to serve his country in the war in South Africa. His letter home to his Orphanage mentor tells of the lucky escape he had in battle.
Pat Skidmore (née Sampy) lived on Totley Brook Road from 1932 to 1948 before her family moved to Main Avenue. In this short article she remembers her time at Totley All Saints School where she was a contemporary of Eric Renshaw and Bob Carr.
As we have nowhere to exhibit memorabilia and artifacts, we have created a Virtual Museum instead. The latest addition to our collection is this double-sided Totley Rise Post Office oval illuminated sign which was on the wall of 67 Baslow Road before the Post Office business transferred to number 71. Please contact us by email if you have things that you own and would like to see added to the virtual museum.
Conway Plumbe was a man of many talents who came to live in Totley Rise around 1912. As a young man he had poems published by Punch magazine and is remembered in modern collections of WW1 poetry. A number of his paintings were accepted by the Royal Academy. An engineering graduate of London University, he joined the Civil Service where he rose to a high level as a factory inspector, publishing two books on the subject and giving a series of talks on workplace health and safety on BBC radio during WW2. In retirement he wrote a philosophical-spiritual work called Release From Time.
Inside Totley Rise Methodist Church there is a Roll of Honour commemorating the soldiers from its congregation who served their king and country during the Great War. For all but one of the 28 names the soldier's regiment is recorded in the next column. The exception is David Cockshott for whom 'killed in action' is written alongside yet he appears on no war memorial in our area and no record of a mortally wounded soldier of that name is to be found. We think we have solved the mystery.
Mrs. Kate Plumbe moved from Mansfield to Totley Rise with a number of her family in 1913 and became closely involved with the Totley Union Church. Her daughter Winifred became a missionary and headmistress in Calcutta for over 38 years following which she returned home to live with her sister Hilda on Furniss Avenue. Hilda had also been a teacher, missionary and, like her mother, a volunteer at St. John's VAD during WW1.
Thomas Glossop was a cutler and razor manufacturer who was well known amongst cricketing and gardening circles. Despite going blind, he was able to continue his hobbies with remarkable success
The Totley Union Cycling Society Prize Giving and Fete was held on the fields near Abbeydale Hall on 18 July 1914. Anne Rafferty and Gordon Wainwright have named some of the people in two wonderful photographs of the event. Can you identify any more for us?
The Tyzack family are well known in our area for owning iron and steel trades at Walk Mill, Abbeydale Works, Totley Rolling Mill and Totley Forge. This article covers the history of the family from the late 18th century when William Tyzack the founder of the company was born until the early 20th century when Joshua Tyzack farmed at Avenue Farm, Dore.
Walter Waller Marrison moved to Totley around 1897 with his wife and their two young sons. He was a house builder who constructed properties around Totley Brook and Greenoak before ill health forced him to take up less physically demanding work. In 1904 he took over the tenancy of the grocers and off licence at number 71 Baslow Road. After his death in 1908, his widow Kate and later their eldest son Jack continued to run the business until it was sold in 1934.
Ron Wijk of Nieuw-Vennep in the Netherlands has sent us two scanned images of drawings of old cottages made by the celebrated Dutch painter, Anton Pieck (1895-1987) simply annotated "Totley", and wondered whether we could identify their locations.
We would like to thank Christopher Rodgers for bringing to our attention this fascinating log of the 85th Sheffield (St. John's and Totley Orphanage) Wolf Cub Pack for 1927-45. The log is published jointly by Sheffield Scout Archives and Totley History Group as a free PDF download. It is illustrated by no fewer than 92 photographs and is supported by a comprehensive index and biographies of some of the main participants.
Following our Open Meeting event on School Days, Roger Hart, Howard Adams and John Timperley have each written to us with their memories of Norwood School, which was located in the rooms attached to the Dore & Totley United Reformed Church on Totley Brook Road.
On 22nd July 1909 the children of Dore and Totley Schools celebrated by a pageant the union of England under King Ecgbert which took place at Dore in AD 827. The pageant was devised and written by Mrs Sarah Milner and her daughter Marjorie and performed in a field close to Avenue Farm in front of a large audience. Photographs of the event survive together with a fragment of the script.
John Edward Greenwood Pinder had lived all 46 years of his life in Totley but on census night, Sunday 2 April 1911, he was not at home; he was in Derby Gaol serving a sentence of three months hard labour. From the age of 20, John had been in and out of local courts for a series of minor offences including drunkenness, assault, wilful damage and night poaching. Finally he was sent to gaol for cutting down and stealing 86 small trees which he sold in Sheffield market for Christmas.
We have already transcribed the census returns for Totley, Totley Rise and Dore. Now we have transcribed Census Strays. These are people who were born in Totley but are missing from our earlier transcriptions. They may have been living, working or studying elsewhere or just away from home on the night the census was taken. Two people were in prison. Others were in Union Workhouses, hospitals and asylums. Fully indexed strays from the 1851, 1861, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses are available now.
We wish to thank Gillian Walker for allowing us to digitize an archive of material about the 1st Totley Scout Group. Most of the material was collected by Arthur Percival Birley in the period 1949-51 and there are many interesting documents pertaining to the building of the scout hut on Totley Hall Lane. In addition four Newsletters survive, two from the 1940s and two from 1971.
We are grateful to Angela Waite and All Saints' Parish Church for giving us access to baptismal and kindergarten birthday rolls dating from 1926 to 1941. We have transcribed the names, addresses, birthdates and baptismal dates and created an alphabetical index of entries for you to search.
Edmund Sanderson, a Sheffield estate agent, aquired the land on either side of the old drive to Totley Grove in 1874 and divided it into plots for development. He called it the Totley Brook Estate. But before many houses were built, the estate road was severed in two by the building of the Dore & Chinley Railway line. The eastern end of the road became the cul-de-sac we now call Grove Road.
John Roberts was born in Sheffield in 1798. He became a partner in one of the leading silversmiths firms in the city before moving to Abbeydale Park in 1851 and extending the house in Victorian gothic style. He paid for the building of St. John's Church and was believed to dispense more in charity than any other person in the neighbourhood including his protege Ebenezer Hall.
The Coke Family owned the Totley Hall Estate from 1791 to 1881. With the aid of a family tree to guide us, Josie Dunsmore takes us through the story of their tenure.
When the Rev. D'Ewes Coke inherited the Totley Hall Estate in 1791 it had two farms. Josie Dunsmore tells the story of how the two farms were combined under the tenancy of Peter Flint with the aid of field maps drawn by Flint himself and later by the Fairbanks family.
Do you think you recognize this face? More than sixty photographs of the girls and teachers at Hurlfield Grammar School for Girls in the 1940s were given to Totley History Group by Avril Critchley, who was herself a student at the school. The collection includes fifteen form photographs from June 1949. There would have been a number of girls from the Totley area attending the school in those days.
Christine Weaving tells the story of her 2 x great uncle George Edward Hukin, a Totley razor-grinder, and his life-long friendship with the academic, poet, writer, and free-thinker Edward Carpenter.
Eric Renshaw (pictured here on the right with Bob Carr) grew up and lived in Totley from 1932 to 1960. Many of his memories are of a sporting nature.
We are very grateful to Gordon Grayson for giving us this splendid sale document for the Norton Hall Estates, following the death in 1850 of Samuel Shore. The estates included a large part of Totley and the document has maps and illustrations, plus schedules of land and property with the names of tenants. We have also added a transcription of the entries for Totley and Dore.
Watch this Youtube video of the talk given by Dr. Mark Frost and Sally Goldsmith on Ruskin, Totley and St. George's Farm. The talk was hosted by Totley History Group on 20th May 2015 as part of the Ruskin in Sheffield programme. Also enjoy a video of the outdoor performance Boots, Fresh Air & Ginger Beer written by Sally.
When Jacqueline A. Gibbons became interested in what made her father tick, it began a journey through WW1 archive records and led to her flying from Toronto to visit the house and village where he lived and the countryside that he so much enjoyed. Jacqueline reminds us that in the early 20th century Sheffield was a driving force of industry and that Totley was the place where many of its remarkable people lived and where they formulated their ideas.
Edgar Wood was the designer of The Dingle, 172 Prospect Road, built in 1904 for Rev. William Blackshaw, the founder of the Croft House Settlement. The house, together with its western terrace and boundary walls, has now been awarded Grade II listed building status.
What was probably "the most perfect little garden railway in existence" in 1910 was to be found in the grounds of Brook House, Grove Road, the home of its designer and constructor, Guy Mitchell. Look at some wonderful photographs and read reports in newspapers and a full appreciation in Model Railways magazine.
We have now completed our transcription of Totley School's Admission Records for the period from 1877 to 1914. There is also a useful index to the names of the scholars and to their parents or guardians. We are very grateful to Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library for allowing us to transcribe and publish these records and for permission to reproduce the photograph of a specimen page of the register.
On 8, 9 and 11 November 2014 Totley History Group held an exhibition at Dore & Totley United Reformed Church to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Below are additional links to some of the photographs we were lent and stories we researched especially for the exhibition.
Oscar Creswick was a local farmer who served with the Army Service Corps in Salonika and who after the war returned to Totley to become the innkeeper of the Cricket Inn and a member of the village's successful tug of war team.
Walter Evans was a market gardener who also ran a small grocery shop on Hillfoot Road when war broke out. He fought with the Machine Gun Corps at the fourth battle of Ypres. After the war, Walter ran a grocers shop at the top of Main Avenue.
Fred Cartwright was another Totley soldier who survived the Great War. He fought in France and Belgium and although he wasn't wounded he was gassed and was home on sick leave when his daughter was delivered by Nurse Jessop during a snowstorm in January 1917.
Maurice Johnson joined the Yorkshire Dragoons, a territorial unit, on 1 Jan 1914 and so was called up at the very start of the war. He fought throughout the war on the Somme, at Ypres and at Cambrai. After demobilization in 1919 Maurice returned to his old occupation in the steel industry.
Bill Glossop lent us a letter written by his father, William Walton Glossop to his wife describing life in the army during training in the north east of England and asking her to keep him in mind with the children.
The photo above provides a link to an album of photographs taken of WW1 Hospitals at St. John's, Abbeydale and the Longshaw Estate.
Nora Green, of Chapel Lane, was only 14 when war broke out. In 1914 she was ill with diphtheria and was sent to the isolation hospital at Holmley Lane, Dronfield. Nora recovered and wrote a letter of thanks to one of the hospital staff and the reply she received survives.
We have collected together on this page the names of local men who appear on various War Memorials and Rolls of Honour in Totley, Dore, Abbeydale, Norton, Holmesfield and Dronfield.
Unfortunately we were unable to identify all the photographs we were lent of Totley Soldiers. Please take a look at this album to see if you recognize any of the missing names.
This walk visits locations that have strong associations with Totley during the First World War. It includes the homes of the ten soldiers from the village who lost their lives, the auxiliary hospitals, war memorials, and even the rifle range on which the soldiers trained. Take a look at the first draft of a new walk by the authors of "Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918"
We wish to thank the Trustees of Cherrytree for giving us permission to publish transcriptions of the Cherrytree Orphanage Admissions Book entries for the years 1866-1929. There is also an alphabetical index for you to look at.
Our transcriptions of local trade directories have been expanded to cover the 95 years from 1837-1932 and have also been indexed. From the days when there were a handful of farmers, stone masons, saw handle makers & scythe grinders to the wonders of the Totley Bridge Garage Company, Betty's Boudoir and The Heatherfield Shopping Centre.
Totley Church of England Parish Magazines for the years 1922-1939 and 1948-1967 with notices of births, marriages and deaths and accounts of spiritual, educational, charitable and social matters in the village.
Around 90 photographs taken by Stuart Greenhoff for his thesis A Geographical Study of Dore and Totley including several of Totley Moor Brickworks. Superb!
Chronologically ordered snippets of information recorded by Brian Edwards during his many years of research into our local history.
Read the inscriptions on more than 700 gravestones in the churchyard.
Visitors since 24 Sep 2012: