Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Welcome to the Totley History Group Website


We hope you enjoy your visit to our site which celebrates the history of Yorkshire's most southerly village. New material is 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 450 web pages and over 500 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.


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Dancing in the Road

As we remember the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, we should also remember that Totley did not celebrate the end of the Second World War until after VJ Day, 15 September 1945. 

A group of Totley residents joined together in an 'end-of-war' celebration which included the burning of a 'stuffed' Hitler on the actual night. Crowds came from all parts of Totley to join in the celebration and the traffic on Baslow Road was stopped. Mrs Busby, who lived on Greenoak Avenue, was one of the organisers and remembered Totley people happily dancing and singing, in the traffic free road, to the strains of a wind-up gramophone. 

Jennifer Webster sent us this photograph she had found in an old family album of a street party for the children of Aldam Road to celebrate the end of World War II. Jennifer's brother, John Crookes, and uncle, Peter Reeves, are amongst those pictured. The girl at the front may be Eileen Windle. Jennifer's grandparents lived on the odd numbered side of Aldam Road and her family lived next door to the Windle family on the even numbered side of the street.


Bob Carr wrote "The end of the war was celebrated with street parties and the one held on Totley Rise I remember well. Everyone seemed to be there and a good time was had by all. The war had brought folks together: Air Raid Alerts, Fire Watch, Dig for Victory - on the allotments, Civil Defence, Home Guard etc. all helped people through those times and although we had months of austerity and rationing still to go, things gradually got back to normal." 

WW1 Roll of Honour - Sydney Barker Townsend

Inside Dore and Totley United Reformed Church there is a Roll of Honour commemorating the soldiers from its congregation who served their King and Country during the Great War. With so much time on our hands during the coronavirus lockdown, we are working our way through the list to find out more about who these men were. For some their war service record has survived, for others there are just the briefest details. Here is the story for Sydney Barker Townsend and below for William Ongley Miller. 


Sydney Barker Townsend was born in Sheffield in 1880. His father was William Henry Townsend who was born in Sheffield in 1857, the eldest of three children of William Townsend, a comb maker, and his wife Martha Ann Mathews who married at Kings Norton, Worcestershire in 1854. His mother was Emma Townsend, who was born in Kenilworth, Warwickshire in 1856, the seventh of eleven children of William Townsend, a stone mason, and his wife Charlotte Matthews who married at at Leamington Priory on 16 July 1843. Sydney's parents were first cousins, their fathers being sons of James Townsend, a comb maker from Kenilworth, and his wife Sarah Barker. Although their wives were called Matthews and were both born in Warwickshire, they were not closely related. 

William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898)

Sydney's father William Henry Townsend died in Broadmoor Criminal Asylum on 22 August 1930, aged 73, having been an inmate there for most of the previous 37 years. He had been a gunsmith in Sheffield when his mind became unhinged in 1893. He became obsessed with the idea that by murdering the then Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, he would be rendering a service to the nation by denying Ireland Home Rule. He wrote a threatening letter to Mr. Gladstone and followed this up by journeying to London with a loaded revolver to carry out his threat. He stood about in Downing Street until the Prime Minister appeared from number 10, stepped forward to shoot, but at the vital moment lost heart and momentarily let go of the revolver which he later fired at nothing in particular when approached by a policeman at the rear of number 10. He was arrested and tried at the Central Criminal Court in May 1893 on charges of sending the threatening letter and for discharging a firearm to the common danger. He pleaded innocent but, without leaving the court, the jury found him guilty though not responsible for his actions due to insanity. He was sentenced to be detained at the Queen's pleasure. 


In 1903 he had recovered and was discharged but had to be re-admitted later the same year having relapsed. In 1927 he was again released but had to be taken back in 1929. During a period of sanity, he told a friend that "Mr. Gladstone's back was turned to me and I was just going to fire when he turned and smiled at me. His smile was so charming that I had not the heart to shoot him." The detention order was signed on 1 June 1893 by the then Home Secretary, Herbert Henry Asquith, who would himself become Prime Minister in 1908. There was a history of insanity in the family and William Henry's grandmother, Sarah Barker, and an uncle had died in Hatton Lunatic Asylum, near Warwick. 


William Henry left school at 16 and was apprenticed as a commercial clerk to Messrs Turner, Naylor & Co., edge tool manufacturers, a job which he undertook perfectly satisfactorily until in 1877 he suddenly and without explanation enlisted as a soldier. The military life soon proved to be not of his liking and he was bought out of the army by his father with the help of a Sheffield M.P. His old employers accepted him back and he became a commercial traveller for them. On 30 May 1878 William Henry married his cousin Emma Townsend at All Saints, Ecclesall. Three children were born in Sharrow: Annie in 1879, Sydney in 1880 and Winifred in 1882. Then quite suddenly William Henry left home telling Emma that he was going to South Africa whilst sending a letter to his father saying he was going to America.


Several weeks passed without a word until a cablegram arrived from Sydney, New South Wales, with the single word "HOPE". If it was an acronym it was not understood. A letter followed stating that he had obtained a good position working for an ironmonger. He undertook this work entirely satisfactorily for a period of a year during which he begged his wife to join him in Australia. In December 1882 William Henry returned to England with the intention of fetching his family and, in February the following year, the Townsend family sailed together aboard the SS Glenogil arriving in Sydney on 29 April. 

Glen Line SS Glenogle built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Govan Glen Line SS Glenogle built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Govan

They lived happily in Balmain, New South Wales for almost five years during which William Henry's behaviour both at work and home was exemplary despite the setback of Winifred's death in 1884. However, in March 1888, just as suddenly as before, William Henry left home. Nothing was heard of him but he later said that he had travelled around New South Wales, Queensland and even Tasmania following Lord Carrington, the governor of New South Wales, with the intention of murdering him. With no means of support, Emma, Annie and Sydney returned to England and went to live with family in Kenilworth. William Henry eventually turned up in Sheffield at his father's house the following year in a distressed condition. Again his father helped him, providing him with money and having him examined by doctors including a Dr. Barber who concluded that he was a man whose brain could be easily exhausted during which time he would be insane. 


William Townsend also found his son a position as an assistant to William George Liversidge in his gunshop in Sheffield Haymarket. William Henry stayed in Mr Liversidge's employment for more than three years during which he had at least one further relapse when he took one of his employer's guns and went to Ireland with the intention of punishing a cousin who, he thought, had done his father an injury. Fortunately William Henry managed to recover his sanity before any harm was done and he returned to his employer a few days later.

Mr Gladstone introduces the Home Rule Bill, 13 February 1893. Mr. Gladstone introducing the Second Home Rule Bill, 13 February 1893.

Another daughter Charlotte Jessie was baptised at Heeley Parish Church on 4 May 1892 but she died after only five months and was buried on 5 September. Emma said that as a husband and a father, William Henry was a kind and caring man. Quiet and sober, he would spend hours devouring books and newspapers. He had become intensely interested in politics and especially the Irish Home Rule question. On Friday 21 April, the second reading of the Government of Ireland Bill 1893 (better known as the Second Home Rule Bill) was approved by a majority of 347 to 304. The following day William Henry did not return after work to his home at 17 Hyde Road. Emma became worried but could not find him. William Henry had taken a train firstly to Brighton where he hoped to confront Mr. Gladstone on the Sunday but instead it was in London on Wednesday 26 April that he finally met up with his intended victim. After William Henry's incarceration, a son Lawrence John was born. He was baptised at Heeley Parish Church on 15 September 1893.


In the 1901 Census Emma, Annie, Sydney, Margaret and Lawrence were living at Sheaf House, Abbeydale Road South, the building which housed the Beauchief telephone exchange. Emma was an operator for the National Telephone Company. Sydney, aged 20, had become an electrical engineer for the same organisation. Soon after the children began to leave home. On 7 September 1912, Annie married Walter Talbot Wingfield, an electroplate cutler, at All Saints Parish Church, Ecclesall. In 1904 Sydney married Miriam Liller. She was born in Attercliffe in 1875, the second of six children of Henry Liller, a manager with Cammell Laird & Co., and his wife Miriam Marsh who had married in 1870 at East Retford, Nottinghamshire. Lawrence joined the Royal Navy at Devonport in April 1909. 


By the time of the 1911 Census, Emma was alone at Sheaf House except for a live-in domestic servant. Margaret was a governess living with Annie and Walter and their two children at 95 Marshall Road, Woodseats. Lawrence was at Portland aboard the battleship Bellerophon. Sydney and Miriam lived at 28 Broom Grove, Rotherham with their three children: Cyril Liller born in Sheffield in 1905, Eric Henry born in Dore in 1907 and Marjorie born in Rotherham in 1910. Sydney was a manager for the National Telephone Company whose operating licence ran out on 31 December 1911 and whose business was transferred to the General Post Office. Sydney and his family soon moved back to Sheffield to live at 43 Roach Road, Sharrow. Cyril and Eric were admitted to Hunters Bar School on 10 February 1913 and were still in the same school when war broke out.


Sydney's war service record has not survived but we know that he joined the Royal Engineers as Sapper number 192153 and was sent to Mesopotamia on 4 August 1916. There was an urgent need to improve the infrastructure there including the building of roads, bridges, hospitals and communications lines. He received a commission as Second Lieutenant on 11 October 1918 and was later awarded the Victory Medal and British War medal. 


In 1922 Sydney and the family were living at 25 Deakins Walk, Ranmoor but they were living in Middlesbrough when their eldest son Cyril married Kathleen Muxlow at Dore and Totley Union Church on 27 December 1929. Cyril had become an electrical engineer. Kathleen was the second of four children of Edgar Muxlow, a crucible steel manufacturer, and his wife Margaret Annie Havenhand. Kathleen's elder brother, Joseph Wharton Muxlow, also served in the war and his story appears elsewhere on our website.


Eric Townsend married Florence Genevieve Pullen on 16 September 1933 in the  Roman Catholic Church at Hassop, Derbyshire. Florence was the youngest of six children of George Edward James Pullen, a Regimental Sergeant Major with the Notts and Derby Regiment, and his wife Ellen Margaret Fane. Eric was an engineer with Ericsson Telephones when he and Florence emigrated to South Africa in 1947.


Sydney Townsend died on 7 September 1937 in Leeds Infirmary. He was aged 57 and  had been living at 11 Red Hall Avenue, Shadwell. The service was at Dore and Totley Union Church, three days later. Miriam moved back to our area after Sydney's death and was living at 33 Marstone Crescent when the 1939 National Register was compiled. She never remarried and died at 10 Dudley Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey on 6 December 1957, aged 83.


WW1 Roll of Honour - William Ongley Miller

William Ongley Miller was born in Haywards Heath, Sussex in 1883. His father was Frederick Miller, who was born in 1850 in Hailsham, Sussex, the fifth of eight children of Edward Miller, a chemist and later photographer, and his wife Susannah Doubell who had married at Trinity Church, Maidstone, Kent on 23 August 1843. William's mother was Matilda Goldsmith who was born in Newenden, Kent in 1848, the fifth of seven children of William Goldsmith, an agricultural labourer, and his wife Sarah Manser who had married in Rye, Sussex in 1838. 


In the 1871 Census, Fred Miller was in service as a footman in the household of William Brodie in Devonshire Place, Eastbourne, Sussex. Matilda Goldsmith was working as a parlourmaid for James Van Sommer in nearby Burlington Place. It would seem that they met through Esther Goldsmith, possibly Matlida's aunt, who was the Brodie's cook. After their marriage in Eastbourne on 4 March 1874 Fred and Matilda went to live in Brede, near Rye, Sussex where their first child Frederick Douglas was born on 6 December 1874. Their next child, Florence Matilda, was born in Brighton in 1879 but when the next census was taken, on 3 April 1881, the Millers had moved to 2 Vaudois, South Road, Haywards Heath and Fred had become an artist in watercolours.


Daughter Elsie Louisa was born on 2 June 1881 and William Ongley on 21 October 1883. William's unusual middle name had been passed down from Fanny Ongley who married his great grandfather Thomas Miller at St. George, Hanover Square, Westminster on 18 October 1814. Another son, Malcolm Doubell, was seven weeks old when the 1891 census was taken. The Miller family was recorded living at Gordon Villa, South Road, Haywards Heath. Fred was working as a school drawing master and eldest son Douglas had become an apprentice photographer, following his grandfather's trade.   

Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex

In 1896 Douglas opened the Mid-Sussex Photographic Studio at 16 Boltro Road, Haywards Heath. The studio was spacious with reception rooms and Douglas was able to defray his costs by renting out part of his premises to an ophthalmic optician. He still lived with his parents, however, who by 1901 were  at Laurel Villa, Sydney Road, Haywards Heath. On 18 February 1905, Douglas married Kate Elizabeth, the elder daughter of David Peerless, a timber merchant, at the Countess of Huntingdon's Church, North Street, Brighton.


By 1911 only daughter Elsie was left at home with Fred and Matilda at Laurel Villa. Douglas and his family were living at 9 Boltro Road, across the road from his original studio. Malcolm was at 12 Prince Albert Street, Brighton where he worked for and lodged with Stewart Acton who dealt in and restored antique pottery and porcelain. William who had earlier studied at the Brighton School of Art was now lodging at 36 Danvers Street, Chelsea and studying at the Royal College of Art. He was awarded their diploma later that year.


On 31 December 1912 William married Eva Worsley, a school teacher, at Tilston, near Malpas, Cheshire. Eva was born in Cheadle, Cheshire on 30 May 1888, the second of five children of Samuel Worsley, a joiner, and his wife Martha Ann Catterall who were married at St. Chad's, Prees, Shropshire on 9 March 1886. After their marriage they moved to our area where William took up a teaching role at Sheffield School of Art. They lived at Mooredge, (6) Leyfield Road, Dore. A daughter Winifred Elsie was born on 11 October 1913. 


William was aged 31 when war broke out. He attested on 9 December 1915 in Sheffield and was mobilised on 24 June 1916. Two days later he was posted to the 3rd Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment (the Sherwood Foresters) as Private number 49226. William qualified on a rifle training course on 22 September 1916 at Tyne Garrison, East Boldon, near Sunderland but on 21 October he suffered an injury to his knee whilst on ordinary military duties at nearby Cleaden Hutments. It was thought to be a temporary injury and he was promoted to acting corporal on 28 October. However, the injury proved to be more serious than at first thought and he was transferred to army reserve on 3 April 1917 and finally discharged on 25 October 1917 no longer fit for war service. 


William's younger brother Malcolm also served in the war, attesting in Brighton on 4 September 1914. He was posted to the Royal Army Medical Corps as Private number 40841. Malcolm's war lasted only 175 days before he too was discharged no longer fit for war service on 25 February 1915. His medical condition is not stated on the surviving pages of his war service record. 

Early postcard of F. Douglas Miller with typical handwritten caption. Early postcard of F. Douglas Miller with typical handwritten caption.

William's older brother Douglas had become very well known in mid Sussex. As well as studio photographs he also published postcards of scenes around Sussex that he and perhaps others had photographed. He also encouraged his wife, a pianoforte teacher, in her many activities including musical concerts and support for the Women's Total Abstinence Union and women's suffrage. Douglas became the secretary of the Haywards Heath Liberal club but he gave that up in June 1915 when the club premises were occupied by the army. In February 1916 he sold his photographic studios in Boltro Road to a competitor, Ebenezer William Pannell (1886-1951), and moved to 4 Westbourne Terrace, Worthing. 


Douglas Miller had been granted exemption from combatant services as a conscientious objector. When he subsequently ignored his calling-up papers he was arrested as an absentee under the Military Services Act. He was brought up before the Mayor at the police station on 13 September 1918 and fined £2 and told that he had forfeited the protection he had received from combatant service by failing to answer his call-up notice. So far as we know that was the end of the matter. Douglas continued to make a living from selling picture postcards. The excellent Sussex Postcards website says that he published well over 1,500 different cards and with minor variations possibly as many as 2,500. Kate Miller died in Hove on 19 March 1959, aged 83. Douglas died on 7 June 1961 at the Southlands Hospital, Shoreham-by-Sea, aged 96.

Southwick, West Sussex. Watercolour by Fred Miller Southwick, West Sussex. Watercolour by Fred Miller

Fred Miller died on 26 June 1917 at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton following a bowel operation. He was buried at the Extra Mural Cemetery, Brighton three days later. Fred had specialised in marine painting, working in both oils and watercolours, but he also painted landscapes particularly of scenes in the Cuckfield and Haywards Heath area. His works were exhibited at the Royal Academy and Royal Society of British Artists. His widow Matilda continued to live at Laurel Villa until around 1930 but later moved to 124 Waldegrave Road, Brighton where in 1939 she was living with her daughter Elsie and sister-in-law Flora. She died in Brighton in 1947, aged 99. Elsie died in Brighton in 1973. She was aged 92 and unmarried. 


After leaving the army William resumed his role at the Sheffield School of Art until around 1920 when he took a post at the Manchester School of Art for several years before moving back south to become the Headmaster of Gravesend School of Art, Kent. In September 1928 he was short-listed for the post of Principal of the Sheffield College of Arts and Crafts, as it had become known, but was ultimately unsuccessful. In the 1939 Register William was the Head of the renamed Gravesend School of Arts and Crafts and was living at The Heights, 44 Pine Avenue, Gravesend together with wife Eva and daughter Winifred who had become an assistant mistress at a secondary school. Winifred married Gerard Henry Tallack, a journalist with the Financial Times, in 1941. 

The Cricket Match by William Ongley Miller, 1947

After William retired, he and Eva continued to live at The Heights until her death on 11 February 1957, aged 68. William later lived with his daughter and son-in-law at 38 Canonbury Park South, Islington. Middlesex. He died on 10 May 1960 at St. Joseph's Hospice, Mare Street, South Hackney. He was aged 76. His works were exhibited at the Royal Academy, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Manchester City Art Gallery which still holds a rather unflattering portrait of his daughter which he painted in 1929.


March 2020

Ernest Alderson

Ernest Alderson was born in Totley in 1880. His father was William Alderson who was born in Gainford, Durham in 1842, the third of six children of Christopher Alderson, a farmer, and his wife Mary Ann Richardson who married at Staindrop, Durham on 29 March 1837. Ernest's mother was Emily Smith who was born about 1842 in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, the daughter of Richard Smith, also a farmer. Ernest's parents married at the (Cathedral) Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Sheffield on 22 November 1869. Both were aged 27, William was a joiner living in Broomhill and Emily was living at Arundel Street, Sheffield.


The couple made their home at Abbey View, Derbyshire Lane, Norton where a son, Harry (Henry), was born on 29 September 1870 and baptised on 1 January the following year at Norton St. James. The Aldersons were still in Norton in the census on 31 March 1871 but they moved soon after as their next child, Ellen (Eleanor), was born in Dronfield on 8 November 1872. Two more daughters were born in Dronfield, Alice Maud on 4 Apr 1875 and Jessie on 5 July 1877. 

St. James Church, Norton St. James Church, Norton

However, shortly after they must have moved to Totley as the next child Ernest was born here on 5 January 1880. In the census on 3 April the following year, the Alderson family were recorded at Totley Rolling Mill, although that name was also applied to Bricky Row. A daughter Ethel May was born on 1 November 1882 but she lived only 19 days and was buried in Dore Christ Church. Finally William and Emily's youngest child, Minnie, was born in Totley in 1884. Some school admission records have survived from which we know that Alice, Jessie and Ernest attended Norton Free Church of England School and that Jessie and Ernest later went to Totley Church School. Unfortunately no dates of leaving are recorded but by the time of the next census on 5 April 1891 the family were to be found at 60 Chippinghouse Road, Sharrow. That address would remain the family home for the next twenty years but there would be many departures.


Firstly Henry married Margaret Booker at St Barnabas, Highfield on 17 September 1894. They had two children, Henry junior born on 7 June 1895 in Sharrow and Gladys born on 4 July 1899 in Crookes. Henry became a gardener. Next to leave was Alice Maud who married William Illingworth, a groom, at St. Barnabas on 5 September 1900. They had two children, Dorothy Hilda born on 26 May 1902 in Wortley and Evelyn born on 16 September 1904 in Sheffield. Both Jessie and Ernest married in 1906. Jessie married Ernest Leonard Fielder, a silversmith, on 4 July 1906 at St. Barnabas, Highfield. We have not found any children of the marriage. 


We will come to Ernest later but first we need to record the death of his mother. On 17 December 1906, Emily Alderson fell downstairs at home at 60 Chippinghouse Road and fractured her skull. She later died from her injuries. At the inquest the jury found a verdict of accidental death and also noted that they considered the stairs dangerous without a handrail. Emily was aged 63.  


Ellen Alderson married George Henry Dunstan, a plumber, at St Barnabas on 7 September 1898. They lived in Norton, Upperthorpe and later Mexborough and had four children but only John Harold, born on 28 June 1904, reached adulthood. 


William and Emily's youngest daughter Minnie died in 1909. She was aged 25 and unmarried. That left just her widowed father, aged 69, at home at Chippinghouse Road on census night 2 April 1911. He died in 1926 aged 84.


Ernest Alderson had become a life assurance agent but, having raised a capital sum of £150, he commenced business as a draper at 157 Fitzwilliam Street in April 1903. On 21 November his premises were burgled and, it was claimed, £80 of stock was stolen, very little of which was recovered when the culprit, Henry Marrison, was apprehended. Ernest's business soon failed and a receiving order was made against him on 30 December 1903. In court it was established that Ernest had not kept proper accounts, indeed any accounts, and that receipts were missing - he claimed they had been accidentally burned - and that his financial position had been made even even worse through betting. There was a deficiency of £216 13s 7d. Ernest's offer to pay 7s 6d in the pound was refused by his creditors and he was adjudicated bankrupt in February 1904. At a further court appearance in May the Official Receiver applied for a commitment but His Honour said that whilst he looked upon the case with very grave suspicion, he would refuse the application and give Ernest the benefit of the doubt as he felt that he was not "a very sharp person". 


In 1906 Ernest married Agnes Ethel Ronksley in Ecclesall Bierlow. Agnes was born on 18 March 1884, the tenth of eleven children of Arthur Ronksley, a scissors manufacturer, and his wife Sarah Hannah Hinchcliffe who had married at St. Mary's Church, Sheffield on 16 September 1869. After their marriage Ernest and Agnes left Sheffield and over the course of the next few years lived at many addresses in north Middlesex and south Hertfordshire including Hackney, Tottenham, Edmonton, Waltham Cross and Ponders End. Their three children were all baptised at St Luke, Hackney: Violet Agnes born on 22 February 1908, Ernest Sydney William born on 20 September 1911 and Henry Frederick born on 23 February 1913. Ernest was still a draper when Violet was born but thereafter he returned to his earlier occupation of insurance agent.


Ernest enlisted at Edmonton as Private number G/51868 in the Royal Fusiliers. He served briefly from 3-11 December 1916 in the 22nd Battalion before being posted to the 24th Battalion (City of London Regiment). His war ended when he was killed in action on 21 March 1918 during the Battle of Cambrai. He is buried at the Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, Somme, France. He was awarded the the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Ernest does not appear on any local war memorial.

Ernest Alderson's Medals l/r: British War Medal, Victory Medal (Courtesy of Chris Emsley) Ernest Alderson's Medals l/r: British War Medal, Victory Medal (Courtesy of Chris Emsley)

Agnes also lost her younger brother during the war. Pte. Sydney Herbert Ronksley, number 7303, of the 2nd Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry died on 19 September 1914 at the Battle of the Marne. He was aged 26. Sydney is commemorated on the Hillsborough and Wadsley Bridge Parish War Memorial.


After the war, Agnes and the three children moved back to Sheffield and lived at 202 Sheffield Road, Wadsley Bridge and later at 138 Hangingwater Road, Ecclesall. On 11 July 1922 Agnes married John Lane, a gardener like his father Thomas, at the Parish Church, Owlerton. They lived at first at 8 Cheadle Street, Hillsborough. A son, John junior, was born the following year. 


It would appear that they later moved to 225 Nottingham Road, Burngreave as both Agnes and Ernest's sons died at that address. Ernest jnr, a cabinet maker's apprentice aged 18, died on 6 December 1929 and was buried at Burngreave Cemetery on 10 December. Henry, a clerk aged 17, died on 11 September 1930 and was buried in the same grave two days later. In the 1939 Register the Lane family were shown at 71 Fircoft Road, Shiregreen. Agnes died at 104 Homestead Road, Shiregreen and was buried with her two sons on 18 July 1958. She was aged 74. John Lane senior died the following year at Firvale Infirmary (Northern General Hospital) and was buried on 18 March. He was aged 82. 


Ernest's daughter Violet married James Horace Coxon, a surveyor, in 1932. It was, however, a bigamous marriage as James had married Teresa Mary Josephine Fitzgerald at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of The Rosary in Marylebone, London on 7 June 1920. She was the third daughter of Dr. Joseph Fitzgerald and his wife Mary Teresa Quinlan of Cappawhite, County Tipperary. James was sentenced to three years penal servitude for bigamy at Leeds Assizes on 4 December 1934 with a further 18 months imprisonment to run concurrently for theft, fraudulent conversion and falsification of accounts. He had been sentenced to imprisonment on at least two previous occasions for obtaining money by false pretences and fraudulent conversion: a term of six months in Leicester in 1929 and one of three months in Sussex in 1933. Teresa obtained a divorce in March 1936 whilst he was still in prison in Dartmoor. Violet and James remarried in 1938 and remained married until Violet's death on 7 August 1959 aged 51. James died in Rotherham in 1982, aged 89.


March 2020

Children of Cherrytree: Irene and Colin Bramhall

Irene Bramhall was born in Sheffield on 10 November 1910, the only daughter of Joseph Bramhall and his wife Edith, nee Harvey who had married at St. Luke's Parish Church, Dyer's Hill on 14 November 1909. In the census of 2 Apr 1911, the Bramhall family were living at 64 Bernard Street in the Park District of Sheffield. Joseph was working at an iron works as a steam crane driver. A son, Colin, was born on 9 February 1913. 


On July 1914 Joseph Bramhall enlisted as a Private in the 1st Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment at Sheffield. He was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force and died from wounds received in action on 21 October 1914. Joseph Bramhall was aged 29. He was buried at the Bailleul Communal Cemetery, Nord, France and posthumously awarded the 1914 Star,  British Campaign Medal, and Victory Medal. 


The In Memorium column of the Sheffield Evening Telegraph carried this moving tribute for Joseph on the first anniversary of his death:


BRAMHALL - In loving memory of my dear husband, Private Joseph Bramhall, of 1st East Yorkshire Regiment, died October 21, 1914 of wounds received in France, of 64 Bernard Street.


We think of him in silence,

And his name we often call;

Though there's nothing left to answer

But his photo on the wall.


- From his loving wife and children.


It would appear that after her husband's death, Edith and her two children returned to live at her parents' home at 61 Rhodes Street, Park. She died there on 21 January 1917 at the age of 34 and was buried on 3 February in City Road Cemetery.

L/R: Rev. Sandford Woods and Albert Senior L/R: Rev. Sandford Woods and Albert Senior

Sometime later that year Irene and Colin Bramhall were placed into the care of Cherrytree Orphanage, Totley. They were referred to the Orphanage by Rev. Sandford Woods and Albert Senior. Rev. Woods was the Vicar of Sale Memorial Church, Dyer's Hill, Sheffield. The Church was formerly known as St. Luke's and was the church where Irene had been baptised on 7 December 1910. Albert Senior was the son of Alderman George Senior, a former Lord Mayor of Sheffield and Master Cutler, and managing director of the steel manufacturing firm George Senior and Sons Ltd. of Ponds Forge, Sheffield and a director of several other large companies in the city. It is possible that Joseph Bramhall may have worked for one of Mr. Senior's companies before the war.


Nothing is known about Irene's time in the Orphanage. When she left the Orphanage on 12 July 1927, Irene was placed into domestic service with "Mrs. Bush of York" but unfortunately no more details of her placement are recorded. Her bank book had been forwarded to Mrs. Thompson, a senior member of the Orphanage's Management Committee, who would have been responsible for monitoring her progress. Irene was aged 16; a small War Gratuity would have been payable to her once she attained the age of 18.


Colin Bramhall got into a number of minor scrapes at the Orphanage and was twice reported to the Management Committee for bad behaviour, both times in the company of other older boys. Nevertheless they must have thought well of him because when an opportunity came up for a placement on a farm in Canada, Colin was chosen. Boys were normally outplaced at the age of 14 but the arrangements with the Ministry of Pensions were protracted and no doubt complicated by the Pensions Act of 1925 which gave additional protection to orphans. The Orphanage had earlier successfully financed the emigration of boys to Canada through the auspices of the Canadian National Railway, but in this case there was an offer made to the Lord Mayor's Office from a Mr. Petrie of Alberta to adopt a boy and by 19 July 1927 the matter was fully resolved.

SS Minnedosa SS Minnedosa

Colin Bramhall's name appears on the passenger list of the Canadian Pacific's SS Minnedosa which sailed from Liverpool on 16 September 1927, bound for Quebec City and Montreal. Although there is no entry in the Orphanage minutes, it was usual for Dr. Mary Andrews, the Orphanage's Medical Officer, to accompany boys to their ports of departure and to see them safely aboard ship. 


At the Management Committee meeting on 18 October 1927 it was reported that "Letters from Colin Bramhall, the last dated September 29th from Linaria, Alberta, were read giving interesting details of the boy's passage across the Atlantic and his arrival at the hostel at the place named." 


January 2020

Your Correspondence

We would like to thank our many readers for their correspondence in recent times.

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 in 1939 the occupants 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.


2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the first manned spacecraft landing on the moon. Neil Armstrong (commander), Buzz Aldrin ("Eagle" lunar module pilot) and Michael Collins ("Columbia" command module pilot) were the crew of Apollo 11 which landed on the moon on 20 July. Ian Clark drew our attention to this article about its predecessor, Apollo 10, which flew in May 1969 and was the dress rehearsal for the first landing. Follow this link It Came From Outer Space...  to Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet! to read how the Apollo 10 command module "Charlie Brown" made an appearance at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet in 1971 as part of a European tour. 


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.  


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.


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. T 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 ViewPeter 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: 


The Marstone Grange Estate from Bradway Bank , early 1940s The Marstone Grange Estate from Bradway Bank , early 1940s

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. 

Smith and Rose Jackson, in the early years of their marriage and in later life. Smith and Rose Jackson, in the early years of their marriage and in later life.

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.

Totley County School, June 1956 Totley County School, June 1956

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 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.

The Chemical Yard in 1972 The Chemical Yard in 1972


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. 


Brinkburn Grange Brinkburn Grange

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.


Madame Ruth Theaker, Ethelbert's Mother, in 1904 Madame Ruth Theaker, Ethelbert's Mother, in 1904

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 TheakerWe 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?

Dore and Totley High School, May 1933 Dore and Totley High School, May 1933

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.

Margaret Bailey has written to us from New Zealand enquiring about her mother's cousin, Samuel Wright. Cpl. Samuel Wright, 26/950, served with 4th Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade during WW1 and died on the Somme on 15 September 1916. He is buried at Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers in France and is commemorated on the Auckland Museum Memorial. Margaret would like to know more about Samuel, especially when and why he went to live in New Zealand and whether he is  commemorated on any war memorial in our area (no, he isn't).  Samuel was born in Dore in 1883, the son of Levi Wright and Ann Elizabeth Pickering, who lived at Oldhay Forge for most of their married lives. Samuel is shown as living there in the 1891 and 1901 censuses but we are unable to trace him in the 1911 census which suggests he may well have emigrated by then. Are there any descendants of the large Wright family who can add to what we have discovered? 
Martin Dykes, the Vice Captain of Abbeydale Golf Club has written to us recently. Martin is trying to locate photographs of several past Captains for inclusion in club archives and wonders whether anyone has a photograph of Maurice Henry Grayson who was Club Captain in 1917. The Grayson family were solicitors and it is thought that there was a connection with All Saints' Church. If you can help, please contact us through our usual email address at the top of this page.


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.

Sheffield Harriers outside The Stanhope Arms at Dunford, c.1900–1910 Sheffield Harriers outside The Stanhope Arms at Dunford, c.1900–1910
Michael Hardy of Dronfield has sent us a number of stories about hunting in in our area. One of them refers to the discovery of a naked Totley man, Edward Vaughan on the Moors; the others you can read by following this link to the Sheffield Harriers Hunt page. Michael has also sent us the background to a newpaper report on the death of Thomas Chapman who was killed by an express train in Totley Tunnel in 1906. 

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. 


The Old School House, Totley Hall Lane The Old School House, Totley Hall Lane, built in 1827

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.


The tower on the day before its demolition.


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.


Ian Denney has written to us about Tom Salt, who farmed at Woodthorpe Hall Farm. Ian had spotted the article written by Tom's daughter Carmen Salt, which was one of about fifty items from back issues of Totley Independent that we have added recently to our Life in Totley pages. Ian wonders whether anyone has footage from David Bellamy's television programme mentioned in the article or knows Carmen's email address. If you can help, please contact us through the email address at the foot of this column.
Maurice Ward Senior (1867-1916) taken on Penny Lane

Roy Wardwhose 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.


Totley brick by "C B & Co" being used to secure a gate on West View Close.

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.  

Midland Railway Company directors train, 1893

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:

Latest News

Coming Soon

June Meeting Cancelled


Taking precautions against the spread of the coronavirus is everyone's number one priority at this time. Accordingly, the monthly meetings of Totley History Group have been cancelled until further notice.


In the meantime, please continue to support your history group by sending us your queries, contributions and comments. 


n Wednesday 24th June, Pauline Burnett will be speaking to us about The History of Holidays - tracing how people from the middle ages celebrated the seasons, to the holiday entitlements and changing opportunities of 19th-21st centuries. The meeting will be in Totley Library, beginning as at 7.30pm.

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 Totley Rise Post Office and local shops. Also available in Dore at the Village Store or direct via our website.

Since 1875 when there was only a Rolling Mill and Chemical Yard alongside the river a mile from Totley, the area has changed beyond anyone's imagination  This book by Pauline Burnett tells the story of how it was named and grew into the community we know today. The Rise of Totley Rise has 94 pages including a useful index and is profusely illustrated throughout with many previously unpublished photographs from private collections. 

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.

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.

With more people having access to faster broadband and mobile networks, we have uploaded seven full and unedited oral history recordings and also added more short excerpts for you to listen to.

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.

We continue to add to our Totley Newspaper Archive. Recent entries have included several about The Plumbe Family, Thomas Glossop and accidents during the construction of Totley Tunnel.

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.


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