Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Meetings in 2018


The Tenants and Workers of Abbeydale Hamlet 1740-1933

Wednesday 23rd May 2018


On Wednesday 23rd May, Pauline Burnett gave the gathered group in Totley Library an illustrated talk about the Abbeydale works and its workers from 1740 to 1933.

Just three tenancies covered all but twenty years of these two centuries: the Goddard family, John Dyson and the Tyzack family. The first record of a single grinding wheel in the vicinity of Abbeydale is in the late 17th century. It was the Goddard family arriving in 1738 that changed the area into an industrial site during their 65 year tenancy. Building the dam allowed use of  the newly developed water-powered machinery and their reputation as manufacturers of quality edge tools was nationwide. Martin Goddard died a very wealthy man in 1816, leaving £20,000.


John Dyson was not so fortunate. After a very ambitious start he also bought Totley Rolling Mill and established the brick works on Totley Moor (mining ganister for the crucible pots). Unfortunately he suffered at the hands of the Union agitators, probably because he had come to their notice for not paying union rates. The Grinding Hull was destroyed by an explosion, ultimately leading to his bankruptcy because of lost production. 


Dyson’s tenancy was followed by William Tyzack and Sons, later incorporating Turner into their partnership. William’s grandson Joshua started his working life at the Abbeydale but changed direction as his interest in farming grew. He had bought Old Hay Mill from the company when they stopped production there in the 1890ds and subsequently ran it as a farm, employing housekeepers and farm managers, but never living there himself. On his death in 1930 a well-kept secret was revealed when his farm manager, Jessie Fisher, was found to be his wife, having married him secretly in 1920. She inherited his considerable wealth.


Working in the steel industry was a dangerous occupation and life expectancy short. Safety wasn’t considered, industrial incidents happened frequently and the court rulings and inquests usually looked on the events as ‘accidental’. Families living in the tied cottages changed little, passing down the generations as sons or sons-in-law followed their fathers into the industry. We heard about the lives of just a few of the men.
…two men named William Price who moved (almost a century apart) from Belbroughton in Worcestershire, bringing their skills from a similar scythe-grinding region.
…Albert Fearnehough, a scythegrinder, who for a number of years left the industry to work at Edward Carpenter’s smallholding in Millthorpe. Albert’s wife Mary was his housekeeper.
…William Naylor and his anti-smallpox vaccination campaign.
…John Smith, yardman, who was called to give evidence after the boiler explosion in 1870.


Tyzack’s finally left Abbeydale in 1933 when their site at Little London became their main focus. J.G. Graves bought the abandoned Abbeydale works and gave it to the city of Sheffield. After restoration it opened as the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet in 1970.    



Wincobank: Hill Fort, Hall and Community
Wednesday 25 April 2018


There was another excellent turnout on Wednesday 25 April to listen to Penny Rea who talked about Wincobank and 5,000 years of its history.


Wincobank Hill overlooks Meadowhall and Attercliffe and can see the railway, the motorway and the canals and also views over Firvale, Firth Park, and the City Centre. Also, Wincobank Hill can be seen from Blacka Moor.
It was a hunting park for Manor Park and was a rural place before the industrial revolution.


Western Park Museum have some interesting pieces that have been on display which tells us that people were there from over 5,000 years ago.


The rampart on the hill looks quite spectacular, burnt findings have been found there and not sure if this is from burning or decommissioning of the site. The centre of the fort not been excavated. There is a ridge that runs below the hill and believe that this maybe prehistoric, it follows the line of the parish boundary. The footpath here is used to get to Meadowhall and for thousands of years people have used the path. 


The Duke of Norfolk in 1905 gave the site to the City along with its ancient woodland. The trees in the woodland are interesting, they are often cut down so the branches grow out at several angles from the ground. There was a house and cottages on the hill dating from the 1700s, these were demolished after the Sheffield gales in 1962, Wincobank Hall was demolished in 1925, the hall dates from at least 1715 and probably before.


It had beautiful gardens, with ornamental flowers. Lead has been found from the windows of the hall. 


In 1816 the site was sold to Joseph Reed and his family, his wife Elizabeth and their children, 5 daughters and a son. The Reed family originally lived at Attercliffe but as the air got polluted from the factories they decided to move to Wincobank where there were lovely views. 


Elizabeth Reed was involved with the Sheffield Ladies anti-slavery society and actively supported other campaigns for social reform. 


By 1817 they had established a chapel in the coach house and a Sunday School in the laundry room, there being no other place to worship nearby. 

Unfortunately they got into financial difficulties and had to sell Wincobank Hall. Their daughter inherited some money from her husband’s family and brought the hall and cleared their debts. She applied for a grant and built a school which coincided with The Factory Act where children working in the factories had to have 2 hours of schooling a week which had to be paid for. 

Penny encouraged everyone to visit Wincobank Hill, the view is worth seeing and you can also view the graves in the graveyard and the chapel which is still in use today.


We thanked Penny for a fascinating talk, we found out lots of interesting history about Wincobank that we did not know about before.



Off The Track in Derbyshire

Wednesday, 28 March 2018


On Wednesday 28 March, a large audience gathered in Totley Library to enjoy an illustrated talk by Stephen Gay about the rail journey from Sheffield to Edale. 


We started at Dore Station where the line goes under Twentywell Lane. A lot of trees have been cut down along the embankment here due to the leaves falling on the line, there is a 1 in 1000 gradient which is steep for a rail line and can cause issues with leaves on the line. 


The line then carries onto the entrance to Dore and Totley Tunnel under a Victorian footbridge off Grove Road where there is also a refuge siding which is still in use A photo showing the view of the line from the aqueduct by Totley Brook Road shows the entrance to the tunnel. The tunnel is 3.5 miles long and has 5 ventilation shafts. 


Stephen’s walk then continued over the top of the tunnel from Owler Bar to Fox House and the Longshaw Estate to Grindleford station where the exit of the tunnel is located. Here it shows the date of completion of the building of the tunnel in 1893. At the station there is a cafe which sells great bacon sandwiches and pints of tea!! 


The next station along the route is Bamford station, it then crosses over the River Derwent by Lose Hill. The maximum speed limit on the line is 90mph and it carries both passenger trains and freight trains, including the TransPennine Express. 


The next stop is Hope Station where there is a lovely iron footbridge that has recently been refurbished. From here you can get to Win Hill with great views of Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs. We then travel along to Edale Station where they are also great views of Loose Hill. 


We thanked Stephen for a very interesting talk with some great photos that he’d taken along the way, illustrating the journey. 



The Shell, Armaments and Munitions Crisis, 1915-1916
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 


On Wednesday 24 January, at the reaarranged venue of Totley Rise Methodist Church, Chris Corker talked to us about Sheffield 1915-16 Armaments, the Shell Crisis and Munitions Production.


There were a technologically advanced group of armament companies in the UK making weapons. There were 8 of these and 5 of the companies were in Sheffield. They had important links across the world and Sheffield was considered to be the arsenal of the world. War started in 1914 and these companies agreed to orders without considering if they had the capacity to fulfil them. They were unprepared for the demands of the war. 
Vickers – River Don – Armour plate, finished guns and projectiles 
Cyclos Works – Armour plate, projectiles and gun forgings 
Grimesthorpe Works – Armour plate, projectiles and gun forgings 
John Browns – Atlas Works – Armour plate, gun forgings 
Thomas Firths – Projectiles and gun forgings 
Hadfields – Projectiles and light armour 
Shell factories began to be built in Tinsley. Workers had notifications that they did not have to go to war, however, some workers wanted to be released from the gun factories for enlistment.


By May 1915 only 27% of the total orders taken had been delivered. There was now a shell crisis as factories had given promises that they could not keep. The Ministry of Munitions was established on 25 May 1915 under the leadership of David Lloyd George, and entrusted with mobilising all the British industry munitions production. The ministry set up a national projectile factory, however, the armaments companies objected to the Government run national shell factories so it was agreed they would be owned by the government and managed by the companies. Firths built at Templeborough and the Hadfields factory was built at East Hecia Works.


King George V visited Sheffield on 29 September 1915 and went to Thomas Firths. Sir Robert Abbott Hadfield – 1858 to 1940 – He was encouraged by his dad to research metallurgy and discovered manganese steel.


The Brodie Helmet was initially manufactured in Sheffield by Thomas Firths, after the first batch Hadfield realised that manganese steel was very hard wearing and ideal for these helmets.


The national projectile factories commenced production and more women were being enlisted to work in the weapon manufacture as production increased.


Firths – Construction began in September 1915, commenced shell turning on 19 January 1916, there were 1,300 male and 4,000 female workers.


Hadfields – Construction began in late September 1915 and completed in March 1916, shell turning began on 25 March 1916. Hadfields ran out of space so a decision was made to change the direction of the River Don in late 1915-16 for further building expansion. 


The Battle of Jutland – 31 May-1 June 1915 - This battle put the armaments to the test. It was the largest naval battle of the Great War, however, the projectiles did not work efficiently. Empire leaders visited Hadfields in July 1916 even though the projectiles had failed. Hadfield realised there were problems and patented a new model in October 1916.


Chris was thanked for a very interesting and informative talk. 

Latest News

Coming Soon

On Wednesday 27th June Rachel Parkin will be telling us about the History of Chatsworth Gardens. The gardens have evolved over more than 450 years with major contributions from "Capability" Brown and Joseph Paxton. The meeting will begin at 7.30pm in Totley Library.


On the evening of Wednesday 25th July, there will be a walk led by the Friends of Gillfield Wood revealing the industrial past of the wood and adjacent fields. Approximately 2 miles/2 hours. Non-members are welcome. Please wear strong footwear.  Meet at the farm gate at the bottom of Totley Hall Lane at 6pm.


Our first event after the summer break will be on Wednesday 26th September when we welcome back Ted Hancock with a talk called An Exploration of the Life of Ebenezer Hall of Abbeydale Hall. Ebenezer Hall was a silversmith, magistrate and benefactor but is often best remembered for his objections to the building of the Dore & Chinley Railway which cut through his estate. The meeting is in Totley Library beginning at 7.30pm.

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.

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"

As we have nowhere to exhibit memorabilia and artifacts, we have decided to create a Virtual Museum instead, starting with old bottles that were found under the floor of the Old Infant School. Please contact us by email if you would like to see the real thing or have things that you own and would like to see added to the virtual museum.

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 John Roberts and the building of St. John's Church. There are several about the history of Brinkburn Grange and its first occupier, John Unwin Wing, an accountant who later lived at Totley Hall before being convicted of forgery and fraud and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment in Pentonville gaol. There are more than 50 articles from the 1880s and 1890s about Joseph Mountain and the Victoria Gardens, and twenty on the construction of the Totley Tunnel and the Dore and Chinley Railway.

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 600 gravestones in  the churchyard.


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