Totley History Group
Totley History Group

The Theaker Family

The Theakers' shop, 15-17 Baslow Road (photo: Josie Dunsmore)

We are delighted to have received this enquiry from a relative of one of Totley Rise's earliest shopkeepers.

Hi,


My sister has researched the Theaker family as far as possible, unfortunately my Grandad Joseph Henry Theaker who married my Grandma Ada Steele was disowned by his family. We can not therefore trace his sibling's children. His siblings being Ethelbert, Ruth Ada Matilda, Lilian, Harriet Maud, Lottie. My Grandad was the youngest, we know his brother Ethelbert had a Tobacconist & Newsagents shop at Totley. What we don't know is whether he and his wife Helena had children or not. If it is possible is there any way your group can find this out? If they did have offspring it would be great to trace them and get in touch.

 

It’s not just offspring from Ethelbert but offspring from my Grandad’s sisters too. Joseph Theaker was 29 when he married Grandma, she was 20. She was the family’s maid from being 13. He left Grandma with 4 children to raise. Through research my sister found out he died penniless in an hostel on West Street. My Grandma had 3 sons and a daughter to him, my Dad being one of them. She got a new partner Frank Muscroft (they never married) and she had two sons. I often wonder what his siblings were told about their brother.


My great-grandad was called Henry, his wife was Ruth (from Wolverhampton). He was a general dealer in Heeley in 1901 and before that around 1881 he lived on Arundel Street and was an ironmonger.

 

I would really appreciate it if you could put a request for me on your website please.

                                                                       Yours Sincerely

                                                                       Joyce Moore (nee Theaker)

A quick search through the back issues of Totley Independent has turned up a few entries including the photograph above (February 2011) and this piece from Jo Rundle in July 2005:

 

The row of houses came next, to the last shop at the bottom of the row, the newspaper shop owned by Mr. Ethelbert Theaker and his wife. Until Mr.Wesley opened his shop this was the only place to obtain a newspaper, magazine or comic, but as he delivered every day there was no loss, and we could always enjoy our Comic Cuts on Monday and Chips on Wednesday and the daily paper for the adults. 

Dan Reynolds mentioned the Theakers in his memoirs:

 

Mr and Mrs Theaker who sold tobacco, sweets and daily papers, were two small people and always jolly. Mr Theaker spoke bluntly and was very amusing in fact - they were both down to earth Yorkshire folk who kept a parrot near the doorway of the living room to the shop.

 

If you are able to help Joyce with her family history research, please write to us at our usual address: enquiries@totleyhistorygroup.org.uk.

 

Footnote

 

Ethelbert and Helena Theaker appear in our transcriptions of the Totley Censuses for 1901 and 1911. In the earlier census the couple were living in Chapel Walk and Ethelbert's occupation was a wood turner. The 1911 census for Totley Rise shows Ethelbert, aged 43, a tobacconist and newsagent and Helena, aged 37, who assisted in the business. They were both born in Sheffield and had been married for 15 years. The census records that they had had two children, both of whom had died.

 

Trade directories show that the Theakers ran the Totley Rise shop for more than twenty years (1903-1925). They eventually moved to Bridlington. Ethelbert died in 1943 and Helena in 1946.

 

 

More...

In browsing through Brian Edwards's research files we came across this gem extracted from A Tapestry of Life by Dorothy A. Trott, former Principal of Dore & Totley High School.

The rather ugly row of workman's dwellings on Totley Rise had been constructed to house the Irish navvies recruited to build the Dore and Chinley Railway Tunnel, in 1897. The residents thought them an eyesore, but were promised that they would be demolished when no longer required. However, it was not to be, and they are still in use, ninety years later.

 

Converted into small shops and artisans' dwellings, the bottom one housed the local newsagent, Mrs. Theaker.

 

She always appeared to be very angry and swore violently if we lingered around her shop longer than was necessary to buy a pennyworth of sweets, but we lived in hope of catching a glimpse or a sound of the brown horse she kept in her cellar. Some had seen it, some had not and on rare occasions, she let it out and harnessed it to the little trap she kept in her back garden.

 

Fortunately, our limited vocabulary was not impaired by Mrs. Theaker, for we neither understood nor remembered the terrible oaths she spat at us, but our parents warned us not to go near the shop.

 

The only newsagent for some miles, Mrs. Theaker made a lot of money, retired to a bungalow in Skegness and our Mrs. Bainbridge took over the prosperous little shop. 

Update

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 Theaker. 

 

We are very grateful to Ted for the information he has supplied including a family tree and this delightful photo card of Ethelbert's mother, Ruth, which dates from 1904 when she ran the Britannia Acadamy at Old Havelock House, 2 Myrtle Street, Heeley. She styled herself Mme. Theaker M.B.A.T.D., (Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing) and later U.K.A (United Kingdom Alliance of Professional Teachers of Dance). She advertised her Adult Learners' and Improvers Classes regularly in the Sheffield newspapers teaching "Waltz, Schottische, Lancers and Veleta" in one term.

Descendants of Henry Theaker
Courtesy of Ted Jones
Descendants of Henry Theaker.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [309.8 KB]

 

The New Heeley Voice, September 2012 page 15 recalls Havelock House and the Theakers.
 

Sid's Sites

Memories of Heeley with Sid Wetherill
No. 2 Myrtle Road was a large, seven-room detached house overlooking the River Sheaf and the railway line. It stood at the corner of Prospect and Myrtle Roads. It was occupied in 1891 by the Theaker family: Henry, an ironmonger whose shop, 'Rag & Tag' was in Sheaf Market, and his wife, Ruth, a teacher of dancing - her studio was on the premises. The Theakers were still there for the 1901 and 1911 census. After the Theakers the Golds moved in and No. 2 was a 'corner shop'. Alfred was the shopkeeper and his daughter Jessie was a dance teacher using the studio. In the 1930s it was still a corner shop but a Miss Bamforth was renting the dance studio. The house was finally demolished in 1962.

Latest News

The first meeting after our summer break will be on Wednesday, 27th September when we present an illustrated talk by David Templeman called Mary, Queen of Scots: The Final Journey - From Sheffield to Fotheringhay (1584-1587). This talk relates the compelling tale of the events leading up to and including Mary’s trial and execution. Mary’s courage and conduct come to the fore as she takes her tragic story through Wingfield Manor, Tutbury Castle, Chartley Manor, Texall and culminating in the climax at Fotheringhay Castle where she is tried and executed for High Treason. But was she guilty? That is the question this talk addresses. The meeting is in Totley Library, starting at 7.30 p.m. 

Then on Wednesday, 25th October we will be holding another in our popular series of themed Open Meetings, when you will be invited to share memories of Totley Then and Now. There will be over a hundred pairs of photographs showing how Totley's buildings, lanes, and open spaces looked in the past compared with the same scene today. The meeting will be held in Totley Library beginning as usual at 7.30 p.m.

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.

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 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 and Norton.

 

 

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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