I spent my childhood years living at 18, Main Avenue, Totley in the nineteen sixties and seventies. When I grew older I learned from my father that our house had been built in 1911 and was one of the many houses on Main Avenue and the adjoining Sunnyvale Avenue that had been built just before the First World War as a "garden village" by the then famous Sheffield Restauranteur, Mr. Hudson. All the gardens were filled with ornamental and fruit trees. When my parents moved into our house in 1954 there was plenty of evidence of this. I remember as a child that we had three apple trees and one plum tree in the back garden and an almond and lime tree in the front garden, now only two of these still exist. Trees in other gardens have suffered the same fate although there is still a large Monkey Puzzle tree in the front garden further up Main Avenue from that time, and no doubt readers of this article can tell me of many other interesting species in the area.
Sunnyvale Road was once to be called Park Lane. Mr. Hudson envisaged the area looking something like a London garden suburb, but time and lack of money frustrated him in some of his plans. I now live in a London garden suburb and travel down Park Lane to work often, so have thought about his original plan for Main Avenue and this led me on to think about and write down some of my memories of my childhood for the Totley Independent.
When I think back winters always seemed much colder as a child, but maybe I am thinking of the severe winter of 1963. What I do remember from that time is the great Sheffield Gale. Poplar trees on Sunnyvale Road were uprooted and twisted out of the soil, our glass veranda was smashed, my mother awoke to see a greenhouse seemingly floating from one garden to another and my Dad still went to work.
It was also about this time that I started my first years at Totley County Primary School. Opened in 1951 it existed with the much older Totley Church of England School at the top of Hillfoot Road which was opened in 1897. Both are still here today, and as a child I remember some rivalry between pupils of the two as we walked to school. Does this exist today I wonder? In those days work was tailored to getting pupils through the eleven-plus examinations. As a result, all pupils ended up being divided into the 'A' stream for those who academically did well and the 'B' stream for those who did not. This was terribly discriminatory and 'B' stream pupils sometimes ended up being taught in the school stock room.
All children were put into 'houses' and earned 'house points' for their endeavours, gaining them for good work or behaviour and loosing them for bad behaviour. The houses were named after the historic homes in Derbyshire - Chatsworth, Haddon, Hardwick and Thornbridge. Each house's overall total could be viewed on a board near the Assembly Room. A few very lucky or unfortunate people, depending on how you looked at it, were appointed house captains.
I have to say that discipline was pretty strict at times. The Headmistress, Miss Clarehorough, had a cane that I saw only once. I still have a vivid picture of her striding down the narrow main corridor with a cane that was three-quarters her length. However it was more for effect than use. Many pupils were frightened of her, particularly if they were told to wait on one of two 'crush hall mats' outside the Assembly Room to be seen by her.
School Assembly was an important part of school life. Hymn practice came after it on Tuesdays and on Fridays pupils were invited to act in front of the school. This meant children did their own sketches and would queue up to do this, sometimes with costumes on. I really enjoyed this, and with friends planned them carefully and made props with the advantage that my mother was a drama teacher and actively encouraged me.
Out of school, I played with children from neighbouring houses on Main Avenue. We would ride our bicycles, tricycles and scooters up and down the pavement, sometimes racing them from the top of Main Avenue down to its junction with Sunnyvale Road. When my mother developed a bad back when I was still very young, I used to do the shopping for her. At the top of Main Avenue the butcher's shop was owned by Mr. Pashley, the greengrocer's by Mr. Baylis. Further down Baslow Road lay the newsagent's owned by Mr. Wesley. This was a treasure trove of sweets, comics and other items. At the back of the shop, to the left of a high counter where people bought their newspapers and sweets lay books and Matchbox cars. It was here that I bought my first Biggles books and I would spend some time looking at what he had in stock, particularly near to bonfire night. The Co-op lay quite a way from the then single carriageway road. There was plenty of space to play in front of it. Across the road lay Gower and Burgon's, always regarded as a posh alternative to the Co-op.
I sometimes had my hair cut at Monty's, a couple of shops farther up, it was a small hairdressers for men. Invariably I got a pudding bowl haircut, but I grinned and bore it. The other hairdresser was Mr. Harper on Totley Rise; his shop was altogether bigger and grander. I preferred to go there. As I got older, I was allowed to walk down there. Swift's the newsagent had a big shop too, and there was a coffee bar where some of the teenagers hung out.
When I was thirteen or so we bought a dog, a lovely labrador retriever, with some Rhodesian ridgeback in him. He needed long walks and I would take him up by the Totley Training College. Originally Totley Hall was bought by Sheffield Corporation in 1944, It became a Training College of Housecraft and extensive new buildings were added, close to the Hall. When I was young it was a Training College for teachers, and it was taken in by Sheffield Polytechnic. When very young, I remember a tower block going up behind Sunnyvale Avenue. It was to be a new accommodation area for students, and caused an outcry amongst residents. Being so high, everyone’s garden on one side of Sunnyvale Road was overlooked - their privacy had gone. Now this site lies empty, residents must be breathing a sigh of relief.
I remember at 15 sneaking in with friends to the newly built Students Union building and listening to my first live rock band - String Driven Thing. We must have looked very serious, we thought at any time we would get thrown out. A member of the band told us to "cheer up at the back - you should be enjoying yourselves".
There have been many changes to Totley over the years, and one of the best improvements was the decision to get of of all the prefabricated buildings - the prefabs - situated on or near Green Oak Road. I had a newspaper round that covered this area and remember those thin-walled boxes. Many had damp and suffered the ravages of time, they had out-grown their use as temporary housing for people after World War Two. Finally, thirty years later they were replaced by flats which to my mind were a vast improvement though perhaps some remember them with affection.
A final memory, being a librarian, was the building of Totley Library in the 1970s. Before this the local library had been situated on the junction between Baslow Road and Busheywood Road, where there is now a hairdressers. Here I handed up my books to a lady behind a very high counter before dashing out to Martin's the newsagents next door - is that still there today? On the corner of Busheywood Road was a food store, a small supermarket that had a bad fire in the early seventies. I remember looking on after finishing at King Ecgbert Comprehensive School as flames engulfed the shop inside. A sharp crack saw one of the windows break and I was grabbed by a passer-by and told to keep my distance from the burning building. However memories of Secondary School and life as a teenager and young adult are a different story. Perhaps I should write those memories up too, when I have time.
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.
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.
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.
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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