Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Don Ashford

Our Early Days in Totley

Recently my wife commented on the friendliness shown her when shopping at shops on Totley Rise and this started us once again reminiscing about when we came to live here in 1957. I had come to work in Sheffield and, after the usual hunt we bought a house not yet built. One lunchtime a colleague offered to drive me up from town to check building progress. He lived off Twentywell Lane and said we would go there for a bite to eat and would need to call at the shops beforehand.

 

This is my first memory of the shops and I have to admit it was not an auspicious one. He parked the car and went to buy two large chops from Tyms the butcher. As I recall there was a sloping wooden panel in the window and here the meat was displayed - not very hygienic was my thought. After we moved here we were regular customers there over many years. An abiding memory is of Horace, slinging the bits he trimmed off meat, into the corner of the shop. I always imagined these were his sausage ingredients, so much nicer than today’s pre-packed offerings from supermarkets.

 

Another regular port of call was Mrs Springs well stocked sweet shop. Sometimes, on the way back from a local Sunday walk, we would call in for the children to select something from the halfpenny tray, a selection laid out to tempt any small child and needing much consideration before the choice was made. This always had to be done under Mrs Springs vigilant guard. I seem to remember Mrs Spring telling me her father ran the photo shop in Norfolk Row in town - the Sheffield Photo Company- and that he was a pioneer of cine films.

 

Occasionally my wife and I would treat ourselves, not being restricted to the tray! The constraint in those days was more financial than possible effect on the waistline. A little higher up were the delicatessen run by Eric and Davy's the provision merchants. We occasionally shopped there though most of our provisions were from Ormes at the corner of Bushey Wood Road. The system there was for a lady to come round to the house to collect the order which was then delivered later. I suppose this may be regarded as the forerunner of ordering over the internet - but no charge and no minimum order.

 

Next to Ormes was Bradshaw's greengrocer, Jimmy Martin next to them, and the local branch of the city library, now a hairdresser's establishment. Our girls loved to go to chose their books from the children' selection. One of our early neighbours here was manager of the large Davy's branch in Fargate, the one which always had the lovely smell of grinding coffee. He occasionally gave me a lift into town and I remember him having a little moan one morning. He compared his job with that of the manager of M&S also in Fargate. The point he was making was that as soon as any line did not sell well in M&S it was withdrawn. On the other hand he had to stock over 5000 different items and he could be called to account if a customer found just one not available. Of course M&S survived and Davys disappeared.

 

Another illustration of different attitudes to service comes from my own family. My son- in-law John works in London in the news industry. His first job every day before breakfast is to devour the morning newspapers. His regular grumble whenever he stayed here over a bank holiday was that he couldn't get them because Jim Martin was closed. We, on the other hand remember Jim's kindness all round. Shortly after our move here my wife asked for a magazine Jim didn't have. A few days later he dashed out when he saw her at the bus stop to tell her he'd got it. Another time offering to cash a cheque before cash machines were around, reminding us to get tickets for the local shows, selling someone a single battery fiam a pack of four and many others.

 

It was not just the shopkeepers who seemed so helpful in those days. We moved into the new house in the depth of winter, in early December with two small girls. What could be more welcoming than finding a pint of milk on the doorstep left there before we were up by Mr & Mrs Frith who continued to supply us for many years. Two particular things I remember about Mrs Frith were her refusal to accept any "alien" milk bottles for return and her scorn for "hogmanised" (homogenised) milk. I am sure it is not just we oldies who look back on those times with pleasant memories.

 

Our three daughters have all been known to drag up some memory from their childhood Recently our eldest daughter related a tale, perhaps towards the end of her primary school days. She said she had been allowed to join a group of local children, each armed with sixpence, to go to the chip shop on the rise. Apparently their goal was to buy a bag of chips each, a real treat different from home prepared variety. It turned out on arrival at the chip shop one of the lads discovered he was a penny short of the required sum for the bag of chips. This must have been before the cod war because he was able to buy a portion of fish instead. However the lady serving couldn't bear this poor lads disappointment, so gave him a few chips as well and so he got fish and chips.

 

Of course they were lucky in two particular aspects, a lot of children of similar ages all moving into these few houses within about a year, and being at a time when they could go unescorted by adults as they grew older.

 

In days before widespread television, mobile phones, internet and universal car transport, they were more dependent on their own resources for play and entertainment. Perhaps on some future occasion I may be allowed to offer other memories of changes since our early days here. 

 

December 2008

When We Came To Totley

We moved into our present house in December 1957. I had been working in Sheffield from January of that year, travelling on buses from our home in Doncaster as we didn’t have a car.  We came into a small development of sixteen new houses built onto a road of properties built between the two world wars. We then had two daughters and more than half of the houses had children of, or approaching school age, so there never seemed a shortage of playmates when they were young. As the road is a cul-de-sac and the cars were fewer and slower, the children were fairly free to visit each other’s houses.  

 

Our house in Doncaster had been built post war, still with building restrictions, and was very cold except close to the fire. It took major courage to leave the fireside and go into the kitchen to prepare a bedtime drink. Our newer house in contrast was almost tropical. It didn’t have central heating, double glazing or cavity wall insulation. It did have a coke boiler in the kitchen which could be left on all night and was very cosy. The boiler fed a copper radiator on the landing to keep the upstairs chill at bay.  

 

One of the first letters my wife wrote to a former neighbour in Doncaster extolled the shops in easy reach compared to the two with us in reach in Bessacarr. This, of course, was before the days of deep freeze and domestic refrigerators. Shopping was almost a daily necessity so to have Ormes store as we reached the main road, greengrocer next door and then Jimmy Martin’s treasure trove of a shop next and a branch of the city I library. On Totley Rise, then still the main road, were the newsagent, fishmonger, two butchers, sweet shop, haberdashery, children’s clothing and footwear, cobbler, post office and even a branch of the large Sheffield provision merchant Davys. On the opposite side of the road up on the bank, were ladies and gents hairdressers (separate in those days), a bank, electricians and painter and decorator, wallpaper shop. Ormes employed a lady to go round and collect grocery orders for later delivery- a far cry from a visit to the supermarket and scrabbling on shelves at floor level or at unattainable heights to load a trolley for oneself. Something she didn’t mention which I am sure would have amused - a lamplighter still came round each evening to light individual gas lamps.  

 

Early in 1958 we purchased our first car, a three year old "Ford Pop”. Again this was "local shopping” from the Cross Scythes car dealer. Petrol was bought and servicing carried out at Thompson’s garage on the site above the Glover Road junction, more recently a veterinary surgery.  

 

After the Easter holiday of that year came an important family event, start of school. Many members of staff at Totley Primary are remembered by all our girls with affection and mentioned from time to time. One mentioned recently raised a smile. One of our girls, when in Mrs White’s class, had a slight "accident”. On the way home when her mother collected her from school said matter of factly "mummy, I’ve got Mrs White's panties on!”  

 

Of course so many things have happened in the time since we came. For example I can think of more than twenty major building developments in the vicinity and yet there is still a housing shortage! Car ownership and usage has increased x-fold. Public transport buses do not seem as well maintained and as clean as they were when part of the local authority fleet.  However, to return to an earlier statement, if my wife were to write a similar letter today she would still be able to comment on a reasonable variety of shops though very different from when we came.

 

One good aspect which is still with us is the friendly helpful nature of the staff in the shops. Even so I am not sure we could replicate an event we remember. A gentleman in the road, then in his nineties, had looked after his invalid wife over many years. After she died, he decided to take a holiday in the Hebrides. This was in the days before package holidays were so common. One day, as my wife passed his home, he asked her to take a telegram to the post office. This was to book his sailing. “Ask Mrs Jackson to send it and tell her I’ll pay her next time I’m in."  

 

May 2012

Our Early Days in Totley (2)

A recent note in the Totley Independent that the History Group members were seeking evidence from the 1940's prompted me to think about our early experiences here. We moved into our newly built house here in December 1957. I had worked in Sheffield from January of that year and my first local experience dates from that summer. A works colleague who lived in Twentywell Avenue offered to take me one lunchtime to see how our house was progressing. He parked on the Rise, then the main road, and purchased two large pork chops from Tym's the butchers. My recollection of my first view of the shop was meat displayed on sloping wooden boards in the window.  

 

When we moved in here we thought we were in paradise as far as shopping was concerned. We had moved from the Bessacar area of Doncaster with only two "corner" shops, newsagent and greengrocer. During the next nine years my wife was engaged in the "school run" - rather different from what the term means presently. Her vehicles were not a variety of cars but first a large Silver Cross pram, then a push chair, and, on more than one occasion a large toboggan type sledge when schools did not close when snow fell. Consequently she did a lot of almost daily shopping on her journeys to and from school. My excursions there were mostly at weekends and so I also got to know many of the shops.

 

The first group we passed on the way from home were on the corner of Abbeydale Road South and Bushey Wood Road. On the corner was Orme's who also had a store in Bakewell. Next door was the greengrocer Bradshaw's and then Martin's the last survivor of that group. The other end of this group was the branch library before the present one on Baslow Road. The lowest shop on the Rise, now demolished and rebuilt was Bonner's the newsagents. Our eldest daughter had a "Star" delivery round there for pocket money. She tells me they had a list of houses they covered, corrected by Mrs. Bonner for holidays and cancellations. Their first job was to count the number of copies they needed for that delivery and woe betide anyone short or in excess! I cannot remember any shop between Bonner's and Chambers' the fishmongers. The fish and chip shop in those days was fairly low down, though I'm not sure exactly where.

 

A story about that stems from those days. Our little group of sixteen new houses meant all our three girls had plenty of playmates of similar ages. One of our girls and a group of four or five friends went to the chip shop to buy 6d. worth of chips each. On arrival one of the boys had lost Id. and was allowed a small piece of fish instead. Then the lady serving also gave him a few chips as well! Does this story show how cheap fish was in those days?  Higher up, possibly where the Indian Restaurant now trades, were the Baby Bar and Whitehead's, treasure houses for children's clothes, footwear and wool, materials and sundries for homemade children's wear. Higher still were the pharmacy, Robinson's grocery, Tym's the butchers and Spring's sweet shop. Although at this time giants such as Boots the Chemist had taken over many privately-run pharmacies, ours was still a survivor. Many still dispensed their own remedies, not just selling pre-packaged medicines off the shelf. One in particular I remember Burton's Bronchial Balsam. This almost burned the back of your throat off but it quickly cleared away any coughs sneezes and wheezes.  Horace an ex-army man managed the butchers, always helpful and deft with meat choppers and lethally sharpened knives.  

 

In those days the elderly Mrs. Spring was usually in charge of the sweet shop. My visits there were usually on a Sunday afternoon family visit after a local walk. When asked she would reluctantly produce from under the counter the "penny tray". This contained a variety of sweets, some small enough to be bought four for a penny. No matter how long the little customers pondered over what to buy she stood guard with eagle eye. Some Sundays the shop was operated by Mrs Spring's daughter-in-law and granddaughter who were less obvious guardians of the penny tray. I believe Mrs Spring told me her father was the pioneer Sheffield photographer (Frank?) Mottershaw.

 

Continuing up were Eric's small delicatessen, Damms' the cobblers with hairdressing above or behind. Mr & Mrs Damms were keen walkers on continental holidays. I remember one day he told me he paid £40.00 for his boots - that seemed a fortune to me in those days. Davys the Sheffield provision merchants had a branch below the Post Office, where Mrs Jackson provided the service. The counter was then on the left as you entered, not the right as it is now. Beyond the Post Office were Thompsons the butchers and Grattons general store. My wife has a memory about the Post Office which nicely illustrates how most of the shops helped in a personal way. When we first moved in a Mr & Mrs Midgley lived in a detached corner house at the bottom of the road. The house had the date carved into the stonework. For many years Mr Midgley looked after his invalid wife until her death. After her death he decided to go on holiday to the islands off the north of Scotland. One day when my wife passed his house on the way to collect the children from school he asked her to call in the Post Office for him. "Ask her to send this telegram and I'll pay her the next time I'm in." It was to confirm booking of some holiday accommodation he had arranged. He was then probably in his nineties.  

 

No doubt readers with better memories than mine will be able to find mistakes in what I think I remember but this cannot detract from our nostalgic thoughts of those happy days. 

 

August 2013

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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