Doug Turner

Childhood Memories of Totley Bents and Snow

The recent snow fall brought back memories of sixty odd years ago. The most vivid one being around 1930 with No. 2 Tip looking like an enormous mountain of white flour. There must have been a heavy fall as all the residents seemed to be there clearing the roads, pavements didn't exist. 

 

At that time, my family lived in a cottage which has now been combined with the one next door - Gascoin's - to make Turner's Croft. At the other side lived Hooles and their two sons, Fred & Ronnie and two daughters, Violet and Lily, the third daughter Doris Chapman, the mother of my twin playmates Audrey & Betty. Living at the first cottage at the bottom of the lane. 

 

Fred & Ronnie, that winter made a snowman and dog which seemed enormous to me, probably about 12 feet and 4 feet respectively. I remember being lifted onto the dog's back, and I can still feel the cold striking through! In those days the snow ploughs were horse drawn, purpose built from a two wheeled farm cart bed, the blade being wooden battens set diagonally under the body and drawn by however many horses were needed, the local plough being operated by Arthur Kirby of Townhead Farm. 

 

If we could beg a ride or borrow a sledge - few of us had them we had a long ride if conditions were right and we had a good push, we could go from the carner of Strawberry Lea Lane above No. 2 Tip almost down to the Crown Inn at the bottom of Penny Lane. But oh! What a walk back dragging the empty sledge, still it was worth it, even at 4 years of age. We had no fear of traffic on the road then I about the only motors at that time was the milkman, Tom Betts or the lorry belonging to Jackie (Tuppy) Pearson of the Grouse Inn, or Jack Chapman's pony and cart.

 

March 1993

Childhood Memories of Totley Bents

Around 1930 a new playmate - a boy - George Sheldon arrived. To me this was great as my other playmates were girls: the Chapman twins, two years older than myself and Betty Fox who was a year younger than me. Being the youngest of seven brothers and sisters, the rest of my family were too old to play. Bill the nearest to me was six years older, nearly twice my age (although he is not that now). I used to spend a lot of my time playing in the yard of the Grouse Inn and helping Mr. Pearson tend his cows, pigs aid poultry - he even taught me how to milk cows. If he had work to do on his fields behind the plantation on Baslow Road and needed his lorry up there he would often take me with him. 

 

There was an old character - a "tramp" who used to hang about around there. I suspect he used to sleep in the farm sheds up there. He was known locally as "Sweedy" and the only thing he would say clearly was "I'm John Thomas Osborne care of Beat Green Butts Hill Totley"; he had a bad lisp but could say this quite clearly. He would spend hours sitting on his throne made from tree branches gazing at his kingdom which stretched from "The Peacock", over Totley Moss, Blackamoor, Dore, and round to Sheffield in the smoky distance. 

 

When playing with my friends, if the weather was fit we would spend days playing on the sports field - known in those days as the Sick. If it was raining we would play under the veranda at the "Cricket Inn". If, as often happened, we got boisterous, the landlord - one Bernard Dungworth - would come out and tell us in no uncertain terms to go home - and no-one argued with Bernard. 

 

Times were hard during these years and my father, like many others, had his share of being out of work, and illness too. Many is the time the family have turned out to search for wood to keep the fire burning and keep warm, savinq what coal we could to use in the stove for cooking and baking. To help the money go around my mother went out cleaning one day a week. I was introduced to the rigours of school at the age of four, in the care of sister Margaret and brother Bill, for one day a week. I am told by Bill that I often caused laughter and not a bit of embarrassment, plus some annoyance to the teachers, particularly Johnnie Wood the Head and Bill Wiley. 

 

Spring and Summer were favourite times with wild flowers and blossoms in profusion. Our neighbours - the Gascoines - orchard was covered in blossom turning later to apples - very tempting to a four or five year old lad who had to go through their garden to reach our loo. The Hooles at the other side of us had some of the best lilac I have ever seen and Emma Wright at Rose Cottage had lilac, and the cottage really lived up to its name. Even the drab grey of the tunnel tips were transformed by the golden flowers of the gorse and white hawthorn blossom.

 

Another memory which stands out, only happened annually at strawberry time, the Annual Camp at the Rifle Range for the "Hallamshires". The troops used to march up Penny Lane in full kit and the stores would come up on horse-drawn gun limbers. Bell tents for the other ranks were pitched on the grass in front of the canteen which is now a car park. 

 

The highlight of this week was the Strawberry Tea for Officers and their guests, held in marquees on the lawn of the Officers Quarters, with the Army Band in attendance. My grandstand seats were on the wall above the Officers Quarters; the top outside step of the stone steps to the hayloft over the cow sheds at Bankview Farm, at that time belonging to Walter Slater - the steps are still there. 

 

My Uncle Billie was Range Warden and caretaker at the canteen and I little thought then that thirteen/fourteen years on I would come to Totley Rifle Range to do my initial Army Firing Tests after six weeks service, and not be allowed to come home. However, two or three weeks later we came again from Derby and were surprised to see my older brother Bill, then a Flying Officer in the Air Force. It caused some raised eyebrows. Bill was on leave and came to see me and to bring manna in the guise of mother's home baked cake and cookies - these being very welcome to supplement Army rations. 

 

Not all memories are pleasant as can be seen on the television programme “Heartbeat” at the time of writing.  Around this period I am writing about, Hills, of Upper Bents Farm, suffered the scourge of all farmers, which thankfully doesn’t occur very often these days. Notices appeared on farm gates and fences - “Foot and Mouth Disease – No Entry”.

 

A police guard on the gates, a mat of straw soaked in disinfectant, a trough or bath of disinfectant just inside the gate, no one allowed in and, above all, an eerie quiet where, the day before, there had been the bawling of cattle, squealing and grunting of pigs and the bleating of sheep. Now nothing, except the cackling of poultry, an occasional barking of dogs, or the stamping of a horse. All the cloven-hoofed animals have gone. Destroyed. And in those days taken away, on the Moors mostly, to be burned and buried. No short cuts across fields whether footpaths or not.

 

The only entertainment at home at this time was homemade. There was no electricity. Dad had an old crystal radio set with two earphones, one of which he used and we kids vied with each other for a turn with the other. Then, Lo and Behold, the miracle of the age! Electricity had arrived at all the houses in the Bents and, believe it or not, street lighting; if I remember rightly - three lamps. And entertainment in the form of radio – wireless it was called in those days.

 

One chap in the Bents who didn’t benefit from the electricity was Jack Fox, uncle of my playmate Betty. Jack was a local character, who lived with his dog in a hut on No1 Tip at the side of the “Pepper Pot” (the tunnel ventilator shaft). He was related to Grandma Fox of Lower Bents Farm. I think a lot of Totley people were a bit afraid of him, but if you were polite to him and didn’t try to poke fun at him, or “trespass” on his patch he was OK.  

 

Thinking of the above Grandma Fox, I see the pear tree in the top field is still there. Her granddaughter Betty used to have a swing tied to one of the thick branches; I don’t think that’s there now! Another enjoyable time in the summer was haymaking and harvesting, when it was “all hands to the wheel” and no tractors – horses did the hard work. And the children chasing rabbits before the machinery got them, and picking harvest mushrooms before the same fate overcame them. Then came potato picking and turnip picking.

 

There was also the threshing of the corn harvest, entailing the visit of the threshing machine pulled by an enormous steam traction engine which, with flywheels and belts, drove the thresher. This, by the way, came from Barlow. Haymaking and threshing made the men very thirsty and the publicans very happy! Even some of the horses were known to enjoy a drop of beer; one of Slater’s could drink straight from a stone one-gallon jar! 

 

July 1993

Doug Turner

Doug was born on 12th December 1926 in Totley Bents, in a cottage  just off Strawberry Lea, the youngest of 7 children. The family  moved from there, to Lemont Road, when he was nine and he lived  there until his marriage, in 1948.  

 

As a boy he was a member of the 1st (All Saints) Totley Cub pack  and also sang in the choir in that church, as did most of his brothers.  He attended Totley, C of E Primary School and, having passed the  11+, went on to Nether Edge Grammar (the forerunner of Abbeydale  Boys Grammar).  

 

He left school on the eve of the Sheffield Blitz and, the following  morning, set off to Sheffield to an interview for a job. He never got  there as, although he got a lift for some of the way (there being no  buses due to the previous nights bombing) he realized that there  probably would not be anyone there to, interview him. He related to  his son, Stephen, in the 1960’s that, when he got to the bottom of  Gatefield Road in Abbeydale, there was a water-filled crater so big  that it had a whole tramcar floating in it! Giving up the quest for  work for the day, Doug decided to try to see how his married sister, Ethel, had fared, since she lived in the Abbeydale area. He was  about to walk up Ethel’s street when a Policeman yelled at him,  “Don’t go up there, lad. There’s an unexploded bomb!” Fortunately  he did later find Ethel and her family in the place to which they had  been evacuated but, if that Policeman hadn’t been there, Doug may  not have needed to look for a job!  

 

Soon afterwards, Doug did get a job and, through his work, learned  to drive, something which stood him in good stead in later jobs,  which were mainly as a driver.  National Service came along and Doug was duly called-up (in 1944)

 

By the time he had finished his basic training, World War 2 was  over but, instead of war service, he was sent, as a Paratrooper, to  what was then Palestine, but is now Israel. He spoke very little about  his experiences in the Peace-Keeping force there, but history shows  how violent those times were in that place. Nothing changes.  

 

Doug was offered a job in the peace-time Army, but had had enough  of it and wanted nothing more than to finish his National Service,  get de-mobbed and go back home and get married.  In September 1948, he married Jean Cullingworth, who he had met  in his teens and they settled-down in Totley. Their son, Stephen was  born in October 1949 and their daughter Angela in November 1953.  They lived in Totley for 23 years before moving to Dronfield Woodhouse in May 1971 and Doug has lived there until his death in  2001.

 

In late 1977, Doug was made redundant from Unilever, for whom he  had worked for nearly 20 years. He found another job and thought  that things were on an even keel again but it was not to be.  Because in July 1978, about a year after the birth of their first  grandchild, Jonathan, Jean died, after a comparatively short illness.  

 

Doug was devastated to lose her after nearly 30 years of marriage  and immersed himself in another new job, which he started soon  after Jean’s death. That job was for Vidor batteries and he worked  for them for the next 13 years until he retired.  

 

In 1986, much to everyone’s delight, he married Pat, the wedding  being blessed in All Saints, Totley., and they settled-down, in  Dronfield-Woodhouse, to a peaceful, happy life together.  Doug retired in 1991 and, in order to keep active, soon found  another “driving job”, this time as a voluntary driver for Transport  17. He nearly didn’t take it as he was told that he would have to  have a driving test – something he had never done. (He first learnt to  drive during WW2 when the test was suspended and you got a full  licence after having 2 provisionals - I think. He got his HGV Class  3, when the HGV licence first came out (as did many others) on an  Employer’s Certificate of Competency, having driven vehicles of  that nature for over 20 years without accident. He had also driven  double-decker buses for Sheffield Transport for about 2 years in the  early 1950’s. Sheffield Transport did their own training and test, so  he never took a formal MOT driving test! Stephen still has Doug’s  first provisional licence and HGV licence as well as his PSV  Driver’s Badge.  

 

Pat, however, persuaded him to give it a try and he was accepted as competent to drive the minibuses that comprised T17’s fleet at that  time. It was a good move on his part as he had regular contact with  many of the Totley residents who had been the parents of his  contemporaries – giving many chances for reminiscence. He also got  involved in other aspects T17’s work and found it quite fulfilling.  

 

Then, one morning when he had gone out to start the car before  going shopping, he came back in the house complaining of feeling  ill – a rare event in itself. He was having his first stroke. He never  drove again and, although he managed to regain his speech and the  use of his legs, he never quite got back the full use of his left arm.  Pat cared for him at home as long as she could, but further small  strokes followed and he eventually went into a Nursing Home in  1999. He died in Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital on 28th  January 2001.  

 

This brief biography of Douglas Turner was written by his  son, Stephen. 

May 2008

Latest News

In lieu of our monthly library meeting in December, Totley History Group will be supporting the popular annual Spitewinter Concert at Ecclesall Parish Church. The Sheffield Folk Chorale will perform winter songs from across the centuries. With special guests Sarentino Strings. All profits to local charities. The concert will be on Wednesday 13th December beginning at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are priced at £8.25 and are expected to be in great demand. Anyone wishing to go to the concert should contact Pauline Burnett a.s.a.p at:

paulineburnett17@gmail.com.

 

Our first meeting in the new year will be on Wednesday 24th January when we welcome back Chris Corker whose talk is called The Shell, Armaments and Munitions Production Crisis, 1915-1916. The wartime demand for armaments lead to the Shell Crisis of May 1915. Chris examines the effect that the formation of the Ministry of Munitions, under the guidance of David Lloyd-George, had on Sheffield's armament companies and its industry as a whole.

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.

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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