The Webster Family

Can you help track down any surviving relatives / descendants of the Webster family who lived in Totley during  WWII.  


To explain my interest in this family: - My father passed away  two years ago and like all sons I had tried to speak with him  regarding the war, (I served in the Army for 9 years during the  seventies). He was very reluctant to do this and only once, did I  ever get him to talk. It is only now since his passing that I have  done a fair bit of digging and found out about his exploits during  this time.  


During my "digging" it became apparent that my Dad (who was  a Warrant Officer Pilot with 211 Sqd out in India & Burma) had  a "best mate" his name was Warrant Officer Pilot 1455066 Ken Webster -- they both flew Beaufighters and just before the end of  the war they re-trained on Mosquitos.  


Sadly Ken was killed in a flying accident on the 2nd July 1945  aged just 22years an event that I now understand greatly affected  my father, Ken lies in the Commonwealth War Graves  Commission Madras War Cemetery, Chennai.  


Enquiries with the CWGC reveal the entry that Ken was the son of Kate Webster of Totley in Yorkshire. Further enquiries reveal  that Ken had an elder bother Vincent who was also in the RAF  with 35 Sqd (Service No 814232). Vincent Webster was aged 35years  when he died on the 18th August 1943 he lies in the Berlin 1939  - 1945 War Cemetery. Again the mothers name of Kate is shown  in the CWGC entry in respect of Vincent.  


Using the telephone directory I have spoken to as many Webster's I can contact in the Totley area, the reason for this is  that I have a copy of a photograph taken of Ken Webster and my Dad when they were in Tel Aviv, and I am trying to track down  any descendants of either Ken, but given his age its more likely to be descendants of Vincent, to see if they might want a copy of  the photograph. I can't explain why I just feel it’s what I should  do.  


During one telephone conversation with an elderly lady Mrs Webster 82 years (not related to Kate) she mentioned that she  remembered a Webster Family with two bothers, both in the  RAF and both killed, but then went on to say that she thought  there had also been a sister -- a nurse -- also lost when the hospital ship she was on was lost.  


As 60 odd years have now passed -- back then I would image  Totley as a small place where if all three children in the same  family were lost it would surely have been recorded somewhere. Maureen at the local studies library has tried to find any entries re the Webster family in the local papers for the times when both  Vincent and then Ken died but to no avail.  


If you feel you can assist me in this endeavour I will be grateful  for any suggestions / help you might be able to give.  My name is Eric Taylor and my home phone no 01995 606031  (Garstang in Lancashire) my mobile No is 07946 521 440 


May 2006

May 2006 issue of Totley Independent (No 293) included a piece on my search for any surviving relatives of the Webster Family from The Grove in Totley. I was trying to provide a copy of a photograph of Ken Webster (the youngest) together with his "best mate" my late father to any surviving relatives of the family. 


My enquiries revealed that life was not good to the Webster family as a whole, the father died at a young age, there had been a daughter but she died before she was 1 year old, Vincent the elder boy was a Flt SGT Engineer in the RAF flying Lancasters and was killed in August 1943. He is buried at the 1939 - 1945 Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Berlin. 


Kenneth the sole survivor of the immediate family was a W/O Pilot in 211 Squadron RAF, as was my father, Kenneth was killed in a flying accident whilst piloting a Mosquito on the 2nd July 1945 near Madras and was buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the Madras War Cemetery in Chennai. The mother Kate was now alone. 


As a direct result of the piece included in the Independent I received a number of calls from various individuals who either grew up with Ken or knew the family in some way. 


From this, myself and my wife travelled through to Totley on Sunday 25th June 2006, we met at the home address of Sheila Hobson (the daughter of Joyce McWhinney). Joyce went to school with Ken. Then on to Totley Rise Methodist Church (The Webster's family Church) within the congregation more people came forward who knew the family. We then met Joy Depledge who lived across the road from Kate in "The Grove" for a time and got to know Kate very well. Betty Housley was Kate's carer until she died. Bill Glossop was in the year ahead of Ken at school. 


By this time proceedings had moved to the Shipley Spitfire Pub and here we all got on rather well I thought. For me the comment made by Joy Depledge summed up the event most accurately "If Kate could see us all now she would be so proud" it was at that point that I knew that what had started out as an incidental idea had resulted in a group of people within your community coming together to remember the efforts of a great many members of my father’s generation and, in the case of the Webster family suffering the greatest loss. 


On behalf of myself, my wife and I'd like to think my late father, I can only say a simple thank you, without your efforts, whilst this event may well have still happened, I doubt that I would have been able to reach so many people so promptly. 


Eric & Kerry Taylor

September 2006


PS. As a consequence of a paper cutting given to me by Joy Depledge the search continues for what is thought might be the Aunt and Uncle of Ken & Vincent, if this idea is correct there is / was out there an Aunt Charlotte and an Uncle Ernest ?????? 



The Webster Family 2

In the May issue of The Totley Independent Eric Taylor requested information on the Webster family of Totley. On Sunday, 25 June, a group of interested people met in Totley. Eric and his wife, Kerry, had travelled from Lancashire to piece together the life and family of Ken Webster, who had served in the RAF with Eric’s late father. 


I did not know Ken or his family but my family did. My mother knew Ken, his brother Vincent, and mother Kate, from early years in the village school on Hillfoot Road and from Totley Rise Chapel. Everyone present that Sunday had their own memories of Ken, Vincent and Kate Webster. Photographs and memories were shared. It was a lovely Sunday with a lovely group of caring people. I am so pleased Eric took the time to initiate this meeting. 


What an extremely brave lady Kate Webster was to live out her life with love and dignity after losing her daughter, husband and 2 sons at such young ages. My heart goes out to her. The Webster family will always be remembered by my family and by many other families in Totley and beyond.  


Sheila Hobson 

September 2006

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:


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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