Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Totley Allotments

Geoff Salt

320 Baslow Road, Lane Head

I was born in 1920 and brought up at 320 Baslow Road.  My father had three allotments and used to make my brother and I work on them.  On Easter morning every year he'd take us down to the allotment and we had to dig from one end to the other ready for the potatoes, before we then went home and changed for church.


The water for the allotments came down through the back yard of our house. My father used to put the contents of our midden on his allotment!  My father was an ardent rose and dahlia man, and never went down Totley without a rose in his buttonhole.


I remember the rivalry on the allotments.  It was extremely competitive, even though the main object was to grow vegetables to feed the family, because money was very tight.  I started at Totley All Saints School in 1925, and I remember that the school had 10 or 20 small square allotments for use by the pupils.  When a boy rose to the ranks of Standard 7, the top class, (and aged about 14), he was given a plot to work.


Johnny Woods, the headteacher, personally supervised us on the allotments, and was very strict.  We just grew basic things like radishes, potatoes, peas and cabbages.  We could take what we grew home with us.  Only boys got to do gardening, the girls did needlework.

 

Geoff Salt



Jenny Street

Totley Allotments and air raid shelters

If anyone knows a thing or two about Totley, it's Danny Reynolds. If you want to hear something about Totley of old, drop in to Danny and you can be guaranteed a wealth of detail and snippets of scurrilous information about the goings-on in the Totley of his youth. So it was to Danny's house I went to learn about the history of Totley allotments. Now 94, Danny, who was born in Shrewsbury Cottages (Terrace), and remembers the beginnings of Totley Allotments at Francis Field, on the Baslow Road behind the War Memorial. 

 

Totley allotments were started about 1916 on the present site, as part of a larger piece of land, which is now the playing fields of Totley All Saints School. According to Danny the top and bottom allotment holders did not have much to do with each other! This would have been a later start than many allotment sites, as the first plots let in Sheffield were in 1887 for the new steel industry workers who came to the towns when the enclosure act took common land away from farm labourers.

 

But in 1917 Totley was still a village in Derbyshire, in the parish of Dronfield, and did not come into the Sheffield boundary until 1935. In those early days the land was in the living of the Vicar of Dore, and the allotment-holders paid their annual rent to the church. It has not been possible to find out when Sheffield City Council took the land. It seems likely that it was sometime after 1937. There is also some debate as to whether the allotment site is known as Francis Fields or Harecroft.  

 

In the Enclosure Act of 1842, Brian Edwards reports that the land the allotments are on now is labelled as Upper Hare Croft, and were probably originally part of the common land which ran from the village (the centre of which was the cross roads by the Fleur pub) almost to Owler Bar. However, nowadays people refer to the site as Francis Fields, because this is what is written on the bill for their annual rent which allotment holders receive from the Council. Does anyone have the definitive answer?  Brian Edwards suggests that the 'Francis' may refer to Francis, fifth Earl of Shrewsbury, local landowner. On the old photo reproduced on the next page from Brian Edwards' book "Totley District in Old Photographs" a group of boys from Totley All Saints School appear to be working on the allotments. It is not dated, but could be around the time that the allotments were first opened in 1916. Note how smart they are in their white collars!  

 

I casually asked Danny if he remembered any of the men who had allotments at that time, and going back more than 80 years he reeled off most of their names together with the addresses of some of them. "On the right were Jack Slack from Totley Rise, Moorhouse who lived on Lane Head, Putterill, then me dad, then Hibberds, then George Pearson, Jim Marsh, the local bobby 'Straightback' Bagshaw, and Jack Wortley.  On the left were Bill Proctor, Fred Bishop, Mr Mottram from Main Avenue, Andrew from Totley Bents, Horatio Taylor from Summer Lane cottages, Mr Copes, then Mr Cook from Lemont Road. There were no women allotment holders- it was very much a man's world."  

 

"My dad, Tommy Reynolds, had an allotment right up to World War Two. He mostly grew potatoes, beans, onions, carrots, parsnips, beetroot and celery. He never grew radishes or lettuces."  In those days no-one had a shed on their allotment, because they weren't allowed to.  They just carried their tools up with them when they went to work there. But Jim Marsh built an underground shed in the slope under the road bank. The walls were turf with a window and the top was corrugated iron.  Thieving was never a problem in the early days, but it became so later.  

 

Danny remembers a woman being accused of pinching a cabbage. There was also no piped water on site in the early days, except the water which came from the spring on the other side of Baslow Road. No-one had any barrels and a big hole was dug to collect the water, but men had to get there early when the weather was hot as the water would run dry.   

 

It is difficult to find out when piped water was laid on, but it was probably in the 60s or 70s. Manure was always delivered by horse and cart from different farmers like Fred Creswick, Jack Unwin or Tommy Andrews. By the early twenties there was a Totley Show centred around the allotments. The allotment men competed fiercely for the prizes.  The Show was held on the field which is now the site of Totley Primary School.

 

"In those days," Danny recalls, "the prizes were genuine silver, because business people who lived in the area were involved. There was a silversmith and one chap who lived near the Crown made razors and gave them as prizes. Mr Swift who had a grocery business in town gave a silver tray, which had palm trees on it." But the rivalry of the competition led to some dirty tricks.  Danny remembers one Bill Wragg who didn't have an allotment and so wasn't allowed by the allotment men to enter his vegetables in the Totley Show. "He gave his veg to me dad, who won all the prizes with them. When nosy old Horatio Taylor said "Tha never grew them onions," my dad said to him "I'll chop thee in two with this spade". Mr Wragg told my dad that those same veg were going into the Daily Mail show in his name the next week!"   

 

In 1934 Francis Fields had 48 plots that went right down to the school, and the school had a plot too. During the war, four air-raid shelters were built behind the school, and in her "History of Totley All Saints School," Joan Stratford writes that some children remember the air raid sirens going off and walking across the allotments to the air raid shelters. In the photo of the air raid shelters, taken in 1945, it does not look as if the allotments have been tended for some time. After the war, the bottom field of allotments was taken back by the school for playing fields.

 

Previously the school had used the field behind the Cricket Inn for sports. Today the Totley Allotments are owned by Sheffield City Council, and there are just 17 allotments, now very much in demand with a waiting list of 26 people. Keeping up the tradition,  Aaron Atherton has won prizes at Totley and Dore Shows each year for several years,  

 

Trevor Dickinson's immaculate allotment has been part of Totley Open Gardens for the last 2 years, and Danny himself is still keen on gardening and has also opened his garden, just opposite the allotments, for the last three years. 

 

Jenny Street

November 2004

Latest News

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 about 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.

Then on Wednesday 22nd November there will be a talk by Christopher Jewitt entitled The Cutlers Company and Assay Office: Sheffield's Two Unique Companies. Among his many roles in a distinguished career, Christopher has been both Master Cutler of The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, established by Act of Parliament in 1624, and the Chairman of The Sheffield Assay Office, established in 1773. The meeting starts at 7.30 p.m. in Totley Library.

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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