Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Memories of Totley Co-op

by Robert H. Carr

Co-operative Stores, Baslow Road, built in 1931

I was passing the Co-op on Baslow Road not long ago and my thoughts went back to that shop many years ago when I was in my youth. In those days the building stood well back from the road but eventual road widening changed that and in time the emergence of the supermarkets changed the Co-op and to my mind a lot of what was unique about the Co-op went with those changes. No longer that personal touch given by the counter staff, home ordering, and delivery, etc., The Co-op Society had inevitably to change and so we see today their own style supermarket doing it’s best to live alongside the giants of the trade. How different it all was in the 30's and 40‘s. 

 

When a young boy I was occasionally asked to fetch the odd item from the Co-op, to which request my dear mother would add that immortal tag line "Don't forget my Divi number!" So I would go on the dash to the shop, and here I must point out I had no busy roads to cross from our home on Aldam Road to the S & E on Baslow Road. Being young at the time I sometimes gave the wrong number mixing up the five figures in the wrong order. However, my mother soon saw to it that I knew it by heart. Like many offspring in those days, if you had an errand to the Co-op you had not to forget your mother's Co-op number and along with so many of my generation, that number has lived with me down the years. The Divi was all important, each Co-op member had their own registered number and every time you paid for your goods the amount spent was recorded along with that number on the little receipt given to you, a percentage of that amount being credited to your Dividend Account, a useful source of savings and a more personal transaction than to-day's stamps. 

 

The Branch was divided into three separate shops, the largest being the Grocery Department, the Butchers Shop was in the middle with the Greengrocery' at the top end. Being so young, the whole place had a magical attraction to me; I was fascinated by the overhead wire tracks attached to which were containers transporting your money to the Cashier’s office. If you were shopping in the Greengrocery your money made quite a trip, out of the shop it would go through a hole in the wall into the Butchers shop and out the other side into the Grocery Department and its destination at a lofty position in the far corner - the all important Cashier. In the Grocery Department you would see a constant to-and-fro of money containers criss-crossing below the ceiling to the various counter points within the building. I was transfixed with the sight I longed to pull the cord that set the container on its way - but no, that was done by the counter staff, and how I envied them.

 

Moving on a few years, Mr Barker the Manager of the Butchers Dept, a friend of my parents was on the lookout for an errand boy to deliver on Saturdays to customers in the district. He asked my mother if I would be interested - I certainly was! I would be earning some pocket money; I would have a shop bike to ride; and although only part-time, I would be working at the Co-op. For a time there were two of us delivering from the shop and we would vie with each other for the best bike. One was a real "bone shaker" with dodgy brakes, the other was brand new - a beauty! 

In the winter months I would go to the shop before daylight particularly if I was playing in a football match that afternoon. Having so much to deliver I had to make an early start, carefully loading in order the parcels of meat, etc., into the large wicker basket on the front of the bike. Then off I would go, fully laden, the weight of it making control difficult at times, but I managed. Later my mate left the job, going to work for another butcher I think, so I had full use of the new bike most of the time apart from when the Assistant Manager wanted to use it. 

 

The territory was quite widespread, testimony I suppose to the quality and service the Co-op gave. I delivered anywhere from "the top of Totley" as we called it, on the one side, to the area around Dore and Totley Station on the other. Further afield, after calls on Bradway Bank, I had two deliveries in Bradway Village then down Twentywell Lane to the cottages at the side of the Castle Inn. Then round the back to a little house in the disused brickyard and out the other side along a track to a lone house where lived a delightful lady, Mrs Gibb, a friend of my mother's - being both members of the Totley Co-op Women’s Guild. 

One occasion I had to deliver to a farm off Abbey Lane at Parkhead where lived the Mountfords, friends of Mr Barker. Mrs Mountford, I can see her now, a typical farmer's wife always kind and jolly would offer me refreshment after my long trek and very welcome it was too! Later when Mr Barker left I no longer had to make the journey. 

 

Mention of the Co-op Guild brings back happy memories; many of my friends having mothers who were Guild Members. And in pre-war days we youngsters attended occasional social events with them. One we always looked forward to was the Co-op Gala held every summer in Graves Park. We had a great time helping out (or hindering) with the stalls and taking part in the organised games, etc., There was always plenty of "pop" to drink and things to eat, how we enjoyed those warm summer days and did the sun really shine so much. We made the journey there and back by bus and tram, a long and very happy day for all. 

 

Occasionally in summer we were taken by train to Unstone Station, then a long walk up the hill to Apperknowle to a house owned by a kindly lady on the edge of the village, it stood on its own down a narrow lane and possessed a lovely garden, all winding paths and hidden nooks -pure magic. We youngsters thought we had found fairy land and on top of that we were served afternoon tea. Later, back down the hill and home on the train - how we all enjoyed our day out. 

 

At Christmas a party was given to Co-op Guild members and their families, it was held in the Co-op Hall on Napier Street, Sheffield, not far from the much loved store, the S & E Arcade, now just a nostalgic memory. We sat down to a "Party Tea", after which entertainment (a panto of sorts) was performed followed by party games and to end the night some rousing carol singing, and then back on the bus to Totley - happy, happy, days. 

 

Now, returning to the butcher’s errand boy - they say the bane of the postman’s life is the dog, well we had cause to be on our guard too! Because if dogs were around they quickly picked up the scent of raw meat and we had to watch out. Customers' dogs were rarely a problem, knowing the weekend joint was about to be delivered they were kept indoors. It was the neighbour’s canines or the odd stray you had to be wary of. I remember one particular call, a house on Sunnyvale Road, walking the path from the road to the side door I was often accompanied by two of the most ferocious "husky" type dogs you ever saw - I say accompanied, fortunately they were on the other side of a stout fence and I was glad of that, they thumped and clattered that fence howling away - it was a relief to hand over the delivery to the customer. I am sure that if ever they had got out I would have thrown the meat their way and run like heck to the bike. I cannot say that I have ever been afraid of dogs, but those two were something else! 

 

One call however I paid little attention to the customer’s small dog, sometimes snapping away as I walked up the path, because I was looking forward to the glamorous lady of the house opening the door to me, she was a "knock out blond" and just exchanging a smile and a few words with her really made my day. On the down side I once left an order on the doorstep (at some calls it was arranged I leave the order in an outhouse etc.) this call had no such arrangement and after getting no response to my knock I risked it and left it at the door, and of course a dog found it and bang went the Sunday Joint -  I am sure the lady was compensated for the loss and I no doubt got a "telling off" from the Manager. I can remember however the reception I got the following week when I once again called at her house. She tore into me (rightly so) for being so stupid, I was near to tears by the time she had finished. That taught me a lesson - I never did it again.

 

One manager at the shop had a little stepson around five or six years old and if he was around the premises would pester me for a ride in the basket. I would plonk him in the empty basket making sure he was safe then off we would go down Mickley Lane the little lad shouting 'faster, Bob, faster', oh how he loved speed. A born speed merchant you might say. However, aware of my responsibility I never went too fast. In later life that lad owned his own Motor Business in Sheffield. 

 

One winter’s morning I did go too fast and parted company with the shop bike for the one and only time. In thick snow I had just left the shop with a full load, when turning off Mickley Lane into Laverdene Road I hit a patch of ice! The bike slipped from under me and shot sideways along the road with me following close behind. At least half of the contents of the basket flew through the air and landed in a deep snowdrift. A lady living nearby (Mrs Levick) witnessed the calamity and rushed out to me convinced I was badly hurt - fortunately I was just shook up and soon recovered. I then realised I had to search for a number of orders in the snow drift, but with the good lady's help they were soon found and I continued on my round, - much slower I might add.

Laurence Tym advertisement, 1959

In Totley at that time there were at least three other butcher shops: Walkers, Tyms, and Thompsons. Mr Walker ran his shop at the top of Main Avenue and the other two had farm connections. Lawrence Tym on Baslow Road (I see the name lives on today) worked Totley Hall Farm and Thompsons had a shop on Totley Rise with farm buildings on Back Lane; their family farm was at Lydgate, Holmesfield. Colin Thompson I remember could often be seen wearing a clerical collar, why I cannot recall, maybe he was a Lay Preacher; I am sure many mistook him for the Vicar. 

 

Butchers delivery boys are a thing of the past now and largely due to supermarkets and their pre-packed meats; so are butchers shops, yet there are still a number in business giving that personal touch many customers appreciate and long may they do so. Looking back, how enjoyable those times were at Totley Co-op - a feeling of one big happy family running through all three departments. I remember the satisfaction it gave me doing that worthwhile little job earning my first pocket money and being part, however small, of the service the Co-op gave to its customers. 

 

The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) had shops wide-spread the length and breadth of the land in all the towns and many villages, under the 'Wheatsheaf' banner they provided goods and services literally "cradle to the grave", being so much part of so many people's lives - not so much a shop more a way of life. Pre- war and for a number of years after, the Co-op Society traded alongside the small retailers in perfect harmony.

 

Yet on the eve of the year 2000 I cannot help thinking how things have changed. So many small shops who have tried to maintain the tradition of the friendly local store are being beaten by today's "cut throat" system. It is so sad to see the old values and that quality of life slipping away.

 

On a lighter note, could it be I wonder, inside the Co-op on Baslow Road in dead of night, the sound of money containers can still be heard threading their way through the building? - who knows! Oh, for the good old days of the Divi receipt. NOW, WHAT WAS OUR NUMBER AGAIN?

 

November 1999

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. 

A recently discovered box of WWII correspondence reveals the story of how a small group of ladies from Dore and Totley recruited knitters from the west of Sheffield and how their efforts made them the country's greatest provider of Comforts for the Minesweeping crews of the Royal Navy. The story is told in Knit For Victory, a new book from Totley History Group. Written by Pauline Burnett, it has 82 pages and many illustrations. It is on sale in Totley Rise Post Office and local shops. Also available in Dore at the Village Store or direct via our website.

Since 1875 when there was only a Rolling Mill and Chemical Yard alongside the river a mile from Totley, the area has changed beyond anyone's imagination  This book by Pauline Burnett tells the story of how it was named and grew into the community we know today. The Rise of Totley Rise has 94 pages including a useful index and is profusely illustrated throughout with many previously unpublished photographs from private collections. 

The story is told in Totley War Memorial WW1 of the ten men from our village who gave their lives in the Great War. Written by Pauline Burnett, Jim Martin and Dorothy Prosser, a chapter is devoted to each of the soldiers with a family tree followed by as much information as could be discovered about the men and their families. There is also information about their military careers and the actions in which they lost their lives. The book has 64 pages and is illustrated throughout with photographs of the men, their families and the houses where they lived.

Ron Wijk of Nieuw-Vennep in the Netherlands has sent us two scanned images of drawings of old cottages made by the celebrated Dutch painter, Anton Pieck (1895-1987) simply annotated "Totley", and wondered whether we could identify their locations.

We would like to thank Christopher Rodgers for bringing to our attention this fascinating log of the 85th Sheffield (St. John's and Totley Orphanage) Wolf Cub Pack for 1927-45. The log is published jointly by Sheffield Scout Archives and Totley History Group as a free PDF download. It is illustrated by no fewer than 92 photographs and is supported by a comprehensive index and biographies of some of the main participants.

Following our Open Meeting event on School Days, Roger Hart, Howard Adams and John Timperley have each written to us with their memories of Norwood School, which was located in the rooms attached to the Dore & Totley United Reformed Church on Totley Brook Road. 

On 22nd July 1909 the children of Dore and Totley Schools celebrated by a pageant the union of England under King Ecgbert which took place at Dore in AD 827. The pageant was devised and written by Mrs Sarah Milner and her daughter Marjorie and performed in a field close to Avenue Farm in front of a large audience. Photographs of the event survive together with a fragment of the script.

John Edward Greenwood Pinder had lived all 46 years of his life in Totley but on census night, Sunday 2 April 1911, he was not at home; he was in Derby Gaol serving a sentence of three months hard labour. From the age of 20, John had been in and out of local courts for a series of minor offences including drunkenness, assault, wilful damage and night poaching. Finally he was sent to gaol for cutting down and stealing 86 small trees which he sold in Sheffield market for Christmas.

We have already transcribed the census returns for Totley, Totley Rise and Dore. Now we have transcribed Census Strays. These are people who were born in Totley but are missing from our earlier transcriptions. They may have been living, working or studying elsewhere or just away from home on the night the census was taken. Two people were in prison. Others were in Union Workhouses, hospitals and asylums. Fully indexed strays from the 1851, 1861, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses are available now. 

We wish to thank Gillian Walker for allowing us to digitize an archive of material about the 1st Totley Scout Group. Most of the material was collected by Arthur Percival Birley in the period 1949-51 and there are many interesting documents pertaining to the building of the scout hut on Totley Hall Lane. In addition four Newsletters survive, two from the 1940s and two from 1971.

We are grateful to Angela Waite and All Saints' Parish Church for giving us access to baptismal and kindergarten birthday rolls dating from 1926 to 1941. We have transcribed the names, addresses, birthdates and baptismal dates and created an alphabetical index of entries for you to search. 

Edmund Sanderson, a Sheffield estate agent, aquired the land on either side of the old drive to Totley Grove in 1874 and divided it into plots for development. He called it the Totley Brook Estate. But before many houses were built, the estate road was severed in two by the building of the Dore & Chinley Railway line. The eastern end of the road became the cul-de-sac we now call Grove Road

John Roberts was born in Sheffield in 1798. He became a partner in one of the leading silversmiths firms in the city before moving to Abbeydale Park in 1851 and extending the house in Victorian gothic style. He paid for the building of St. John's Church and was believed to dispense more in charity than any other person in the neighbourhood including his protege Ebenezer Hall.

The Coke Family owned the Totley Hall Estate from 1791 to 1881. With the aid of a family tree to guide us, Josie Dunsmore takes us through the story of their tenure. 

When the Rev. D'Ewes Coke inherited the Totley Hall Estate in 1791 it had two farms. Josie Dunsmore tells the story of how the two farms were combined under the tenancy of Peter Flint with the aid of field maps drawn by Flint himself and later by the Fairbanks family.

Do you think you recognize this face? More than sixty photographs of the girls and teachers at Hurlfield Grammar School for Girls in the 1940s were given to Totley History Group by Avril Critchley, who was herself a student at the school. The collection includes fifteen form photographs from June 1949. There would have been a number of girls from the Totley area attending the school in those days.

Christine Weaving tells the story of her 2 x great uncle George Edward Hukin, a Totley razor-grinder, and his life-long friendship with the academic, poet, writer, and free-thinker Edward Carpenter.

Eric Renshaw (pictured here on the right with Bob Carr) grew up and lived in Totley from 1932 to 1960. Many of his memories are of a sporting nature.

We are very grateful to Gordon Grayson for giving us this splendid sale document for the Norton Hall Estates, following the death in 1850 of Samuel Shore. The estates included a large part of Totley and the document has maps and illustrations, plus schedules of land and property with the names of tenants. We have also added a transcription of the entries for Totley and Dore. 

Watch this Youtube video of the talk given by Dr. Mark Frost and Sally Goldsmith on Ruskin, Totley and St. George's Farm. The talk was hosted by Totley History Group on 20th May 2015 as part of the Ruskin in Sheffield programme. Also enjoy a video of the outdoor performance Boots, Fresh Air & Ginger Beer written by Sally.

When Jacqueline A. Gibbons became interested in what made her father tick, it began a journey through WW1 archive records and led to her flying from Toronto to visit the house and village where he lived and the countryside that he so much enjoyed. Jacqueline reminds us that in the early 20th century Sheffield was a driving force of industry and that Totley was the place where many of its remarkable people lived and where they formulated their ideas.

Edgar Wood was the designer of The Dingle, 172 Prospect Road, built in 1904 for Rev. William Blackshaw, the founder of the Croft House Settlement. The house, together with its western terrace and boundary walls, has now been awarded Grade II listed building status. 

What was probably "the most perfect little garden railway in existence" in 1910 was to be found in the grounds of Brook House, Grove Road, the home of its designer and constructor, Guy Mitchell. Look at some wonderful photographs and read reports in newspapers and a full appreciation in Model Railways magazine. 

We have now completed our transcription of Totley School's Admission Records for the period from 1877 to 1914. There is also a useful index to the names of the scholars and to their parents or guardians. We are very grateful to Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library for allowing us to transcribe and publish these records and for permission to reproduce the photograph of a specimen page of the register.

On 8, 9 and 11 November 2014 Totley History Group held an exhibition at Dore & Totley United Reformed Church to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Below are additional links to some of the photographs we were lent and stories we researched especially for the exhibition.

 

Oscar Creswick was a local farmer who served with the Army Service Corps in Salonika and who after the war returned to Totley to become the innkeeper of the Cricket Inn and a member of the village's successful tug of war team.

 

 

Walter Evans was a market gardener who also ran a small grocery shop on Hillfoot Road when war broke out. He fought with the Machine Gun Corps at the fourth battle of Ypres. After the war, Walter ran a grocers shop at the top of Main Avenue.

 

 

 

Fred Cartwright was another Totley soldier who survived the Great War. He fought in France and Belgium and although he wasn't wounded he was gassed and was home on sick leave when his daughter was delivered by Nurse Jessop during a snowstorm in January 1917.

 

 

Maurice Johnson joined the Yorkshire Dragoons, a territorial unit, on 1 Jan 1914 and so was called up at the very start of the war. He fought throughout the war on the Somme, at Ypres and at Cambrai. After demobilization in 1919 Maurice returned to his old occupation the steel industry.

 

 

Bill Glossop lent us a letter written by his father, William Walton Glossop to his wife describing life in the army during training in the north east of England and asking her to keep him in mind with the children.

 

 

The photo above provides a link to an album of photographs taken of WW1 Hospitals at St. John's, Abbeydale and the Longshaw Estate.

 

 

Nora Green, of Chapel Lane, was only 14 when war broke out. In 1914 she was ill with diphtheria and was sent to the isolation hospital at Holmley Lane, Dronfield. Nora recovered and wrote a letter of thanks to one of the hospital staff and the reply she received survives. 

 

 

We have collected together on this page the names of local men who appear on various War Memorials and Rolls of Honour in Totley, Dore, Abbeydale and Norton.

 

 

Unfortunately we were unable to identify all the photographs we were lent of Totley Soldiers. Please take a look at this album to see if you recognize any of the missing names.

This walk visits locations that have strong associations with Totley during the First World War. It includes the homes of the ten soldiers from the village who lost their lives, the auxiliary hospitals, war memorials, and even the rifle range on which the soldiers trained. Take a look at the first draft of a new walk by the authors of "Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918"

As we have nowhere to exhibit memorabilia and artifacts, we have decided to create a Virtual Museum instead, starting with old bottles that were found under the floor of the Old Infant School. Please contact us by email if you would like to see the real thing or have things that you own and would like to see added to the virtual museum.

We wish to thank the Trustees of Cherrytree for giving us permission to publish transcriptions of the Cherrytree Orphanage Admissions Book entries for the years 1866-1929. There is also an alphabetical index for you to look at.

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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