Please see War Memorials and Rolls of Honour for the names of local WW1 soldiers and links to other soldier's stories.
Francis James Seed
Frank Seed was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire in 1892. His father was Thomas Alexander Seed who was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1847, the second of eight children of John Seed, a grocer, and his wife Hannah Hird who had married on 14 August 1843 at the Parish Church, Bingley. Frank's mother was Emily Simonson who was born in Sheffield on 17 February 1850, the second of seven children of Christopher Simonson, a draper, and his wife Elizabeth Unwin who had married at Ecclesfield on 16 June 1846.
As a young man Alexander Seed had helped his father John run a grocers shop in Keighley but by 1871, when the family had moved to Sheffield, Alexander had become a student of theology. Whilst still in training he was sent to the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire and evidently preached to a large and appreciative congregation. The following year Alexander was preaching in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire.
He was ordained at the Norfolk Street Wesleyan Chapel, Sheffield on 4 August 1875 and a week later he married Emily at Park Wesleyan Chapel, Sheffield. Alexander was sent to work in Kilsyth, Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Two children were born there, Emily Sarah Elizabeth in 1876 and John Simonson in 1878 but John died later the same year. It was the policy of the Wesleyan Conference to appoint its ministers to stations (posts) annually and to move them to a different circuit (area group) at least every three years, but more frequently if it so chose. Alexander had three further stations before the next census: Snaith, West Riding (1878), Liskeard, Cornwall (1879) Kirkby Stephen and Appelby, Westmorland (1880). Two more children were born in Kirkby Stephen, Lucy Mary in 1881 and William Arthur in 1883.
The next move in July 1883 was to Alston, Cumberland where William Arthur died later that year and a daughter, Florence Hannah, was born in 1885. In July 1886 the family moved again to Melbourne, Derbyshire which was part of the Castle Donnington circuit. Thomas Alexander junior, known as Alec, was born there in 1887. In August 1889 Alexander was moved to the Kettering circuit where he initially held the station at Bridge Road Chapel, Gainsborough but later moved into Kettering itself where the Seed family were living at 66 Rockingham Road in the 1891 Census. Daughter Emily was not with them as she was attending Trinity House School in Southport, Lancashire. The school house was attached to Trinity Wesleyan Chapel, described by John Ruskin as "the most beautiful church in Methodism."
Frank was born in Kettering on 13 August 1892 and then they were off again to Chertsey, Surrey (August 1893), Liverpool (July 1895) and Tunbridge Wells (August 1896). Alexander was selected for a station at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire in July 1898 but appears to have declined that in favour of a move back to Gainsborough. In the 1901 Census Alexander, Emily and three of the children, Lucy, Florence and Frank were at 134 Bridge Street, Gainsborough. Lucy had become a music teacher. Daughter Emily was a milliner lodging with her employer in Mexborough. Alec was a pupil at Kingswood School in Charlcombe, Bath, Somerset.
In July 1904 Alexander was at first offered a station at Macclesfield, Cheshire but instead asked for permission to 'sit down' (no longer travel) and was given permission to remain in Sheffield's Brunswick Circuit as a supernumerary. He was aged 57 and it was effectively semi-retirement for him. Supernumaries were still expected to contribute to the work of the Church, often in an administrative capacity. Alexander was the translator of several books including Felix Buvet's "A Pioneer of Social Christianity: Count Zinzendorf" (1896) and M. Edmond Scherer's "What is Catholicism?" (1900) but now he had the time to write his own books which included "Brief Biographies of John and Mary Fletcher" (1906) and "Norfolk Street Wesleyan Chapel, Sheffield" (1907). The latter work was greatly praised by the Sheffield Daily Telegraph for the author's powers of investigation and research and his determination to verify every word he wrote.
In the census of 2 April 1911, Alexander, wife Emily and children Florence, Alec and Frank were living at Moorland View, 3 Chatsworth Road. Florence was an elementary school teacher with Sheffield Corporation, Alec was a clerk in a steel works and Frank an assistant librarian in the University of Sheffield. Daughter Emily had married Samuel Waterfall in 1908. Samuel worked for Midland Railway as a porter and later as a ticket examiner. Their son James Alexander had been born a month before the census which showed them living at 142 Rushdale Road, Meersbrook. Lucy had married George Rollett, a house painter and property repairer, in 1909 and they too had a young son, Frank, born 9 months before the census.
On 7 April 1913 Frank's mother Emily died at the age of 63. She was buried at Dore Christ Church two days later after a service at Totley Rise Methodist Church. Alexander remarried less than a year later to Mary Manners in Bishop Auckland, Durham. Although granted a further year as a supernumerary in Sheffield he had chosen instead to accept a station at Pateley Bridge, West Riding. Alexander and Mary lived at Summerbridge near Harrogate. Later that year daughter Lucy also got married. Her husband was Frank Fidler, a commercial traveller, and the marriage took place at St. John the Baptist, Abbeydale on 5 September 1914.
On 11 December 1915 Frank enlisted in the 3rd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. His service record has survived and shows that he had become a bank clerk in civilian life. He was placed on Reserve and not mobilized until 9 February 1916. He was posted to Sunderland for training the following day and promoted to Lance Corporal on 9 August. However, he failed to complete his training programme, spending two months in hospital in Sunderland with a debilitating condition which prevented him from strenuous walking. He was transferred to light duties for several months but after being recalled to training he failed to complete the first route march. Frank was eventually discharged from service on 14 December 1918 under King's Regulation Paragraph 39 (xxva) "Surplus to military requirements (not having suffered impairment since entry into the service)". He gave his intended address on discharge as Westfield, 17 Edward Road, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
Alec Seed married Beatrice Marguerite Pogson on 21 August 1918 at St. Peter, Abbeydale. Marguerite was the fourth of five children of Robert Henry Pogson, an employee of Sheffield Banking Company, and his wife Florence Henrietta Charlotte Mallender who had married at St Mary, Worksop on 21 October 1879. Marguerite was a professor of music and Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music. They had twin daughters, Helen and Barbara, on 9 May 1923. Alec became a works manager and later a labour and publicity manager at Samuel Osborn & Co. steelworks. However, he was better known for his contribution to amateur dramatics in Sheffield being an actor, playwright, theatre administrator and theatre correspondent of The Era. He was at times the Chairman of the Sheffield Repertory Theatre and of the Croft House Settlement Operatic Society.
Rev. Thomas Alexander Seed died on 22 July 1926 at Cotherstone, near Barnard Castle, North Riding. He was aged 79. Frank Seed remained a bank employee in Sheffield until his retirement, working for many years at the same George Street bank as Robert Pogson. In 1939 Frank was living with a housekeeper at 25 Conduit Road, Crookes. He died at Lodge Moor Hospital and was buried at Abbey Lane Cemetery on 17 December 1965. Frank was aged 73 and unmarried.
Herbert Edward Victor Sibley
Victor Sibley was born in Sheffield in 1895. His father was Edward Sibley who was born in Gloucester in 1867, the sixth of ten children of George Sibley, an engine driver, and his wife Esther White who had married at St. Mary de Lode, Gloucester on 28 April 1860. His mother was Ada Rose West who was born in Bath on 20 January 1867, the second of seven children of Fred West, a publican, and his wife Hannah Cottle who had married at Walcot St Swithin, Somerset on 12 February 1865.
Victor's parents married on 5 August 1890 at St Mark, Lyncombe in Somerset. Edward Sibley was a clerk living at 244 Lancing Road, Highfield but when he came to Sheffield is not known. In the census on 5 April 1891, Edward and Ada were living at 40 Hobart Street, Highfield. He was in the early stages of a career in the City Accountant's Department where he would work for 37 years. A first child, Vera Hilda West, was born on 2 July that year in Bath, where Ada's widowed mother was a nurse. A son Harold Vernon was born in Sheffield on 7 May 1893 and Victor followed on 30 January 1895.
The Sibley Family must have moved to our area in spring 1897 because Vera, Vernon and Victor were admitted to Totley Church School on separate dates between May and September. No address is given for them other than Totley village. On 14 September that year another daughter Frederica Ada Victoria was born in Totley. School records show that the family left Totley in March 1900 and in the census of 30 March 1901 they were living at 266 Sharrow Vale Road, Sheffield. Edward was shown to be a district rate collector. A third daughter Violet Cecily May was born there on 4 May 1901.
The Sheffield Corporation Act 1900 formally consolidated townships like Attercliffe-cum-Darnall and Brightside Bierlow into Sheffield and extended the City boundaries to include parts of the adjacent parishes of Ecclesfield, Bradfield, Tinsley, Catcliffe, Handsworth, Norton and the Liberty of Beauchief. In December 1901 it was announced that Edward was one of four officials appointed to collect the rate for these new areas.
We think that the Sibley family returned to our area around 1903. The older children had attended schools at Pomona Street and Hunter's Bar and there is an entry on Freda's school record saying that the family "left town" on 31 March that year. A sixth and final child, Vincent Gordon, was born in Totley on 27 May 1905. Five of them - Vernon was the exception - were baptised together on 16 March 1910 at Dore Christ Church. They ranged in ages between 4 and 18. The parish register shows that the Sibleys were living at Alma Villas, (44-46) Victoria Road, Totley Rise and Edward was an assistant overseer of the poor. The census taken in the following April confirmed these details. Vera was an elementary school teacher with Derbyshire Education Committee. Victor and Freda were at grammar school.
Victor emigrated to Australia aboard the Tyser Line Indrapura which left Tilbury on 14 October 1913 bound for Melbourne. He was aged 17 and intended to work as a farm labourer. Soon afterward his arrival, however, war broke out and Victor enlisted at Melbourne on 19 August 1915 becoming Private number 4318 in the 13/5th Regiment of the Australian Imperial Force. He gave as his next of kin his father who's address was 48 Thirwell Road, Heeley thus indicating that the family had left our area yet again. They would stay at this location until the end of the war.
Victor was posted to join the British Expeditionary Force aboard HMAT Demosthenes which sailed from Melbourne on 29 December 1915. He served firstly in Egypt and then in France disembarking at Marseilles on 4 April 1916. On 27 September 1917 he was designated an Artificer indicating that he had a skilled mechanical or technical ability, in his case probably to do with motor vehicle maintenance as he was later transferred to the 6th Australian Motor Transport Company. He left France on 8 May 1919 and after arriving in England was sent to Sutton Veny, near Warminster in Wiltshire. Spanish influenza was particularly virulent at the time and no fewer than 142 Australian soldiers are buried in Sutton Veny churchyard. Victor survived the epidemic and was demobolised on 17 May 1919 in London. He was later awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
He did not immediately return to Australia but instead went to his parents home in Heeley. His father, according to the 1919 White's Directory, was the assistant overseer for Sheffield and Ecclesall Union. His sister Freda had become a teacher in Sheffield having studied at Sheffield Pupil Teaching College between August 1914 to July 1916.
On 3 January 1921 Victor married Jessie Prosser at St. John's Church, Abbeydale. Jessie was born in Sheffield in 1896, the sixth of eight children of Charles Albert Prosser, a silversmith, and his wife Mary Elizabeth Wright who had married at St. Mathias, Sheffield on 1 October 1882. The Prosser Family lived at Woodbine Cottage, Victoria Road and would have been close neighbours of the Sibleys. Jessie had been a classmate of Freda Sibley at Dronfield Grammar School. Sadly their son David Harry Prosser had been killed in the war and is commemorated on the war memorial at St. John's, Abbeydale. We don't know where Victor and Jessie lived but Edward and Ada had had moved to Old Norton by 9 May 1921 when their daughter Cicely married George Benjamin Smith at St. James Church. On a sad note Vernon Sibley died on 22 October 1921 at the Royal Infirmary, following an operation. He was aged 28 and unmarried.
Early in 1922 there was another Sibley family wedding when Freda married Frederick Arthur Bennett at Norton St. James on 14 January. The same year, Victor returned to Melbourne accompanied by Jessie aboard the Orient Line Ormuz which sailed from London on 11 November 1922. He gave his occupation as market gardener. Victor's younger brother Vincent also emigrated to Australia travelling alone on the Commonwealth Ship Esperance Bay which sailed from London on 28 August 1923 arriving in Melbourne on 5 October.
Our knowledge of what became of the brothers in Australia is very limited. Vincent become a welding supervisor in Wilmot, Tasmania. He married Helen Marion Sinclair and paid a visit to England in 1953 arriving on 3 August aboard the Orient Line Orsova and returning on 23 September on its sister ship Orcades. Whilst in England Vincent stayed with his eldest sister Vera in Frampton, Dorset. She had continued her career as a school teacher after her marriage to William Graves in Axminster, Devon in 1933. Vincent later lived in north east Victoria and died in Bright, a holiday centre for the Alpine and Buffalo National Parks, in 1993. He was aged 83. Victor and Jessie lived in the Gippsland Division (County), east of Melbourne until around 1948 when the moved to Wannon Division, in the south west of Victoria. Jessie died in 1973 and Victor died at Heywood, Victoria in 1977.
James Singleton was born in Sheffield and baptised at St. Silas, Broomhall on 30 April 1884. His father was Leonard Singleton, who was born in Sheffield on 30 January 1855, the youngest of five children of William Henry Singleton, a shoemaker, and his wife Mary Hill who had married in 1843. James's mother was Mary Cousins who was born in Sheffield in 1858, the only child of Joseph Cousins, a porter, and his wife Amelia Foulds who had married at Christ Church, Pitsmoor on 22 October 1854. Mary's father had died the year after she was born and she had been brought up by her grandparents until her mother remarried to William Atkinson.
James's parents were married on 31 October 1875 at St. John's, Park, Sheffield. Leonard Singleton was a (mother of) pearl grinder working in the cutlery trade. Their first child Frederick was born the following year and baptised on 25 June at St. Silas, Broomhall, which had been built only in 1867. Leonard and Mary were living at Wellington Street in the city but when Mary Ann, their second child, was baptised on 29 August 1878 they had moved to Aberdeen Street, Broomhall living at Court 3, House 1, or number 53 as it was later known.
A further six girls and seven boys were born there in the course of the next 23 years: Leonard (1879), Ellen (1882), Florence (1883), James (1884), Amelia (1885), Henry (1887), William (1889), Elizabeth (1891), Arthur (1893), Charles (1895), Grace (1897), Harold (1899) and finally Elsie (1901). Only Leonard and William died in infancy. Life was a struggle and the children did not get much schooling. Frederick, the eldest, was working in the pearl trade by the age of nine. Aberdeen Street ran from Broomhall Street to Upper Hanover Street and was demolished in building the inner ring road in the mid 1960s.
James became a pearl grinder like his father and several of his brothers. On 30 June 1906, he married Violetty Elliott at Sheffield Register Office. She was born in Sheffield on 24 April 1885, the sixth of nine children of George Elliott, a spring knife cutler, and his wife Mary Cooper who married at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on Christmas Day 1871. The spelling of her forename was a problem for officialdom throughout her life. Her birth was registered as Violetty but her baptism at the Cathedral Church on 15 March 1885 was recorded as Violetta. The name can be traced back to Violetta Truelove, born in Sheffield in 1803, who married her grandfather James Elliott in 1830 but it probably goes back even earlier than that. A son, Leslie Stuart, was born on 2 August 1906. We don't know where the family were living until 1911 when the census shows that they were at 53 (Queen) Victoria Road, Totley Rise. They would remain at this address until after the war.
James attested on 21 June 1916 and was mobilized on 13 April the following year. His eyesight was slightly defective which barred him from certain military duties but not from service aboard. James became Pte. M/314426 and was sent for training as a heavy lorry driver to the Army Service Corps MT (Motor Transport) Training Depot at Isleworth, Middlesex. He was sent overseas embarking at Portsmouth on July 1917 and served at Basra and in the Kashmir during which he had short spells in hospital for sandfly fever, a viral infection with influenza-like symptoms. He returned from Basra on 30 August 1918 and spent the rest of his service in England, being discharged on 24 April 1919.
We have not researched into what James's siblings did during the war since they did not live in our area but we do know that his brother Henry served in the army and was later engaged by the RAF. Henry had married Ada James at Heeley Parish Church on 9 August 1909 and had a son, Ernest, the following year. After the war Henry had returned to his occupation as a pearl cutter and was living at 31 Alexander Road, Heeley. However, that all changed on 11 April 1922 when the family embarked at London on the steamship Moreton Bay, and disembarked at Freemantle, Western Australia. They had travelled on the Commonwealth Government's New Settlers Scheme which was focussed on attracting ex-soldiers and their families to emigrate to Australia.
Whether encouraged by his brother or not, we do not know, but James and his family followed the same route the following year, sailing from London on 21 July 1923 aboard the Aberdeen White Star Line's SS Demosthenes and disembarking at Freemantle. As we do not have access to Australian records our information about what happened to the two Singleton brothers and to their families is limited. We do know that they both became farmers in the same area and that their sons shared the same farm for a while at least.
In 1936 James, Violetty and Leslie were at Lees Hall Farm, Busselton, Western Australia. Busselton is on the coast, 140 miles southwest of Perth and is now one of Western Australia's most popular holiday resorts. Leslie married Joan Angela Mary Edgecombe on 20 July 1951. Joan was born in East Preston, Sussex in 1920 and emigrated with her family aboard the SS Hobsons Bay in 1926. By 1954, Joan and Leslie had two sons, James George and Stuart Leslie, and were at Merrilees Farm, Busselton. Violetty died on 11 June 1964, aged 79, and was buried at Busselton Cemetery, Yalyalup, Western Australia. James died on 6 July 1978 aged and was buried at the same cemetery.
Norman Kenneth Thomson
Norman Thomson was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1882. His father was Richard Thomson who born in Dalkeith, Midlothian in 1841, the second son of Robert Thomson, a corn miller, and his wife Jessie. His mother was Janet Stevenson who was born in Edinburgh in 1844, the eldest of three children of Peter Stevenson, a scientific instrument maker, and his wife Janet Martin.
Norman's parents were married at No. 56 Lothian Street, Edinburgh on 17 July 1866 by Janet's granduncle, Rev. Thomas Martin, Senior Minister of the North Free Church, Strathmiglo, Fife. At the time Richard was working in Glasgow as a draper and their first child, Janet, was born in that city in 1867. The following year, however, the family moved to Bradford, Yorkshire where Richard became firstly a stuff warehouseman and then a stuff merchant. The word stuff was used to mean a quality cloth that was made from wool or a wool mix. Richard worked for John Young, Messrs Woodhouse and Co., and afterwards for Messrs A. and S. Henry & Co. before becoming a partner in the firm of Gillies, Garnet & Co. of Hall Ings, Bradford.
Three children, Robert (1868), Mary Jessie (1869-70) and Peter (1871) were born before the 1871 Census which reported the Stevenson family living at 23 Southey Place. They were prosperous enough to have a live-in domestic servant. Six more children followed in the next decade: Margaret (1873), Alexander (1874), May (1877), Richard (1877), Florence (1878) and Willie (1880-80). In the 1881 Census the family were living at 27 Merton Road, Horton. Norman was born on 29 March 1882 and then Alice, the youngest child in 1884.
On 25 September 1886 Norman's grandfather, Peter Thomson, was killed at Crarae Quarry, Loch Fyneside in quite dreadful circumstances. Evidently it was a popular spectacle to take a boat excursion on the Loch to witness the explosion of rock from blasting at the quarry. After the explosion about three hundred of the spectators left the boat to inspect the quarry but on this occasion many of them were overcome by "choke-damp", fumes of carbonic acid gas and sulphurous oxide, remaining from the explosion of the gunpowder. Seven people, including Peter, were killed. A popular man, Peter had become internationally well-respected and prosperous through designing and manufacturing meteorological instruments to measure rainfall, temperature and air pressure and gone on to hold a licence to supply the Excise equipment to test spirits for specific gravity. He was aged 74.
The census of 1901 recorded Norman working in Manchester as a traveller for an electrical engineering business. After both his parents had died, Norman married Marion Clement McAdam at Langside Halls, Glasgow on 1 September 1906. Marion was the second of eight children of Robert McAdam from Wigtownshire, a chemist and druggist, who had married Christian Smith Milne at Udny, Aberdeenshire in 1874. A daughter Christian Milne Thompson was born at the end of 1907 in Dore. In the 1911 Census the Thomsons were living at Hamilton House, 140 Totley Brook Road and Norman was still an electrical engineer's traveller. A son Richard, known as Dick, was born on 31 January the following year.
Norman set up an electrical and mechanical engineering business at 93 Eldon Street, Sheffield but after war broke out he joined the Royal Field Artillery as Private number 151477. His service record has not survived but we know that he was firstly promoted to Corporal and then on 7 March 1917 he was granted a commission in the electrical engineering branch of the Royal Engineers.
In November 1919 Norman became a director of a new private company, Hyde and Thomson Ltd., whose business was to manufacturer and deal in electrical machinery. His colleague was Albert William Hyde whose business address was Queen's Dock Chambers, Hull, but who lived in Sheffield. By March 1922, however the company was in voluntary liquidation and worse was to follow when Norman was declared personally bankrupt in June 1928. By then he had left Totley Rise and was living at Craigadawn, 17 Hallam Grange Rise, Fulwood. He had assets of just £2 15s against liabilities of £517.
The Thomson family were still living at the same address in Fulwood in November 1934 when the Sheffield Independent reported that Dick had been in a motor-cycling accident which resulted in being hospitalized with head injuries. There was another road accident on New Year's Eve 1935 which left Norman in hospital. He had been driving from Sheffield to Leicester to visit Christian who was in Leicester Royal Infirmary when his car was in collision with a lorry. Christian was too ill to be told of her father's accident. She died on 18 January and was buried at Christ Church, Fulwood four days later. She was aged 28 and unmarried.
Christian had been educated at Sheffield High School and then she studied drama under Miss Lilias Hawson, for a time becoming her assistant at the Sheffield School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art. Christian had acted and danced in children's plays from being very young and in 1927 she joined the Sheffield Repertory Company. She turned professional the following year and worked with the Terence Byron Repertory Company in Leicester. Her last performance, however, was at the Prince's Theatre, Bradford where according to the Yorkshire Post she gave "a brilliant interpretation of the lovable and high spirited Peg" in John Hartley Manners' play "Peg o' My Heart".
Dick Thomson was apprenticed as a mechanical engineer to the Sheffield Transport Department before working with the transport section of the Post Office at Inverness. In May 1938 he was appointed assistant engineer to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later renamed British Petroleum), based in Kermanshah, Iran. That left just Norman and Marion at home at Craigadawn when the 1939 National Register was compiled. Norman was a representative for Grimston Electric Tools Ltd. of Croydon. Marion died at 3 Knoll Park Drive, Clarkston, Glasgow and was buried at Christ Church, Fulwood on 14 October 1960. She was aged 82. Norman also died in Glasgow in 1965, aged 83.
Sydney Barker Townsend
Sydney Barker Townsend was born in Sheffield in 1880. His father was William Henry Townsend who was born in Sheffield in 1857, the eldest of three children of William Townsend, a comb maker, and his wife Martha Ann Mathews who married at Kings Norton, Worcestershire in 1854. His mother was Emma Townsend, who was born in Kenilworth, Warwickshire in 1856, the seventh of eleven children of William Townsend, a stone mason, and his wife Charlotte Matthews who married at at Leamington Priory on 16 July 1843. Sydney's parents were first cousins, their fathers being sons of James Townsend, a comb maker from Kenilworth, and his wife Sarah Barker. Although their wives were called Matthews and were both born in Warwickshire, they were not closely related.
Sydney's father William Henry Townsend died in Broadmoor Criminal Asylum on 22 August 1930, aged 73, having been an inmate there for most of the previous 37 years. He had been a gunsmith in Sheffield when his mind became unhinged in 1893. He became obsessed with the idea that by murdering the then Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, he would be rendering a service to the nation by denying Ireland Home Rule. He wrote a threatening letter to Mr. Gladstone and followed this up by journeying to London with a loaded revolver to carry out his threat. He stood about in Downing Street until the Prime Minister appeared from number 10, stepped forward to shoot, but at the vital moment lost heart and momentarily let go of the revolver which he later fired at nothing in particular when approached by a policeman at the rear of number 10. He was arrested and tried at the Central Criminal Court in May 1893 on charges of sending the threatening letter and for discharging a firearm to the common danger. He pleaded innocent but, without leaving the court, the jury found him guilty though not responsible for his actions due to insanity. He was sentenced to be detained at the Queen's pleasure.
In 1903 he had recovered and was discharged but had to be re-admitted later the same year having relapsed. In 1927 he was again released but had to be taken back in 1929. During a period of sanity, he told a friend that "Mr. Gladstone's back was turned to me and I was just going to fire when he turned and smiled at me. His smile was so charming that I had not the heart to shoot him." The detention order was signed on 1 June 1893 by the then Home Secretary, Herbert Henry Asquith, who would himself become Prime Minister in 1908. There was a history of insanity in the family and William Henry's grandmother, Sarah Barker, and an uncle had died in Hatton Lunatic Asylum, near Warwick.
William Henry left school at 16 and was apprenticed as a commercial clerk to Messrs Turner, Naylor & Co., edge tool manufacturers, a job which he undertook perfectly satisfactorily until in 1877 he suddenly and without explanation enlisted as a soldier. The military life soon proved to be not of his liking and he was bought out of the army by his father with the help of a Sheffield M.P. His old employers accepted him back and he became a commercial traveller for them. On 30 May 1878 William Henry married his cousin Emma Townsend at All Saints, Ecclesall. Three children were born in Sharrow: Annie in 1879, Sydney in 1880 and Winifred in 1882. Then quite suddenly William Henry left home telling Emma that he was going to South Africa whilst sending a letter to his father saying he was going to America.
Several weeks passed without a word until a cablegram arrived from Sydney, New South Wales, with the single word "HOPE". If it was an acronym it was not understood. A letter followed stating that he had obtained a good position working for an ironmonger. He undertook this work entirely satisfactorily for a period of a year during which he begged his wife to join him in Australia. In December 1882 William Henry returned to England with the intention of fetching his family and, in February the following year, the Townsend family sailed together aboard the SS Glenogil arriving in Sydney on 29 April.
They lived happily in Balmain, New South Wales for almost five years during which William Henry's behaviour both at work and home was exemplary despite the setback of Winifred's death in 1884. However, in March 1888, just as suddenly as before, William Henry left home. Nothing was heard of him but he later said that he had travelled around New South Wales, Queensland and even Tasmania following Lord Carrington, the governor of New South Wales, with the intention of murdering him. With no means of support, Emma, Annie and Sydney returned to England and went to live with family in Kenilworth. William Henry eventually turned up in Sheffield at his father's house the following year in a distressed condition. Again his father helped him, providing him with money and having him examined by doctors including a Dr. Barber who concluded that he was a man whose brain could be easily exhausted during which time he would be insane.
William Townsend also found his son a position as an assistant to William George Liversidge in his gunshop in Sheffield Haymarket. William Henry stayed in Mr Liversidge's employment for more than three years during which he had at least one further relapse when he took one of his employer's guns and went to Ireland with the intention of punishing a cousin who, he thought, had done his father an injury. Fortunately William Henry managed to recover his sanity before any harm was done and he returned to his employer a few days later.
Another daughter Charlotte Jessie was baptised at Heeley Parish Church on 4 May 1892 but she died after only five months and was buried on 5 September. Emma said that as a husband and a father, William Henry was a kind and caring man. Quiet and sober, he would spend hours devouring books and newspapers. He had become intensely interested in politics and especially the Irish Home Rule question. On Friday 21 April, the second reading of the Government of Ireland Bill 1893 (better known as the Second Home Rule Bill) was approved by a majority of 347 to 304. The following day William Henry did not return after work to his home at 17 Hyde Road. Emma became worried but could not find him. William Henry had taken a train firstly to Brighton where he hoped to confront Mr. Gladstone on the Sunday but instead it was in London on Wednesday 26 April that he finally met up with his intended victim. After William Henry's incarceration, a son Lawrence John was born. He was baptised at Heeley Parish Church on 15 September 1893.
In the 1901 Census Emma, Annie, Sydney, Margaret and Lawrence were living at Sheaf House, Abbeydale Road South, the building which housed the Beauchief telephone exchange. Emma was an operator for the National Telephone Company. Sydney, aged 20, had become an electrical engineer for the same organisation. Soon after the children began to leave home. On 7 September 1912, Annie married Walter Talbot Wingfield, an electroplate cutler, at All Saints Parish Church, Ecclesall. In 1904 Sydney married Miriam Liller. She was born in Attercliffe in 1875, the second of six children of Henry Liller, a manager with Cammell Laird & Co., and his wife Miriam Marsh who had married in 1870 at East Retford, Nottinghamshire. Lawrence joined the Royal Navy at Devonport in April 1909.
By the time of the 1911 Census, Emma was alone at Sheaf House except for a live-in domestic servant. Margaret was a governess living with Annie and Walter and their two children at 95 Marshall Road, Woodseats. Lawrence was at Portland aboard the battleship Bellerophon. Sydney and Miriam lived at 28 Broom Grove, Rotherham with their three children: Cyril Liller born in Sheffield in 1905, Eric Henry born in Dore in 1907 and Marjorie born in Rotherham in 1910. Sydney was a manager for the National Telephone Company whose operating licence ran out on 31 December 1911 and whose business was transferred to the General Post Office. Sydney and his family soon moved back to Sheffield to live at 43 Roach Road, Sharrow. Cyril and Eric were admitted to Hunters Bar School on 10 February 1913 and were still in the same school when war broke out.
Sydney's war service record has not survived but we know that he joined the Royal Engineers as Sapper number 192153 and was sent to Mesopotamia on 4 August 1916. There was an urgent need to improve the infrastructure there including the building of roads, bridges, hospitals and communications lines. He received a commission as Second Lieutenant on 11 October 1918 and was later awarded the Victory Medal and British War medal.
In 1922 Sydney and the family were living at 25 Deakins Walk, Ranmoor but they were living in Middlesbrough when their eldest son Cyril married Kathleen Muxlow at Dore and Totley Union Church on 27 December 1929. Cyril had become an electrical engineer. Kathleen was the second of four children of Edgar Muxlow, a crucible steel manufacturer, and his wife Margaret Annie Havenhand. Kathleen's elder brother, Joseph Wharton Muxlow, also served in the war and his story appears elsewhere on our website.
Eric Townsend married Florence Genevieve Pullen on 16 September 1933 in the Roman Catholic Church at Hassop, Derbyshire. Florence was the youngest of six children of George Edward James Pullen, a Regimental Sergeant Major with the Notts and Derby Regiment, and his wife Ellen Margaret Fane. Eric was an engineer with Ericsson Telephones when he and Florence emigrated to South Africa in 1947.
Sydney Townsend died on 7 September 1937 in Leeds Infirmary. He was aged 57 and had been living at 11 Red Hall Avenue, Shadwell. The service was at Dore and Totley Union Church, three days later. Miriam moved back to our area after Sydney's death and was living at 33 Marstone Crescent when the 1939 National Register was compiled. She never remarried and died at 10 Dudley Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey on 6 December 1957, aged 83.
Ronald Sydney Barton Unwin
Ronald Sydney Barton Unwin was born in Dore in 1901. His father was James Sydney Unwin who was born in Dore on 27 December 1875, the fifth of ten children of Heald Unwin Jnr., a farmer, and his wife Hannah Schofield who had married at All Saints Parish Church, Ecclesall on 17 September 1868. His mother was Harriet Ann Barton who was born in Sheffield on 29 January 1878, the second of three daughters of Edmund Barton, a surgical instrument maker, and his wife Charlotte Clarke who married in Sheffield in 1876.
Ronald's parents married in Sheffield in 1900 and he was born on 10 March the following year. Sydney Unwin, as his father was known, had been brought up at Hall Lane Farm, Totley but after his marriage he set up his own dairy business. The 1901 White's directory gives his address as Edensor Villas, Chatsworth Road. They are three pairs of semi-detached houses built by Walter Waller Marrison almost opposite the bottom of Vernon Road. Sydney appears to have occupied the pair now numbered 23-25 on a temporary basis whilst a house and dairy were built behind the irregularly configured semis Eastbourne (38) and Westbourne (36) on Totley Brook Road. Sydney occupied both of these houses at different times letting out the other one. A daughter, Laura Evelyn, was born on 17 December 1904.
Ronald began his schooling at Totley Church School on 12 March 1906 but left on 18 January the following year to attend another school, not named in the school's admission register. He later went to Chesterfield Grammar School where in 1916 he had success in the Oxford Local Examinations. On leaving school Ronald joined the Merchant Navy and was issued Identity Number 213534. He was a midshipman during the war for which he was later awarded the British Medal, the Mercantile Marine Ribbon and the British Medal Ribbon.
After World War One Ronald pursued his career as a merchant seaman whilst returning home to Totley during periods of leave. He was awarded his Second Mate's Certificate of Competency on 25 November 1921 and his Master's Certificate on 7 August 1925, both at Liverpool.
On 16 June 1926 at St. John the Baptist's, Abbeydale, Ronald married Barbara Fletcher of 3 Prospect Road, Totley Rise. Barbara was born on 26 September 1905 in Norton, Derbyshire the only daughter of Leonard John Fletcher, a clerk with the Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank, and his wife Florence Haywood who had married on 18 May 1895 at Whiston Parish Church, Rotherham. It would seem that Ronald's job took him to south-east Asia because they were living in Singapore when his sister Evelyn married Edmund Draper Nicholls at Dore and Totley Union Church on 18 June 1927. Edmund's story is told on another page.
The following year Ronald and Barbara were in Malaya where a daughter, June Barbara, was born on 4 June at the European Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. At that time Kuala Lumpur was in the Federated Malay States, established by the British government in 1895, and Britain was still responsible for its defence and foreign policy. Ronald had a position working for the Crown Agents, an administrative body of local government. Barbara must have visited home in 1933-1934 as we have found her returning from Southampton to Penang aboard the P&O Line vessel Corfu on 27 October 1934. Her father had died at home on 10 September the previous year aged 66. The following year the whole family returned to England aboard P&O's Rawalpindi which sailed from Singapore to London in December 1935. They gave 3 Prospect Road as their intended address. Ronald returned to Malaya on 14 August 1936 again aboard the Rawalpindi.
When the National Register was compiled on 29 September 1939, Barbara was at Trelawne, Maenporth Hill, Falmouth, Cornwall with her mother Florence, daughter June, brother Leonard and his wife Freda. Leonard Shelley Fletcher had also served in the Great War and his story appears on another page. Interestingly Barbara states that she is on leave from Malaya. It appears that she too may have worked for the Crown Agents. When Ronald returned to Malaya on 14 September 1940 aboard the Blue Funnel Line Anchises, he gave his occupation as harbour master.
The Navy Lists show, however, that with effect from 24 December 1941, Ronald was appointed Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Naval Reserve at HMS Sultan, a Royal Navy shore base at Singapore. The base was abandoned with the fall of the island to the Japanese in February 1942 when about 80,000 British, Indian and Australian troops became prisoners of war, adding to the 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the earlier Malayan Campaign. Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it the "worst disaster" in British military history. Many of those at HMS Sultan, however, were rescued by British merchant vessels. We do not know what became of Ronald but his name continues to appear in the Navy Lists and in 1945 his rank is altered to Acting Commander.
On 23 September 1946 Barbara and June sailed from Tilbury to Port Swettenham, Penang aboard the HMT Ranchi (formerly the P&O Line SS Ranchi) to join up with Ronald in Malaya. All three of them returned home together sailing from Port Swettenham aboard the Glen Line MV Glenartney and disembarking in London on 10 April 1948. Whilst the intended address for Barbara and June was given as 2 Devonshire Road, Totley Rise, Ronald's intended address was 2 Warren Road, Hoylake, Cheshire. This was the home of Eileen Amy Carr, who had been born in Hoylake on 9 April 1912, the fifth of six children of Herbert Henry Carr, a coal merchant, and his wife Ada Sofia Hart who had married on 12 June 1904 at St John's, Roundhay, Barwick in Elmet, Yorkshire.
We can only presume that Ronald and Barbara were divorced soon after their return to England. Ronald married Eileen in the Wirral and on 10 October 1948 the newlyweds departed aboard the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd's MV Willem Ruys travelling first class to Singapore. June Unwin went out to Singapore alone aboard the Corfu on 4 February the following year. Ronald, still a government employee, and Eileen returned to England aboard the Blue Funnel's MV Calchason disembarking at Liverpool on 3 May 1951. They went back to 2 Warren Road to live with Eileen's widowed mother probably until her death in 1957. Ronald died at Auchencary, 54 Pipers Lane, Heswall, Wirral on 7 August 1980. He was aged 79. Eileen was still at the same address when she died on 15 July 1994, aged 82.
John William Wint and Thomas Wint
The name of John William Wint appears on the Roll of Honour at Totley Rise Methodist Church alongside those of his brother, Thomas, and first cousins Willie Gee and Samuel Crookes.
John was born in Totley in 1884. His father was Joseph Wint who was born in Chesterfield in 1857, the eldest of six children of Thomas Wint and his wife Hannah Johnson who married at St. Mary's Church, Wirksworth, Derbyshire on 23 October 1855. Thomas Wint (1836-1901) had many occupations. He was an agricultural labourer, a farmer, a gardener and later a cab proprietor and shop owner at Totley Rise. John's mother was Mary Coates Crookes who was born in Eckington, Derbyshire in 1857, the third of four children of Thomas Crookes, a scythe grinder, and his wife Hannah Makinson who had married at the (Cathedral) Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Sheffield on 11 April 1852.
John's parents married at Dore Christ Church on 22 May 1879. Joseph was a gardener and lived at Dore Fields (Ashfurlong); Mary lived at Little Common, Ecclesall. Their first child Thomas was baptised at Abbeydale St. John's on 21 December later that year. In the census the following year the Wint Family were living at Little Common with Mary's mother who had married William Thorpe, a scythe grinder, in 1867 after the death of Mary's father. Their stay in Little Common appears to have been a brief one as they were in Totley Rise when daughter Alice Mary was baptised on 12 February 1882 at Abbeydale St. John. When John William was baptised at the same church on 25 May 1884, Joseph had become a shopkeeper. Elsie was the fourth child who was born in Totley on 7 April 1886 and baptised on 17 May next by the Brunswick Wesleyan Methodist Chapel Circuit of South Street (later The Moor), Sheffield.
A fifth child, Nettie, was born on 9 July 1888 and baptised on 19 August at Ecclesall All Saints. Sadly she died aged 2 on 15 October 1890 and was buried at Dore Christ Church four days later. In the 1891 Census the family were living at Totley Rise and Joseph was shown as a grocer. Two more daughters were born whilst the family were living at Totley Rise: Dorothy was baptised at Dore Christ Church on 8 November 1891 and Winifred Bernice at Abbeydale St. John's on 31 January 1894.
Then the Wints moved to 2 St. Mary's Road, Sheffield where daughter Beatrice Hannah was born on 19 December 1897 and baptised at St. Mary's Church, Bramall Lane on 16 January the following year. In the census on 31 March 1901 the family were living in Crookes at 64 Blakeney Road. Thomas had become a hosiery traveller and John a butcher's assistant but things were soon to change as Joseph's father had died as a result of a cab accident on 11 March and his will was proved on 14 May.
Thomas Wint's three sons Joseph, William and Samuel took over their father's business interests which included a cab business based at Dore & Totley Station, a grocers shop on Totley Rise at 65 Baslow Road and a greengrocers at Green Oak. By 30 July 1902 when Lilian, the last of the children was baptised at Abbeydale St. John's, Joseph and Mary were back in Totley living at Green Oak.
In 1903 their son Thomas married Carrie Agnes Barden, She was born in Shelley, Yorkshire on 13 April 1879, the fourth of five children of George Barden, a draper, and his wife Jane Cudworth, who had married at All Hallows Church, Bispham, Lancashire on 13 August 1869. Thomas and Carrie had a daughter, Doris, who was baptised at St. Barnabas, Highfield on 26 October 1910 when they were living at 115 Wolseley Road. Thomas had become a coachman. When the census was taken the following year, Thomas and his family were back at Totley Rise.
John Wint married Clarice Hilda Lee in 1904. She was the only daughter of William James Lee, a walking stick and umbrella maker, and his first wife Eliza Simpson who had married on 25 February 1884 at St. George's Church, Broad Lane, Sheffield. They had three children all born in Totley Rise: John Willis born on 8 July 1905, Ernest William born on 25 September 1908 and Clarice Noreen born on 20 December 1909. From the records of their baptisms at Abbeydale St. John's it would appear that their father was still a butcher in 1905 but thereafter became a cab and motor bus driver.
Thomas and John's driving skills were to be of use to the Army during the war. Neither brother's service record has survived but we presume that they enlisted together as they both joined the Royal Army Service Corps as Privates and were issued consecutive service numbers: Thomas M2/081132 and John M2/081133. They were sent to France together disembarking on 18 July 1915.
Whilst on leave in December 1915, John was questioned in court about a road accident that had taken place in the previous March. He had been driving a Sheffield Corporation motor bus that was in collision with a motor cycle in Matilda Street. In response to a question about driving conditions, John had replied that driving at the front was much more difficult than in Sheffield. The brothers were both discharged in 1919, Thomas 13 March and John on 13 June. They both received the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
After the war John Wint divorced Clarice in March 1927. Neither of them married again and John died in Gleadless on 1 February 1935 aged 50. He was buried at Dore Christ Church five days later. His three children were living with their mother at 246 Broom Lane, Levenshulme, Manchester in the 1939 Register. Clarice died in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1956 aged 71. Thomas and Carrie continued to run the grocers shop at 65 Baslow Road for many years. Thomas died on 6 July 1939 aged 59 and Carrie on 17 August 1945 aged 66. They were both buried at Dore Christ Church.
Bert Woodworth was born in Sheffield on 18 June 1885. His father was Tom Woodworth who was born in Halifax on 25 April 1854, the fourth of five children of William David Woodworth, a joiner, and his first wife Elizabeth Barber, who had married at the Parish (later Cathedral) Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Sheffield on 25 October 1843. Bert's mother was Elizabeth Foster who was born in Sheffield in 1853, the fifth of seven children of George Atkinson, a whitesmith, and his wife Ann Atkinson who had married at the Parish Church, Leeds on 25 December 1844.
Bert's parents married on 12 July 1876 at All Saints, Brightside when the were both living at 1 Victoria Road, Heeley. Tom Woodworth had become a clerk for a steel merchant. They moved to Kingston Street, Burngreave where their first child Harry was born in 1878. Sadly he died aged one and was buried on 29 February 1880 in Burngreave Cemetery. Two more sons were born in Kingston Street: Frank on 15 November 1880 and Ernest on 10 December 1882. When their next child, Bert, was born on 18 June 1885 the Woodworth family were living at 52 Botham Street, Grimesthorpe. Tom's occupation was shown as a railway spring forger. Their two youngest children were born at 12 Earldom Street, Eva on 19 January 1888 and Albert on 12 June 1890. All five children were baptised at All Saints, Brightside and Ernest was still attending the All Saints Church of England School in Pitsmoor in 1890 but by census night 5 April 1891 the family had moved to Totley Rise. Curiously, Frank's school attendance at Pitsmoor continues through to 1898.
By 1890 Tom had become an accountant and auditor in the partnership Crowther and Woodworth, operating from premises initially at Haymarket Chambers, Haymarket, Sheffield and at Low Pavement, Chesterfield. His partner, William Crowther, was the secretary of First Sheffield Model Building Society which had been founded in June 1889. In the 1901 Census the Woodworth family were living at South View, 118 Totley Brook Road. Both Frank and Bert had become accountants' clerks and Ernest a stone mason's apprentice.
Tom's accountancy partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 8 November 1892 and Tom assumed sole responsibility for its business which moved premises to 22 York Street, Sheffield and Packers Row, Chesterfield. Tom also took over William Crowther's role as building society secretary in following year. The society's members were mainly small traders and thrifty working men who paid regular cash subscriptions in the hope that they might one day become home owners.
On 21 December 1903 a Special Meeting of the society was convened to consider the report of the auditors which had found discrepancies in the accounts estimated at between £1,600 and £1,800 pounds. It was resolved to voluntarily wind-up the society and to take proceedings against its secretary. Tom was arrested the next day and charged with forging receipts with the intent of defrauding the society. He was also charged with fraudulently converting the sums for his own use. It would seem that his crimes had remained undetected since August 1898 despite the society employing both professional and lay auditors. Tom had simply retained the cash and made up the bank passbook entries himself with no check ever being made between the passbook and the bank's ledgers. At Leeds Assizes on 10 March 1904 Tom pleaded guilty to all the charges and was sentenced to three years penal servitude. The building society was duly wound-up on 1 September 1905. Those members who were not entitled to be repaid in full received a dividend of 7s 9d in the pound. Tom's prison record shows that he served his sentence at Parkhurst, Isle of Wight and that he was released nine months early on 7 June 1906 and became a Church Army accountant.
We do not know where Tom or Bert were on census night 1911. They were not with Elizabeth, Frank, Eva and Albert who were at home at Woodview, Totley Rise. Nor were they with Ernest who had married Florinda Emma Clarke in 1905 and was living at Green Oak with their daughter May. Florinda had been born on 12 March 1881 in Abney, Derbyshire to William Clarke and his wife Elizabeth, nee Turner who later ran a fishmonger's shop on Totley Rise. Ernest and his family emigrated to Canada, we think in 1912. He died in Vancouver, British Columbia on 17 April 1920, aged 37. Florinda never remarried and died in Vancouver on 3 June 1971, aged 90. May married Charles Augustus Hardcastle, a ships steward, at All Saints Church, Vancouver on 10 October 1931.
Frank Woodworth was the next to marry in 1911. His wife was Pattie Wragg who was born in Dronfield on 16 March 1881, the second of ten children of Joseph Wragg, a farm bailiff, and his wife Mary Ann Collis who came to live at Ashfurlong Cottages, Dore around 1885. Frank was an insurance agent who in the 1939 Register was living at Cambria, 184 Dore Road. He died aged 76 on 15 October 1957 and was buried at Dore Christ Church three days later. Pattie was still at the same address on Dore Road when she died on 5 June 1965 aged 84.
Albert Woodworth had been a clerk for the Mickley Colliery Company in 1911 but by the time he married Lily Childs at Christ Church, Fulwood on 24 May 1920, he had become a secretary at Beechwood Court, Mountain Road, Conwy. Lily was born in 7 April 1894, the second of seven children of Tom Childs and his wife Sarah Ann Edith Cartright who had married at the Parish Church Handsworth on 27 September 1892. In 1939 they were living at 43 Victoria Road, Sharrow. Albert died on 9 July 1960, aged 70 ,at Church Lane, Willoughton, Lincolnshire and Lily died on 14 April 1973 in Sheffield, aged 79.
Eva Woodworth married Bombardier Thomas William Machin of the Royal Field Artillery at Totley Rise Wesleyan Church on 25 October 1916. Thomas had been born in Lye, Worcestershire in 19 , the elder son of Thomas Samuel Machin and his wife Sarah Jane Cook Fawcett. Like his father young Thomas had been an insurance agent before the war. After the war it would seem that Eva and Thomas lived with his parents at 22 The Grove, Totley. Thomas died on 28 June 1925, aged 43 and was buried at Dore Christ Church on 1 July. Eva moved back to Woodview. She died in 1970 aged 82.
Woodview would remain the Woodworth family home throughout the war and beyond. It was a terrace of three cottages that was accessed from between numbers 3 and 5 Glover Road and had long back gardens down to Back Lane. Tom died there aged 72 in 1926 and was buried at Burngreave Cemetery on 1 December. Elizabeth also died at Woodview on 23 March 1931 and was buried with her husband four days later. She was aged 78. Woodview was demolished to make way for the Laverdene Avenue extension by Chesterman Addy Ltd. in 1992.
During the war Bert served as Private number 405462 with the Royal Army Medical Corps, and saw service in France and Flanders. His war service record has not survived. On 21 December 1917 at St. Mary's Church, Newmarket, Cambridgeshire Pte. Herbert Woodworth of the 2/3 West Riding Field Ambulance, B.E.F., married Gertrude Ethel Orbell of 30 Lowther Street, Newmarket. Gertrude had been born in Cavenham, Suffolk on 14 February 1881, the fifth of fourteen children of Thomas Orbell, a coachman, and his wife Emily Isabella Hudson.
Bert was discharged from the army on 4 March 1919 and received a small disability pension for a pre-existing condition of neurasthenia which was judged to have been aggravated by war service. He was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal.
After the war, Bert and Gertrude lived at Ashfurlong, Dore where a stillborn son was born on 29 November 1920. Thankfully, a daughter Joan Marion was born soon after on 18 April 1922. Bert became a piano tuner and repairer. He initially worked for John Hoyland and Sons Ltd. at their premises opposite the Albert Hall in Barker's Pool but by 1931 he worked on his own account from his home which was then at Fern Mount, 355 Baslow Road. In the 1939 Register Bert's family were living at 38 Mickley Lane, Totley. Gertrude died there and was buried at Abbey Lane Cemetery on 18 December 1948. Bert later moved to 99 Prospect Road, Bradway. He died on 14 April 1967 aged 81 and was buried with Gertrude four days later.
June Meeting Cancelled
Taking precautions against the spread of the coronavirus is everyone's number one priority at this time. Accordingly, the monthly meetings of Totley History Group have been cancelled until further notice.
In the meantime, please continue to support your history group by sending us your queries, contributions and comments.
n Wednesday 24th June, Pauline Burnett will be speaking to us about The History of Holidays - tracing how people from the middle ages celebrated the seasons, to the holiday entitlements and changing opportunities of 19th-21st centuries. The meeting will be in Totley Library, beginning as at 7.30pm.
A few copies are still available of Sally Goldsmith's book Thirteen Acres: John Ruskin and the Totley Communists. Totley was the site of a utopian scheme funded by art critic and social reformer John Ruskin. In 1877 he bought 13-acre St. George’s Farm so that nine Sheffield working men and their families could work the land and, to keep themselves busy, make boots and shoes. Sally tells an engaging story from our history with a quirky cast of characters including Ruskin himself, the poet and gay rights activist Edward Carpenter and Henry Swan, a cycling, vegetarian artist and Quaker. The book is available to order online from the The Guild of St. George by following this link.
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.
Charles Herbert Nunn enlisted in the British Army on 23 August 1915 and was sent to France on 18 December 1915 to served with the British Expeditionary Force. In March 1916 it was discovered that he was underage and he was returned home. Shortly after his 18th birthday he re-enlisted and was again posted abroad where, in addition to this trio of medals, he was awarded the Military Medal.
This certificate was awarded jointly by the Red Cross and St. John's Ambulance to Isaac Henry Williams, of Lemont Road, for his services during WW1 as a stretcher bearer. We are seeking anyone who can help us pass it on to a living relative.
In 1832 Samuel Dean pleaded guilty to stealing a quantity of lead from the Totley Rolling Mill and was sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. He sailed on the Mangles and upon arrival in New South Wales he was sent to work for William Cox, the famous English explorer and pioneer. After receiving his Certificate of Freedom in 1840, Samuel became a farmer and went on to have a very large family. Samuel was born in Whitechapel around 1811 to parents Samuel Dean Snr. and Susannah Duck. His descendant Sarah Dean would like help in tracing his ancestry.
Ellen Topham was born in 1889 in Nottingham. Her parents had been living together since 1862 but had never married so it was most unusual that, after their deaths, Ellen was accepted into Cherrytree Orphanage. Even more so since her father, Snowden Topham, had been acquitted somewhat unexpectedly in a widely reported manslaughter trial. Ellen remained at Cherrytree until her death from pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 15.
Mabel Wilkes was a resident in Cherrytree Orphanage between 1897 and 1905. Her granddaughter Sally Knights sent us these images of a book presented to Mabel as a prize for her writing. Sally also sent us some personal memories of her grandmother and a photograph of a locket which contains portraits of Mabel and her husband Septimus Gale.
John Henry Manby Keighley was living at Avenue Farm when he enlisted in 1916. He fought in France with the Cheshire Regiment but after home leave in early 1918 he went missing. The Army were unable to determine whether he had deserted or returned to the front and been either killed or captured by the enemy. In August 1919 he was formally presumed killed in action but it appears he did not die but returned home to his family.
Horace Ford was admitted to Cherrytree Orphanage on 26 October 1888 at the age of six. He left at the age of 14 to become an apprentice blacksmith and farrier. Soon after his 18th birthday Horace enlisted in the Imperial Yeomanry to serve his country in the war in South Africa. His letter home to his Orphanage mentor tells of the lucky escape he had in battle.
Pat Skidmore (née Sampy) lived on Totley Brook Road from 1932 to 1948 before her family moved to Main Avenue. In this short article she remembers her time at Totley All Saints School where she was a contemporary of Eric Renshaw and Bob Carr.
As we have nowhere to exhibit memorabilia and artifacts, we have created a Virtual Museum instead. The latest addition to our collection is this double-sided Totley Rise Post Office oval illuminated sign which was on the wall of 67 Baslow Road before the Post Office business transferred to number 71. Please contact us by email if you have things that you own and would like to see added to the virtual museum.
Conway Plumbe was a man of many talents who came to live in Totley Rise around 1912. As a young man he had poems published by Punch magazine and is remembered in modern collections of WW1 poetry. A number of his paintings were accepted by the Royal Academy. An engineering graduate of London University, he joined the Civil Service where he rose to a high level as a factory inspector, publishing two books on the subject and giving a series of talks on workplace health and safety on BBC radio during WW2. In retirement he wrote a philosophical-spiritual work called Release From Time.
Inside Totley Rise Methodist Church there is a Roll of Honour commemorating the soldiers from its congregation who served their king and country during the Great War. For all but one of the 28 names the soldier's regiment is recorded in the next column. The exception is David Cockshott for whom 'killed in action' is written alongside yet he appears on no war memorial in our area and no record of a mortally wounded soldier of that name is to be found. We think we have solved the mystery.
Mrs. Kate Plumbe moved from Mansfield to Totley Rise with a number of her family in 1913 and became closely involved with the Totley Union Church. Her daughter Winifred became a missionary and headmistress in Calcutta for over 38 years following which she returned home to live with her sister Hilda on Furniss Avenue. Hilda had also been a teacher, missionary and, like her mother, a volunteer at St. John's VAD during WW1.
Thomas Glossop was a cutler and razor manufacturer who was well known amongst cricketing and gardening circles. Despite going blind, he was able to continue his hobbies with remarkable success
The Totley Union Cycling Society Prize Giving and Fete was held on the fields near Abbeydale Hall on 18 July 1914. Anne Rafferty and Gordon Wainwright have named some of the people in two wonderful photographs of the event. Can you identify any more for us?
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"
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.
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.
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 700 gravestones in the churchyard.
Visitors since 24 Sep 2012: