Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Meetings and Visits in 2013

18 December 2013

A Victorian Christmas


Totley History Group met on a dark and rain lashed night in the doomed Totley Library to hear Sue Deal's comprehensive and entertaining talk about the Victorian influences on modern day Christmas traditions.

Sue Deal. Our speaker and a member of the Victorian Society

Did you know that.......


The Christian overlay of the birth of Christ onto the Winter Solstice celebrations allowed many solstice practices, such as bringing greenery into the house and the focus on the coming of the light, to continue and become associated with Christmas.


During the late 17th century, it was considered vulgar to celebrate Christmas. Jane Austen makes no mention of Christmas in her novels.


The Victorian enthusiasm for all things medieval reinvigorated the celebration of Christmas. The medieval Christmas was a 12 day affair, and thanks to the Victorians, a pattern we still follow.


Charles Dickens had a enormous influence on the way Christmas was celebrated. The telling of ghost stories and the focus on the family gathering together were all features of a traditional Victorian Christmas popularised by Dickens. His social comment in A Christmas Carol highlighted, and helped to change, the long working hours most employees endured.


After the talk, we enjoyed homemade mince pies, a glass of wine and a good natter.


We all establish our own family traditions. As well as the pleasure in anticipation they bring, I suspect they also help to ease us through the pressures and anxieties these celebrations can create. Whatever Christmas traditions you choose to follow, it is pretty certain by the time you read this you will have taken your decorations down and safely packed them away for next year. 

27 November 2013

Unmentionable Foundations

The height of late Victorian fashion; the 17 inch waist.

The history group got an insight into the private lives and aspirations of our female ancestors from Janet Stain's talk on the evening of Wednesday 27 November when she took us on a romp through their underwear. Who would have thought that so much could be revealed from the way a women fastens her stays? A loose woman could be detected by the crossed lacing of her stays; a style of lacing more comfortable than the straight lacing of her more respectable sister. Or that the physical ideal for 17th century women was a 13 inch waist? Catherine de Medici in late 16th century Italy declared that any woman with a waist wider than 13 inches was surely eating too much.


Tiny waists achieved with stays could cause damage to internal organs and deaths were attributed to their over enthusiastic use. Many women kept their stays on throughout pregnancy, risking their own and their child's health.

17th C stays ribbed with whale bone.

Janet brought with her some of her collection of chemise and corsets. Hand sewn and decorated corsets, ridged with whale bone or bamboo that to our modern eyes must have been torture to wear, but which were often worn day and night.

It was not only women who used corsets to modify their body shape. Men also felt the pressure. George IV wore a corset when in his later years he needed to keep his 20 stone bulk in check. As well as corsetry, some men used padding to enhance the shape of their calves, chests and arms.


Not even the women in the Sheffield workhouse could escape their stays. The Nether Edge Workhouse was one of only a few workhouses in the country that issued stays to its female inmates.

The New Look made tiny waists fashionable again

After centuries of encasement in corsets, a break for freedom came in the 1920s when the fashion was for a straight and unformed female shape that liberated women's bodies. This freedom was short lived however when the New Look came into fashion in the late 40s. Tiny waists were back and corsets with them.

Spirella corsets catered for women with dreams.

There were reminiscence amongst the audience about liberty vests and Thermogene Wool. We had the daughter of Spirella corset representative in the audience who remembered the special corset tape measure her mother used. Much fun was had and we all appreciated Janet's extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for her subject.

16 October 2013

Open Meeting


Despite the wind and the rain, lots of people turned out for our meeting on the night of Wednesday 16 October. We had snippets from ongoing research; puzzles about local houses; a painting of Akley Bank and lots more.


The Bailey family from Dronfield came along to ask about their ancestor, Jim Parker, one of the First World War soldiers remembered on the Totley War Memorial. The family had already done considerable work themselves on uncovering their family's past when they came across the THG publication about local men who died in the Great War. The family brought old family photographs with them and a watercolour by W. C. Hill. The artist lived on Lemont Road and painted lots of other local views. Have you got one of his paintings?


A letter has recently been uncovered in The Edwards Collection suggesting that the three cottages (Glenrose, Glenbourne and Woodside) on Back Lane might have originally been a farm house. The letter suggests that the farm house was subdivided into 3 cottages in 1902. We are hoping that someone will take on the task of searching back through memory and document to discover the origins of these buildings. We know that one of the cottages has religious scenes painted on the walls from the days when it was used as a chapel. If your interest is sparked by this puzzle, get in touch and we will give you all the information we have and help you along the way with your research.


Totley Tithe Map & Schedule, 1839


Christine's map of the Totley village section of the 1840 Tithe map of Totley was studied. She drew it for the Totley Show stand, so you might have seen it there.


Our collaboration with the Totley Independent has produced quite a few photographs that have not been published for some years. Dorothy printed a few of these pictures for the meeting and they stimulated lots of memories. THG has quite a big gap in its photo collection across the 30s, 40s and 50s, so if you have any pictures of Totley during these decades we would really like to hear from you. Even if they that are just snaps in your garden, we might be able to make out buildings in the background.


Dorothy and Pauline are researching the local shops and would like to talk to anyone who worked in any of them 10/15 years ago and later.


The Edwards Collection will be open to the public for research purposes at 79 Baslow Road on the 4th Saturday in the month from 10 a.m. to noon. Members of the Totley History Group will be in attendance.

25 September 2013

Khaki Suited Me!


On the evening of Wednesday 25 September, Bessie Renwick treated Totley History Group to an entertaining and spirited account of her service in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, (ATS) during the Second World War. 

Bessie Renwick in 1943

In 1939, at the start of the war, Bessie was frustrated at not being called up. She worked in a reserved occupation in local government and lived at home with her mother who kept strict control of her social life. She could go to work during the week, play tennis on Saturday and go to church on Sunday and always had to be in by 9.30. Relief came at the end of 1943 when her call up papers arrived.


Despite the challenging training and the big khaki knickers, Bessie took to the ATS with gusto. She did the basic training and was then chosen for further training as a wireless operator. Sent off to Scotland for this training, the train journey took 12 hours and the only food she had been given was a few cream crackers sandwiched together with marmalade. But she was not daunted, just thankful that the WRVS were waiting on the platform with bread and tea at the end of her journey.


Bessie Renwick in 1943

As a wireless operator, she was always on the move around the country, having adventures wherever she went.  She was innocently being caught up in a robbery and narrowly missed being arrested. On a boat going across to Skye, her uniform hat blew off and was fished out of the sea by the ferry captain. She had hoped the hat would be lost forever as it was ill fitting, but he turned the boat around to search for it until it was found. Fresh eggs were a rarity during the war, and so when some Canadian soldiers posted nearby offered this treat, she and her fellow wireless operators happily sat around a camp fire with them eating freshly boiled eggs.


The last year of Bessie's war was spent in York. De-mob took a year and she eventually returned to her restricted home life and dull job. Despite the post-war bump back down, her time in the ATS had given Bessie a confidence and resilience she might not have gained otherwise and experiences to look back on with pleasure and pride. 


We were very entertained by the vivid picture she painted of women's lives in the Forces and the glimpse she gave us into another world where girls obeyed their mothers and the sexes rarely mixed.   

7 September 2013

Totley Show

As August draws to a close, local gardeners fret over the size of their leeks and beans; knitters count their stitches; children dream up designs for vegetable animals and Lego creations and the members of Totley History Group gather their research and get the laminator out. It is time for the Totley Show!

Sharing our research with local people is so enjoyable and rewarding that the Totley History Group exhibition at the Show is now a fixture in the group diary. The Show gives us the luxury of spending a whole afternoon listening to local folk talk about their memories that are sparked by our photographs and maps. 

Amongst the visitors we had this year were a couple new to Totley who live on The Rise. They recognised the building in the photograph of Mr Theaker, the newsagent, standing outside his shop on Totley Rise. His was the last house in the row of three shops at the bottom of the Rise that have now been rebuilt. 

Another older and longer standing resident remembered the Fisher family living in the downhill semi from the American Evans family at the top end of Baslow Road, overlooking Totley Bents.

13 July 2013

The General Cemetery, Sheffield

We walked through avenues of grand monuments.

A small group of members met at the General Cemetery on a hot July afternoon to be given a guided walk. ‘Friends of the Cemetery’ offer a range of talks and walks covering general information, architectural features, nature walks, and specialist knowledge about the 87,000 burials in the 14 acre site.

‘A’ shaped gateway in Egyptian style

The cemetery was built in the 1830s as a response to the overcrowded and sometimes putrid burial grounds in the city. It also answered the need for a non-conformist burial site for those not wishing to be buried under the auspices of the Church of England, Sheffield being at the centre of the free church movement.

Artists impression of the chapel and catacombs. The chapel is awaiting restoration and the catacombs are now buried.

Many of the Victorian great and good (Cole brothers, Firths) who helped to build the wealth of the city have been buried here or have a memorial in the cemetery.

The only grave marker left. The letters refer to a grid system on the cemetery map allowing people to locate memorials and graves.

It developed during a period when anything Egyptian was considered fashionable and the general structure of terraces, chapels and vaults follow this style. Although largely overgrown the ‘friends’ manage this surprisingly peaceful oasis with sympathy and dedication where local people walk, relax and use as a wonderful amenity in their community.

22 June 2013

Totley History Walk

Speculating about the site of the dam next to Totley Grove

Looking at the weather forecast and heavy skies we thought we were in for another wet walk, but the clouds broke and we enjoyed a blustery and sunny afternoon. 

Walking through the Dam Field

Largely following our recently published leaflet we explored the social and industrial past of Totley, exchanging knowledge, ideas and speculation about the things that helped Totley to develop over the centuries.

Red deer on the boundary of the wood covering Totley Tunnel Number 1 tip.

An added bonus to the walk was the sighting of a small group of male red deer, who came out of the wood that covers the tunnel spoil heap to graze on the grass of the field opposite the Cricket Inn. They were of different ages, denoted by their antlers of various complexity, and which were still in velvet.


June 2013

Sheffield & District Family History Fair

Derek Dooley Derek Dooley, legend of Sheffield Wednesday F.C., the location for the Sheffield & District Family History Fair


There is always a bit of a panic when an exhibition is planned. Will we have enough material for our display........ are there enough people to help on the day........ will the effort involved be worth it?  What many of us who are old hands at Totley History Group exhibitions and shows tend to forget is that although we go with lots of information to give, we invariably come away with much more information from the people who visit our stand. And our experience at the Sheffield & District Family History Fair was no exception.

The history fair was well attended throughout the day.

There were enthusiasts and experts at the fair from every area of local and family history.  Your relative worked on the railways? Enthusiasts from the Midland Railway had a collection of employer's records to leaf through. They are working to get the information online, but it's a long process......


A family connection with the military in Sheffield? The people who watch over the military grave yard associated with Hillsborough Barracks were there offering tours and searches for relative's graves.


 At every turn there was the opportunity to talk to someone interested and knowledgeable in their subject.

Dorothy and Jim hard at work and enjoying themselves.

And so were we on the Totley History Group stand! 


We had conversations with a football medal and photograph enthusiast who wants to find out about football in Totley. He has an extensive collection of medals and photographs from local football teams and in his retirement is planning to write a book on the subject. Have you got a medal like this knocking about in a draw or a photograph of the local team you played in? He'd love to hear from you. Contact him through this site.


We met a distant relative of the Theaker family who ran the tobacconist and newsagent shop at the far end of Totley Rise, just before the First War. She knew very little about that side of her family and we could tell her some stories......... parents who banned their children from visiting the shop because of Mrs Theaker's bad language. And about the horse she was rumoured to keep in her cellar. You can see the census details for the Theaker family, Ethelbert and Helena, in the Records section of this site. 


The biggest excitement for me was to meet Pauline, a relative of the four Fallon sisters, orphans in Cherry Tree Orphanage at the end of the 19th C. I have been researching this family, but could get no further than their parents' deaths in India. Pauline knew that they had died of dysentery and had a number of family stories to tell as well as documents and photographs to share. Priceless! 

May 2013

Cutlers' Hall Visit

The Cutlers' Hall The Cutlers' Hall

Our stand was enlivened by Ann Lee's fine display about Harry Brearley; Dorothy and Pauline's pictures and life story of Willie Green, a name they brought to new life in their book about the soldiers named on the Totley war memorial; and Ann White's map of her childhood living in the Chemical Yard. We also ran a laptop slide show of the Thompson Postcard Collection.


If all this whets your appetite for being on our exhibition stand at the Totley Show in September, just get in touch. 

Gathering outside the Cutlers' Hall on the afternoon of 22nd May, we all commented on the building's lack of pomp and show. Surrounded by banks, it blends in almost unnoticed. Step inside though and a whole other world opens up. The trophies and grandeur of the cutlery trade accumulated over four centuries are on show at every turn. 

A light from the SS Olympia A light from the SS Olympia, sister ship to the Titanic

This warren of a building has been extended a number of times over the years until now it fits snugly against its neighbours and that means natural light is at a premium. This lack of daylight is amply and dramatically compensated for by domed and ornate skylights and sumptuous candelabra. Everywhere in the building the rooms and corridors twinkle with silver and crystal. 

The Georgian dining room The Georgian dining room set for a banquet

Throughout the building the Cutlers' motto is emblazoned on arches, pictures, windows and in the entrance hall, on the mosaic floor. It spells out the cutlers' motto in medieval French "Pour y parvenir a bonne foi"..... translation....... "To succeed through honest endeavour". 

The Cutlers' motto The Cutlers' motto in the mosaic floor of the entrance hall

This is a building with its history and connections very much on show; aware of its purpose and fulfilling it perfectly. Like an old aunt salting away all the memorabilia of her glory days, at every turn there is another display case full of stunning silver or blades.

Silver Collection Each year the Master Cutler gives a piece of silver to the Cutlers' collection. This is part of the collection

On the cornice in the Grand Hall, large enough to read easily from ground level is a eulogy from John Ruskin to the cutlers of Sheffield. 

"We have in Sheffield the best of its kind done with English hands. Unsurpassed when the workman choose to do all he knows by that of any living nation." 

Ruskin was attracted to Sheffield by the independence and outstanding skill of the cutlers and here they acknowledge his admiration.


The highlight of the visit for me was a small collection of the knives Harry Brearley had made with his first batch of stainless steel. Simply made domestic knives that look so ordinary and yet we know they started a revolution. 

Harry Brearley knives Some of the original knives Harry Brearley had made from stainless steel

The trophy rich, male environment was broken only by the Mistress Cutler's office. This was the last room we were shown and here the photographs are informal; of her children mostly and the paintings too are softer. The flowers on her desk were domestic not the showy structures elsewhere in the Hall.

The Mistress Cutler's office The Mistress Cutler's office

Our group was made very welcome at the Cutlers' Hall. When our visit was over, we stepped out into the sunshine on Church Street, a little dazzled from the silver and crystal, and very impressed by the grand interior behind the modest facade. 

April 2013 

Paul Cutts.  The Social History of Family Photographs

At our meeting on Wednesday evening Paul Cutts talked to us about the social history of family photographs.


There is a fascination and emotional jolt when we look at pictures of our ancestors. Any connection with our family past brings our own lives into a different focus. Paul Cutts felt that the chart style family record was not for him and so has put together his family's past from photographs.


He showed us, through pictures of his own family, how much can be read from these images about the individuals and the times they lived in.


To illustrate the impact of the exodus from the countryside to the cities in the mid to late 19th C, Paul showed us a photograph of his great grandfather wearing a suit, collar and tie;  a fob watch across his stomach and clutching a bowler hat. The photograph illustrated the social impact of the demographic changes in the mid 19th C when industrial growth in the cities and the mechanisation of agriculture forced people to move to find work. As a young man his great grandfather had been an agricultural labourer, but forced out of this work and into the city, he had risen to a position of responsibility and status. The bowler hat (only worn by the managers of men), signified his rise in status!


The Edwardians, contrary to the impression we get from Downton Abbey, was, according to Vita Sackville-west, a time of "flux and fragmentation". High unemployment and unregulated working conditions for many workers led to the rise if the unions and strike action. For many people, emigration seemed the option. Paul showed us a photograph of his father as a small child with his father, grandfather, aunts and uncles. Within a few months of the picture being taken, fours of the adults had emigrated to New Zealand. Paul's grandfather found work here and so stayed, but for that, Paul would have been born in New Zealand and a very different life.


Many of us inherit photographs, letters and other family paraphernalia, but often have little idea who the family members were. Paul gave us Golden Rules for preserving family history via images.


First.....take pictures!

Write the names on the back of the photograph; date it and record its location.

Get people together and take their photographs as a group.

I would add to this...take videos too.


Your heirs will appreciate knowing who is who in the photographs you leave!



February 2013

A History of Knife Making in Sheffield


John Clarke gave us a very interesting talk about cutlery and knife  making.  He brought along some of his extensive collection of wonderful knives and scissors.


An item has to have a cutting edge to be called cutlery.  Cutlery was originally made by the rivers as water was essential to drive the mills.  Towards the end of the 18th century the introduction of steam powered mills allowed production to be carried on in the centre of  town.

From the 1200s onwards cutlery was made in Sheffield, and on the outskirts at Norton and Greenhill.  Bradway specialised in making scythes and Hackenthorpe produced sickles. John showed us lock knifes and when they open and close this is called walking and talking.

He also showed us a Bowie knife which was designed for maximum  damage in battle; it had a handle made from stag antler.  Knife handles were also made from mother of pearl and tortoiseshell.  He showed us some lovely fruit knives with blades made of silver so they did not corrode from the acid in the fruit.


Several people would be involved in the making of a knife like the one below as it needed different skilled craftsmen for making the tools, knives and springs. It took a lot of skill to do this.



The main companies in Sheffield were Brooks and Crooks, Rogers and Iversons; they went under when cutlery started being massed produced  and therefore could be sold at a cheaper price.

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Future Meetings




Unless stated otherwise our meetings are held in Totley Library on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm.

Pauline Burnett's book The Rise of Totley Rise has been revised and updated. It tells the story of this small piece of land from 1875 when there was only a rolling mill and chemical yard alongside the river a mile from Totley, through Victorian and Edwardian times, two world wars and up to the present day. It has 94 pages including a useful index and many illustrations from private collections. The book is available now from Totley Rise Post Office priced at £5, or through our website when an additional charge will be made to cover packing and postage.

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 local shops and via our website.  Further information about the correspondence is in this inside page of our website: Dore & Totley Minesweeping Trawlers Comforts Fund

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.

Totley All Saints' Church Parish Magazines for the years 1985-2006 with notices of baptisms, marriages and funerals and accounts of spiritual, educational, charitable and social matters in the village. Scanned in full, including advertisements from local traders.

In 1893 during the building of the Totley Tunnel there was an outbreak of smallpox amongst the navvies which spread to some of the local population. 17 people were buried in communal graves in Dore Churchyard, 6 from "Green Oak" (Lemont Road). The severity of the outbreak was principally caused by overcrowding and insanitary conditions in lodging houses .

Kathleen Grayson was a 39 year old housewife when WW2 broke out. She volunteered for the ARP and became an ambulance driver. During an air raid on Sheffield in July 1941, and despite her own injuries, she managed to get a seriously injured casualty to hospital. For this she was awarded a commendation from King George VI. Together with her friend Hilda Duffy, Kathleen also assembled a team of knitters to provide essential warm clothing for the men serving on the minesweepers patrolling the North Sea.

We have recently bought at auction the WW2 memorabilia of Douglas Platts whose family home was at Hillside, 98 Queen Victoria Road. After the war Douglas returned to his civilian occupation working in the family scissors manufacturing business. He lived in our area for the rest of his life.

We are very grateful to Mrs Valerie Taylor of Dore for lending us the title deeds to Lower Bents Farmhouse which is reputed to be the oldest surviving building in the area with a proven history back to 1621. We have now scanned and transcribed the deeds which could be particularly interesting to anyone with a connection to the local Fisher, Dalton and Marshall Families. 

Until 1844, when Dore Christ Church parish was created, Totley township was part of Dronfield parish. We have now transcribed the burial records for former Totley residents at St. John the Baptist, Dronfield for the period 1678-1870 and at St. Swithin, Holmesfield for the period 1766-1901.

Whilst researching the history of the Dalton Family we found it useful to transcribe a number of early Wills and Inventories. These and those of many other Totley, Dore and Holmesfield people dating from between 1594 and 1856 have now been added to our website.

St. Swithin's Church, Holmesfield pre-dates Dore Christ Church and was the place where many of the people from Totley worshipped and were baptised, married and buried. Read the inscriptions on more than 750 gravestones in the churchyard including those of Mr. and Mrs. William Aldam Milner of Totley Hall, Jessie Matilda Tyzack (nee Fisher) of Avenue Farm, and Rev. J. A. Kerfoot of St. John's, Abbeydale.

Thomas Youdan was a music hall proprietor and benefactor who was living at Grove House, Totley in 1867 when he sponsored the first football knockout competition in the world for The Youdan Cup.

The words Millhouses Cricket Club can be seen in the background of team photos which are likely to date from between 1905 and the early 1920s, very probably pre-war. They were lent to us by Garth Inman who can identify his great uncle, Cecil Inman, in some of the photos and would like to know when they were taken and, if possible, the names of others present. Please take a look to see whether you can put names to any of the faces. 

Josiah Hibberd was seriously injured whilst working on the construction of the Totley Tunnel in 1892. He died on 9 May 1897 at the age of 38 having apparently spent most of previous five years in hospital.

Bradway House was built around 1832 by Henry Greaves, a farmer, together with two adjacent cottages. We have traced most of the occupants of the property from these early days up to the start of World War Two.

We have transcribed the baptisms records at St. John the Evangelist, Abbeydale from when the church was consecrated in 1876 until just after the start of World War 1. The records are arranged in alphabetical order based upon the child's name and show the date of baptism, the names of the parents, their home location and occupation.

Nick Kuhn bought an original 1920s poster which had this owners' blind stamp in one corner. The stamp almost certainly refers to a house named Wigmore that was built in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The first occupiers that we can trace are John Howarth Caine, a district mineral agent for the LNER, his wife Florence Jane (nee Prince) and daughter Doris Mary. The Caine family lived at Wigmore until 1936 by which time the house would have been known simply as 12 The Quandrant.

George Griffiths died on 13 December 1888 following an explosion during the sinking of number 3 airshaft at Totley Bents. His widow Florence died shortly afterwards and his two daughters Maud and Annie were adopted separately. Whilst Annie lived the rest of her life in Yorkshire, Maud emigrated to Australia in 1923 with her husband, John Burrows, daughter Margaret and son Jack, pictured above.

George Wainwright was said to have been born in Bamford, Derbyshire in 1714. He learned the trade of linen weaving and moved to Totley after his marriage on 1744. He became an ardent follower of John Wesley who paid many visits to Sheffield and who would have passed through or close to Totley. Preaching was at first conducted out of doors and when Wesley's preachers became harassed by a mob of Totley ruffians in 1760, George offered them safety of his own home. He remained a Methodist for all of his long life, dying in Dore in 1821 at the reputed age of 107.

Oakwood School was started by Mrs Phoebe Holroyd in 1925 initially as the Firth Park Kindergarten and, by 1927, as the Firth Park Preparatory School. Phoebe was still working at the school almost fifty years later when she was well into her seventies. We would like to hear from anyone with memories of the school. 

James Curtis was born at sea aboard HMS Chichester in 1790. He enlisted as a Private in the 1st Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards in Sheffield in 1812 and served in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War. He later fought in France and Belgium taking part in the Battle of Waterloo. In later life James lived at the Cricket Inn where his son-in-law William Anthony was the licensed victualler. He died in Heeley in 1882 aged about 91. 

Charles Paul lived in Totley in later life. He was a local historian and archaeologist who was an authority on the history of Sheffield, especially the two areas he knew best: Attercliffe and Ecclesall. His books and letters to local newspapers were published under the Latin form of his name Carolus Paulus.

Towards the end of the 19th century Totley Hall gardens became a well known beauty spot that attracted many hundreds of visitors from Sheffield on open days and the rock gardens became one of its most popular features. Mrs Annie Charlesworth sent us six glass transparencies of the rock gardens taken, we believe, in the early years following the Great War.

Anton Rodgers send us photographs of three water-colours that had been bought by his grandfather at a sale of the contents of Abbeydale Hall in 1919. One was of a scene said to be in York by A. Wilson. A second was of a seated child with a dog believed to be pianted by Juliana Russell (1841-1898). The third was of Lake Como, by Ainslie Hodson Bean (1851-1918) who lived for much of his life on the Riviera and in North Italy.

A Canadian correspondent sent us photographs of a set of silver spoons that were bought in a small town in British Columbia. The case contained a note signed by Ebenezer Hall indicating that they were a wedding gift to Maurice and Fanny Housley. We think we may have traced how they got to Canada and where they might have been since.

Green Oak Park was opened on 23 March 1929 on land that had been bought by Norton District Council from John Thomas Carr, a farmer and smallholder of Mona Villas. In later years, the buildings were used by the Bowling Club (the green having been built in 1956) and by the park keeper. However, the buildings appear to have been constructed in several phases, the oldest of which predates the park to the time when the land was used for pasture.

We believe the old Totley Police Station at 331 Baslow Road was built around 1882. Two lock-up cells were excavated just below floor level in the summer of 1890. We have traced the Derbyshire Constabulary police officers who lived there from John Burford in 1886 to George Thomas Wood who was there when Totley was absorbed into Sheffield in 1934.

David Stanley lived in Totley Rise in the later years of his life. Born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, he joined the 17th Lancers when he was 19 and rode in the Charge of The Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava where he was seriously wounded. For the first reunion of veterans in 1875, he told his story to a reporter from the Buxton Herald.

This picture postcard was addressed to Miss Abell, Holly Dene, Totley Brook Road and posted in Rotherham on 10 December 1907. Edith Annie Abell was born on 4 February 1887 in Sheffield and her family came to live in our area in the 1900s, staying for the rest of their lives.

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.

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 The Plumbe Family, Thomas Glossop and accidents during the construction of Totley Tunnel.

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.


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