Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Meetings in 2020-22

Wednesday 23rd November 

Trespassers Will be Prosecuted (Longshaw and surrounding area)


Thelma Griffiths talked to us tonight about Trespassers will be Prosecuted (Longshaw and surrounding area), exploring the history of access to the countryside in our local area over the last 2 centuries, from private shooting estate to moorland.


Land has been enclosed since 10,000bc to keep animals and people apart, causing ancient boundaries to exist.  In the 1600s to 1860 Parliamentary Enclosure Acts "fenced off" half of England's countryside.

There are 2 enclosures at Longshaw, the Lawrence field settlement and the Sheffield Plantation.  These are believed to date to anglo saxon, early medieval times.


In 1876 the Hayfield and Kinder Scout Ancient Footpaths Association was formed. The "right to roam" movement had begun.  After World War I The outdoor movement boomed.  Every weekend, thousands of working class people escaped the grime of the cities in search of clean, country air.

People did not walk on the moorlands, they were preserved for grouse shooting, there were no maps or guide books.  In the late Edwardian period, early Victorian times game shooting was popular.  The keepers got a bad press for being heavy handed with walkers and cases went to court.  The railways helped get the people out to the country and then guidebooks, maps were produced.  The Hope Valley railway was opened in 1894.  The Duke of Rutland, who owned land in Derbyshire including Longshaw and the Kinder Scout area and the Duke of Devonshire were often in contention with walkers about access on their land.  In the 1940s the Duke of Devonshire suggested walkers could walk his land at the weekends.  G H B Ward the founder of The Clarion Rambling Group was apprehended by game keepers for walking on the moors and disrupting the grouse shooting.

In 1927 the Longshaw estate was put up for sale and was sold off in various lots, some to Sheffield Council.  It first opened to visitors in 1928 and with volunteer wardens patrolling and was handed over to the National Trust in 1931.


On 24 April 1932 6 people were sent to jail for leading a mass trespass on Kinder Scout in the Peak District causing national outcry and bringing the case for a right to roam into the public eye.  Other mass trespasses were arranged but these demonstrations fizzled out.

In 1947 the Hobhouse Committee recommended legislation for public access to open countryside. This led to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Under this legislation, local authorities were required to survey open countryside, assess the level of access provided to walkers and to secure further access by means of agreements with landowners, by orders or by purchasing the land. In practice the legislation had secured very few improvements for walkers.

The Peak District Park was created in 1951, the first National Park.  Permission could be sought to walk the footpaths via a permit.  Longshaw, Blacka Moor and many other places had trespass boards.

In 1953 the first agreement covering 5,624 acres of land owned by the Duke of Devonshire on Southern Kinder was signed with some additional areas belonging to the Youth Hostels Association and local Edale farmers in the same year.


On 24 April 1965 the Pennine Way is opened. The country's first national trail, it stretches 256 miles from Edale to Scotland.

In 1968 The Countryside Act is passed, imposing a duty on every minister, government department and public body to have "due regard for conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside".

1981 The Wildlife and Countryside Act is passed, the first comprehensive protection of listed species and habitats, and includes conservation schemes like Countryside Stewardship. Severn Trent Water in partnership with the then Peak Park Joint Planning Board pioneered the opening of Ladybower Reservoir and the removal of roadside fences. The Monsal Trail is opened.

1984 - The largest holding of land to date is brought into the ownership of the national park when the 2,509 hectare Eastern Moors Estate was purchased from Severn Trent Water in order to provide access, and also safeguard ecological and archaeological sites.

1991 - The 40th anniversary of the national park is significant for the increase in access land on the eastern side of the park. Agreements are reached with Chatsworth Estates covering the moors above the parkland and with Sheffield City Council for 2,073 acres of Houndkirk, Burbage and Hathersage moors. The total access area is now 81 square miles (half the total area of open country in the national park). In the same year, the Pennine Way maintenance team starts the mammoth task of restoring the Pennine Way.


The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 was passed which introduced the right of access on mountains, moors, heaths and downs.  Rules by law are still in place, eg at Longshaw dogs must be on leads between March and July due to the lambing season and ground nesting birds.

We are now allowed to walk the many places in the countryside with the fantastic scenery.

Thelma was thanked for a fascinating, it is history that has happened in our lifetime. 

Wednesday 26th October 

The History of Sheffield's Hospitals


Mary Garside from the Sheffield Hospitals’ History Group talked to us about the history of Sheffield hospitals.


There is a Heritage Centre at Northern General Hospital at the top of Herries Drive which has documents, photos and spare artefacts, the items are from the Royal Infirmary and Royal Hospital, the Edgar Allen Institute, Nether Edge and Jessops hospitals.  It is not open to the public, however, prior appointment group visits can be arranged. 


The first hospital in Sheffield was built in 1797. Before this time there was a hospital on Spital Hill, St Leonards, which was built in the 1100s.  Religious organisations were where most people looked for help with their health.


In the 1500/1600s religious alm houses were built, an example is Shrewsbury Hospital on Norfolk Row, the alm houses were often attached to churches.  There was no medical treatment here, if people could afford it they had treatment at home or relied on a local wise woman, barbers pulled out teeth and set broken bones.  There was no knowledge about how disease spread.


By the 1700s there was a better understanding of public health.  The industrial revolution began and people were moving into the towns.  Water supplies were inadequate and there was pollution from the factories  The grinders had asthma, many men didn’t live beyond 35.  Child mortality was high.  Vaccinations were beginning.  It was the start of sanitary inspectors in the workplaces and homes.  There was now great advances in medicine and science and this led to hospitals being built.


Each hospital was an independent charity.  The General Infirmary later called The Royal Infirmary was built in 1797, on Infirmary Road, Upperthorpe.  The Royal Hospital was built in 1832 at Tudor Place.  This was a public dispensary, outpatients treatment, and later moved to Westfield House on West Street.  Midwifery was based here too.  Many of the hospital wards were named after people who had contributed funds to the hospital and in return they got free treatment.  In 1938 the Royal and Infirmary merged.


Jessops Hospital was opened in 1864 on Figtree Lane.  It was a women’s hospital and the original accommodation soon proved inadequate.  In 1874 Thomas Jessop provided funds for an entirely new building on Gell Street/Leavygreave Road.  The Firth Auxiliary Hospital opened as an auxiliary to Jessop Hospital in 1927 in the converted Norton Hall and closed in 1972.  Jessop Hospital closed in 2001 and a new Jessop Wing was opened.


The Children’s Hospital was built on Brook Hill in 1878 and extensions have been built over the years.


Lodgemoor Hospital – Some of the buildings are still in existence and converted to housing.  It was an isolation hospital for smallpox and other infectious diseases.  It closed in 1994.


Middlewood/Wadsley Asylum – The hospital first known as the South Yorkshire Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1872.  For a long time the workhouse in Sheffield provided the main local accommodation for these patients.  In 1915 the patients were evacuated to the West Riding Asylums and it became Wharncliffe War Hospital looking after the injured soldiers.  In 1996 Middlewood hospital closed and patients were cared for in the community.


Winter Street was built in 1881.  It was a hospital for infectious diseases and also cared for the military in the war and then adapted for geriatric care and called St Georges, it is now closed and part of the University buildings.


The Edgar Allen Institute opened in 1911.  Edgar Allen, a wealthy steel manufacturer,  wanted to set up a unit for the benefit of the working class victims of industrial accidents.  It was unique in the country at the time of its opening.  It promoted physiotherapy, exercise and apparatus work.


King Edward VII Memorial Hospital opened in 1916 for children with bone, muscle, joint defects, mainly from TB and later rickets and polio.


All the hospitals were run on charity, rich families funded them, or fundraising, subscriptions, employees and employers contributed from their wages.  There was the penny in the pound scheme, once the NHS began this became the Westfield Scheme.


The Northern General at Firvale was previously a workhouse, as was the Nether Edge Hospital which was the Ecclesall workhouse. The workhouses were built to provide work and shelter for poverty stricken people who had no means to support themselves.  The conditions and treatment of people  in the workhouses was not good particularly for children where families were split up at the entrance gate.  Latterly, the Scattered Homes Scheme was started and children were relocated to foster homes.


NHS Hospitals were introduced in 1948 bringing free care and led to more hospitals being built.  In 1953 the Charles Clifford Hospital was built and the Royal Hallamshire built in 1961, the outpatients department opened first.  Weston Park opened in 1970, this is only 1 of 3 specialist centres in the country.  Funding raising for hospitals is still ongoing, the helipad at the Northern General Hospital being a good example of this.

Wednesday 28th September 

Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield (Part 2)


David Templeman began talking about areas in the southwest of Sheffield, starting with Ecclesall The name derives from “Hecksel” which meant
“witches’ hill/slope”.
Endcliffe is derived from “elf cliff” and Dobbin from “dobby”
(meaning goblin).
Ecclesall was not a village, just an area, but monks built a
chapel, later followed by a parish church, built in 1788, on the
chapel site.
Wilson’s Snuff Mill became a major employer in those early
All Saints Ecclesall Church became the main church replacing
the Chapel of Ease.
The last remnants of Eccles Hall was Eccles Hall Farm, which
was demolished in 1935. A lot of the halls converted to farms
or pubs.
Hunters Bar – was a Toll House where tolls were collected from
travellers coming into Sheffield from the Derbyshire area. The
Toll house was closed in 1884. This was the last toll house to
Ecclesall Woods – The land was owned by Earl
Fitzwilliam. The main occupation was making charcoal, which
was sold to the steel industry, but besoms (brooms) were
manufactured there and there were several other woodland
Whiteley Woods – the name derived from “Hwit-Leah-Wudu”,
meaning “a bright fair clearing”. In the woods by the river is
the Shepherd’s Wheel (still in existence) – one of the many
cutlers’ wheels, that were driven by water power, on several of
Sheffield’s rivers. These wheels, and the men who worked
them, made Sheffield famous for its cutlery industry.
Banner Cross Hall – This was the home of the Bright family
until 1748 and much later became the offices of Henry Boot
David also mentioned Charlie Peace, the infamous Banner Cross
Murderer, who was hanged in Armley Prison in 1879.
Millhouses – Ralph de Eccles gave a bequest of a corn mill to
Beauchief, known as Miln Houses or Millhouses. In mid-1880s
it was only 23 houses, a few cutlers’ shops and 7 small pits.
Dore. – in Anglo-Saxon “Dor” means “door or entrance or
Dore is a very ancient village and was the place of a famous
treaty. The earliest farmhouse in Dore was circa 1600. Dore
Moor Inn was the pick up point to take people out into
In 829AD Dore formed the boundary between Mercia
(conquered by King Ecgbert of Wessex) and Northumbria (ruled
by King Earnred). At a meeting at Kings Croft, Dore Earnred
offered “obedience and concord” to Ecgbert. Through this
treaty Ecgbert became Overlord, or King, of England.
In ancient times the only road through Dore was a packhorse
trail. Most people were employed in agriculture but there were
other trades, such as button maker, saw maker, anvil maker, file
cutter and boot and shoe maker. Dore parish church was at
Dronfield but a chapel-of-ease was built at Dore. A new church
was built in 1829.
Probably the best known resident of Dore was Richard Furness,
the schoolmaster at the Old School House. He was also
overseer, architect, scribe, lawyer, doctor, singer, poet and
surveyor. He had a salary of £18 but in 1841 was criticised by
school inspectors who found his school in chaos, and the
children fighting and squabbling amongst themselves. We were
not sure how he had time to teach with all his various activities.
Handsworth Relates to the Doomsday Book meaning enclosure
belonging to a person called Hand. There were over 13 smithies
in this area when there was only 9 in the centre of Sheffield
during the 13th century.
Bramley Hall still exists. Ballifield Hall dates from 1593.
Handsworth Hall was built in 1577 then became a farm and was
demolished in 1969. George Talbot the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury
spent the last few years of his life here. The only remaining part
of Richmond Hall is the is the gate posts which were the
entrance to the great deer park where Manor Lodge is situated,
the deer park was 8 miles in circumference, the largest deer park
in England.
St Mary’s Church was built around 1170, a small part survives,
it was a Norman church.
The Cross Keys Inn now Chantry Inn was built as a chantry
house in 1250, lovely historical building, it is one of 2 pubs in
England that is built on consecrated ground.
Stannington Location of a base with a stump cross, made of
gritstone and dates to medieval times. The village has grown
from the 2 settlements of Upper Gate and Nethergate, there was
a deer park and manor house. It is an Anglo Saxon name from
Stan of stone or strong. John Talbot was the first owner of
Stannington Hall. There was the great forest of Rivelin with
deer, surname Parker were the keepers of deer parks. Rivelin
chase or Loxley Valley were used to hunt the deer.
Bradfield One of largest parishes, high and low Bradfield, there
was a workhouse here. It has a steep valley with great views
from the top. The Great Flood started here when a dam burst
and more than 600 houses were destroyed or damaged, over 270
people drowned.
There are 3 main catastrophises in Sheffield history, Cholera in
1832, Sheffield Flood in 1860 and the Sheffield Blitz in 1940.

Wednesday 27 July

The fall of Saxon England


Mike Kelly talked to us about The Fall of Saxon England.

1066 was the most important year in English history.
At Christmas 1065 the childless King Edward the Confessor was dying which set up a succession struggle between several claimants to his throne.
Three claimants emerged:- Edgar Atheling, was only 13 years old but the nearest blood line. Duke William, claim was weak, his grandfather’s sister had been Queen of England. Earl Harold of Wessex, had a successful record in war and a fantastic leader.
The funeral of Edward the Confessor was held on the 12th day of Christmas at Westminster Abbey which he had built. The same afternoon Earl Harold was crowned King of England.
The England that King Harold inherited was divided into Earldoms controlled by 2 powerful families Harold married into one of these families. Tostig, Harold’s brother, wanted revenge against Harold as he’d been driven out. Norway’s Harold Hardrada, who was not only in charge of Norway but many other Northern countries, agreed to help Tostig, he was a powerful man.
Duke William couldn’t be elected as King as he was a Norman and was illegimate, his motive to attack England was that it was one of the wealthiest countries in the North.
King Harold has a dilemma as there are threats in the North and South so he divides his army. Hardrada was gathering his troops in the Orkney Islands. The Normans spend the summer
building ships in France and Duke William set sail in August though bad weather led to the horses on the boat panicking pulling over the ships and had to retreat back to France to rebuild.
On the 12 September Hardrada sets sail with 30,000 men and 300 ships, leaving the Orkneys in Viking long boats and headed to Scarborough. The Saxons in Scarborough put up a fight so Hardrada rolled fires down the hill giving a warning to people who would resist him. Hardradar now goes south with Toksvig.
25 September 1066 Battle of Stamford Bridge in which Harold defeats an invading army led by Harald Hardrada, king of Norway. Hardrada and Toksvig were killed. 13 October 1066 Harold arrives near Hastings the site of the battle, the English army were in position at the top of the hill. 14 October 1066 The Battle of Hastings. William sends in his army. There were 9 hours of fighting, the Normans were weakened and ran down the hill, the Saxons thought they had won and started chasing them but this leads to the cavalry attacking them. Duke William strikes King Harold and kills him. He had a Christian burial at Waltham Abbey. Edgar Atheling was appointed King. William then started pillaging Canterbury, Dover and then London where he declares victory. Duke William on Christmas day 1066 was crowned William I King of England in Westminster Abbey. All our Dukes and Lords are of Norman ascent and this can be seen in the designs of our crests today, and the England flag. Mike was thanked for a very interesting and fascinating talk. We wondered what England would be like if the Saxons had won. Mike has written a book about this subject which he had for sale at the meeting.t box 

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Victorian Cutlery


Nick Duggan, from The Ken Hawley Collection Trust, talked to us about cutlery used in Victorian Dining.  Nick told us about the wide range of objects the Victorians used for all sorts of foods, from sardines to asparagus. Some Sheffield cutlery companies had over 5,000 different entries in their product catalogues.  These were made in Sheffield and shipped around the world.  World War 1 saw a demise in the cutlery industry as many servants went to fight in the war and after World War II the industry never recovered.

The Hawley Collection has the world’s largest collection of historic table knives and kitchen knives built up over 50 years by the late Ken Hawley and holds an estimated 100,000 plus items, nearly all of them Sheffield made tools, cutlery and silverware.  It’s housed alongside the Kelham Island industrial museum in the heart of the city, and although it’s impossible to display the entire collection, themed displays are on show and are changed at intervals. As an example, there are more than 1,000 bread knives alone. 

Eating was a big event for the Victorians, they didn’t like to touch any food due to the amount of germs, illness so they produced many items of cutlery to serve food.  Cutlery means items that cut, other items are called flatware and holware, however, nowadays cutlery refers to all of these items.

In 1851 there were 12,000 people employed in Sheffield in the cutlery industry, the largest group of cutlers in the world.

Some of the cutlers’ names were Joseph Rogers, Mappin Brothers, Atkin Brothers, Roberts and Bell, James Dixon, George Bishop, Henry Wilkinson, Dixons, Walker and Hall.

There was lots of different items of cutlery produced.

Caddy spoons, tea strainers had fantastic workmanship, fish servers, fish knives often decorated with ivory and bone handles, oyster forks, sardine tongs, crumb sweepers for the tablecloth, gravy spoons.

The Victorians liked sugar and had spoons with holes in to sieve the sugar over food or an ornate metal jug to sieve the sugar.

Specialist pieces were produced, grape scissors, ice cream scoop, long spoon for desserts or soda, nut crackers, asparagus server, stilton scoop, oyster spoon, grapefruit knife, orange peeler, champagne syphon that was put in the cork, spoon warmer, cutlery to get snails out of shells, a device to hold a piece of meat to eat.

There were special forks, strawberry forks, forks with 5 prongs for sardines, 3 prongs for bread.  Knives were originally used on their own to stab the food to eat it.

Desert and fruit knives are often nicely decorated.

The Hawley Collection has launched the Sheffield Knife Project.  They have thousands of loose knives and lots have the maker’s name stamped or engraved on the blade – there are at least 800 companies – and they came up with the idea of trying to locate descendants of the family companies that made the knives, and people who worked for those companies and for those retailers who sold the products.  These are available to look at on their website.


Wednesday 25 May

Loxley Valley


Our speaker, Pete Machan, used lockdown restrictions as an opportunity to explore and publish a new book about the Loxley Valley.

His talk took us on a walk through the valley, visiting St. Nicholas Parish Church at High Bradfield (the largest parish in England) with its rare watchtower to prevent grave robbing, then looking at the many impressive houses built by Sheffield’s industrial magnates in the 19C.

The water of the R. Loxley powered industry in the valley but also brought disaster in 1864, when one of the four reservoirs being built to store water for Sheffield burst its retaining dam wall.

Industry has largely move on from this area, leaving unused and abandoned evidence of its past importance, and presently residential schemes seem to be the future for this very beautiful valley.

Despite the intervening years, it is still recognisable as the hunting chase used by the Earls of Salisbury some seven centuries ago.

Our speaker was Pete Machan, who used lockdown restrictions as an opportunity to explore and publish a new book about the Loxley Valley.

His talk took us on a walk through the valley, visiting St. Nicholas Parish Church at High Bradfield (the largest parish in England) with its rare watchtower to prevent grave robbing, then looking at the many impressive houses built by Sheffield’s industrial magnates in the 19C.

The water of the R. Loxley powered industry in the valley but also brought disaster in 1864, when one of the four reservoirs being built to store water for Sheffield burst its retaining dam wall.

Industry has largely move on from this area, leaving unused and abandoned evidence of its past importance, and presently residential schemes seem to be the future for this very beautiful valley.

Despite the intervening years, it is still recognisable as the hunting chase used by the Earls of Salisbury some seven centuries ago.



Wednesday 23 March 2022
Sheffield's Heritage


Our speaker on the evening of Wednesday 23rd March was Sarah Cattell who is employed by South Yorkshire Archaeology Service. Sarah was able to explain the purpose of the Local Heritage Listing Project, which is to give everyone the chance to register their favourite historical artefacts.


These may not be important enough for Listing as Grade 1 or 2, but nevertheless be known and often loved by members of the local population. Although the list will not have jurisdiction over more formal listings, it will raise awareness and make the contents known to the Council and other bodies, and as a result help to preserve them for future generations. 

Sarah has given us a copy of her presentation, which explains the process in detail (click on the image to start), and is happy to answer your questions: 








Wednesday 23 February 2022

The History of Book-toys

Cinderella Surprise Picture Book (Emrik Binger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons) Cinderella Surprise Picture Book, Dean & Son , circa 1875

On Wednesday 23rd February, Ian Alcock talked to us about the history of book- toys. Ian explained that he would be showing us examples of modern novelty books then tracing their production back in time to the origins of each particular style. We were shown many examples, differing greatly in the complexity of their individual construction.


John Locke (1632-1704) was the first person to recognise that no real literature existed specifically for children. The only examples were of ‘horn books’ which were small flat disks illustrating perhaps the alphabet or Lord’s Prayer. Written on (precious) paper, the face was protected by a finely processed film of melted horn. He devised flash cards aimed at making learning more fun and we were shown ornate examples produced circa late 18th century/early 19th century. Some were of bone or ivory, others of card. 


England was not the only country to develop reading material at this time. The French and Dutch very rapidly produced almost identical products, as did the Americans. The quality of continental European printing was superior to ours so that although the design and story would be English, the printing was done abroad. 


Initially stories would be based on religious themes and classical stories and plays. The books had flaps on the illustrations allowing pictures to be altered as they were lifted or replaced: usually 4 flaps per illustration but later 6 flaps were introduced that gave a multiplicity of options.

Peep Show Book 1861, Dean and Son Peep Show Book 1861, Dean and Son

George Dean (1822-1891) was a specialist in the production of novelty books that often poked fun at adults and authority - something children the world over love to do, e.g. a gentleman riding his fine horse as it passes a young lad. Lifting the flap reveals the lad has whipped the horse, which bolts and unseats its rider. Dean’s scenic 3D peep-show books were popular from the mid 19th century: a concertina of 6-8 pictures held together by paper hinges. They were held horizontally in both hands allowing the user to view a 3D picture through a small aperture in the top card as the remaining pictures dropped downwards.

Ian brought many examples and we saw views of The Champs Elysees, The Great Exhibition, a fox hunt, theatre performances and many others beautiful examples.


Other styles of books included ‘tumbling tablets’, slot books, and hole books (a face on the back page showing right through, with a progression in the picture as each page is turned). Doll-dressing books with either a transferable head that slotted into different bodies, or later paper clothing to attach over a basic body-form, were popular throughout the 19th century.


Even malleable faces were produced so that expressions could be altered. 

Moving pictures were made possible with tabs to pull, and early pop-up 3D pictures came at the end of the century, firstly developing in complexity but later simplified to make production more economical. The production of novelty books has continued into the 21st century, some even claiming to be new innovations, but Ian was able to show samples of similar designs produced 100, 200 and even 250 years ago. 


He is working towards producing a book on the subject but (disappointingly) cannot give a date when this will happen! Ian was thanked for an absolutely fascinating and beautifully illustrated talk.





Wednesday, 26 January 2022. 
Some Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield


On Wednesday 26 January, we welcomed back David Templeman who talked to us about ancient suburbs of Sheffield. This was part one of his suburbs talks with a timeline of the pre-industrial revolution from the 1600s. 


Attercliffe can be traced back to the Domesday Book. It was a beautiful, scenic place with hills and dales. The River Don was well stocked with fish. In the 18th century there were large houses including Old Hall, New Hall, and Carlton House. There were many fine houses with small busy workshops. Benjamin Huntsman, the inventor of crucible steel, was one of the first to have a works here. 


The Old Hall and Chapel dates back to 1629 and was owned by the Spencer family. It was taken down in 1868 but there is still an Old Hall Road. The chapel still exists. Carlton House overlooked a large pleasure ground. New Hall also had pleasure grounds and was ideal for a day out. There were gardens with walks, a large lake and musical concerts were held in the evenings with firework displays. 

The Zion Chapel now has a Friends of Zion Chapel and they have done an amazing job of clearing the site to find the graves including the grave of Mary Ann Rawson, an anti-slavery campaigner. Benjamin Huntsman is buried in the Attercliffe chapel graveyard a couple of hundred yards away. The Friends have open days, details of which are on their website. 


In the 20th century, Attercliffe was a busy shopping centre which included Banner's department store. Attercliffe had one of five windmills in Sheffield at Washford Bridge. The others were at Firth Park near Sicey Avenue (there is a Windmill Lane); Broad Lane near the University; one by the Cholera Monument and one at Herdings, Gleadless. 


High Hazels Park and Museum, Darnall High Hazels Park and Museum, Darnall

Darnall was formerly a small village. A large part of Staniforth Road was called Pinfold Lane where an enclosure for stray animals was located. One of Darnall’s sons was William Walker who died in the 1700s and was reputed to be the executioner of King Charles I. High Hazels was a country house and public park, one of the finest parks in Sheffield. The Darnall cricket ground was laid out in the 1820s but was used for only a few years before being replaced by a ground at Hyde Park which was described as the best in England and, next to Lord's, the largest. Between Darnall and Handsworth, Bowden Housteads Woods were on the edge of the deer park and date from the 1500s. The Sheffield Parkway now goes through these woods. 


Heeley was first recorded in 1343 as Upper, Middle (Gleadless Road) and Lower (London Road) Heeley. Heeley Parish Church is dated 1848. At this church is the grave of Sir Nathaniel Creswick (1831-1917), the co-founder of Sheffield Football Club, the oldest football club in the world. There were many cottages that are no longer there. The beginning of Heeley is Olive Grove where Sheffield F.C. was formed. Sheffield Wednesday also started here and were the first team in Yorkshire to win the F.A. Cup in 1897.


Heeley Tilt Mill was used to power the cutlers’ wheels from the 17th century. The names of Well Road and Springdale Road are reminders of the importance of water to the area. In the 1770s there were just ten buildings in Heeley which was an area of pasture lands and cornfields. Heeley Toll Bar was at the bottom of Albert Road and, like others, was a target for robbers. 


Crookes lies near the course of the Roman Road and was recorded in the Domesday Book. It was a self-contained village from the 16th century until the end of the 19th century. A turnpike road opened from Sheffield to Manchester in the 1790s running via the southern end of Crookes, spurring development of the area. It was a popular holiday location as it was high up above Sheffield, away from the soot and grime of the factories. Bole Hills has great views. 


Dam House and Reservoir, Crookesmoor Dam House and Reservoir, Crookesmoor

Crookesmoor had reservoirs and a racecourse. In the 1700s, water for much of Sheffield was supplied from here and carried in wooden pipes to Division Street where it was transferred to casks and transported by wheelbarrow. There were numerous natural springs in the area. The two reservoirs were located at the Crookes boating lake and near Weston Park Museum where the University Sports Ground is now located. The Sheffield racecourse was at Crookes Moor where there was racing between about 1711 and 1782. The racecourse was at the site of the Hallam Towers Hotel with a wooden grandstand located by Lawson Road.


Fulwood was an Anglo Saxon settlement and part of the massive estate of the Earl Waltheof of Northumbria. Fulwood Hall was one of the first large houses in the area dating from the 15th century and Stumperlowe Hall dates back to 1397. During the Great Plague of 1666, Fulwood Spa became a popular resort for people taking the mineral waters that were fed from natural springs situated in the Porter Valley. Bennet Grange, Harrison Lane, dates from at least 1580 and still exists. 


In the Domesday Book, Wadsley Bridge was wasteland. Wadsley Hall dates to the 15 th century. Near to Wadsley Bridge was a ford across the River Don for cattle and carts with a row of stepping stones for pedestrians known as Lepping Stones; later a bridge was built. This was near the Owlerton side of the Sheffield Wednesday ground. There were six stocks in Sheffield: one of them at Wadsley and another at Fulwood. Owlerton Hall was built around 1534 and demolished in 1930. Burrowlee House on Broughton Road is a great example of Georgian style building. 


There were three main tragedies in Sheffield over a relatively short period of time: the Sheffield Flood (1864), the Cholera Epidemic (1882)  and the Sheffield Blitz (1940). 


David was warmly thanked for another very fascinating talk about old Sheffield as it once was. 






Wednesday 15 December 2021
Totley's Past in Photographs


The aim of our meeting on 15th December was to get together for a chat and refreshments following the long Covid-19 restrictions. However, with the rising Omicron numbers, attendance was lower than hoped. 


Those who came enjoyed some projections of Totley. 'Totley's Story' told the timeline of the village from its first mention in 1086 to the present day. (Click slide to enlarge).

Refreshments of mulled wine and mince pies were shared while a cine-film of the 1960s played showing the Jackson family (Mrs Jackson ran Totley Rise Post Office for many years), a goods train crash on the railway and a bowls match at The Cross Scythes. Their green is now an outside eating area and car park! 


The evening finished with 'Totley Faces post WW2', engendering lots of memories of schooldays, old friends and village characters. Thanks to everyone who has braved the pandemic and returned to our meetings in the Library since September. We hope to see you all in 2022. 


Happy Christmas and a safe New Year. 
THG Committee



Wednesday 24 November 2021

The Bodysnatchers of Yorkshire


On Wednesday 24 November Totley Library was full for a talk by Dr. Rod Amos about digging up the dead - bodysnatching. The 19th century ushered in a new-found medical interest in detailed anatomy thanks to an increase in the importance of surgery. In order for the surgeons and medical students to study anatomy, human bodies were needed. Before 1832, the Murder Act of 1752 stipulated that only the corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection. The earliest record of bodies being dissected can be traced to the reign of Henry VIII when four bodies were used from hanged felons as a deterrent to people. In the reign of Charles I we know of two bodies that were used. 


By the early 19th century, the medical demands of a fast growing society led to an increase in the size of the medical profession and in medical research. At the same time there was a reduction in the number of executions. In 1815 there was a statutory requirement for people to have training for surgery. New medical schools opened in the provinces including Sheffield in 1828 and Leeds in 1831. Demand for bodies for dissection well exceeded supply from the traditional sources. It was estimated that about a thousand bodies a year were required and the practice of bodysnatching began. 


At first this was on an amateur basis by the medical students themselves but after the first anatomist was prosecuted in 1828, the medical schools resorted to employing professional bodysnatchers. These men worked in gangs to raid graveyards, often paying the local sexton a bribe to look the other way. The penalty for bodysnatching was usually a fine or short custodial sentence. The bodysnatchers broke open the coffins with wooden spades which made less noise than metal ones and took only the body not the shroud or any jewellery so as to avoid a more serious sentence if caught. They received between two and four guineas per corpse. They cleaned up around the grave so there was no evidence of a disturbance and they could then return for more bodies. Bodysnatching soon became rife in this country with an export market to Ireland and France. 


Various methods were adopted to try to stop the bodies being taken, such as: 
- Keeping the body at home until it decayed an became of no use. 
- Keeping the body in a “dead house”. 
- Mort-safe, e.g. railings around the grave or over the grave. 
- A large stone on the grave. 
- Watch towers were built in graveyards to keep a guard on the area. 
- An iron coffin which was very heavy to move.
The more effective methods, however, were only available to the wealthy.


In 1832 the Anatomy Act became law as surgeons wanted change as they were being forced to pay up to ten pounds for each body and were not trusted because of their role in the procurement of bodies. The Act gave free licence to doctors, teachers of anatomy and bona fide medical students to dissect donated bodies. It also allowed the legal possessor of a body to permit it to undergo dissection if there was no evidence of the deceased having been opposed to it during his or her lifetime. As a result the governors of public workhouses were permitted to send the bodies of deceased paupers to be dissected.


Although the Act was an improvement, it did little to quell the public anger and revulsion about bodysnatching. On 26 January 1835, the Sheffield School of Anatomy in Eyre Street was completely wrecked and then set on fire by a mob of more than a thousand people. The nearby Medical Hall was also damaged but not destroyed.


Sheffield University still dissect bodies whilst some other medical schools use demonstrators for training. Rod was thanked for an unusual and very fascinating talk.





Wednesday 27 October 2021

Through Kirton Tunnel (Part 2)


Our speaker on Wednesday, 27 October was Stephen Gay who continued his talk about the railway journey from Sheffield to Cleethorpes. We start at West Burton and go by the Chesterfield Canal for the last time up to Clarborough tunnel, quite a steep hill, this area is a wildlife conservation area. Lincoln Cathedral can be seen and North Leatherton windmill and also the power stations at West Burton which were once the largest until the construction of Drax power stations. Then we go down to the River Trent at Sturton, this station closed in 1968.

Lincoln Cathedral Lincoln Cathedral

We reach Gainsborough Central station which used to have around a hundred staff, with shops and a roof covering. There are many foot crossings over the railway line around here. Many of the stations were not near the communities they served so when regular bus services began the stations sadly closed. Many of the station buildings have been demolished or are privately owned. This includes the many crossing-keeper cottages along the line. From Gainsborough we arrive at Blyton and onwards to Kirton Lindsey station and then Kirton Tunnel. John Fowler of Forth Bridge fame engineered the tunnel which has a lovely frontage, John Fowler was born in Sheffield. 

Brigg Station Brigg Station

We are now at the most scenic part over the river near Brigg, the River Ancholme. Brigg station, once again used to have a large staff and roof, shops, refreshments, and waiting rooms. Robey Junction has a tall signal box so the staff could see all the trains approaching. It is now closed although it is still a busy junction today. From this junction we go to Barnetby station and Brocklesby station which opened in 1848.

Thornton Abbey Gatehouse, circa 1940 Thornton Abbey Gatehouse, circa 1940

Stephen then took us down the Barton line to Barton-upon-Humber starting at Ulceby station then Thornton Abbey which has a lovely picturesque gatehouse and is now English Heritage. Then Goxhill station and Marsh crossing and New Holland station where the Yarborough hotel is located, a large prestigious looking building that is now owned by Wetherspoons. Boats dock at the New Holland pier. After this is Barrow Haven and then we reach Barton-upon-Humber which opened 1849 and reached Cleethorpes 18 years later. 

New Holland Pier New Holland Pier

We now go back from the Barton line to Haborough and then Stallingborough which is the longest named rail station in England. Great Coates is the next station over the River Freshney and to Marsh Junction and to Grimsby Docks. Here there were paddle steamers, however, the opening of the Humber Bridge in 1981 spelt the end of their operational life. Grimsby town station still has its overhead roof and the Grimsby dock tower is a grade 1 listed building. Following this is New Clee Station which has the cold stores for the fish. We then arrive at our final destination Cleethorpes, the station buildings date from 1863. We thanked Stephen for a very interesting and fascinating talk.


October 2021




Wednesday 22 September 2021
Through Kirton Tunnel (Part 1)

Station Approach, Sheffield Victoria Station Approach, Sheffield Victoria

On Wednesday 22 September, we were delighted to hold our first monthly meeting in Totley Library since measures were introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Our speaker was Stephen Gay with the first of a two-part talk about the railway journey from Sheffield to Cleethorpes. 


In his usual fascinating delivery, Stephen’s talk was full of both railway history and the peripheral and social changes that affected the use of the line. The journey now begins at Midland Station (Pond Street), opened in 1870, but the line was built circa 1849 as the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln Railway (MS&LR) and would have begun at the original Midland (Victoria) Station close to the Wicker. Scant evidence remains of original railway buildings, but slides taken by the speaker over a forty year period captured a Goods Office (demolished in 1980s) and many signal boxes that were no longer needed after Powerbox signalling system was installed in 1970s. Slightly strangely, many of the toilets built to serve the needs of the signalmen still survive to this day! 

Cravens Railway Carriage Builders, Sheffield Cravens Railway Carriage Builders, Sheffield

Rolling stock manufacturers such as Cravens, who built both luxury carriages as well as trains for the London Underground, have all left their mark beside the line. Buildings originally used by manufacturing companies that depended on the close proximity of the railway for both supplies and distribution of their goods may still stand, but with the passage of time have been repurposed for 21st century use. 


There were a number of once important junctions, e.g. Nunnery Junction near Tinsley where many lines crisscrossed. Small branch lines to serve steel works, coal pits and power stations were shown. Many of these branch lines are now disused, ripped up and overgrown, but others are still plain to see, even if now out of use. Tonnes of coal in snaking trains were delivered daily to power stations via such branch lines, seemingly the most important freight for many years, but now all gone. Fresh fish came from Grimsby through to the Midlands and even had its own loop line built at South Waleswood to hasten its journey, the smell letting everyone know it had passed through! 


Stephen’s vast archive of photographs showed very clearly how the use of the line and rolling stock has changed through the decades. Sections that once boasted two lines each way are now reduced to just one, although with the current increase in freight traffic this may change back again. We saw slides of wooden carriages left to decay in sidings, then finally torched to prevent rough sleepers taking advantage of them. Photographs of trains that looked little more than buses on the line, through to the heavy diesels and the cumbersome weedkiller train that made its annual trip along the line. 


Kiveton Bridge to Sheffield Victoria ticket Kiveton Bridge to Sheffield Victoria ticket

The railway often runs in close proximity to Chesterfield Canal, the transport means it superseded. Its steepest gradient is near Don Valley (1 in 10) with cuttings and tunnels being created in order to traverse small contours in the land. An accident during the building of the Beighton viaduct resulted in fatalities, when the arches toppled like dominoes. An embankment built to carry the railway at Kiveton Bridge was washed away in the 2007 floods, but this time fatalities were avoided when a vigilant engine driver felt a wobble as he passed over the stretch. He quickly reported it and by the time the engineers reached the spot the lines were hanging in space many feet above the wrecked embankment. 


Land once used as part of the railway infrastructure has been repurposed - industrial sites such as those alongside the Parkway, rural areas now being used for recreation e.g. a section of the trans-Pennine trail from Southport to Hull, opening in 2001. Stations have ceased to be staffed since tickets are now bought either from an automatic machine, online or on the train, the deserted buildings sometimes being subject to abuse and vandalism. Station hotels have either been demolished or survived as a B&B, a convenience store - more repurposing. By the time we arrived in Retford we had learnt much about the uses and the changes that have taken place during its 170 year history. 

Retford Station Retford Station

The second part of Stephen's talk, which will take us from Retford to Cleethorpes, will be on Wednesday, 27 October starting at 7.30 pm. Because of the need for social distancing, Totley Library is restricted in the numbers it can accommodate. We hope that all those who want to attend will be able to do so but, in order for us to monitor demand, we are again asking you to tell us you are coming by emailing us at: secretary@totley


Wednesday 28 April 2021
The History of Holidays


Our speaker on Wednesday 28 April was Pauline Burnett who talked to us via Zoom about the history of holidays.


In medieval times holidays didn’t exist and days away from work would be for holy days, random saints days and seasonal markers of the agricultural year, e.g. Harvest Festival. Sundays were observed as a religious day. Workers worked for the Lord of the Manor for around two hundred days of the year as they had their own land and animals to look after. Pilgrimages took place but mostly for the wealthy as people couldn’t afford to leave their land and animals. Travelling was difficult as roads were non-existent, robbery on the roads was quite common and the distances to travel were vast. 


After the reformation the Protestant Church decreed holy days remained, Sundays, Christmas Day, the Twelve days of Christmas, Easter Day and Ascension day. Aristocracy went on The Grand Tour, often for two years to visit places such as Spain, France, Greece, places with historical significance. Rome was considered an essential destination. They would learn a language and make contacts with people. A portrait would be made to mark the occasion and sent back home. Tourist artefacts were also sent home. 


Late 18th century, early 19th century: Napoleon’s campaign made it difficult to travel and reduced the number of people going on tour. Other types of holidays began to grow, people visited spa towns like Buxton for the water which was believed to benefit their health also coastal towns for the sea water. People had to travel in their own horse drawn coaches so numbers of people were limited. 


The trains made a huge difference in people travelling in the mid 19th century, trains were originally developed for moving of goods but then people realised they could be used for their own travel. Thomas Cook realised the potential of the railways and started to organise leisure trips. He produced guide books, arranged excursion trains and tours e.g. the for The Great Exhibition, it was the beginning of the pre-paid holiday. He invented a holiday coupon which was a way of reducing money to carry so was safer. People were able to go to the Middle East, America, Russia. In 1869 Egyptian tours were popular and he had tours going to Egypt through Europe or cruise to Cairo, these were for the wealthy people. 


For the ordinary folk celebrations were still limited to holy days, random saints days and seasonal markers of agricultural year. The people were working hard all year round and the seasonal days for agricultural didn’t apply to all trades. 


In 1871 the Bank Holiday Act was introduced with four bank holidays: Easter Monday, the first Monday in August, 26th December and Whit Monday. The railways brought easy access to the coast. Promenades were built on the sea front for people to walk along in their best clothes. People chose holidays on what the resorts had to offer and where the train would take them. Sandy beaches, donkeys, evening entertainment, acts, dancing were all on offer. 


Post cards became popular from 1880 as a way to communicate as there were no telephones. The bathing on beaches was segrated until around 1890 and bathing machines were used so that ladies weren’t be seen in their swimsuit. Alternative styles of holiday were developed, camp sites for a more affordable holiday. Thomas A. Leonard founded the Co-operative Holiday Association for men only. These were recreational and educational holidays, cheap for young people. As costs increased due to added services, Thomas Leonard left and founded the Holiday Fellowship. 


1890 to 1910: crop picking began to earn extra money and often accommodation was provided. Examples are picking of the summer fruits, potato picking, hop pickers, the tradition kept going for a long time, it was tough, hard work.


1900 onwards: coast towns were building accommodation for all pockets with B and Bs and hotels. Transport made a difference, charabanc trips were popular and caravans were produced from 1919. Owning a car was expensive. The rail companies would advertise with posters showing places in the beautiful countryside and these posters are now iconic and collector items. 


1920 to 1930s: winter holidays were advertised, such as skiing holidays, these were an extra to a summer holiday. Swimming became popular after it was included in the 1896 Olympics. Pools and lidos were built, e.g, at Millhouse Park, it is recalled that the water was cold! 


1938 was the first time workers got holiday pay, before this time there were holiday saving clubs and these continued to save for spending money. The unions had been campaigning for twenty years for holiday pay. Butlins opened in the 1930s to provide affordable holidays. YHA was founded and open to any person from any background to have rest, often used for people on cycling or walking holidays. 


After WW2 holidays became more popular. The aluminum technology gained from plane production in the war was used for building caravans and also static caravan holiday sites opened for people to rent. The east coast resorts continued to be popular, they had entertainment, food and the beach. Coaches were used for UK tours and overseas. National Express took over a lot of the companies in the 1970s. 


In the 1950s people starting going overseas, a plane journey to Spain involved refuelling en route. Jet planes changed the industry and no need to refuel en route, UK tourism suffered. In 1970 Thomas Cook acquired the 18-30 holiday company for young people who had lots of spare money and these were very popular. 


In the 1980s tent technology progressed, now framed tents with waterproof nylon and bespoke equipment made for camping. There is now a huge amount of self-catering options available. Cruising was expensive but has become cheaper in recent times. The huge ships have food, entertainment, guided tours arranged and cater for all age groups. All holiday businesses have been affected by the pandemic in 2020/2021, it is an important industry and hope it will soon return. 


Pauline was thanked for an interesting and informative talk.





Wednesday 22 January 2020

The Shepleys of Woodthorpe Hall


Our speaker on Wednesday 22nd January was Dick Shepley who talked to us about The Shepleys of Woodthorpe Hall


Dick’s grandparents, George and Emma Shepley, moved to the hall in 1926. They had four sons: Seymour, Rex, Frank and Douglas and a daughter Jeanne. A fifth son Peter had died as a child. They were attracted to the area as George was a co director of 2 companies in Sheffield, one of these still exists today. He also loved cricket and rugby and the hall is close to Abbeydale Sports Club. They paid £3,484 for the hall and Dick still has the receipt! 


The house at this time was a farmyard and was a tenanted farm. Before the Shepleys arrived the ground floor was where the cattle lived, some windows were blocked up and only part of it was habitable. The Shepleys restored it to be all habitable and put in central heating that is still used to this day. The Holmesfield Park Wood belonged to the Duke of Rutland and in 1920 there was a big sale and it was sold to a timber merchant who wanted to cut the trees down. His grandfather complained to the authorities and he purchased it and planted it up, this wood is mentioned in the Domesday Book.


Tragedy first struck the Shepley family in the early months of the war. Early in 1939 Jeanne had set off on an adventurous journey travelling by land and sea to India. On the outbreak of war Jeanne was determined to return home as soon as possible and she sailed on the SS Yorkshire from Rangoon. The ship arrived safely in Gibraltar and on 13 October 1939 it sailed for England as part of an unescorted merchant convoy. On 17 October the ship was off the coast of France when it was struck by a torpedo and sank with the loss of 25 crew and 33 passengers, one of whom was Jeanne Shepley who was last seen helping other passengers to the lifeboats. 


On 31 May 1940 the Shepley family sustained a second loss when Rex was shot down and killed whilst flying his Westland Lysander. He had been undertaking a series of missions to drop essential supplies to the troops who were grimly defending the port of Calais as the British Expeditionary Force were being rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. 


In the early summer of 1940 Douglas Shepley had married Frances "Bidy" Linscott, a young nurse from Sidcup in Kent. Douglas was a Spitfire pilot in 152 Squadron stationed at Warmwell in Dorset and was one of "The Few" who fought in the Battle of Britain. On 12 August the squadron was scrambled to defend Ventnor radar station on the Isle of Wight. Pilot Officer Douglas Shepley was last seen pursuing enemy raiders and was shot down over the English Channel, south of the island. His body was never recovered. 


Devastated as the family were after losing three of their children, in the first year of the war they decided to do something positive. Emily and her daughter-in-law Bidy set about raising £5,700 (over £300,000 in today's terms) to buy a new Spitfire. The people of north Derbyshire and south Yorkshire rallied round magnificently organising whist drives, concerts, dances and various other events. There were collections in local cinemas, pubs, theatres and shops and within 15 weeks the money had been raised. 

The Shepley was first flown on 1 August 1941 and was issued to 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron on 16 August. Shepley moved on to a Polish squadron and then to a New Zealand squadron before eventually becoming the personal aircraft of Group Captain Victor Beamish DSO DFC AFC, the Station Commander at RAF Kenley in Surrey in 1941. Sadly he too was shot down over the English Channel on 28 March 1942. 


Dick’s parents moved to the hall in 1963 on the death of Dick’s grandparents, his parents had 5 children. Seymour was his father. Seymour had five children, Dick moved to Woodthorpe in 1987 as the eldest living son and began to look after the hall, the first job was re-roofing the hall. 


In 1978 a Nottinghamshire brewery, Hardys and Hansons, built a new public house on Mickley Lane. A competition was held to find a suitable name and the brewery chose that suggested by Seymour Shepley of Woodthorpe Hall, which lies a few hundred yards away in the parish of Holmesfield. 


Dick and Bidy Dick and Bidy

Bidy Shepley married a Canadian soldier at the end of the war and went to live in Canada. Dick kept in touch with her and received a telephone message in early 2019 saying it was her 100th birthday and had he any memorabilia he could send. Dick was so delighted about this he went to Canada and attended the party and reminisced with Bidy about all the family which she could still recall. 


Woodthorpe Hall today hosts up to 8 weddings a year and produces cider, which can be found for sale at The Chatsworth Shop. Dick was thanked for a very enjoyable and interesting talk.

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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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