Totley History Group
Totley History Group

John S. Andrews

Reminiscences of my life in the village of Totley

I was born in 1928 outside the village proper at No.60 Totley Brook Rd. This was a new house just built that my parents bought prior to my birth. The only memories of this area are our walks across the fields and through a small wood to my Grandparents who lived at Twentywell. My Grandad being the signal man in the signal box just outside the Bradway Tunnel. I remember the house they lived in opposite to the brick works and on top of the deep cutting before the railway entered the tunnel. There were steps down the side to enable my Grandad to get to his signal box.           


From there we moved to No. 1 Mlckley Lane for a short time but regret I do not recall much of that time. Then we moved to the wonderful little cottage of No.l. Chapel Walk, right next to the school. The drawing of the school on the front of Totley Independent No.195 was taken from what would have been our garden, which was full of apple and pear trees. Rather strangely the drawing claims to have been made in 1933, which would have been the year I started school at what we called the C of E Church School. The building sticking out from the main building to the right of the drawing was the infants class. 


There I was taught by a Miss Marsden, who had previously taught my father, because he was born at Totley Bents. I remember my mother saying that Miss Marsden  refused to make me change from writing with my left hand, as was the usual thing to do in those days. The part of the building next to the Infants class marked by a change in the roof from the main hall, was the next class you progressed to - class 1. The teacher of which I cannot recall.


The main part of the building was a long hall divided across the middle by a 6 foot high wooden screen. Each side of the screen were two classes. The headmaster used to sit behind this screen in full view of the classes that side. The name of the headmaster when I first went there escapes me but for most of my time is was a Mr. Woods. He lived in a new house built at the start of some waste ground on the left approaching Cross Scythes Hotel. (Someone told me that a new school was built on this site). I knew the house well as for a time I was pally with his son.


The smaller building at the end of the main building was a wooden structure which was used by the senior classes. I never was in this part of the school as I passed my exams in 1938 and went on to High Storrs Grammar School. The building at the extreme left is the roof of the outside toilets. Beneath those in our garden was our outside toilet too. Not good in the winter as it used to freeze up, apart from the fact that it was cold having to walk (run) across to it. Especially at night with a torch or even a candle, if the battery had run out!              


I have a scar to this day across the bottom of my chin, which was the result of running up the stone steps at the side of the cottage to feed the fowl we kept in the top half of the garden, My chin was very badly cut and my mother wrapped me in padding tied round shy head with a scarf, and we went to catch the bus down to the Doctors. Our Doctor was a Doctor Marshall who lived in the end house, opposite to Dore and Totley Railway Station, on the left going towards Beauchief. He stitched me up and then it was a case of waiting for the No.45 bus back to Cross Scythes.              


Mv father used to play for the Totley Cricket team and my mother used to be the scorer. Therefore every Saturday afternoon I would either be changing the numbers on the score board or travelling to some cricket field away from Totley. The team used to play in the Norton and District League Premier division. They won this league in 1939 and I have still got my father's medal he was presented with and still have the brush and crumb tray set, engraved, that they presented to my mother, I am also in possession of snapshots of the team taken over the years. 


The cricket ground was at Totley Bents in front of the Public House - The Cricketers Arms. The wooden pavilion was the opposite side of the field to the public house. I cannnot recall the cricket team using the Cricketers Arms, but I do remember them using the Grouse Inn. That was part of the farm that stood opposite the junction of Penny Lane and the road behind our pavilion (cannot remember the name of that one). I think that I am right in saying that the team more or less folded up when the war started. That field was also used for football and we used to go down there for school sports on one day a week. The whole class used to walk down Chapel Walk and down the footpath through Chapel fields to Penny Lane. 


I well remember the time that I received a hundred lines while I was supposed to be playing football. I hated football and used to try and get out of it but this one day they put me in goal. It must have been early in 1939 as I was standing by the goal post watching them doing a practice of raising the balloon barrage over Sheffield, While I was watching that the other side scored a goal! My hundred lines were - I must not watch the barrage balloons while I am playing football.               


The school gates were on Hillfoot Road and & drive led to the playground, as there was what was known as The Pound between the school entrance and the boundary of our garden. In the winter while living at Chapel Walk, we used to sledge down Hillfoot Hoad in the winter snows. That is until the local village Bobby used to catch us, then we would move to Chapel fields for a time. The Chapel at the end of Chapel Walk was where I used to go to Sunday School, and as a youngster used to appear in concerts, they had there from time to time. 

Village life centred around the shops for us children, of which there were three. The main local grocers was Evans shop on Hillfoot Road. Attached to the shop was a little bakery, and he used to bake his own bread there. Many is the time I have been to his shop to get a loaf of bread. I seem to remember that it was 4d (not quite 2p in present money) and was warm from the bakery, just wrapped in a sheet of tissue paper. None of the over packaging of today. Evans shop was not only a general grocers but a green grocery as well. Just a little further up the road, laying some feet back was a little sweet and toy shop. That was my favourite shop, as I could get 14 toffees for a penny from there. Sticks of liquorice, rolls of liquorice boot laces, bulls eyes, and half penny bars of chocolate.


At the corner of Baslow Road and Totley Hall Lane was the Post Office which was also a general store. Nearly opposite to the junction of Hillfoot Road and Baslow Road was a fish and chip shop. This was run by the owners of the farm, the Kirby family. Often in the summer holidays I used to help out with the wheat and corn harvest at the farm. At times I used to be allowed to ride on the back of the two cart horses that pulled the dray collecting the sheaves of corn to take them down into the farmyard to be fed into the threshing machine, worked by the big steam traction I engine. This used to visit all the farms in the area at harvest time, to separate the chaff from the seeds. Hay making was I another time I used to help on the farm, which stretched as far as Gillfield Wood down Totley Hall Lane and right up Baslaw Road as far as the footpath, that end, to Gillfield Wood. 


In about 1937 we moved to 357 Baslow Road. This was, a nice big house and much superior to Chapel Walk, as it had a bathroom! The toilet was still outside at the end of the garden though. I can remember hearing a conversation between my mother and father as to whether they would be able to really afford to rent this house as it was 14 shillings a week (10p). We only lived there until 1939 when we I again moved to live at 328 Baslow Road. It appears that my mother and father together with my grandmother and aunt had clubbed together to buy four of the houses in the row. This house was my home throughout the war years and until I moved from the village in 1950.

Before the second world war there were plenty of things going on in the village during the summer. Church fetes, Chapel picnics, but the biggest and best, as far as I was concerned, was the Abbeydale Gala. This was held on the sports fields of the Abbeydale Club, just past Abbeydale Hall, on Abbeydale Road South. In the lower area of the Rugby field was the open air dancing with a band in a roofed type of bandstand. High wire and trapeze acts, together with all types of side shows.


On the upper level there was always a spectacular firework display, including set pieces, every night when it got dark. Over the top rough area, to the right of the sports fields was a gigantic fair. In those days of course it was steam that provided the initial power. Some of the roundabouts, particularly the galloping horses, had their own steam engines in the centre to propel them round. Others that were worked by electric motor had the big steam traction engines belt driving the dynamos to produce the power. There was 1ittle use of gramophone records then as most music was provided for the fairground by steam organs. 


I cannot remember the cost of the entrance fee to go in, but we used to avoid this if we could. Sometimes I remember we were able to get under the fence at the back of the fairground and wander through the fairs caravans and steam engines, other times when for some reason we had to pay, we would note what stamp they were using. These stamps were used if you wished to leave the Gala grounds during the day and return, say, in the evening. They would stamp the back of your hand with a distinctive stamp, using a different colour of ink each day. We would then try and forge this on the back of our mates hands, so that they could avoid having to pay to get in. 


My memory is that this big event closed down during the war years, and to my knowledge was never restarted. Another big event was the Venetian Nights held at Matlock Bath. The LMS Railway Company used to run special trains from Sheffield to Matlock. We used to catch these trains at Dore and Totley Station to watch the pageant of candle lit decorated boats gliding down the river at Matlock Bath. 


Going on holiday was of course the biggest treat of the year. My parents used to take me to Filey, Colwyn Bay and Bridlington before the war. When we went to Filey and Bridlington we travelled by coach. U.M.S. Coach United Motor Services. We had to travel by the No. 45 bus from the Cross Scythes terminus to Beauchief to board the coach. The garage on the corner of Abbeydale Road and Abbey Lane was the starting point for the coach. When we went to Colwyn Bay it was by train which again we used to board at Dore and Totley Station. The route of the train I cannot remember but we did not have to change anywhere so it was a through train that used to stop at Rhyl and all the stations to Llandudno. 


In fact in July 1939 I was on holiday at Bridlington with my parents and we used to sometimes get moved off the beach as light tracked vehicles of the Army used to carry out firing practice at a target out at sea. Single winged aircraft used to fly over all the time and presumably these must have either been the new Hurricane fighters or the new Spitfires. Why I do not know but one thing does really stick out in my mind about this holiday, and that is that we went to the cinema and heard Florence De Yong at the organ and the film was 'The Four Feathers'. 


During the winter months there used to be dances held at Greenoak Hall. This was a largish hall situated next to the CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society) shop which was near the junction of Mickley Lane and Baslow Road. My mother used to get her weekly order from the Co-op which was delivered every Saturday morning. During the week a man from the shop used to call and take mother's order. This was his job, to go round from house to house to take people's orders and offer special reductions they had on certain items each week. The orders were then delivered on whatever day you specified. Naturally when shopping at the Co-op you always gave your dividend number as your 'divi' used to mount up to spend at the main store in Sheffield. Also at Greenoak there was the barber's shop that my Dad used to take me to. It was in a row of shops opposite to the junction of Mickley Lane with Baslow Road. 


Mickley Lane also used to have the local orphanage. It was known as Cherry Tree Orphanage, and the boys used to attend the village school. They were always distinguished by their wearing the same clothes. Dark grey short trousers and dark grey shirts and pullovers. For some unknown reason we were not able to be very friendly with them, as they were not allowed out in the evenings so other than school we had no chance to befriend them.

In 1939 I sat my 11-plus examination at school and managed to get a high enough mark to pass for High Storrs Grammar School. The top school in Sheffield was King Edwards, the next was High Storrs, so my parents were very pleased with me! There was only one problem and that was that my parents were not wealthy enough to buy my school books and uniform. However they made a claim for assistance from the Education Department and they made a grant that allowed them to be able to purchase my school uniform and the necessary text books required. I was due to commence school in the September of 1939, but War was declared on September 3rd. Because the school had no air raid shelters we were not allowed to attend until these were built. Therefore we commenced what was called Home Service. This meant that a number of us in the same area used to have to go to someone's house for a morning or afternoon and the teacher used to come and teach us there. Each day including Saturday, we had lessons in someone's front room, either in the morning or the afternoon. 


At school all writing was done with pen and ink. As it was not practical to have ink wells in people's houses for us to use, we were instructed to buy a fountain pen. Normally these were not allowed to be used at all, so you can imagine the excitement of not only owning a fountain pen, but being able to use it during lessons. I am afraid that I cannot remember when we were allowed to go to school properly, but it was certainly after the winter of 1939/40. When we got to our new school we found that what had been the cricket field, was covered in a sort of wire mesh stretched on top of poles about four or so feet high from the ground. In the centre of this was an oblong building which used to rotate. We were told that this was a radio location device to pick up approaching aircraft. What of course it was, was the forerunner to Radar, which was very secret then. Further down the sports field were two anti-aircraft guns in their sandbagged emplacements. 


Many was the time that I used to get into all sorts of trouble when we used a classroom at the front of the school. Those classrooms overlooked these guns and when they used to receive some sort of warning that planes were somewhere approaching. bells used to sound and the gunners would dash out of their rest huts to man the guns. I used to watch this happening until the blackboard duster flashed past my ear, having been thrown by the master as I was not paying attention to him!


We used to have air raid drill, when we had to vacate the school and file into the shelters built underground in front of the school. Also if you arrived at school without your gas mask you were sent home to get it. 


Getting to school from Totley either meant the bus from Dore to Bents Green, or the No. 45 bus down to Abbeydale and then the inner circle bus to Bents Green. There were three of us from the village who attended High Storrs Grammar School at this time, and more often than not we used to travel together. During the better part of the year weatherwise, I used to walk across to Dore and catch the Bent Green bus. It was a walk down through the allotments to Hillfoot Road, then down past the Crown public house and a turn right after the big wall surrounding a large house on the right hand side. This footpath went down the field alongside the wall to a bridge over the river, then up the fields to Dore village. The return journey being made later in the afternoon and if the river was low we would make a short cut by crossing the river on some boulders rather than go round by the bridge. The river is the one that flows across the railway cutting by means of an aqueduct over the railway just before it goes into Totley Tunnel, alongside Totley Brook Road. 


The railway tunnel smoke chimneys, one at the start of Penny Lane, another behind the village cricket field pavilion, and one over by the Army Rifle Range were all guarded by soldiers during the war. Each chimney had a finer mesh 'pepper box top' placed Over the metal rid that covered them when they were built. The reason being so that bombs could not be thrown down them to sabotage the tunnel and railway system. Each 'pepper box' as we used to call them, had a sentry box by it, and the sentry used to march round every so often with his rifle at the slope.

When we were in the area playing we used to stop and talk to the soldiers when the truck used to arrive with the relief guard aboard.

They often used to give us sweets.


The soldiers were billeted in bell tents on the rifle range, which was used daily for practice firing. Army trucks and tracked vehicles which were Bren gun carriers used to be constantly driving past our house on Baslow Road, and down the road to the range. Twice it happened that a Bren gun carrier came up the hill and didn't engage his other track quick enough after turning the corner onto the main road, and crashed into our front garden wall. Each time it was rebuilt by the Army.


During the war the village was quite cut off early in the evening, as the last bus from Pond Street to Totley was 9.00p.m. Therefore the last bus from Cross Scythes to Sheffield was 9.30p.m., the journey being 30 mins. The cost of a return was 11d or 6d single (nearly 5p and two and a half pence). Children's fare was one and a half pence with no returns (approx half a pence). The trams were even better as anywhere on the network for a child was a half penny. When mother wanted to start her shopping at the bottom of the Moor, we used to get off the bus at either Beauchief or Millhouses and catch the tram which, providing we caught the correct one, used to travel along to and up the Moor.


At the bottom of the Moor was the big CWS (Co-op) store, where you could get any thing from a button to a bed and groceries as well. That was one of mother's favourite stores, as was Robert Brothers up the Moor, then past Barkers Pool and down to Coles store and Walsh's. Then it was down to Fitzal1an Square and so to Pond Street to get the bus home. 


One of our big treats was being taken to the pictures as a child, and our nearest one was the Abbeydale Cinema. It was not until I was older and allowed to go to the pictures with my friends that we went into the City, then it was to queue for one of the big cinemas, The Gaumont, The Hippodrome, Palace, Union Street, Central Cinema House or the News Theatre in Fitzallan Square. Very occasionally, when funds could run to it, I went to the Lyceum Theatre to see a show, but in my later teens it was a seat every Saturday night, first house, at the Empire where a seat in the circle cost 3/6d (seventeen and a half pence). 


The commencement of the Second World War did not affect the village too much until after the evacuation from France at Dunkirk in 1940. Then the road blocks started to be built in case the U.K. was invaded. There was one on Baslow Road just above our house. Traffic had to negotiate the large concrete blocks placed across the road which were guarded by the Army. The Army were also helped by the Home Guard. The other major thing in the village denoting that there was a war on was the complete extinguishing of the street lights. The buses also had very dim interior lights that made travelling very difficult. Apart from not being able to read it was difficult to know which stop you were at with no street lighting and a complete blackout of houses and shops. 


The biggest blow to the children, including myself, was the first 'blitz' on Sheffield. On the night of the 12/13 December 1940, the Germans bombed the centre of the City. We were able, being high up at Totley, to watch the bombing and see the mass of fires. It was a terrible sight, and the noise was frightening. As it was just before Christmas, all the stores had their Christmas gift and toy displays on, and virtually the whole of the Moor shopping centre was wiped out. The big store of Walsh's was gutted by fire, as there was no water to douse the flames due to water mains being cut by the bombs. It was a miserable Christmas that year, with next to no presents. Two nights later the bombers were back and this time blitzed the East End works side of the City. Again we were able to view from a distance the fires etc. in the city on that night. 


The morning following the first night's blitz there were no buses arriving at Cross Scythes, so we couldn't get to school. We were told by the local policeman that this was due to bombing at Beauchief. We set off to walk there to see the damage. A very large bomb, some did say that it was a landmine dropped by parachute, had cratered the road just past the junction of Abbeydale Road and Abbey Lane. The crater was very deep and contained a double decker bus and another vehicle. It was also filling up with water and sewerage, as all the main services had been broken. We were without water and electricity at home. Walking further on we came to the next lot of destruction at Millhouses. The line of shops just past the junction of Abbeydale Road and Archer Road had received a direct hit, and all the debris was blocking the road. 



July 1997

The concluding part of the his account, in Totley Independent Issue 205, is unfortunately missing.

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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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