Category Archives: Talks

Hearing loss: the present and the future by Sandra Welburn  10th June 2019

 Sandra Welburn is based in Newcastle and is the Head of inform­a­tion coordin­a­tion for the north­ern region of the “Action on hear­ing loss” char­ity.  Its former name was the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID). It has been a national char­ity since 1911.  The area covered by Sandra is from Cheshire to the Scottish boarder.

It’s the largest char­ity for people with hear­ing loss in the UK, with an under­stand­ing of how hear­ing loss can affect everything in your life from your rela­tion­ships, to your edu­ca­tion and your job pro­spects.  The char­ity is here to sup­port and help people to take back con­trol and live the lives they choose.

On aver­age it takes about 10 years for some­body sus­pect­ing they have hear­ing loss to take actual action.  There are about 11 mil­lion people in Great Britain with hear­ing loss. About 4 mil­lion people have unad­dressed hear­ing loss and 2 mil­lion people use hear­ing aides and about sixty thou­sand people use sign lan­guage.

Sandra gave an example of a man with good hear­ing was on a hol­i­day flight, when he stepped off the plane, he dis­covered that he had lost all his hear­ing.  It was a per­man­ent change.  She asked her audi­ence to try to ima­gine what this would feel like and what aspects of hear­ing would be most missed.  She explained how as hear­ing loss increases a person becomes more isol­ated within their family as loved ones tend to cut the person out of con­ver­sa­tions and activ­it­ies.  Other people may begin to treat a person as being less intel­li­gent.  Lip read­ing becomes import­ant and tele­vi­sion view­ing requires the volume to be turned up or sub­titles restrict choice of pro­grammes.

Besides hear­ing loss, the char­ity helps with Tinnitus. Tinnitus is often described as ”ringing in the ears”, but it’s the name for hear­ing any sound in your ears or head when there’s noth­ing out­side your body that’s making that sound.  The char­ity sup­ports a Tinnitus Helpline and a Tinnitus Forum.

Action on hear­ing loss helps people to manage their lives by provid­ing care homes; an engage­ment ser­vice; research teams; a products depart­ment; cafes and cam­paigns.

Large resources are provided towards research across the world and this is bear­ing fruit.  Since 2006 in the UK new-born babies without hear­ing may get a coch­lear implant.  The implant con­sists of a micro­phone and a trans­mit­ter out­side the head, which send sig­nals to an implanted receiver under the skin. This in turn sends sig­nals to elec­trodes implanted in the coch­lea. When the elec­trodes receive a signal, tiny elec­tric cur­rents stim­u­late the aud­it­ory nerve, which car­ries sound from the coch­lea to the brain.  In 2016 a new gene was dis­covered that is related to the hear­ing mech­an­ism and gives hope that treat­ments might be developed to reduce or reverse hear­ing loss.

Soon sign lan­guage will be taught in all primary schools in England.

The char­ity in your local area provides sup­port in deal­ing with: bene­fits and grants; every­day life; your rights; com­mu­nic­a­tion tips; products and tech­no­logy; blogs and forums.


Sixties Britain: Social & Cultural Change. Dr Lucy Brown 3rd June 2019

Dr Brown a Teaching Associate in Modern British History firstly at Sheffield University where she came to study from her home town of Norwich. Having stayed in Sheffield to train she achieved an impress­ive haul of qual­i­fic­a­tions. Lucy explained that this was the first time she had addressed an entirely male audi­ence being more used to the mixed stu­dent body and reflec­ted on the fact that her third year group of 16 stu­dents had only two male mem­bers.

Lucy then com­menced her talk relat­ing to the 60’s by telling us that his­tor­i­ans looked at a wider date range when con­sid­er­ing the decade look­ing back to the mid 1950’s and for­wards to the early 1070’s. Her talk would look at three key themes :

Affluence – Permissiveness – Pluralism


The 60’s where heav­ily influ­enced by the impact of rising real wages, improved employ­ment pro­spects lead­ing to a trans­form­a­tion of living stand­ards, better health and the devel­op­ment of what is now known as con­sumer­ism with increas­ing avail­ab­il­ity of what we now see as every­day items such as wash­ing machines, fridges, even indoor toi­lets and bath­rooms, which were still not pre­val­ent in the years lead­ing up to 1960, this per­haps being per­son­i­fied by  Harold MacMillan’s   state­ment that we had “Never had it so good”

The impact of afflu­ence was not restric­ted entirely to the acquis­i­tion of mater­ial goods but also led to a more home centred life­style this being partly due to the influ­ence on tele­vi­sion making it unne­ces­sary to leave the home for enter­tain­ment. Greater spend­ing power also led to a rise in groom­ing products with the rise in indoor amen­it­ies lead­ing to improved per­sonal fresh­ness.

Affluence improve­ments also led to changes, in par­tic­u­larly, young peoples aspir­a­tions relat­ing to living arrange­ments ie. young mar­ried couples want their own homes rather than start­ing their new lives with one or other of their par­ents. Men became more hands on in the home under­tak­ing DIY and child­care respons­ib­il­it­ies with many more women now going out to work increas­ing house­hold incomes and buying power. Class dis­tinc­tions also became more blurred with a per­ceived move­ment to a broader middle class though there remained many still in poverty and not car­ried along with the wider improve­ment in living stand­ards. This being power­fully brought to the fore by tv pro­duc­tions such as Cathy Come Home.

The 1960’s gave rise the “The Permissive Society” though many who lived through this period may well have not noticed any great change in their life­styles with much of the well pub­li­cised changes in beha­viour being London centred. There can how­ever be no doubt that the lib­er­al­isa­tion of cen­sor­ship, pro­lif­er­a­tion of pornography,introduction of the pill,

the AbortionAct and decrim­in­al­isa­tion of homo­sexu­al­ity had a pro­found effect on gen­eral beha­viour and what became mor­ally accept­able when only a few years before such would have been looked as entirely unac­cept­able. The 1960’s des­pite the rel­at­ive freedoms achieved can how­ever be viewed as the Golden Age of mar­riage with more people than ever before get­ting mar­ried and at younger ages des­pite the rise in cohab­it­ing.

The 1960’s also saw a rise in plur­al­ism with increased mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism rising immig­ra­tion, though some saw this as a threat rather than an oppor­tun­ity such as Enoch Powell who gave his infam­ous speech in 1968.

Feminism also took hold with women gain­ing a more prom­in­ent place in soci­ety as a whole and gain­ing equal oppor­tun­it­ies, though there remains some way to go on this.

Not every­one was happy with many of the impacts of per­missive­ness such as

Mary Whitehouse who waged a long battle against pro­fan­ity and per­ceived por­no­graphy.

So how are the 1960’s inter­preted now? Lucy closed  pro­pos­ing three pos­sib­il­it­ies:

Cultural,Revolution, Happening Somewhere Else or Something in Between.

There fol­lowed  a lively ques­tion ses­sion with some mem­bers relat­ing their memor­ies to close an excel­lent present­a­tion by Dr. Brown.


Living in Space — Dennis Ashton — 20th May 2019

When Dennis Ashton last came to speak to us, just over five years ago, his sub­ject was dog sled racing in Alaska, where he also wit­nessed a superb auroral dis­play which prob­ably gave him the inspir­a­tion for his latest talk.

Dennis, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, kept us enthralled for an hour with his slideshow present­a­tion on the story of the space race so far, the day-to-day prob­lems facing the 236 astro­nauts who have spent time on the International Space Station, and what the future holds in terms of space travel.

The first moon land­ing on 21st July 1969.

Dennis pre­dicts that China will be the next nation to reach the moon, and that in 200 years’ time there could be a city on Mars. Before then, an inter­na­tional mis­sion to land humans on Mars is sched­uled for 2040.

And when, in 200 years from now, people look back on key moments in the space race, he believes the two great iconic images will be the Apollo moon land­ing and the devel­op­ment and con­struc­tion of the International Space Station, where man learnt to live in space.

The International Space Station is the size of a foot­ball pitch.

Man first stepped foot on the moon on 21st July 1969, and vari­ous events are planned to com­mem­or­ate the 50th anniversary in two months’ time. A new block­buster doc­u­ment­ary film, entitled Apollo 11, is due to be screened at Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema on 7th June.

Dennis’s talk was chiefly about the International Space Station, a mul­tina­tional con­struc­tion pro­ject that is the largest single struc­ture humans have ever put into space. It is roughly the size of a foot­ball pitch. Its main con­struc­tion was com­pleted between 1998 and 2011, although the sta­tion con­tinu­ally evolves to include new mis­sions and exper­i­ments. It has been con­tinu­ously occu­pied since November 2000.

Construction work being car­ried out on the ISS in 2008.

The ISS travels at a speed of almost five miles per second, or 17,500 miles per hour, orbit­ing the earth every 92 minutes while the six astro­nauts on board either carry out sci­entific exper­i­ments, under­take main­ten­ance work on the giant struc­ture, eat, exer­cise, relax or sleep, depend­ing on the time of day (which, as a matter of interest, is aligned to Greenwich Mean Time). The con­struc­tion of the ISS involved no fewer than 40 space shuttle flights between 1998 and 2010.

Whether you are a would-be space trav­el­ler or an account­ant, the stat­ist­ics are equally stag­ger­ing. Between 1985 and 2015, the bill for devel­op­ing the ISS amoun­ted to $150 bil­lion, and the annual run­ning costs come to $5 bil­lion. The United States have paid by far the largest amount, around $126 bil­lion, with Russia adding $12 bil­lion, Europe and Japan each chip­ping in $5 bil­lion and Canada $2 bil­lion.

The crew on the ISS work a 15-hour day, from 6am to 9pm, but that includes three meal breaks and two and a half hours’ exer­cise, which is essen­tial if muscles and bones are not to waste away. There is an hour’s relax­a­tion before the astro­nauts get eight hours sleep. They do not go to bed as such; in the weight­less con­di­tions of the space sta­tion, each astro­naut has a per­sonal space where their sleep­ing bag is sus­pen­ded on a wall, and they simply zip them­selves into it.

Major Tim Peake demon­strates the suc­tion oper­ated urinal.

We saw Britain’s own Major Tim Peake, who spent 185 days in orbit, doing everything from car­ry­ing out highly skilled sci­entific exper­i­ments to doing his ablu­tions, the latter also need­ing a fair amount of skill. Washing is more like a quick rub down with an oily rag as there is no run­ning water, no shower and no bath. Clothes are worn for a set number of days and then dis­carded, fin­ish­ing up in a sealed con­tainer along with human waste and then jet­tisoned in a supply vessel which burns up on re-entry to the earth’s atmo­sphere. However, 90 per cent of water used, includ­ing that which has passed through the six astro­nauts the pre­vi­ous day, is recycled and re-used, to the tune of around 6,000 litres a year, although there is also a back-up supply of 2,000 litres on board.

All meals are dehyd­rated and water pumped into the con­tainer of dried food as and when needed. Drinks are vacuum packed and sucked through a plastic straw. The only fresh food such as fruit come on board when a shuttle arrives with new crew mem­bers. Bread is not allowed because of the danger of crumbs find­ing their way into del­ic­ate equip­ment, so wraps are the favoured option.

The view from space. A NASA image of the south­ern half of Britain. The red dot is Bognor Regis.

It all seems a pretty miser­able exist­ence to me, and prob­ably to any­body else who likes their creature com­forts, and yet wealthy indi­vidu­als are reportedly pre­pared to pay $20 mil­lion each for the priv­ilege of a 10-day hol­i­day on board the space sta­tion.  Give me Bognor Regis any day.

Do I know who I am?”  One man’s search for his family. Peter Slater 29th April 2019

Peter has been a sports reporter for BBC radio for many years.

He began by telling us that he was adop­ted at birth.

His adop­tion has led to many ques­tions in pur­suit of his birth family during his life.

In his child­hood he lived in a coun­cil house in Pedmore with his father, Gerald Slater, and his mother.  One day they brought home a baby girl, but she stayed only one day.

(Her mother had decided that she wanted to keep her).

When he was 4 years old he was taken some­where and in a room, which con­tained sev­eral cots, he was told to choose his new baby sister.  He poin­ted at the nearest cot and Suzanne joined the family.  He did not know about his adop­tion.

When he was 6 years old they moved house to Middlesborough, which took him away from his rela­tions and school friends, so he lost touch with uncles and aunts and cous­ins and had to start again.  At times he felt quite isol­ated.

In 1966 when he was 14 he wondered about his ‘nuc­lear’ family.  He was good at or inter­ested in public speak­ing com­pet­i­tions, sport, girls, pop music, etc.  His par­ents were not, so why was he?  His feel­ing of isol­a­tion didn’t decrease when they moved house again and he had to start again making friends.

In 1968 he entered a DJ com­pet­i­tion at a hol­i­day camp and he knew he was going to win.

He had found his way and from then on did Amateur Dramatics, School plays, County Youth Theatre and later, at Sheffield University  where he was read­ing English, he was into Student radio and Politics.

On his 21st birth­day in 1973 his uncle Roger sent him an adop­tion cer­ti­fic­ate which made him real­ise why he was so dif­fer­ent from the rest of his family.  He was adop­ted!!

His birth mother, Freida Kelly, had called him Stanley Kelly.

In 1976 he met his wife-to-be, Alison, and no longer felt isol­ated.  He gradu­ated, and found his first job and knew that this is what he had been born to do, but why?

He mar­ried Alison and they began their own ‘nuc­lear’ family.  He got a job on a local radio sta­tion.  His par­ents moved to Cheltenham.

It was time to find out about Stanley Kelly.

Peter’s birth cer­ti­fic­ate told him that Freda Kelly was a clerk in a bacon dis­trib­ut­ors but he knew noth­ing else.  He got in touch with a social worker called Joe Theaker who found the ori­ginal adop­tion notes.

These notes told him that Freda Kelly was a model, that she went to the National School, that she was Irish, that his father was mar­ried but posed as a single man and that he was Irish.

So Peter is Irish by birth!  He would not find out more about his mother in London — he would have to go to Dublin.

He found cer­ti­fic­ates in Dublin.

His father, Joe Devoy:-  Birth cer­ti­fic­ate, Marriage cer­ti­fic­ate, Death cer­ti­fic­ate, and that he had 6 chil­dren.

Freida:-  just her birth cer­ti­fic­ate and that her par­ents were musi­cians.  He thought she must have emig­rated.  He gave up the search.

A friend, Jim Beglin, said, “Why don’t you put an advert in the Irish Independent and the Dublin Evening News?”  Peter tried this last effort without much hope.

He got a letter from a Mrs. J. Millman Read, saying that she may be able to help him if he explained what he wanted.  He replied, telling her about his search.

He found out that she was his Auntie Joyce but she would not let him meet his mother because Freida was mar­ried and her hus­band did not know about Peter.  However, 2 weeks later he got a letter and pho­to­graph from Freida.

The letter told him that, when she was preg­nant, Joe Devoy dumped her (he was mar­ried with 4 chil­dren).  She went to England, had the child, went back to Dublin, did not get on with her mother (sur­prise!) so went back to England.  There she met Desmond, got preg­nant, was dumped again but kept this child.  She later met a man called Peter and mar­ried him but did not tell him about Stanley in case she was dumped again.

A few weeks later Peter (Slater) met Freida because her hus­band was away work­ing.

In June 1996 he met his mother and had a long chat.  He found out that he had a half-brother called Roy.  He received a letter from Roy and met him, then later at Freida’s 80th birth­day they had a photo taken together.

Both Roy and Freida have passed away but, in 2015, Peter ‘Googled’ Joe Devoy’s wife, found her death notice but also that she was the mother of 9 chil­dren.  He sent an e-mail to the eldest of the sib­lings and got e-mails from Carmel and Maria.  They asked him about his baby teeth  and when he said that the teeth were very poor they said that he def­in­itely was one of the family!

In May 2015 Peter went to Dublin, was met by 5 women waving plac­ards with his name and has met his 4 half-brothers.  DNA tests that are 99% matches show that they are all chil­dren of Joe Devoy and they are happy to wel­come Peter.

This was a very inter­est­ing story, delivered by an expert speaker/presenter.  Full marks!












The Work of the S. Yorks. Police and Crime Commissioner – Dr. Alan Billings 15th April 2019

Dr. Alan Billings was born in Leicester and read Theology and Philosophy at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He has been a parish priest and an aca­demic as well as being active in polit­ics. (For full details go to —

Dr. Billings had planned to return to Sheffield to retire but was elec­ted as the S. Yorks. Police and Crime Commissioner (P.C.C.) in 2014, repla­cing the first Commissioner who had been a Rotherham Councillor and had held a senior pos­i­tion in Child Services. He resigned after a report exposed child sexual exploit­a­tion in Rotherham between the years 1997 and 2013, which Rotherham Council and S. Yorks. Police had chosen to ignore.

Police and Crime Commissioners have been elec­ted through­out the coun­try since 2012, to replace Police Authorities. They were made up of Local Councillors and the public, but the new posts provide a focal point. Prospective can­did­ates are sponsored by polit­ical parties, and the Labour Party now sup­port the scheme, although ori­gin­ally fear­ing politi­cisa­tion of the posts.

The duties of a P.C.C. include pro­du­cing a policy plan (reviewed annu­ally), for poli­cing and crime pri­or­it­ies, and then, to ensure that the police force follow them. There are monthly meet­ings with the police, press and the gen­eral public, and the P.C.C. also scru­tin­izes police reports. All this helps to determ­ine what type of police force is needed and where funds are to be alloc­ated.

The two prin­cipal sources for funds — Government 73%, Council Tax 27%, are alloc­ated thus :-

-           The police budget – 96%

-           Commissioning ser­vices for vic­tims

-           Running activ­it­ies for com­munit­ies

The 3 pri­or­it­ies for poli­cing, in the 2019 policy plan (copy avail­able on the inter­net) are :-

  1. Protecting vul­ner­able people

A greater pro­por­tion of police time is spent on this sub­ject :-

  • It is pre­dicted that by 2045 more than a third of the pop­u­la­tion will be over 60 years of age. With public ser­vices shrink­ing, more time is spent find­ing demen­tia patients who have wandered off.
  • Children are brought from the South of England , to homes in Barnsley and Sheffield where it is cheaper to look after them. The police, rather than the homes, spend time find­ing those who have broken their curfew hours.
  • Grooming either in person or on the inter­net requires more police staff in offices.
  • Since 2010, police officer num­bers in S. Yorks. have reduced from 3000 to 2500, but in 2019 a fur­ther 55 officers will be recruited, of which 40 will go into Neighbourhood Teams and be seen on the beat, and will be able to make arrests — a matter reg­u­larly reques­ted by the public. Police Support Officer num­bers, (intro­duced by David Blunkett, who dealt with anti-social beha­viour), who cannot make arrests, will not be cut.
  1. Tackling crime and anti-social beha­viour

On this matter, the P.C.C., who has no exec­ut­ive power, meets reg­u­larly with the Chief Constable to dis­cuss :-

-Knife crime, (which is mainly a London prob­lem). Incidents since 2018 in S.Yorks. are fall­ing, dis­cus­sions taking place as to why.

-Sex crime

-Cyber crime

-Drugs. This is wor­ry­ing and is linked to knife crime. Once when there were turf wars, based on post codes, the police knew the gangs, but now the gangs are under­ground with vul­ner­able young chil­dren being groomed to carry small pack­ages for a reward. The gangs offer an ‘altern­at­ive family’ so it is essen­tial to under­stand their psy­cho­logy. Failure within the gang means brutal repris­als.

The 4 pris­ons in Doncaster have drug prob­lems which the police are deal­ing with. Unintended con­sequences of drug leg­al­isa­tion, are also under con­sid­er­a­tion.

-Anti-social beha­viour. S.Yorks. has a minor­ity diverse eth­ni­city, unlike Leicester where the ethnic minor­it­ies are the major­ity. Our pit vil­lages are white, with noth­ing for the chil­dren to do, so anti-social beha­viour, rather than crime, is the main prob­lem. But city centres are dif­fer­ent, so there is more police demand. The Roma/Slovaks give prob­lems due to cul­tural dif­fer­ences, and traf­fick­ing is a world­wide prob­lem, with can­nabis farms involving vic­tims as well as crim­in­als.

  1. Treating people fairly, whether victim, sur­vivor, wit­ness or sus­pect.

The three main ongo­ing costly ‘legacy’ issues for S.Yorks. police are :-

  1. The Hillsborough dis­aster
  • It is the 30th The ongo­ing court case is paid for by Legal Aid but Civil claims are being made by around 600 people, who were affected by the tragedy.
  1. The Child Sexual Exploitation Case in Rotherham
  • 200 extra detect­ives in Rotherham are seek­ing the 1400 alleged child vic­tims, cost­ing £40million/year.

£20million has been alloc­ated for civil claims for both the above cases.

Dr. Billings has applied to the Home Office for spe­cial grants, but they still require S. Yorks. to meet £2.4m for each of the above issues.

  1. The Miners strike – still an issue.

For other fair­ness issues, Dr. Billings has set up Independent Panels such as the Ethics Panel to think through situ­ations, e.g. ‘stop and search’ with the body camera issue.

-    The P.C.C. can put pro­pos­als and oppor­tun­it­ies to the police to con­sider and report on, but cannot order the Chief Constable what to do. The N.H.S., the Local Councils, etc. are also involved and all work together as a team.

Dr. Billings con­vinced us that he has a tough job on his hands, which he said felt ‘like turn­ing a huge oil tanker around’, although there are not­able suc­cesses.

He was heart­ily thanked for a very enlight­en­ing and well delivered talk.























Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield — David Templeman — 8th April 2019

David Templeman’s excel­lent talk was about the his­tory of a hand­ful of the mul­tiple ancient sub­urbs of Sheffield which, prior to the indus­trial revolu­tion, had remained tran­quil agri­cul­tural set­tle­ments, and of some of sig­ni­fic­ant beauty – dif­fi­cult to ima­gine today.

John Speed’s map of Sheffield

Speed’s map of Sheffield 1645 shows some of these places already estab­lished cen­tur­ies before. Place names were recor­ded phon­et­ic­ally, with dif­fer­ent spellings, and some had Viking (e.g. –thorpe is an addi­tional set­tle­ment in a vil­lage) and Saxon ori­gins. For instance –ley is a forest clear­ing, -ton an enclosed farm. Examples are Hackenthorpe, Owlerton and Tinsley.

Curiosities on the map led to debate over the unknown Westbury. According to Joseph Hunter (Hallamshire: The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield), the Don was bridged at Washford at the Sheffield end of Attercliffe, where Speed rein­ven­ted it as Westbury vil­lage. Attercliffe was men­tioned in the Domesday Book as Ateclive, Attercliffe grew on an escarp­ment on the Don. Christ Church, des­troyed in World War II, was at the top of it and the escarp­ment is no longer vis­ible. The first church there was Attercliffe Chapel 1629

Christ Church, Attercliffe

Even in 1860, apart from small artisan work­shops (e.g. pen and pocket knife makers), there were farms, small shops, and the canal. It was an isol­ated rural com­munity with some large houses (Old Hall, New Hall, Carlton House and a wind­mill, and “no pret­tier place for miles around”. New Hall was con­ver­ted into pleas­ure gar­dens in the 19th cen­tury with a cricket ground, race­course, maze and lake, and was well known for its fire­works and con­certs. Carbrook Hall has under­gone extens­ive renov­a­tion recently and Starbucks have moved in. There was a bear bait­ing pit from Tudor times and cock fight­ing.

A turn­pike through Attercliffe provided access between Sheffield and the Don ter­minus at Tinsley. The Sheffield canal skir­ted the south side; a pity that pro­pos­als to widen it to form the Sheffield Ship Canal failed (Manchester’s gain!). Benjamin Huntsman, inventor of cru­cible steel, had a cot­tage, now demol­ished, along the Handsworth Road. In recent times another lack of city coun­cil foresight was fail­ure to con­vert the Don Valley into a massively impress­ive aes­thetic cor­ridor into the city. If anyone’s been to Stuttgart recently (a city of sim­ilar size with seven hills as Sheffield but with a lot more cash – Bosch, Mercedes, Porsche) they’ll under­stand.

The Don was a rich food source before indus­trial times. But good news! Salmon are back after a major river clean-up. This fish was caught recently at Salmon Pastures in Attercliffe (just behind the City Sauna).

Attercliffe had mixed memor­ies for David Templeman: he grew up there with the daily din of steel­works ham­mers but after his father won the treble chance the family moved up in the world to Woodhouse.

Your non-Yorkshire blogger’s only long term memory of Attercliffe was the Attercliffe Palace where his father once played alto sax in the Bobbie Gray orches­tra in the 50s. A bit later, the band audi­tioned Gerry Dorsey aka Englebert Humperdinck and turned him down!

Richmond was a small set­tle­ment with a few cot­tages together with Hall Farm, built in 1668 and demol­ished in the Sheffield bru­tal­ist period. The farm gate­posts, pre­vi­ously mark­ing the entrance to Sheffield Deer Park (hence the name Richmond?), sur­vive within a hous­ing estate.

Hackenthorpe craf­ted 30,000 sickles a year in the mid-19th cen­tury. Thomas Staniforth was its largest employer. Birley Spa was the site of a min­eral water spring, built by Earl Manvers in 1843. The dilap­id­ated Grade II listed bath house and grounds are cur­rently up for sale by the city coun­cil. Full res­tor­a­tion is planned once again if (ever) funds become avail­able.

Tinsley was ori­gin­ally “Tingas-Leah”, mean­ing Field of Council. The Domesday Book refers to it as “Tirneslawe and Tinelawe”, at the time owned by Roger de Busli but even­tu­ally part of the Wentworth Estate. The church, built in 1125 and rebuilt in 1878, houses Arthur Dyson’s remains after his murder by Sheffield’s Charles Peace, who was then executed in Leeds. After the Don became nav­ig­able in the 1730s with a turn­pike con­nec­ted to Lady’s Bridge in 1764, mines, steel and wire took over and its rural charm was gone forever. When the river was linked to the canal in 1819, the event was cel­eb­rated “with unbridled feast­ing” at the Tontine Inn in the city centre. All the ship­ping hype soon faded as rail took over.

Darnall Hall

Darnall, ori­gin­ally a hamlet, was ori­gin­ally “Derne Halh” (a secluded nook). Landowners were the De Darnall family in the reign of Henry III. William Walker, a res­id­ent, is reputed to have been Charles I’s exe­cu­tioner. Darnall Hall, built by the Staniforth family in 1723, became a lun­atic asylum. Staniforth and Chappell were the main local employ­ers involved in coal mining.

A cricket ground was ini­tially owned by a Mr Steer from 1821 and the fol­low­ing year the stand col­lapsed killing two spec­tat­ors. A larger ground was ready by 1824, and con­sidered to be the “second finest after Lords”, with ter­ra­cing for 8000 spec­tat­ors. Its claim to fame is that over­arm bowl­ing was intro­duced here.

Map of Heeley

Heeley, ori­gin­ally “Heah Leah” (wood­land clear­ing), was first doc­u­mented in 1343 and developed from three vil­lages: Top, Middle and Lower.

Heeley Tilt Mill, ini­tially known as Holm Wheels in 1747, was a cutler’s wheel and wire mill. It was then con­ver­ted into a tilt forge. A rolling mill was installed in 1875. The dam and build­ings, shown towards bottom right on the map, were even­tu­ally demol­ished and built over. The A61 was the turn­pike (foot of map) to Derby in 1757. A Toll Bar was built over the Meers brook at the bottom of Albert Road on the Yorkshire/Derbyshire bound­ary. The 15th cen­tury Heeley Hall, behind Ye Olde Shakespeare Inn, was demol­ished years ago.

Heeley Toll House

Crookes was a Viking set­tle­ment “Krkur”, foun­ded 980AD, and recor­ded in the Domesday book as “Crokkiss”. It lies near the Roman Templeborough-Brough course. There were medi­eval fields “in remark­able state” until the 1790s, when a turn­pike was opened. It was a day out in clean air for city centre res­id­ents. In 1887 a bronze age Cinerary urn with human bones and a knife were found at the Rivelin end of Crookes. In the 1700s Sheffield was sup­plied with fresh(ish) water chan­nelled through wooden, and later iron pipes, from reser­voirs at Crookesmoor down to Division Street. From there it was wheeled around town in 50 gallon casks and sold by the pail. From 1830 the new 5.5 acre Hadfield Service reser­voir kept pace with pop­u­la­tion expan­sion.

Route of the old race­course

The best view of Sheffield Races (1711–1781), with cups and prize money, was from a 34 x 54ft grand­stand at Lawson Road. The races were an attempt to divert interest from cock fight­ing and bear bait­ing. The course ran between Crookes and Endcliffe, and almost through our back garden, as shown on the map.


Bennet Grange

Fulwood was an Anglo-Saxon set­tle­ment “Ful Wuda” (wet marsh­land), part of the massive estate of Earl Waltheof. After the Norman inva­sion it passed to Roger de Busli. In 1297 Thomas de Furnival estab­lished the Burgery of Sheffield; the inhab­it­ants of “Folewood” to be gran­ted herb­age and foliage through­out Rivelin Chase. There was a pop­u­lar min­eral spa near Whiteley Lane in the 17th cen­tury. 15th cen­tury Fulwood hall was built by the Fox family. The first Stumperlowe Hall was built by the Mitchells in 1397, then rebuilt in 1854 by Henry Isaac Dixon. Whiteley Wood Hall in Common Lane was built in 1662 and bought by Thomas Boulsover, inventor of Sheffield plate. The hall was demol­ished in 1959 and the out­build­ings remain as an out­ward bound centre. Bennet Grange, in Harrison Lane from 1580, ini­tially belonged to Helen Hall, passed to the Hinds and then to Mary Bennet. It’s now under­go­ing extens­ive and expens­ive renov­a­tion.

Sir Nathaniel Creswick (1831–1917) was a Sheffield soli­citor who, as a member of Sheffield Cricket Club, joined other crick­eters in informal foot­ball matches from 1855. He co-founded Sheffield FC in 1857 and estab­lished the Sheffield Rules. Sheffield FC is recog­nised by FIFA as the oldest foot­ball club in the world

David Templeman’s talk was a feast of local interest and beau­ti­fully seasoned with spicy blood-curdling anec­dotes. The past was not a good time to live unless of course you were very rich and disease-free.