Category Archives: Talks

A Life in Crime — Peter Stubbs — 17th Nov 2020

Peter Stubbs, who trav­elled from his home in Bakewell and was warmly wel­comed by an audi­ence of 48 mem­bers, is no stranger to Stumperlowe Probus Club. This was his fifth visit to us in just over two years.

Peter is a man of many parts, and tal­ents. On his first visit he man­aged to cram 900 years of legal his­tory into just over an hour. Then, after three talks on his other big pas­sion in life, naval his­tory, Peter rever­ted to the day job to enter­tain us with stor­ies of a selec­tion of the char­ac­ters — ran­ging from the col­our­ful to the scary — he rep­res­en­ted during his 35-year career as a crim­inal lawyer in Sheffield.

Peter Stubbs.            Photo © www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk

It was, as he poin­ted out in his intro­duc­tion, a story of his life in crime, not his life of crime. “My own crime record is modest,” he assured us. “I had a bit of a pen­chant for park­ing on yellow lines on shop­ping trips, and I also man­aged to pick up one or two speed­ing offences.

In my early 20s I was coming back from a night out in London, the fol­low­ing morn­ing, when an ‘Inspector Morse’ Jaguar over­took me and flagged me down, and in Sheffield many years later I was on Rivelin Valley Road when out jumped a police­man with a speed gun who told me I was doing 38mph just after the 40 limit had changed to 30.” The fact that he was on his way to work – in fact to York Crown Court — cut no ice with the zeal­ous officer.

Peter’s career began in 1978, and his prac­ti­cing cer­ti­fic­ate as a soli­citor was signed by Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls for 20 years up to 1982 and one of the most famous names in British legal his­tory.

Although Peter’s prac­tice in Sheffield was a gen­eral one, a large pro­por­tion of his work was involved with crime. “It was inter­est­ing and at times excit­ing, and often quite fun,” he recalled. “But what I might think was fun was ser­i­ous busi­ness.”

Cases, per­haps not sur­pris­ingly in Sheffield, included hand­ling stolen scrap metal. Another reg­u­lar client had set up a bogus build­ing busi­ness and was caught steal­ing lead from the roof of a bay window. “It turned out they had done about 60 houses; he was found guilty and went to prison. He just accep­ted it as a hazard of the job.”

Petty crime often ran in fam­il­ies, who would be Peter’s cli­ents for ten years or more. He felt sorry for one lady, who was proud that one of her sons had reached the age of 16 without being ‘done,’ only to catch his broth­ers up with alarm­ing speed as he worked his way up the crim­inal ladder.

Today, all police inter­views must be recor­ded, with both sound and video, but it was not always the case. “In the old days, one of the officers would sit at the table taking notes, and it was not unknown for some of the evid­ence to be made up. Police are no dif­fer­ent to any­body else, and some­times they break the rules.”

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act has largely countered that, and today all evid­ence must be recor­ded.

Peter was acting for a man who had been accused of assault­ing a police officer one Friday night on Attercliffe Road, but for­tu­nately  for his client there were three people having an Indian meal by the window in a res­taur­ant who saw what happened and claimed that it was the police officer who assaul­ted the accused. They went to the police sta­tion, where the police did not take evid­ence but were obliged to pass the wit­nesses’ details on to Peter.

Peter recalled a lady called Violet, who would more appro­pri­ately have been called Violent, who lived in Attercliffe and was well known to police. She got into an argu­ment in a pub with a fellow cus­tomer who was not phys­ic­ally injured but dropped down dead with a heart attack. Violet was charged with threat­en­ing beha­viour, but later claimed that the invest­ig­at­ing officer had sexu­ally assaul­ted her. “I found that hard to believe, know­ing Violet, but she claimed to have evid­ence” (which turned out to be a sample of semen wrapped in cling film, which Peter felt duty bound to take home and store in his freezer).

The invest­ig­at­ing officer ran a defence of con­sent, which was accep­ted, although he was dis­missed because of unpro­fes­sional con­duct.”

Murder was all in a day’s work for Peter, and he gave us examples of some of his more mem­or­able cases. In the first, a hus­band had claimed that his wife had killed their daugh­ter and then tried to throw her­self under a bus. She was charged with murder, but an expert on pre-menstrual ten­sion gave evid­ence which res­ul­ted in the woman being com­mit­ted to a psy­chi­at­ric hos­pital.

Another client, a bus driver in Sheffield, had been arres­ted on sus­pi­cion of mur­der­ing his girl­friend, who was found dead with her throat cut on the floor of her flat at Park Hill. The only evid­ence against him was from the man’s aggrieved wife, who claimed that he had admit­ted to killing the victim. The accused was able to prove “beyond doubt,” accord­ing to Peter, that he was sev­eral miles away at the time of the murder, driv­ing his bus on the other side of Sheffield, but the jury found him guilty by 10 to two and he received a life sen­tence. The wife later admit­ted to Peter that she had lied, but an appeal was dis­missed and the bus driver died in prison four years later from a heart attack.

The last murder case involved a long stand­ing client, for whom Peter’s prac­tice had pre­vi­ously done con­vey­an­cing work, who told his part­ner that he had voices in his head telling him to kill people. She took him to hos­pital where they sought psy­chi­at­ric help, but they were sent on their way.

The fol­low­ing day the man con­fided to his wife: “Actually, the voices were telling me to kill you, but I didn’t want to tell you last night.” He later stabbed his part­ner 30 or 40 times and was charged with murder, although he offered a plea of man­slaughter which was accep­ted.

Peter roun­ded off his present­a­tion by taking ques­tions from the floor. One member asked if he watched TV detect­ive pro­grammes. “All the time,” he admit­ted. “I’m retired after 35 years, and I am watch­ing Inspector Morse! It’s ridicu­lous! But they are metic­u­lously done.”

The Lost Railway –Woodhead Tunnel Part 2–10th February 2020 — Stephen Gay

Stephen Gay by  Sheffield’s Great Central Railway war memorial is a series of panels within a wooden frame — upon the panels are the names of those who fell in World War I. It is on dis­play out­side the Crowne Plaza Victoria Hotel — the ori­ginal hotel to the Victoria Station.

This won­der­ful talk about east of Woodhead Tunnel, was the second in a series of three (see John Abel’s blog 15th February 2019) and was lib­er­ally illus­trated with tra­di­tional slides, stuffed with anec­dotes from the folk he’s met walk­ing along the line over the years, some of it now form­ing part of the Trans Pennine Trail. The Woodhead route of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway linked Sheffield Victoria and Manchester London Road Stations and was open between 1845–1981.

Townhead, Dunford Bridge There are four rows of rail­way cot­tages now filled with ex-Oxbridge vet­eran eco-warriors, includ­ing Swampy (AKA Daniel Hooper and well worth a read in Wikipedia). Stephen met Ashley Jackson, the famous Yorkshire artist, there on a walk and after chat­ting him up, thought he might be in for a cheap paint­ing of the cot­tages. “How much?” “£13000” “I’ll take post­card!”

The elec­tric loco­mot­ive 26020, designed for use on the Woodhead Line finally elec­tri­fied in 1954 is the only engine left of its type and rests at the rail­way museum in York.

There were prob­lems due to lack of space during line elec­tri­fic­a­tion. Arches were blown up and replaced with a con­crete gantry. But Woodhead remains with EUR load­ing gauge so and might one day accom­mod­ate Eurostar.

Hazelhead Station closed in 1950 from lack of use. The wait­ing room on the Manchester side remains as a house. The owners have made a bob or two from cold drinks in the summer and with an eye for the main chance, hot drinks in winter. It got a Best Station award in 1949, which is a ser­i­ous busi­ness and any­thing but friendly rivalry. The post box just out­side and seen on the tele­graph pole on the A616 had Hazelhead Station on it, even 50 years after clos­ure.

Barnsley Council got a grant to demol­ish the arched bridge at the sta­tion, only real­ising after­wards that the A616 would be opened up as a “race track”, just where there’s a nasty dip in the road.

Signal box at Bullhouse Colliery There were rail crashes on the line in Victorian times partly due to the steep gradi­ent whose summit lies within the east­ern end of the Woodhead tunnel. There were four fatal train crashes in 15 years. The first one killed a cow.

The worst fatal dis­aster was the Bullhouse rail crash in 1884 which involved a derailed coach derailed by the buckled line and pulling the other gas-lit coaches 16 feet down an embank­ment into a road (double page spread in the London Illustrated News).

Shawhall Lane Crossing: The ori­ginal rail­way lines can still be seen at the cross­ing.

Richard Branson and Virgin trains are weigh­ing up whether to reopen Woodhead which would be very bad news indeed for the cross­ing keeper’s cot­tage. Health and safety would inev­it­ably lead to demoli­tion because an express run­ning inches from your bed­room car­ries issues. Incidentally this photo at the cross­ing keep­ers cot­tage was Stephen’s only known selfie (shadow bottom left).

Thurlestone Signal Box This is where the Trans Pennine trail splits to York Chesterfield and Leeds.

Penistone The goods shed and office date from 1845. Coal drops are still there (wooden bodied wagons dropped coal down from the arches). The stone work is grade 2 listed and the plan is for res­tor­a­tion with fac­sim­ile wagons above. It’s in a a poor state of repair at present how­ever. Bring back the birch?

The owner of one of the new houses seen behind the coal drop was unaware of the his­toric rail­way (he did know how­ever about the Trail, thank good­ness. He remains bliss­fully unaware how­ever that Richard Branson still has eyes on the place.

Penistone Station used to be very busy with 7 plat­forms and 100 employ­ees in its heyday. The Trans Pennine Trail lies behind the sta­tion where there are now small busi­nesses.

Thunder, Stephen’s German shep­herd, found a sink hole where an unspoilt old sta­tion subway went, sealed up since Jan 1970 with wooden hand­rail and green glazed tile work. A local came by as Stephen was coming out of the hole. Only Barnsley could quip “Thars missed last train then?”

Penistone single line. The signal box is high where the double goes into a single track but was des­troyed by van­dals. Originally there were 100 levers reduced to 6 by the time it closed. Camel Laird steel works was nearby. A rail­way tunnel ran under the steel­works, the main line and sid­ings. It’s obscured by hous­ing and an indus­trial estate now, amaz­ingly called “The Sidings”. This area used to be Huddersfield Junction, but was renamed Penistone. Occasionally there are trains. Interesting Victorian iron work can be found.

Rail work­ers were buried at Penistone, includ­ing a sta­tion porter who fell off the plat­form with his barrow and killed by an express.

Romtickle via­duct (won­der­ful name). This is iconic and exquis­itely beau­ti­ful, stretch­ing high above the Don and Cheese Bottom (won­der­ful again!) Valley.

A stone block once hit a navvy below — one William Crawshaw. His stone- carved epi­taph, dis­covered in the 1980s, was then embed­ded within the bridge stone­work. A cherry picker checks it and the rest of the via­duct from time to time. There’s a sign about it on top of the via­duct for walk­ers.

Thurgoland Tunnel Electrification for twin tracks was impossible so a new tunnel was built for the down line. A retired rail worker used to check the tunnel each morn­ing (alone!); “when I heard rails singin’, get thee-sen intut recess… were I glad to get t’ t’other end so I could get ta light me wood­bine”. It was 370 yards long, built by LNER in 1947 and fin­ished off by BR in 1948 and is almost unique in being built by two com­pan­ies.

Wortley Station dis­ap­peared in 1955. The Earl of Wharncliffe had own private wait­ing room. Stocksbridge bypass was built in the 1980s dis­turb­ing a burial ground so it’s haunted around there. The line to the steel­works sur­vives, passing Wharnecliffe Crags. The old signal box at Stocksbridge became a main­ten­ance office but van­dals wrecked it. Deepcar plat­form is still there.

Oughty Bridge sta­tion (cor­rect spelling) is now a grade 2 listed grit­stone house but without its plat­form coping stones. Stephen ori­gin­ally wit­nessed white van men trying to steal them. They scattered down the track unaware a 60mph train was about to meet them. The stones dis­ap­peared per­man­ently later on. What about the poor old train driver? They do react dif­fer­ently after fatal­ity. Some carry on work­ing, others can’t cope.

Wadsley Bridge Station saw the last foot­ball spe­cial in 1984 when Notts Forest were play­ing Sheffield Wednesday, which was a great way to end a great talk

As a post script, if I’ve got this right, Stephen met a Wheel Tapper, who’d been doing it for 30 years but had no idea why he was doing it. How did he manage only being able to tap one side with the train in the sta­tion? Simple! Wait for it to come back then do the other side.

(The embed­ded links are cour­tesy of Wikipedia)

 

 

 

THE DRILLERS OF SHERWOOD FOREST3RD FEBRUARY 2020 — ROGER VERNON

It is a little-known fact that a group of American oil work­ers “rough­necks” came over to Sherwood Forest during the Second World War on a top secret pro­ject to drill for oil to supply the British war effort.

Since the start of World War Two the supply of oil was vital to main­tain the armed forces. This had mainly been provided by fleets of tankers sail­ing from America but by 1942 German U boats were sink­ing 700,00 tonnes of ship­ping per month. At that time, it was repor­ted that there was only two months’ supply of oil left.

At an emer­gency meet­ing of the Oil Control Board in London Philip Southwell, man­aging dir­ector of the D’Arcy Oil Company, sug­ges­ted using a site around Duke’s Wood and Eakring in Sherwood Forest where the exist­ence of oil had already been estab­lished. The ques­tion was how this could be achieved given that man­power and equip­ment were in short supply. Also, the exist­ing equip­ment was old, heavy and dif­fi­cult to man­oeuvre between sites. The solu­tion was to approach America for help.

Southwell flew to the US in September 1942 and it was agreed by the American admin­is­tra­tion that the D’Arcy Company could employ a con­tractor to carry out the neces­sary work. The Noble Drilling Corporation based in Oklahoma took on the con­tract and agreed not to make any profit on the deal.

 

              1 THE ROUGHNECKS OF SHERWOOD FOREST

In February 1943 42 oil work­ers arrived in the UK under the strict­est secrecy. Why did they volun­teer for the task? It has been sug­ges­ted the fact that they could avoid mil­it­ary ser­vice had a lot to do with it! In March four American jack-knife rigs and other drilling equip­ment were shipped to the UK in sep­ar­ate ves­sels. Unfortunately, one rig was lost – the ship car­ry­ing it having been tor­pedoed by U boats.

The men (aver­age age 24) were bil­leted in Kelham Hall,which at that time was a mon­as­tery, as it was felt an ideal place for forty two vir­u­lent young American gen­tle­men! Life was tough – they were sub­jec­ted to harsh ration­ing of food and fuel, they had no local sup­port or know­ledge and were largely ignored by the local res­id­ents. They worked twelve hour shifts, with four men per shift, every single day for a year. Tragically one worker was killed when he fell 55 feet from a drilling mast.

The result was that during the year they were here, they drilled 106 wells of which 94 pro­duced oil. By 1945 1.4 mil­lion bar­rels of oil had been pro­duced as after March 1944 D’Arcy con­tin­ued to pro­duce oil from the Eakring and Duke’s Wood sites. The oil extrac­ted was delivered by rail to a refinery at Grangemouth in Scotland.

How were the American crews able to pro­duce oil in greater quant­it­ies and at greater speed than their British coun­ter­parts? They had better logist­ics, they took more risks (not sur­pris­ingly no Health and Safety reg­u­la­tions) and they were able to reduce pro­duc­tion times through the repe­ti­tion of reg­u­lar tasks.

Two bronze statues were erec­ted in trib­ute to the Oil Patch Warriors, one in Duke’s Wood in 1991 and another in Ardmore Oklahoma in 2001. Unfortunately, the one in Duke’s Wood was van­dal­ised and has been replaced by another in Rufford Abbey Sculpture Park where it can be seen today.

2 STATUE AT RUFFORD PARK

Roger Vernon again provided a fas­cin­at­ing talk and we look for­ward to wel­com­ing him back for fur­ther enlight­en­ment on the oil industry.

 

 

A Brief History of Knickers – Janet Stain – 27th January 2020

      Janet is a his­tor­ian on Victorian cos­tumes and under­wear, and gives talks Nationally.

      Besides having been a guide at Eyam Hall and Renishaw Hall for many years, she sal­vages second hand underwear, medical equip­ment, spec­tacles. etc, and sends 40 con­tainer loads to the Gambia. (To donate or help phone 0114 230 2916)

      Todays talk con­cen­trated on knick­ers, with many samples from down the ages, amply exhib­ited.

      Before the 1500s, women were generally knick­er­less, but Catherine de Medici intro­duced under­wear from Italy to France in the 1500s, and there is ref­er­ence to under­wear in Elizabethan times. Some upper-class ladies who rode their horses side-saddle, wore silk under­wear.

      In the 1700s, some silk dresses worn by middle and upper-class ladies were up to 8 wide, so knick­ers were born to keep them warm. These ori­gin­ally came in two sep­ar­ate legs down to the knee or ankle, (hence the name - a pair of knick­ers) and christened draw­ers as they were drawnon.

      After the French Revolution, silk dresses went out of fash­ion. Costumes changed to a closer fit­ting Greek peas­ant look, with more white trans­par­ent muslin and open necks, pink stock­ings and no pet­ti­coat. Shoes were flat san­dals, and knick­ers, worn by these middle and upper-class ladies, were now joined into one piece, with a divide for access to the WC, and referred to as ‘pan­talettes’. They had a big space at the back for their bottoms, to prevent them riding up when they sat down. This fea­ture, con­tin­ued until the 1920s.

      Josephine Bonaparte exempli­fied this fash­ion at court in the early 1800s.

      The poor, how­ever, were still knick­er­less, but Muslim women, in full gear, adopted knickers, because if they got wet, their clothes would cling to them, and reveal their body shape.

      In the mid 1800s, ladies owned many pairs, which were numbered, labelled to avoid loss during laun­der­ing, and used in rotation. They cost 3s 6d to 5s 6d for a pair and were adorned with frills and ribbon. For example, made in twill, they were adorned with black ribbon whilst in mourn­ing, which lasted for 2 years for ladies.

       In the 1850s the SINGER Co. brought out the sewing machine. This reduced the price of knick­ers which were either home-made, or sold in dozens, so that more ladies wore them. Amelia Bloomer began extolling Ladies Rights by giving talks, which included advoc­at­ing sens­ible dress, Bloomers.

       Crinoline hoops were in fash­ion, encour­aging the use of knick­ers, to keep warm. There was the risk of a trip with this design, revealing all!!

       Dancing the Polka, cro­quet, and sport, such as golf, was now becom­ing pop­u­lar with women, which tended to reveal a sen­su­ous ankle or two, so boots were worn for decorum. Even climb­ing the Eiger was pos­sible for ladies, with a sur­repti­tious change of clothes, before actu­allyclimb­ing.

        Queen Victorias knick­ers (includ­ing tartan ones) some­times come up for sale. A recent dis­cov­ery, numbered VR7, was sold with VR12, a night dress, for £4500. They can sell for as much as £25000 in the USA.

       There were no public toi­lets in Victorian times for women. You kept off the beer and mead if you were out for any length of time!Otherwise!

       With the devel­op­ment of chem­ical dyes, knick­ers became col­our­ful. Red flan­nel was pop­u­lar.

       In the late 1800s, knicker design for work­ing women and middle and upper-class ladies went into over­drive, with all dif­fer­ent sizes and capa­cit­ies. They were wool, leather, chamois leather, silk, aertex, flan­nel, and flaps with holes at the front for sus­pend­ers tocon­nect to cor­sets, and with stock­ings con­nec­ted to the lower end.Lingerie, as it was referred to, became pretty, although silk was deemed dec­ad­ent, and several pairs of knick­ers were worn at once to keep warm.

       60% of all girls went into ser­vice and had to prove that they could mend knick­ers, before get­ting a job.       The poor were still knick­er­less, or acquired them from the rag and bone man or pawn­broker.

       Around the 1900s, few pic­tures appeared in cata­logues, and they were sold in a corner of a shop, not easily seen, as the whole sub­ject was not openly discussed, and was taboo for men.

       From the 1920s, with the varieties of mater­ials avail­able, knick­ers became uni­ver­sally used, and demand enabled a pleth­ora of new designs, sizes and shapes, to be man­u­fac­tured for any occa­sion. With for­eign fash­ion influ­ence making knickers shorter, skimpier, thin­ner, flightier, flesh col­oured, and with man-made fab­rics, such as rayon and nylon, the range was extens­ive. Janet showed us lots of dif­fer­ent ones, with an insight into who wore them and their nick­names.

       During WW2, para­chute mater­ial was used for their man­u­fac­ture, and could be bought with 4 coupons. Elastic was in short supply, so but­tons had to be well attached, or embarrassment ensued.

        (An aside John Smedleys, near Cromford, made under­wear, to start their busi­ness.)

       Paper knick­ers intro­duced in the 1960s, never became pop­u­lar, as they didnt last long and disinteg­rated when soak­ing wet, although they are used in hos­pit­als today.

       Janet, finally, showed us her com­mis­sioned pic­ture of a row of knick­ers, in ever decreas­ing size, from big draw­ers in the 1700s, to todays skimpy ones. The dif­fer­ences, she pro­claimed, was the out­come of global warm­ing!

        An excel­lent insight into the subject, expertly and con­fid­ently delivered, enjoyed by all.

 

Canon Shots Over Transport — Roger Hart — 20th January 2020

Webmaster Editorial note: Following the ori­ginal blog, the presenter, Roger Hart, has made some cor­rec­tions and addi­tions which appear at the end of the report.

Roger Hart shared with us his per­sonal nos­tal­gia of the world of trans­port through the lens of his trusty Canon camera, sup­ple­men­ted by photos from the archives.

© B Braun Medical Ltd

Roger’s interest in trans­port stems from his early days when his par­ents owned a road haulage com­pany and gar­ages which sold and repaired cars. They also sold par­affin, a best seller, and petrol at 70p a gallon — those were the days! His interest in cars and lor­ries developed and gradu­ated to all forms of trans­port, whether car­ry­ing goods or people. His photos included cars, trucks, air­craft, boats, trains, trams and buses.

© Bonhams

Happy hunt­ing grounds for him to pho­to­graph the unusual were clas­sic car shows, trans­port museums, county shows and his travels near and far. Roger’s jour­neys took him to New Zealand where he pho­to­graphed light air­craft flying over the vol­cano on White Island, which recently erup­ted caus­ing tragic loss of life.

He vis­ited the Vatican, where he pho­to­graphed the Popemobile which sadly is a rather poor spe­ci­men in com­par­ison to the Popemobile pro­duced for the Pope’s visit to Britain in the 1980s and which is now housed in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Museum in Leyland, Lancashire.

Nearer to home, he took some excel­lent pho­to­graphs of the horse drawn trams and the narrow gauge steam rail­way in the Isle of Man. Even nearer to home, he pho­to­graphed the helipad at the Northern General Hospital with the air ambu­lance land­ing.

© visitisleofman.com

He was there at the anniversary of the Dambusters’ raid and was able to cap­ture the flight of the Lancaster bomber over the Derwent valley and pho­to­graph the iconic Sheffield Simplex car at the Kelham Island Museum.

This was a chance for mem­bers to remin­isce.

Roger Hart, the presenter, wishes to point out the fol­low­ing  :-

  • He did not attend the Dambuster’s 75th anniversary. The photo was taken by Michael Hilton a day after the flypast was sched­uled but delayed.
  • The photo of the Sheffield Simplex car was taken at the Sheffield Moor Classic Car Show not the Kelham Island Museum.
  • He hadn’t been to New Zealand – it was Richard Crossley, a pilot with Easyjet, who took the photo over White Island.
  • His father only owned one garage.

 

Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield — Part 2.   David Templeman 13th January 2020

David is a his­tor­ian and a volun­teer at Manor Lodge.

He began his talk about areas in the south­w­est of Sheffield, start­ing with

Ecclesall.

The name derives from “Hecksel” which meant “witches’ hill/slope”.

Other names in the area, such as “Endcliffe” and “Dobbin Hill” follow a sim­ilar theme.

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 days.

The last rem­nants of Eccles Hall was Eccles Hall Farm, which was demol­ished in 1935.

Many other areas, well-known to the audi­ence, were men­tioned next.

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.

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 crafts.

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 com­pany.  It is now apart­ments?

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.  In mid-1880s it was only23 houses, a few cut­lers’ shops and 7 small pits.

Dore. — in Anglo-Saxon “Dor” means “door or entrance or pass”.

Dore is a very ancient vil­lage and was the place of a famous treaty.

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.  This was a nave chapel and a bell.  A new church was built in 1829.

Probably the best know res­id­ent of Dore was Richard Furness, the school­mas­ter.

He was also over­seer, archi­tect, scribe, lawyer, doctor, singer, poet and sur­veyor as he describes (brags?) in his poem…..

I, R.F., school­mas­ter of Dore

Keep parish books and pay the poor

Draw plans for build­ings and indite

Letters for those who cannot write

Make wills and recom­mend a proc­tor

Cure wounds, let blood with any doctor

Draw teeth, sing psalms, the haut­boy play

At Chapel on each holy day

Paint sign­boards, cart names at com­mand

Survey and plot estates of land

Collect at Easter, one in ten

And on Sunday say….Amen!!!

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.

He even­tu­ally resigned but was gran­ted a pen­sion of £15 annu­ally!

(If his poem is cor­rect, I don’t know how he found time to teach!)

David’s story then moved across the city to:

Gleadless which was so close to sev­eral bound­ar­ies.  The Shirebrook stream marked the bound­ary between Derbyshire and the West Riding.  The name Gleadless was derived from “Glida Leah” which meant “a kite clear­ing in the wood”.  The main occu­pa­tion was farm­ing, but this changed to mining and drift mines in the area pro­duced over 2000 tons of coal in one year.  Not many people had clocks and they guessed the time by the sound of the miners’ clogs as they went on shift.

Hollinsend was a strag­gling hamlet of small farms and cot­tages.  Two of the oldest cot­tages exis­ted until 1970 when they were demol­ished because they were “unfit for human occu­pa­tion”.

Wadsley Bridge — “Waddes Leah” mean­ing a “forest clear­ing”.  Wadsley Hall dated back to the 15th cen­tury and nearby was a ford across the River Don which was used by cattle and carts.  There was a row of step­ping stones for ped­es­tri­ans.  Later a wooden bridge was built and in the 19th cen­tury this was replaced by a stone bridge.

Owlerton — “Alor-tun” mean­ing “a farm­stead by the elder”.

At Owlerton there was a well of holy water that was said to have won­der­ful medi­cinal prop­er­ties.   The Manor Courts were held there too.

Both Wadsley Bridge and Owlerton were ser­i­ously dam­aged by the Sheffield Flood.

This was an enlight­en­ing talk, with lots of inform­a­tion, delivered with great enthu­si­asm by a ded­ic­ated his­tor­ian.