Dore to Sheffield Railway Widening — 1890 to 1904 — Part 1 (Dore to Heeley)- Ian Howard- 4th November 2013.

This was part 1 of a double present­a­tion show­ing the changes that took place along the Sheaf valley during the widen­ing of the lines by the Midland Railway in the short period around 1900. Part 1 covered the sta­tions and facil­it­ies from Dore and Totley, through Beauchief and Millhouses to Heeley. Each loc­a­tion was illus­trated by a large number of con­tem­por­ary pho­to­graphs, some dating between 1890 and 1900 before the widen­ing and others after the work had been com­pleted. Almost all the pho­to­graphs used were from the Midland Railway period itself, i.e. before 1923. For sev­eral of the loc­a­tions, maps and aerial pho­to­graphs helped to put the pho­to­graphs into per­spect­ive.

The work from Dore to Heeley was divided into three con­tracts which were coordin­ated by one engin­eer­ing man­ager, and were com­pleted over a period of about three years. One fact which stood out was that the con­tracts were put out to tender and all the con­tracts com­pleted for less than the ori­ginal tender prices: some­thing, which I am sure, is unheard of today. Another inter­est­ing fact is that the sec­tion from Dore and Totley was well illus­trated with pho­to­graphs; not so many for the Beauchief and Millhouses sec­tion, and even less for the Heeley sec­tion. The reason for this was that pho­to­graphy was in its infancy and was expens­ive and could only be afforded by the more afflu­ent res­id­ents that lived in the devel­op­ing sub­urbs.

Although some of the work was done by steam shovels, most of the work was done by gangs of navies who were each cap­able of dig­ging and remov­ing six­teen tons of spoil a day. The navies were like fore­men who had laborers work­ing for them and they ate and drank heart­ily, because of the enorm­ous energy they used each day.

The talk was very well presen­ted and we look for­ward to part 2 which will take us to the centre of Sheffield in the near future.