Nunnery Quadrupling 1890 — 1904 (Heeley to Sheffield) — Ian Howard — 12th May 2014.

This was the second part of a two part present­a­tion given by Ian Howard on the quad­rupling of the rail­way lines down the Sheaf valley between 1890 to 1904. In his first part Ian  covered the work from Dore and Totley , through Beauchief and Millhouses to Heeley. This was well illus­trated because although pho­to­graphy was in its infancy and was very expens­ive, the work was car­ried out through an afflu­ent part of Sheffield and its res­id­ents were keen to use the new media to record the events. However the work from Heeley through to the Sheffield sta­tion was not as well recor­ded because this area was con­sid­er­ably poorer.

Apart from this Ian had tech­nical dif­fi­culties with the present­a­tion equip­ment which severely lim­ited  the show­ing of his illus­tra­tions. Nevertheless his talk kept our atten­tion all the time.

The Duke of Norfolk owned swathes of land down the Sheaf valley which included, what is now Norfolk Park, and a big house where he used to reside when he was in Sheffield, known as the “farm”. He was a very wealthy and influ­en­tial man and he used his powers to such an extent that the rail­way had to go under­ground through a tunnel as it passed his land. However by the time of the Nunnery quad­rupling his power had been cur­tailed and the rail­way tracks were exposed, as they are today.

We saw sev­eral pho­to­graphs show­ing the work done to bridges, the chan­nel­ing of the Sheaf and the con­struc­tion of the under­pass. This was a tunnel which took the main line from London under­neath the other rail­way tracks, allow­ing it to cross them without points or sig­nalling, so that it could come in on plat­form 1 of the greatly expan­ded Sheffield sta­tion. The tunnel was affec­tion­ately named by the locals as the ‘Sheffield Underground.’ It is no longer used but its entrance can still be seen.

Many of the pho­to­graphs that Ian showed were taken in the late 1920’s and early 30’s and it was inter­est­ing to see that, at that time, a lot of the goods were still taken to and from the depots by horse and cart.