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.