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Heeley in the eighteenth century was a small village surrounded by farmlands and woodland and the poor children would have to take their place in the fields, so education was almost non-existent.

In 1801 a building stood, on common land in Upper Heeley which was used as a school. Reports (Edward Vickers and Scientific Historical Survey, the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1956) say that this was a Charity School. Canon W. Odom in his book "Fifty Years of Church Life" states it was a day school, but we do know a place of education existed in the early nineteenth century, for the building still stands today, though at the time of writing it is empty.

This is the Heeley National School. Canon Odom gave an explanatory resume of Heeley National School. A Legacy was left by Thomas Chapman In 1807, the interest to be applied to the instruction of children, this sum to be augmented by subscriptions and investments. The site of the present buildings (5,208 square yards) was purchased from the Lord of the Manor by subscription.

In 1809 the master was instructed to teach church catechism. In 1841 in addition to "pay scholars" eighteen others were taught free. In 1833 the school was enlarged by subscriptions from the trustees, who in 1838 numbered eleven Including several well known Heeley names. A further extension and a house for the headmaster was built in 1868.

A set of rules was given to the parent or guardian of prospective students. Rule number one was the fees. Two pence was to be paid in advance each Monday morning. The tuition consisted of the three "Rs". The girls were also taught needlework.

The Education Act of 1870 saw a change in education. School Boards were introduced for the education of children between the ages of five and thirteen, years. Sheffield’s board was elected on November 28th 1870. The building of Lowfields School was started in 1872, but due to building difficulties was not completed until years later. The two Schools In Heeley itself are Heeley Bank, completed In 1880 and Gleadless Road School, later called Anne Road School and now. Anns Grove. There were three , Infants, Girls and Boys. The subjects taught were reading, writing, arithmetic, English, history, geography, art, music and religious training. The girls were taught needlework and the boys. geometry. Gleadless Road School, being built later than Heeley Bank, had more amenities for its scholars, including rooms for domestic science and metalwork.’ Students from Heeley Bank made use of these classes. Girls in the last year of school. spent a day in a large house in Meersbrook Park Road for housewifery. The boys at Heeley Bank also worked in. the school garden.

In 1902 the government made another change in education, abolishing School Boards and transferring their duties, to municipal authorities. This was, the birth of Education Committees, and Heeley Bank and Gleadless Road schools became council schools. Higher education was being improved in the Sheffield area and Intermediate and Secondary Schools were opened. To gain a position in one of these schools the Scholarship examination had to be taken. This was in two parts, the first at one’s own school, If successful, Heeley children went to Duchess Road School to take the second part. Successful students according to the position of their pass and the financial situation of the parents, then went to the school of their choice.

There were also private schools in the district, notably the Petch School attached to Heeley Wesley, which lasted into the present century. There was also Doctor Flory’s School in Myrtle Springs which opened in 1831 and numerous Sunday Schools. All these Heeley schools have whole histories of their own.


It would seem that Heeley was a ‘nation of shopkeepers’. A lot of dwellings were selling something Property was a great Incentive, but enterprise was not lacking and ‘a get up and go’ attitude was very noticeable compared with present attitudes.

In the’ 1920’s and’ 1930’s, the main shopping area known as "Heeley Bottom" spread from Lowfields School along London Road’ and Chesterfield Road as far as Valley Road. This was’ the main thoroughfare through Heeley from ancient times when cattle and sheep were driven into Sheffield’s markets and abattoirs. In the 19th century people flocked from the nearby countryside and’ farther afield to set’ up business in this up and coming area. They all seemed to have made a good living and most of these were family businesses. ‘Heeley Bottom attracted trade from a wider area than Heeley, and people came on trains to Heeley station from Derbyshire to shop. Heeley was renowned as a good shopping centre which took pride in its service and presentation with many attractions to lure the customers, such as Christmas Clubs, Hairdressing Clubs, ’Dressmaking Clubs, 3½d ‘Clubs, coupons and free samples, free deliveries and open long hours, 8/9 a.m. to 9/10 p.m. Extra, perks were free bones for soups’ from butchers; parsley from fishmongers; mint from greengrocers’; and grocers sold broken biscuits, stale buns and bread very cheaply. There was always a chair for old people to sit and assistants had time to exchange a few words of the latest gossip. Men walked up and down with placards advertising, specially on Saturdays

Brailsfords at the bottom of Well Road was famous for its potted beef at 4½d per quarter (1920). People came from miles around for this. Rows, the porkshop was noted for porkchops, scraps and porkpies. Joseph Shaw - furniture, linos, mattings and also a pawnbroker - left the business to the manager, Mr. Pennycook. Gaunt's fish shop sold everything in season, fish and game. They put sovereigns and ½ sovereigns in one pocket and 2/- and 2/6d in the other, and when both were full they emptied them upstairs. Mr. Sykes was shoemaker and repairer. Bowlers of London Road delivered meat in a pony and trap and had a slaughter house’ behind the shop. "

W.E. Thraves had a decorating business and wallpaper shop at 446 London Road, employing 100 men. He took over the shop, from his father, after a move from Asline Road. As well as decorating there, was sign writing. Wallpapers priced from 2½d per roll, borders ½d per yard and fancy borders lid. Mr. Thraves painted a pastoral mural over the Heeley Coliseum screen. He died in the ’flu’ epidemic of 1918, leaving a wife with 5 small children. The business was taken over by Bosworths. about 1921. Wainwrights had several shops and ran a sewing club at St. Peter’s Church, paying weekly for materials and patterns from the’ shop. They sold millinery, ladies outfitters, soft furnishings, carpets and bedding and were also famed for 1Union’ shirts, a mixture of cotton and flannelette.

Fruit was cheap 5 bananas for 6d, oranges 4 for id, tomatoes 3 for 1d - tomatoes were not eaten until 1910 - just decorative before then. Grapes were grown in allotment greenhouses. Davys were well known for bacon, provisions, cooked ‘meats, cakes and especially cream cakes. Mays were dyers and cleaners with works in Little London.

"Heeley Green area was also a good shopping centre but catered for the local inhabitants and later new estates which were spreading outwards from the city. Heeley Green, known in earlier times as Upper Heeley, was a close-knit community with ‘old time’ Heeley ‘families who earned their living as grinders and very often had large families to feed.

Heeley Green was full, of shops, Between the Co-op at the corner of Carrfield Road and the Waggon and Horses were five butchers shops: Jennings, Warringtons, Turners, and Tesh who had two shops, one at the corner of Richards Road and the second at the corner of Kent Road/Gleadless Road with an abattoir in the yard at the back.

There were also a chemist, a herbalist, a newsagents, Rackhams pork shop, a fish shop, a sweet shop and the Co-op which had food ‘and’ drapery departments with shoes, socks and wools.

At the junction of Denmark Road/Alexander Road were 4 shops - Skillingtons, Cuttles’ beer-off, Spooner’s chip shop and Smith's newspapers. Gregory’s, where Mr. Chapman’s grandmother paid her bill on a Saturday, gave a few free sweets. Cheeses were kept on the floor like doorstops.

Dunn’s of the farm in Myrtle Road sold rhubarb etc. in the market.

At the bottom of Gleadless Road between the railway bridge and Anna Road was another stream of shops. Taggy's ice-cream and sweets, a shop selling hot pies, peas and tripe, a fishing tackle shop, a butchers, and a bakehouse which Sold bread makers and where people took their own bread to be baked in summer ‘when they lit no fires for the ovens. There were also fruit shops, sweet shops, a herbalist, a pawn-shop, and a shop selling oatcakes and pikelets.

Between Foster Road and Wilson Place was a hairdresser, a newsagent, a drapers, sweetshop and a shop selling pots and pans - the last three were all related - a butcher, barber, plus another pawnshop.

At the corner of Foster Road and Gleadless Road were Gowers the Grocers. As you proceeded up Gleadless Road, opposite Heeley Church’ were a miscellany of shops scattered between the houses and cottages.

There were several pawnshops in the area which saved the life of many families. Clothes, etc. were, taken in on :the Monday morning and collected back on Fridays. Charges were ½d. or 1d per week depending on the value. Sometimes 2 licensees were granted to a pawnbroker - an extra one for gold and silver. Among these, were Nichols, Moody’s, Mr. Darling and Joseph Shaw. ‘

Cobblers were essential in those days as new shoes were expensive and rarely worn. There was a deaf and dumb cobbler on Anns Road, but previously this was a lock-up shop with the owner travelling in each day from Castleton. Claytons were four brothers with shops scattered about Sheffield with one in Artisan View; Arthur Lawton on Cross Myrtle Road, one on Derby Street, another on Springwood Road, with two more just off London Road. Many cobblers fixed round rubber heels which turned round to wear evenly.

Beer-offs interspersed with pubs were everywhere, usually at a crossroads. Some remembered were ones at Boyton Street, Cambridge Road, Midland Road, Springwood Road, Wellhead Road, Tillatson Road. Maxey Place Annes Road. etc, with a famed one at Heeley. There were also high class grocers such as Bartons, displaying tea, ‘coffee, etc. in wooden tubs with gold labels. They possessed’ lovely brass scales and shiny beer pumps to ‘serve beer in jugs. To go with beer people often had fish and chips, and ‘chippies’ were 2 minutes from most beer-offs. The one at the bottom of Bowler Street sold ‘Mrs. ‘Exton’s Specials’ for which there was always a queue - they were chips dipped in batter and fried.

Street Sellers

To add to the bustle of Heeley Bottom and ‘the Green’ were many Street sellers. Chopper Shirtcliffe had a barrow and sold fish, rabbits, etc. He left his cart outside the Waggon with a notice ‘if not in attendance, tap on window’. Chopper lived in Carter Road until the 1950’s. Ragmen gave donkey stone, pot mold,’ balloons, windmills and shuttle cocks for the younger ones, for bundles of rags. Oatcakes and pikelets were hawked in baskets by a family’ in Cambridge Road. ‘Tea agents delivered tea and gave coupons which could be traded for cash. Balm or yeast was sold to all the little shops for retail. Milk was delivered twice a day by horse and cart 2½d per pint or 1½d a gill, (only 2 gills to a pint In Sheffield) from Ash Farm, which kept the churns cool in a spring. There were also Mr. Izaacs a window mender, the knife sharpener, and butcher boys delivering with bikes and baskets.

Newspaper sellers shouted round the streets all day- ‘long with ‘Special news ‘and racing results. Jacky Mappin, and also Smalley with his horse and cart, sold kippers, bloaters and wet fish. Mr. Dobbs, of Dobby’s Yard in Gleadless Road, bought jam jars for ½d and 1d. Ginger beer was made and sold for 1½d per pint and herb beer ½d a bottle. Miss Marriott in Alexander Road made dresses for girls. girls. Potter at Newfield Hall made butter.

There were corner shops at practically every Street corner and 2 or 3 house-window shops open most hours, run by wives and children while men went out to work at their own jobs. These shops were well patronised to save carrying weighty orders home, e.g. 2 stones of flour, potatoes, sugar and heavy bottles. Some orders were carried in small barrows from the shop, maybe by the older children while Mum settled the account.

Two of the. few shops remaining today from before the war, are Phillips pork butchers and Ponsfords furniture shop. The decline of Heeley Bottom came after the 1960’s when double yellow lines promoted no parking so all the trade went straight through Heeley ,and many houses were knocked down - it now ‘looks very’ shabby, dirty and poor (1986) with many shops boarded up.


Ponds, Springs and Wells

There are lots of wells both discovered and undiscovered in Heeley. In fact from the top of Gleadless right down to the Sheaf on Heeley Bottom in various places the ground seems to be like an inverted colander with water springing up in unlikely places. Behind the Cuckoo in Gleadless Road was a pond where boys used to catch newts and the ground was swampy. There was a pond opposite Graves Park, a pond near Meersbrook Park and there is still a small pond in Far Lees near Newfield School. Perhaps at some time there was a well in Well Road.

In the 1920’s there were rainbow and brown trout in the river in Cat Lane near Rose Cottage. The brown trout were killed by pollution from the tannery near Valley Road. There are memories of boys catching trout and cooking them in the woods and of damming up the rivers to make small reservoirs of water for bathing in school holidays. The duck pond at Clarkes Farm gave great entertainment with great patches of frog spawn and fiddlers to be caught and carried home in jam jars. Many of these waters have now disappeared.


Although some houses, for instance, Jeffrey Street, had wash-houses in the yards to be shared by families on wash day, not many houses had the luxury of a bath. You were envied should you possess a built-in bath and yet children were afraid of the big bath with all the noises from pipes providing the hot water.

Lavatories were a distance from the house and for back to back houses In courtyards this necessitated a walk down the passage and probably down a garden path to reach the lavatory, often shared by two families. The walls were usually lime-washed and cleaning was shared between the families.

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