OLD HEELEY: A FEW NOTES
WRITTEN BY MEMBERS OF
HEELEY HISTORY WORKSHOP
(PART OF NORTON COLLEGE)
FROM MEMORIES AND OTHER MATERIAL COLLECTED AT HEELEY BANK SCHOOL COMMUNITY ROOMS ON MONDAY AFTERNOONS.
No. 13: MAY 1989
This is our thirteenth booklet since we first went into print in Spring 1986. Demands for our leaflets continues and each new edition is eagerly awaited.
Heeley's History Workshop continues to meet on Monday afternoons at Heeley Bank School in term time, although we have now changed our name to "Heeley History Group". We still have a few copies of most of our earlier leaflets available, but numbers one and two are out of print. We also have a few copies of Meersbrook Park Centenary books and supplements available.
For the benefit of new readers, much of our material comes from the hundred-plus hours of memories collected at the meetings of the Heeley History Group. This is organised by Norton College and holds weekly meetings at Heeley Bank School every Monday afternoon - newcomers are always welcome.
In this leaflet we include the third part of Heeley's first Sunday Schools and the second part of Mr. Chapman's memories of a boyhood visit to Povey, together with the second part of Albert Road personalities by Don Ross (at the moment, Don is working on an article on Shirebrook Road also some more interesting items for our popular "did you know?"). So watch this space!) We are very grateful for the loan of the first Heeley Parish Magazine and in this leaflet we include the Vicar's first letter. We are grateful also for the loan of two old prints of Heeley Toll Bars, so we have included copies of them along with information on the old toll roads of Heeley gleaned from the City Reference Library. When Mr. Hague's wife found his letter about Cat Lane Woods she sent it to his sister, who passed it on to us. We have included it here, along with a comment on the resulting clean up and the activities of the Gleadless Valley Wildlife Group who are based in Heeley.
If you are spring-cleaning or turning out your attic we should be pleased to give a home to any old photographs, magazines, letters, books or any other memorabilia of the Heeley district. The origin of the name Docker is still a mystery to us, can you help us?
We are always concerned to see that the information we publish is as correct and accurate as possible. As can be expected, when different people are recalling memories from fifty, sixty, seventy or even eighty years ago, differences of recollection are bound to crop up from time to time. Usually, it turns out that both people's memories were correct on most points, but that they were talking about different dates, or slightly different places.
We are always on the look-out for anything you can add to what we print. So please keep the new information flooding in, don't keep it to yourself, either tell one of our regular members, or write, or telephone to the Heeley History Group at the address below. Best of all, come along to Heeley Bank (see below) and join our conversations about Heeley; you will be made very welcome.
HOW TO FIND US AND OUR BOOKLETS
Meetings: Heeley Rank School, Heeley Bank Road, at the junction with Myrtle Road, Sheffield, 2. Every Monday 1.15 - 3.15, except school holidays. Open to anyone, newcomers are always welcome.
Extra copies and back numbers: Heeley History Group, Heeley Bank School, Mondays 1.15 - 3.15, normally every week except school holidays.
Enquiries and messages: Joan Palfreyman, Tel. Sheffield 550027.
Visit to Povey Part 2.
After finishing our dinner, which didn't take long, we started looking if there are any fish in the stream - they say this stream ends up at Eckington but I've not followed it there. Gooseberry bushes grow wild in the hedge at the side of the field. I thought I might catch some fish from the stream, but I have not seen any. There are usually some little pinks (minnows) to be seen.
This is the country that I like - the life in the stream, the wild flowers, the trees, the birds. This countryside seems very rich in its wildlife. How lovely the lesser celandine, the wood anemones and the white flowers that smell like onions (wild garlic) are, they grow in the dark shaded areas. We also see the white and red campions and the cuckoo pint in the shaded areas in the fields. The dog violets are in the flatter meadows; the cowslip grows if it is a bit marshy, also the milkmaids, the marsh marigolds and the meadowsweet. I sometimes wonder why we don't make ourselves ill with the things we pick and chew and eat. We nibble at gobbledeguts (a plant like plantain), the hawthorn leaves when just starting growth, (We call them "Bread and Cheese") and we strip the outer skin off the young shoots of the wild rose bushes to eat the centre, which tastes sweet like sugar. At other times of the year we would have different delights, so that in Autumn we would have many fruits like blackberries and also acorns from the oak trees, but we daren't eat too many of those because they make you constipated.
After a long afternoon we make our way home - we are tired and Lightwood Lane is a very long lane when you are tired. The birds have stopped twittering and nature seems to nave gone to sleep. We cross the road at the top of the lane and go on to the road to our right to make our way to Gleadless village, past the Heeley and Sheffield House, down past Bartle Road, Myrtle Springs and the Toll Bar. We go on down Hurlfield Hill with the farm on our left, the pond on the right. We caught tadpoles and newts in this pond. Then comes the brickyard at the bottom of the hill and the house with no windows facing the road and Tanfield's with the orchard at the back. We continue down Gleadless Road past Lawson's farm, Newfield Hall (Brownell's), the police station and the cottages on the other side of the road, then the farm and the cottages on our left until we get down to the Cuckoo (Prospect View public house) and down the hill past Heeley Common. The Kitchen allotments are on our left and Abney House, now Upper Heeley Working Men's Club. Pear Tree House is on our right. At last we reach Penns Road with the fruit shop on the right and Furniss' grocers on the opposite corner. Going up Penns Road, we pass the chip shop on our right and the beer-off and grocery shop at the bottom of Edwin Road, on Denmark Road we go past the Newfield Inn. On the corner of Jeffrey Street we pass the "gossiping shop" ion the opposite corner there is another: The Canarary Islands", front and back, (eight small cottages) stand on the right. Down Denmark Road we pass Stacey's coal yard on the left near the School Steps and on the opposite side at the bottom of the gennel up to Derby Street is the butchers shop and so on to Heeley Green with Spooner's chip shop, Smith's newsagents and Cuttle's and Skillington's beer-offs. Past Leivesly's draper's, (a house window shop, Moody's pawnshop opposite and at the top of Bowler Street, Jessop's. Eventually at Cross Myrtle Road, we pass Crowther's sweet shop; Lawton's the cobbler and South the hairdresser and reach home at last. It has been a tiring day.
THE ROUTE TO POVEY BOTTOM FROM THE GOLF COURSE PATH
Before the Moor was made, the main way out of Sheffield to the South and South West, was via what is now Porter Street and continued on a line, Bramall Lane, Asline Road, London Road to Albert Road. Here the road veered South and went through what is now Meersbrook Park, before emerging at Norton Lees at Bishops' House, then went across what is now Graves Park to Old Norton, to Coal Aston and on to Chesterfield. Along this road were several toll bars. The Heeley bar was at the bottom of what is now Albert Road on the Yorkshire - Derbyshire border, which was marked by the Meers Brook which went under the road at this point and then joined the River Sheaf. From Sheffield to the Heeley toll bar was called London Road. However, when the road was cut through Smithy Wood to Scarsdale, that section was called Chesterfield Road. This road took all the traffic to Chesterfield and the South, thus isolating Old Norton, which became almost a deserted village.
Nearby Abbeydale Road was protected by a toll bar at its Junction with London Road and by another toll bar at Broadfield, situated on the crest of the hill on the Town side of the old Abbeydale cinema. There was also a toll bar at the top of Hurlfield Hill at Myrtle Springs. The cottage was covered with ivy and the charge board was partly obscured. There was no bar across the lane, only a chain (which you could duck under). The toll bar was a mere monument rather than a thriving business, as so little traffic came that way. rumour has it that the cottage was given to a one-time tenant as a wedding gift. The road to Myrtle Springs was made about 1800 and served as a short cut to Intake, The charges were: - Two wheel carts 2d, four wheel carts 3d, horses, cattle, bicycles and pedestrians 1d. The toll bar was in use until about 1929. The cottage was there until comparatively recent times, but has now been demolished. The name lives on in Toll Bar Avenue, Toll Bar Close, Toll Bar Drive and Toll Bar Road.
Below we reproduce a copy of a photograph, taken around 1910 of the Toll Bar lodge, at Hurlfield Hill. Eva Riley, who is standing beside the stoop to which one end of the chain was attached, lived in the lodge. The board on which the toll charges were printed can be seen by the side of one of the windows.
The Clean Air Act was passed in 1956. The first smoke control area covered the city centre and became effective on December 1st 1959, although the Council had anticipated the act in 1946 and all new buildings in the City centre were built to comply with this. In the early years the areas chosen lay to the South West of the City and the implementation of the smoke-control zones moved progressively Eastwards. The major reason for commencing the programme in the South West was because the prevailing winds come from this direction and in consequence every improvement made in the South Test would also result in cleaner air in the North East. Most of Heeley was converted in 1964-5, most people opting for gas fires though some favoured solid smokeless fuel; a grant was made to owners towards the cost of conversion.
Did you know that: -
Until the Year 664 AD, Easter was celebrated at different dates by the North and South of England. In that year at the Synod of Whitby it was decided to conform to the Roman date as used by the South of England rather than the Celtic date of the North of the country. Eater Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the full moon which happens upon or next after the 21st of March. If the full moon happens on a Sunday then Easter Sunday is the Sunday after that. The earliest date Easter can occur is March 22nd and the latest is April 25th. The last time it was on the earliest date was in 1918 and on the latest date 1943. Whit Sunday falls seven weeks after Easter Sunday.
AN OPEN LETTER, to the people of Heeley, in particular, and the people of Sheffield in general, written after a visit to Heeley, Sheffield in the late Autumn of 1986.
My name is William Noel Hague, now called Bill or anything else (at school called Noel). I am almost 58 years old (or young, as I prefer), born in 1928 at 15 Midland Road, Heeley in Sheffield. Midland Road, I am sorry to say, no longer exists, although the BIG tree which used to be in our back yard is still there, though it seems much smaller as I have got bigger:
I was, and still am, proud to be a Sheffieldite, born and raised in Heeley, and living there until I was called up to serve on National Service at 18. Since then I have lived elsewhere, but I have visited relations in Sheffield at various times during the intervening years, and have always been very happy to do so until this last visit in October 1986.
Well do I remember when I returned to Sheffield for two weeks in 1961 after three and a half years in Kenya. My wife and I arrived at Midland Road at night time, in the dark, and things were still the same, or so it appeared. The following morning we set off down the road to catch the bus into town, which is a much more convenient way for going into town than by car. At the end of Midland Road one turned left to go down Tillotson Road, and that seemed normal enough, but the view ahead was Fantastic. We had always known that there was the bottom of a valley, London Road (Heeley Bottom), then a rise up the far side on Abbeydale Road, but we had not the least idea of what else was there. This time, due to the Clean Air Act it was possible to see houses, churches and trees, then in the distance, miles away, was green mixed with red and purple, this could only be the moors: That view was absolutely WONDERFUL.
Many more visits to Sheffield have been made and enjoyed, with many changes noted, and many improvements made, along with the clean air and clean up operations that continued. Until this last visit. In October, we stayed with my sister for a few days and one day I went for a walk through Cat Lane and the woods. This was a wonderful area when I was not only very young, but all the time I was at school. We, a lot of the younger and some older children, used to go there to play and we had some glorious times, chasing through the lovely woods and splashing through the streams, even building, a dam to make a small swimming area. Wonderful days, and not a bit of vandalism about anywhere. Of course, it vas also safe for children to be out, even on their own; not like it is today, when no-one is safe anywhere at anytime.
In those days, when walking down Cat Lane there used to be some lovely fields on the left, now it was what looked like a wide thick tangled hedge. On the right there eras a lovely line of thick Hawthorn trees, whose blossom gave off a delightful scent in the spring. These trees were on the edge of a 4-5 foot drop and a sunken footpath which was fairly wide, then on the other side of the path was a Privet hedge, giving access to the allotments. All of this is now gone, except for a few of the Hawthorn bushes. In its place is neglect and Rubbish - garden rubbish, household rubbish and, of course, the ubiquitous black plastic bags. Oh, what a way to lose those fond memories of mine.
Then the woods themselves - they used to be so healthy, open and full of life. Even the individual trees seemed to sing and have a life of their own. Now, dull and weary they seem as if through lack of being visited by happy people.
One good thing I did notice, lots and lots of young Oak trees, some very small, are growing, so there may be Hope for the future of the area. One hopes so, because lots of us had great fun and pleasure there in Cat Lane woods, and we would like to think that others in the future can also have that pleasure.
COMMENTS - On Bill's Letter
We are sure that it will please Mr. Hague to learn that when a copy of his letter was sent to the Recreation Dept., based in Meersbrook Park, it spas not only read, but acted upon. Within a few weeks, some men were sent in to parts of Cat Lane and the Meersbrook valley to do some tidying up, hedge trimming, ditch maintenance and rubbish removal. Needless to say, some more waste has been dumped in places again since then, but we hope that more people are beginning to realise that we must not pollute our environment, especially when our City Council provides an efficient waste disposal service and there is an official dump-it site nearby - open even at weekends - where cumbersome items can be disposed of.
It will also be of interest to Mr. Hague and many of our readers to learn that a Wildlife Conservation group has been set up in the area to try and find out more about the plants and animals living in this part of Sheffield. The interest arose from a Nature Walk that was arranged by the then Sheaf Valley Adult Education Service, with a base in Heeley Bank School, to start off from the top of Cat Lane, walk down it and along the Meers Brook into the nearby woods and remaining fields and unoccupied land. People of all ages on that walk enjoyed it so much and were so amazed at the variety of wild-life seen that they wanted to find out more so another walk was arranged in a different season. This walk increased their interest still further so The Gleadless Valley Wild Life Group was formed.
They hold regular meetings, some out of doors including Bird Watching and Sightings, Fungus Forays, Grasses of Wood and Wayside, Summer Wild Flowers, Mosses of Woodland, and so on. Some meetings are held indoors with invited Speakers who give talks on interesting topics like "Tracks and Signs of Animal Life", and some are business meetings which are held at Heeler City Farm. During 1988 a "working day" was held clearing up .the river bed in Ashes Wood, and with the help of the Hallamshire Conservation Volunteers, several days in both Spring and Autumn were used to start clearing the scrub in a meadow near the Meers Brook not far from Rollestone Wood in the hope that some rare meadow plants discovered there can be saved and encouraged to spread. A survey carried in the valley showed that at least 118 species of flowering plants and ferns occur in this area, and a short section of the woods nearby contained over forty species of toadstools and mushrooms in the late autumn of 1987. More Walks of exploration and more clearing and conservation days are planned for 1989. Anyone who is interested in learning more about our local wild life can learn about planned activities and how to become involved by ringing Sheila Walker on Sheffield 585217.
ALBERT ROAD PERSONALITIES Part 2 By Con Ross B.E.M.
Waterlands lived on Molloy Street, just across the river, through the gennel at the bottom of Brooklyn Road. They had a coal yard and kept pigs and hens. People went there for a hundredweight of coal, they couldn't afford more. They had some box-like barrows with long handles and very wobbly wheels-usually old mangle cast iron wheels. We used to collect potato peelings from the neighbors, take them for the pigs and in return Mrs. Waterland gave us some "fish mixtures" in a cone shaped bag of white paper, which she deftly formed, with her hands. These, more often than not, were our sweets for the week.
Mr. Northend was the chemist, in the twenties we went to Mr. Northend instead of the doctor. I was often sent to tell him the symptoms of some ailment and he made up a potion to suit for a few pence. His potions were good too.
Mr. Allison was a tram driver; he was a jovial type of man with a handle-bar moustache. He always looked smart in his uniform and carried big gauntlet gloves that tram drivers used. On wet days he wore a sou'wester and a long cape-like waterproof, which they needed on those open fronted trams.
Mr. Ponsford was a small gentleman. His shop was at the corner of Valley Road and Brooklyn Road. He displayed furniture in his shop, but in the back room he sold clothes, boots and shoes. He also ran a "pay weekly" system which was very popular in Heeley and Meersbrook with the poor folk. I have had many a pair of boots on the "never never" as we called it. Mr. Ponsford was a very charitable man, highly regarded for the charitable help he gave to local organisations. He was president of the Meersbrook Park Bowling Club. He eventually moved his shop to the London Road shop opened by his son Colin, which has since expanded into the big store we know today. The family lived on Albert Road opposite what is now the post office.
Next door but two to Ponsford's in the early thirties came the West family. They had two sons around twelve years old. According to our standards at that time they seemed "well off". Mr. West formed a cricket team from the local youngsters. He supplied all the equipment, stumps, bats, pads, gloves, balls, the lot. I was too old for the team, but one of my brothers played. The team played in Meersbrook Park, where the tennis courts now are, which in the summer was bare of grass - more like a dust bowl, because the grass was worn off by all the football played on it throughout the winter. This boys' cricket team became so good that even his own sons could not get a place in the team, which often played in front of a hundred or more spectators.
Mr. Caton lived opposite Ruskin Square. He was a teacher and was Headmaster of the evening classes at Anns Road Council School. My father took me to his house for advice on what subject I needed to take. The outcome was three nights a week at night school.
The Ale Drinker
One elderly lady, whose name I never knew, went every night to the beer-off for a jug of ale. Then she nipped into the first passage she came to and drank all the ale. Going back into the shop for another jugful, she went off home. I presume the second jugful was to be shared between her husband and herself.
Albert Road was a very busy road. People from Upper Heeley and Meersbrook walked up and down it to and from work, or to the tramcar at the bottom, so every day there was a mixture of characters going up and down. Pin-stripe trousered gentlemen wearing homburg hats going to business, other men wore in bowler hats - these were usually foremen in some trade or other. Then there were men in overalls carrying dinner baskets or a meat and potato pie in a basin wrapped up in a red and white handkerchief. Young women too used Albert Road on their way to the umbrella factory on Valley Road (The Empire Rib Co.). In those days the buzzer at The Hardy Patent Pick Co. blew four times a day, at 8 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. I knew that if I wasn't home from school by the time the five o'clock buzzer went, I was in trouble.
Then on Sundays we had the Sunday School children going to and from Heeley Wesley Sunday School in the mornings and afternoons and the grown-ups in their Sunday best going to morning and evening services. Every so often the Boys Brigade and the Girls Life Brigade would have a parade service, when they would meet and parade in their uniforms and with their bands both before and after the morning service. After Sunday School in the afternoon, the groups of young men and young ladies would wend their way along Albert Road to Brooklyn Road to Meersbrook for their walk.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sheffield Town Hall is built of stone which came from Stoke Hall quarry near Grindleford. The tower is 210 feet high, surmounted by the seven feet high statue of Vulcan, who was the Roman god of fire and metalworking. Extensions were built in 1920 and officially opened by the Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor) in 1923. Further extensions were opened in 1977.
Richards Road was called after Benjamin Richards) a clothier in Sheffield Market Place in the nineteenth century, who lived in Sale Hill. He was a c0-founder of the Sheffield and District Property Co. Ltd., who built Richards Road. He died in 1895.
The Cremorne Public House on London Road was so named because it was built around the time of the first balloon flight which took place at Cremorne Park in London:"
Oh May 8th 1853 snow fell continuously for fifteen hours in Sheffield.
On May 10th 1909 the Duke of Norfolk presented Norfolk Park to Sheffield.
We wish to apologise to the members of the Wrones family for omitting the letter "e" from their surname in the first part of Albert Rd. Personalities printed in our issue No.12. It is an unusual name and we used the spelling given to us by Mr. Ross when he sent us the notes initially-he tells us now that he can't spell very well!
HEELEY'S FIRST SUNDAY SCHOOLS - Part 3
As far as the established Church was concerned, the people of Heeley were under the care of the vicar of St. Mary's, which had been built in 1830-During the years of 1844, '45 and '46, the incumbent of St. Mary's, the Reverend Henry Farish, had been holding two meetings each week in Heeley, one on Sunday afternoon and the other on Tuesday evening. His own congregation were aware of his desire to establish a church in Heeley, and when he was married in 1845, they took the matter up with him, and resolved to help in this matter as a special memorial to him, Subscriptions were collected, and the Church Burgesses gave a site near the lower end of Gleadless Road, which at that time was at the present junction of Anns Road and Gleadless Road. The foundation stone was laid on November 4th, 1846 and building continued through 1847 and the first half of 1848.
The Heeley Christ Church was consecrated in August 1848 by Archbishop Musgrave, and the Reverend Henry Farish was the preacher at the service. Among the many local and other well-known Sheffield residents present was the poet, James Montgomery. Details of the building and a list of the Vicars of Heeley were given in our earlier booklet, No, 9, One of the most well known was the Reverend William Odom, who later became a Canon of the diocese.
We are told that the cost of building Heeley Church was £2,695 compared with the cost of building St. Mary's Church in 1830 of £12,300.
Although the church was opened in 1848, it did not publish, parish magazine until 1889, when William Odom, who was then the Vicar of Heeley, introduced one in January of that year. It was published monthly, at a cost of one penny, and consisted of 24 pages of magazine articles and stories along with 4 pages of local church notices and other matters, including a long letter from the Vicar. Over 900 copies of it were sold in that month, so the Vicar ordered a 1000 for the February edition. The items in it included several poems, a Children's page, a serial story and a complete short story, a "New Year's Call" and several home hints and other interesting reading. One of the poems was:
A Sanitary A.B.C. by a Family Doctor.
As soon as you are up, shake blankets and sheet;
Better be without shoes than sit with wet feet;
Children, if healthy, are active, not still;
Damp sheets and damp clothes will both make you ill.
Eat slowly and always chew your food well;
Freshen the air in the house where you dwell;
Garments must never be made to be tight;
Homes will be healthy if airy and light;
If you wish to be well, as you do I've no doubt;
Just open the windows before you go out;
Keep your rooms always tidy and ever so clean;
Let dust on the furniture never be seen.
Much illness is caused by want of pure air;
So to open your windows be daily your care;
Old rags and old rubbish should never be kept;
and be sure that you see that your floors are well swept.
Quick movements in children are healthy and right;
Remember that young cannot thrive without light;
See too, that the cistern is clean to the brim;
And take care that your dress is both tidy and trim;
Use your nose to find out if there be a bad drain;
Very sad are the fevers that come in it's train.
Walk as much as you can without feeling fatigue;
Xerxes could well walk full many a league;
Your health is your wealth, which your wisdom must keep;
Zeal will help a good cause, and the good you will reap.
We have been loaned a bound volume of the first 12 issues of Heeley Parish Church Magazines. It belonged to Mr George Young of Springwood Road. Here we have reproduced the first letter from the first issue.