OLD HEELEY: A FEW NOTES
WRITTEN BY MEMBERS OF
HEELEY HISTORY WORKSHOP
(PART OF NORTON COLLEGE)
FROM MEMORIES AND OTHER MATERIAL COLLECTED AT THE OPEN MEETINGS ON MONDAY AFTERNOONS AT HEELEY BANK SCHOOL COMMUNITY ROOMS.
No. 14: JULY 1989
This is our fourteenth booklet since we first went to print in Spring 1986. Demand for our leaflets continues and each new edition is eagerly awaited.
Heeley History Workshop continues to meet on Monday afternoons at Heeley Bank School in term time. This is organised by Norton College. We still have a few copies of some of our earlier leaflets available, though numbers 1, 2 and 3 are now out of print. There are also a few copies, of the Meersbrook Park Centenary' booklet left.
For the benefit of new reader, some of our material comes from the hundred plus hours of memories` collected at the meetings of the Workshop. The rest of our material is brought by visitors to our meetings or sent in by you our readers.
In this leaflet we are including information about the first three Sunday Schools to which we have already referred. So many readers have sent us details that we are not going on to deal with part four in this issue and include here references to the first Sunday School and Heeley Church - the Pudding Lane school seems to have left little trace. Arising from Mr. Chapman's visit to Povey, a friend loaned us two photographs of Lees Hall (Clark's farm) and the pond alongside it at the top end of Cat Lane. These were taken in February 1927 and show Mr. & Mrs. A.E. Smith and Mr. Dick Travis as well as a group of children. The same friend brought an old programme for Heeley Coliseum, can anyone help us with the date. Our article refers to all Heeley's Cinemas. Mr. Bell met one of our group at a Bramhall Lane football match, when they started talking they realised that they broth hailed from Tillotson Road. Leaflets were- passed to Mr. Bell and one Monday recently he visited us and brought some written recollections, part one of which, we include now. One of our group put into writing her problems in going metric and the articles on the way things are changing arose from this.
If you are spring cleaning or turning out your attic we should be pleased to have any old photographs, magazines, letters, book 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 area 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 lookout 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 Heeley's History Workshop 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 Bank School, Heeley Bank Road, at the junction with Myrtle Road, Sheffield, 2. Every Monday 1.15 - 3.15, except school holidays. Pease note new starting and finishing times. Open to anyone - newcomers especially welcome.
Extra copies and back numbers:
Heeley 's History Workshop, Heeley Bank School, Mondays, 1:15 - 3.15, normally every week except school holidays.
Enquiries and messages: Joan Palfreyman, Tel. Sheffield 550027.
The old Lees Hall could be seen on the walk to Povey. No sign of either Hall or duck pond is now visible, although the old path from Cat Lane still goes alongside the site of the pond.
The top photograph shows Mr. and Mrs. AE Smith and Mr. Dick Travis on a wintery Sunday in February 1927, taken by Mr. Graham, brother to Mr. Smith.
Heeley Electric Palace Later known as Heeley Picture Palace was built by George Longden and Son Ltd. It was opened on August Bank Holiday, August 7th 1911. It was first closed on March 6th 1963 and became a Star Bingo Hall. Films were re-introduced on February 28th 1965 as a dual entertainment with bingo and finally closed as a cinema on June 22nd 1965 to return to bingo. For a short period it was used as a skate board rink and then as a furniture warehouse. There was a fire and it was finally demolished in 1981. The site is now derelict, just the front marble step remaining.
Heeley Coliseum was opened to the public on October 28th 1913 following an official ceremony on the previous day. The cinema was reconstructed by Longdens sometime before 1535. It was closed on January 14th 1961 and later demolished. A super market was built on the site and is now a plant and machinery depot.
Heeley Green Picture House was built by M.J. Gleeson Ltd. and was opened on Easter Monday April 5th 1920 after a preview show to a selected audience on the previous Saturday. From 1930 it became a variety theatre, but reverted to a cinema on May 9th 1938, it closed on March 7th 1959 and was re-opened for films on April 3rd 1961. The final closure as a cinema was on June 3rd 1962. There was talk of it becoming a Civic Theatre but this fell through. It was opened as a bingo hall and for a time was very popular, a special "bingo bus" being run free on to the Gleadless Valley Estate each night . When bingo went down in popularity it was converted to "Potters' Snooker Club" which it is to the present day.
Some Thoughts on the Way Things are Changing 1 - By G Wilkinson
I borrowed Mr. Chapman's Grandmother's recipe book (see our booklet No. 8) to copy out some other recipes and realised that the lack of a method with the ingredients can cause problems. This was brought to my notice again, when I visited a friend the other Saturday. She makes the best bread I have ever tasted so I asked her for the recipe. Here it is;
I bought the flour on my way home, as well as the fresh yeast and mixed the dough. While the dough was rising, I realised that I had a problem. Due to illness from two strokes it is ten years since I last baked any bread and I was not too sure of the-oven temperature, nor of the time to leave it in the oven. So, I rang my daughter, who replied "Regulo something", but it didn't mean any-thing to me as I have an electric cooker, so when I said that I needed the equivalent far my electric cooker she answered, "200 plus". I suggested that ,bread needed a very hot oven, she said "Just convert centigrade to Fahrenheit".
In the end common sense prevailed and I cooked it at 450 on my oven thermometer and kept looking to see when the dough 'became "finished-looking''.
This made me think that, life has become very difficult for anyone over sixty years of age, since the advent of decimalisation, metrication, decentralisation, computerisation etc. Anything from buying wool and needles to knit a jumper, lengths of materials for dresses or curtains, carpets, buying groceries from a supermarket and learning to use computers or calculators, is a mayor job I can still work out my gas and electric bills but I do need help with the above mentioned jobs. Yesterday I did manage the basics of a word processor and yet children of nine or ten years find this subject very easy. I would think it would be another fifty years before stamps and hammers in the Works forges are converted because of the tremendous costs. I suppose that train lines will take the same amount of time unless trains run without lines. I remember when my Boss talked of a world without steel, I replied "impossible!" until he asked "What do you think they used before steel was invented?" I thought for minute and replied "Oh yes, wood, wooden wheels, wood carriages and utensils etc." At this moment, as I write this, they are discussing on TV the merits of cars against horses and come to the conclusion that horse manure is less harmful and causes less litter than cars which are a hazard to health and the environment.
Some Thoughts , on the Way -Things are. Changing 2 - By L Haywood
When I read what Mrs. Wilkinson had written on decimalisation and metrication I began to think that we are living in a very mixed-up world at the moment. It is now eighteen years since our coinage was decimalised in 1971, yet we are still using the old shilling (as 5p) and the old florin or two-shilling piece (as 10p.) Many elderly people are still confused with the 20p coin, since it is almost the same diameter as the new pound coin and will just as easily fit into the holes for pound coins in those little plastic gadgets that are meant to hold five or six pound coins and help you to find them easily in your pocket or purse. Many people still think of the shillings and pence of their school days when they are out shopping. For example, when my greengrocer said last Saturday that there were no cauliflowers because the wholesale price had been 75p, my immediate reaction was "Goodness, fifteen bob for one cauliflower, what cheek!". Many are still of the opinion that the change to decimal coinage provided and excuse to increase prices and think that the advice to people not to use the old system to compare prices, was to stop them realising how much goods were increasing in price.
The same kind of confusion is apparent when we look at changes in the units of weight or "mass" as we are supposed to call it. Even shopping for groceries can lead to problems, since some goods are only packaged in a gramme or kilogram measure, whilst others are only in pounds or ounces. For a long time, sugar has only been available in 1 kg bags, although most people still refer to them as "two pound bags". Whilst potatoes are sold in three or five pound bags and cooked meats like boiled ham and tongue and corned beef are sold by the quarter pound. On the other hand, instant coffee is sold by the gramme, with the old quarter pound jar being replaced with one containing 100 grammes, however, this is merely another way of trying to hide a price increase, because there are just over 28 grammes to an ounce, so 100 grammes is well below the four ounces of a quarter pound! Quite a few food producers seem to pack their goods in 100 gramme lots and imply that it is the equivalent of four ounces. Some biscuits are now in packs of 150 grammes and some have no other weight given, but some do give 5½ ounces as well.
Whenever we go to hospital we seem to have to be weighed arid the result is always given in kilograms, say, 67 kg and when you ask "what's that?" you are not always given a helpful reply. I end up sitting in the waiting area doing a bit of mental arithmetic (thank goodness that was something we did when we went to school), and start multiplying it by 2•2 and then dividing by 14, although I usually halve it and then divide by 7, so that I have a result in stones and pounds which has some meaning for me. I have to admit that I find the American way of just giving the weight in pounds also has very little significance for me unless it is 112 lbs or 16* lbs, in which case I can quickly mentally convert to 8 stones or 12 stones. New babies born in hospital are also weighed in kg, but most midwives have now got so used to mothers, and especially new grandmothers, asking what that means in pounds, that they have a conversion table pinned up on the wall and oblige by giving the old fashioned alternative even when they have to enter the metric equivalent on their official records.
We don't fare any better when we start to think about liquid measures of volume. If we buy standard pasteurised milk and have it delivered to our door, the milkman will still oblige by leaving a pint of milk or two pints etc., but if we go to a grocers or a supermarket, we have all sorts of alternatives offered us. In some, you can still buy a pint bottle, or a pint carton, or you may get a quart carton, which will be labeled "two pints", or even a plastic bottle which contains half a gallon, which will be labeled "four pints". More frequently, however, you will have to buy cartons of milk which contain either 500 ml or a litre and you may have to pay as much for the half litre (500 ml) as you do for a pint - even though it is less. Bottles of lemonade, orange squash and coke are often labeled as containing 1½ or 2 litres. Most people do not know what this means in terms of pints and gallons and a conversion from pints to litres is not easy. Older people learned the complicated table of four gills to a pint, two pints to a quart, four quarts or eight pints to a gallon etc. and have difficulty in realising that a litre is more than a pint and less than a quart, while children at school, who are only taught by the new litre and millilitre measures are confused by having to deal with pints of milk - or even beer. Using larger quantities of liquid is even more confusing, as when we are filling our car petrol tanks. Most petrol stations now have pumps which only measure the quantity, in litres and most of them display notices giving the price in litres - but they have an even more prominent notice which gives the price per gallon! Over the last three weeks, every driver that I have asked has said that the notice giving price per gallon is what they look for and when they are filling up, (most stations are self service) they look for the total cost and not for the number of litres they are putting in, so when the price comes to £5 or £10, they stop the pump and go to pay at the check-out, but they do not bother to note how many litres they have put in., Some of our young drivers were even familiar with litres from their school days, yet even they admit to using the price per gallon guide and pay by the pound. The petrol stations would be in total chaos if they did not refer to gallon equivalents in their pricing.
It is interesting to see and watch the reactions of different people if they are placed in situations where they have to assess in the new units. I save silver paper for Guide Dog funds and a friend once gave me a ball of silver paper which had been made by straightening out silver paper from bars of chocolate and folding it round a crumpled milk bottle top. Although it was larger than a tennis ball it was quite light and I had the idea of making even more money for the fund by letting people at a fete guess the weight of the ball for a fee of 2p., with a bar of chocolate as a prize for the nearest guess. The snag was that they were asked to give the weight in grammes. Most of the
adults said "Grammes - oh dear, I haven't a clue", so I gave them a clue by telling them that there were ,just over 28 g. to an ounce. This didn't make many of them much happier. Most of the men had a guess and in most cases it was a wild guess and was very much higher than the actual weight. Most of the women were a bit nearer the mark, some of them reasoned aloud, "it doesn't weigh quite as much as a quarter of boiled ham, but it is heavier than a two ounce bar", so they would guess somewhere in between 50 and 100 grammes. Anyone under the age of twenty acted very differently, since our schools have been teaching metric measure for at least the last twenty years. "Guess the weight in grammes" they'd say and after holding the ball in their hand for a very short time they would give a figure that in most cases t was within ten grammes of the actual weight. Perhaps we ought to have made the youngsters guess the weight in ounces and that would have made it as difficult for them as guessing in grammes was for the adults. Needless to say, it was a youngster who won the bar of chocolate!
DID YOU KNOW?
-that I inch equals 25.39954 millimetres. -that I millimetre equals 0.03937 inches. -that 1 centimetre equals 0.3937 inches. -that I .yard equals 0.9143848 metre. -that I metre equals 39.370113 inches. -Approximately 5 centimetres is two inches, a foot is about thirty centimetres and a metre is about three feet and three inches. -that one pint equals 0.56793 litre. -that one quart equals 1.13586 litre. -that ore gallon equals 4.54345797 litres. -Approximately I peck (two gallons) is almost 9 litres. -that I ounce equals 28.34954 grams. -that I pound (I6 ounces) equals 0.453593 Kilograms. -that I stone (I4 pounds) equals 6.35030 Kilograms. -Approximately 2.2 pounds is a Kilogram, one ounce is about 28 grams and one pound is about 454 grams. -A thousand grams make a Kilogram, and a thousand Kilograms make a tonne, which is a little less than a ton. Since both are pronounced the same way , a thousand Kilos is said to be a "metric tonne".
Heeley Memories by Fred Bell - Part 1
Although I live quite a good distance away from Heeley at the present time, I feel that I am fully qualified to consider myself an old Heeleyite. I was born in 1902 and lived in Heeley until 1953. Having read one or two of your "Old Heeley Notes", I thought I would try and jog my childhood memories and write a small contribution to your little magazine. I have always said that I started at the bottom of Heeley and went out at the top. I was born at 95, Tillotson Road in 1902, removed into Springwood Road in 1914, went up the hill to Gleadless Road in 1939 (No. 411 in that row of semis above the "Cuckoo", I bought it before a brick was laid).
Right from the start, I couldn't remove the feeling of affinity with bells. My name is Bell, as I grew up I learned that I was born as the school bell was ringing. At school I rang the bell for quite a while and then finished up by breaking it, or at least the bell-rope broke while I was pulling it and the first man I worked with as a young apprentice was called Bell. I commenced my school sessions before I was five years old, Miss Derry was the infants' Head Mistress, Mr. Batey was Head of the Senior Boys Department (or rather, the big lads as it was more often called). By the time I reached the boys department Mr. Batey had left and Mr. Sinclair had taken over, he it was who ordered me to get to school early enough to ring the school bell. The lads used to scuffle and scrap to ring it and none of us could ring it correctly. Mr. Sinclair was very keen on the slow even rings for the first bell and very quick even rings for the second bell. One day I had won the battle to ring it and he asked who had done it, I remember we were all nervous at putting our hands up, thinking something was wrong. Eventually he picked on me to ring it regularly and I did so until the rope came down from the bell and curled up on the classroom floor. When it came into action again I don't know, but it never rang again while I was at school.
I wonder how many of the old Heeley natives remember Johnny the ice-cream man. He used to push a hand cart with the ice-cream container up Tillotson Road and all round lower Heeley, with three or four kids helping him up the hills and then he would break a wafer in two and present them with a dab of ice-cream. That was his little gift for helping him, but that was in addition to many a dab on the bare hand to numerous other kids, all eagerly licked off dirty hands. If you went to the cart more than once he knew (I think he knew every youngsters face in Heeley). In these far off days a child could work mornings, evenings and Saturdays before he was fourteen. I remember working a morning paper round for old Mr. Gillott who kept the Post Office at the bottom of Oak Street and who grudgingly gave us three lads 2/6 every Saturday morning. We didn't take any out in the evenings. M7 round was all round what used to be called the "Land society" district, you will all know it, Upper Albert Road, Lismore Road, Stanley Road, Meersbrook Road, Carfield Avenue and Lees Hall Place. Start before 6:00 a.m., finish about 8:00 a.m., dash home, breakfast and then dash off to school in time to pull the bell rope. Friday evenings and Saturday mornings I used to take groceries out for Musgroves, the grocers shop at the corner of Midland Road and Tillotson Road and for that he was more generous that old man Gillott, as he gave me 2/6 and a bag of fish mixtures, my Mother a jar of jam or marmalade and my Dad's jug of beer on a Saturday dinnertime was free. That's another thing that was common in those days, going to the beer-off with the old jug. "Another item which one never hears about nowadays is fetching a hundredweight or half hundredweight of coal in small two-wheel barrows from the local coal merchant and then sitting in the empty barrow and riding back to the bottom of the road (I am writing about Tillotson Road now), many a time one or more rides until the owner, or someone working for him, shouted to you using extraordinary language to bring the barrow back or else! Tommy Barker was mentioned in an earlier edition of your notes as conducting the first electric tramp I don't know if "Owd Bob" was his driver or not, but he drove one of the first six trams that were put into service in Sheffield and "Owd Bob" as he was always known was my Dad, he worked for nearly fifty years on the trams and I started in 1916 as a bound apprentice 5/3 per week wage and retired in 1967.
Heeley 's First Sunday Schools - An Update
Heeley 's first Sunday School has been put to several uses since the division of the Methodist Churches in the 1850s and 1860s. The extract below describes a visit by Canon W Odom in the late 1860s. (Taken from "Fifty Years of Sheffield Church Life, 1866 - 1916" by Canon W Odom, published 1917).
"My first visit to Heeley, about the close of the sixties, is well remembered. It was then a small village, a great contrast to the long and, crowded streets of today. From Sharrow lane on the right fine lofty trees reared their heads; a little below Abbeydale Road was Fieldhead House and grounds and inviting villas. The railway had not been made, and tramways were not dreamed of. The Heeley bus ran to and from Sheffield several times daily, driven by "Old George", who in his later years was a member of my Mens' Bible Class. On the left from Highfield Terrace, with its long gardens, were green fields reaching up to the Sheaf, beyond which, on the wooded hillside, was the small village, with its church, nursery grounds, cornfields, and pleasant surroundings. A lady friend from the country desired to hear the Rev. John Gutteridge, a noted Free Methodist minister, who was announced to preach in the old chapel (now used as a clubroom) by the corner of the churchyard. On my undertaking to be her guide, we went up a narrow lane with old farm buildings at the top (now Oak Street) until we reached Gleadless Road, where all was open country and gardens. As I sat in the small crowded Bethel, little did I dream that the day would come when I should be the vicar of the adjoining church, privileged to minister amidst a population of nearly 18,003 souls."
In 1874 the Heeley Wesley Chapel rented the "Old Chapel in Gleadless Road" for use as a young mens school, according to the late A.W. Booker. Presumably this refers to a Sunday School, because Heeley Wesley has at that time already being used as a mixed day school.
We know from Mrs. Bramhill's account in leaflet No. 12 that the building was being used as a Ladies' School on weekdays during the 1880s and 1890s. In the early 1900s it was being used as an overflow meeting place for Heeley Church and in the 1920s and 1930s was referred to as the Heeley institute by church members and among other things was used as a reading room and young mens' meeting room. Members of our group remember that it was used by the Scouts it the 1940s and 1950s and probably by other groups as well. For many years now, it has been used as an engineering workshop.
Did you know that Skelton's fire was on cup final day April 23rd 1921 and at that time was considered to be the greatest and most spectacular fire in Sheffield's history. The crowd that watched from all vantage points on the South site of Sheffield was estimated to be four times larger than the size of the cup final crowd.
Did you know that the Sheffield to Chesterfield railway line was completed in 1867. Heeley Station should have been opened in September 1869, but owing to a fail in the roof of Chinley turned the opening was delayed until February 1870. Heeley Station was finally closed in June 1968.
Canon William Odom
A newspaper article in 1888 reads as follows:-
Heeley Vicarage: "We learn with satisfaction that the vicarage of Christ Church, Heeley, vacant by the resignation of the Rev. H.D. Jones, who has held it for fortytwo years, has been offered by the Archbishop of York to the Rev. William Odom, vicar of St. Simons, Sheffield, who has intimated his acceptance of the same. Heeley is an important and rapidly increasing suburb of Sheffield which has a population of 12,000. Mr. Odom has during the last ten years laboured successfully as Vicar of a poor and densely populated parish in the centre of Sheffield. He has taken an active part in the work of Church Defence and is the author of many books."
Rev. Odom was on holiday in Bournemouth when he received the letter offering him the post of Vicar of Christ Church, Heeley.
Still in 1888 another article reads:-
"Heeley Parish Church has been thoroughly renovated at a cost of £200 and was re-opened on Sunday October 7th, when there were special services which were continued on the following Sunday. The Rev. William Odom commenced his ministry, on the first Sunday. He took as his text the words, 'We are the ambassadors of Christ"'. The congregations were large, especially on Sunday evenings.
The Rev. William was to remain Vicar of Heeley until November 1916. Naturally his flock were sad to see him go, such had been his popularity and the Church was packed for his farewell services in spite of the inclement weather. Preaching in the morning, he took as his text "Remember them who have spoken unto you the words of God, Jesus the same yesterday, today and forever", Hebrews X111 verses 7 and 8. He remarked that nearly a generation had passed since Archbishop Thompson had invited him to take up work in the parish. He added that he had done his best, "I have believed in the Gospel of Labour."
Canon Odom, as he later became, was interested in local history and produced some interesting facts about Heeley. "The; earliest mention of Heeley I have been able to trace appears in a 'Catalogue of Ancient Charters' published in 1913, which mentions a charter dated 1343-4 confirming a grant by John Ryle of Heeley to his son Thomas of a messuage (dwelling house with outbuildings and land) with two crofts of arable land in HEGHLEGH, Sheffield."
"In 1727, the Burgesses put up a cross in Lady Spring, Heeley, a wood from which they derived much timber, as a mark of ownership. From time immemorial a never failing spring supplied villagers with drinking water. Its locality is indicated by present street names, Springwood Road, Well Head Road and Well Road."
None of the present highways out of Sheffield were made before the nineteenth century. Before the eighteenth century, all visitors to Sheffield came by pack horses and bridle roads. We know that until the Park was broken up into farms in the early eighteenth century, there l was no way out of Sheffield southwards, except by the almost impassable road via Heeley, Newfield Green to Gleadless Moor. The road to London ran across the gorse clad swampy common called Sheffield Moor, forded the Porter Brook, over which was only a footbridge, thence up a sharp rise to Highfield and on to Goose 'Green, then to Heeley, then a steep lane had to be climbed to Newfield Green."
"In the Sheffield Directory of 1833, Heeley was,. described as a populous village of Upper and Nether Heeley, nearly two miles south of Sheffield. The directory gave the names of residents, the population was between four and five hundred people, amongst whom were eighteen pocket knife makers. There was no Church."
Did you know that Sheffield Park"' was divided into twenty farms on July 23rd 1707.
These photographs of the Heeley Vicar and Vicarage were taken from "Fifty Years of Sheffield Church Life", written by William Odom on his retirement, published in 1917.