OLD HEELEY: A FEW NOTES
WRITTEN BY MEMBERS OF
"HEELEY'S HISTORY" WORKSHOP
HEELEY BANK CENTER, NORTON COLLEGE
FROM MEMORIES AND OTHER MATERIAL COLLECTED AT THE OPEN MEETINGS ON MONDAY AFTERNOONS AT HEELEY BANK SCHOOL COMMUNITY ROOMS.
No. 19: Late May 1990
This is our nineteenth booklet since we first went into print in Spring 1986. Demand 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. Newcomers are always welcome. We have very few copies of our earlier leaflets available,. we also have a few copies of the Meersbrook Park Centenary book but the Meersbrook Supplement and the "Milestones in the Emergence of a city are at the moment out of print.
For the benefit of new readers, some of our material comes from the hundred plus hours of memories collected at the weekly meetings at Heeley Bank School. This is organised by Norton College and meets on Monday afternoon, newcomers are always welcome. Increasingly some of our material is being written by our readers and either sent or brought to us.
In this leaflet we include part nine of Heeley's Sunday Schools and a second article from Mr. Les Molyneux on the Heeley Mill. A small query on the Heeley Jazz Band gave our members much to talk about and we are including some of their comments as well as the original information we were given. If any readers have any further memories we shall be pleased to include them in the future. Lilian Haywood was prompted by the bright yellow flowers abounding in Heeley at the end of April to write some comments on the uses of the humble and despised dandelion. The old transport of Heeley is shown in a photograph of just over a hundred years ago of the old horse tram depot in Albert Road. This is just round the corner from the Red Lion Hotel and is still there but now used as a garage with the stables knocked down or converted. Details of the Heeley Exhibition are included to recognise its tenth anniversary and this summer the Heeley History Workshop is taking over the development of it in consultation with Jos Kingston, who did much of the early work in collating the information brought in by the community. Part of this exhibition will be on display at Anns Grove Infants School during their Centenary Celebrations in June and July.
If you are Spring cleaning or turning out your attic, we would be pleased to give a home to any photographs, magazines; letters, books or other memorabilia of the Heeley district.
We are always concerned to see that the information we publish is as correct and accurate as possible.. As can be expected, when people are recalling memories from as much as
,fifty, sixty, seventy or even eighty years ago, some 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 places.
We are always on the lookout for anything that you can add to what we print, so please keep the information flooding in. Don't keep it to yourself, either tell one of our regular members, or write, or telephone the group at the number below. Best of all, come along to Heeley Bank and share our recollections about old Heeley.
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), open to anyone, newcomers are always very welcome.
Extra copies and back numbers: Heeley History Group (as above).
Enquiries and messages: Joan Palfreyman, Tel. Sheffield 550027.
Heeley Mill "Hiley Milne on the Broad Water called Sheve" is mentioned in many old deeds and charters. It was in being before 1600, and an indenture of 1608 specifies that John Parker of Lees Hall was the owner by inheritence of the "Watercorn Mill at Heeley".
No records have been found covering the next 120 years but in 1730 "John Hatfield of Laughton le Morthing" leased to John Hobson of Heeley "a water grist mill called Heeley Mill with three pairs of stones and all toll custome and benefit of grinding corne and graine" for sixteen years at an annual rent of Fifteen Pounds. George Hobson, miller, isgiven as party to various leases upto 1766, so it is assumed that the family retained the mill for many years. John Brailsforth or Brailsford was the miller here in 1806, and up to about 1830, and the four storied mill which now stands within the huddle of the surounding buildings was erected for the Brailsfords about 1834. It contained six pairs of millstones driven by two water wheels. In the directories of 1841 and 1845 the tenants are given as Mary and John Brailsford, but they apparently gave up the mill before 1854. After that records are confused, but it is believed that a miller by the name of Greasey or Greaser occupied the premises for a time, and in 1864 the mill was taken over by Mr Sydney Parker, who was followed by his son, Mr A.J. Parker, by whom it was run up to 1920 or thereabouts with the aid of a gas engine.
Note: The site of the Heeley Mill is by the side of the footbridge between Saxon Road and Broadfield Road - Saxon Road end where the electricity sub-station now stands.
Heeley's First Sunday Schools (part nine)
Throughout the 1850's, 60's and 70's the growth in the population of Heeley had been very rapid and rows of houses were creeping up the hillsides of Heeley, some back to back in courts and others in tightly packed terraces. So the roads developed up from Lower Heeley to Middle Heeley (near the church) and eventually dense housing began to appear around Heeley Green in Upper Heeley, up from Myrtle and Alexandra Roads and up Gleadless and Kent Roads. During the late 1870's a gentleman taking a walk around Upper Heeley on a Sunday was appalled by the lack of Sunday School facilities in the upper part of Heeley - the only Sunday School available was held in the old Heeley National School on the corner of School Lane and Gleadless Road (still there above the nursery), he was Mr. Charles Crute and he was then the superintendent of the Sheffield Parish Church Sunday School.
He determined to do something to help spread the gospel among Upper Heeley residents and in 1880 he built a small mission church at the top of Richards Road. This was a small iron church occupying land at the back of the present Heeley Green Snooker Club (old cinema and bingo hall) and the work done by Mr. Crute and his helpers soon resulted in large numbers attending the Church and Sunday School. Various schools for different ages were opened and soon the premises had to be enlarged to provide accommodation for five hundred people. Further enlargements were found to be necessary and soon eight hundred people were gathering regularly for Sunday services. During the week there were large Bible Class meetings for men, women and children's groups. All the seats were free - by contrast with the Parish Church where very little free pew seating was available and many non-conformists began to attend as well as Church members. There were no collections at the main Sunday services and although the services were run mainly on Church of England principles, the church was an independent mission and not under the jurisdiction of the vicar of Heeley at the Parish Church.
The iron church became the St. Peter's Mission Church and Mr. Crute found it necessary to bring in the services of a Mr. John Graves of Wincobank, who was a very eloquent preacher, to help him in the church services. .During the 1880's the vicar of Heeley, who had been appointed to Christ Church when it opened in 1848, was becoming old and infirm and was reluctant to take on the care of the new mission church - also many people of the St. Peter's congregation did not want to lose their independence, so some antagonism seems to have arisen between the congregations of the two churches. When the Rev. William Odom came to Heeley as vicar in 1889, he also felt that he could not take on the control of the mission church, but by this time Mr. Crute was in failing health and when he died in 1892, the Rev. Odom agreed to help - but only because friends of the mission church had guaranteed to provide £100 per annum for two years towards pastoral help for the mission. So we find that the annual church accounts in Heeley Parish Church magazine now included those for Heeley St. Peter's as well. This link was not to last for long, the mission church was given notice that the land it occupied was needed for housing and there was despair that the mission would have to close. Then, Mr. J.D. Cook, who lived in Meersbrook, but was a friend of the church, provided a site in Fitzroy Road through to Northcote Road and the foundation stones were laid in 1895. In 1896 the Rev. R.H. Widdows was appointed as pastor to the mission church, which still maintained its independence and produced its own church magazine for the first time in April 1897, while on October 17th 1897 the new Sunday School was opened for services and the church was opened for public worship before the end of the same year.
Heeley St Peter's (Old Iron Church)
Mr Charles Crute
Heeley Transport a Century Ago
The Red Lion, an old inn for Stage Coaches, now at the terminus for the new horse trams and horse buses. The one outside the hotel door is the Heeley to Sheffield service; the one on the lower left is the newly started Heeley to Woodseats bus. The fare for this service was 4d up and 3d down!
All that Jazz
Does anyone have any information about the Heeley Jazz Band? It was formed in the early nineteen twenties when there was a lot of unemployment in the district. The conductor was Arthur Rowley, he wore a bus conductor's hat with yellow braid round it, a frogged jacket and trousers with yellow braid down the seams (these were his best trousers and his wife used to stitch the braid on every time the band had an engagement), he also had a "diamond" ring with a stone almost as big as a marble. The main instruments were kazoos and there was an ex-army drummer. The headquarters and I suppose the practice room was at the Newfield Inn on Denmark Road. They at least once entered the Darnall Medical Aid contest and Arthur Rowley's son Alec, was the mascot and won first prize in the children's fancy dress contest as Jackie Coogan.
"I remember that band - the kazoos were not very musical - you could playa tune just as easily with tissue paper on a comb, but the unemployment problem was acute and it gave the men who were unemployed something to do. It gave them a reason to get up and go somewhere and after practicing their pieces, they would enter various competitions. These were held at garden parties and other such functions."
"I think they used to play at Bramall Lane. Their drummer had a sort of "leopard skin" that:. he wore under the drum."
"There were lots of bands and musical groups - I know the P.S.A. orchestra at Oak Street Chapel had a very good reputation, the conductor was Madam Alicia Scaife, and old Mr. Ponsford, who lived in Albert Road and eventually had a shop in Valley Road before his son opened one on Heeley Bottom, played the violin sand was a member. A highlight of their year was when they gave their annual performance of the Messiah at Oak Street - the queues used to extend all the way down Oak Street an hour before the doors opened."
"There was a Heeley orchestra whose conductor was Albert Carr. They used to go round the various churches and chapels giving concerts., They also played at Bramall Lane."
"The Special Constables had a band and used to practice in Heeley Friends schoolroom on Prospect Road. I remember that during the thirties, other groups using the room complained about a lot of paper stuffed under the platform and we found that it was their music!"
"My dad and uncles started a brass band in Heeley, it was called "Briddons Brass Band" and my uncle, Ernest Briddon, was the conductor. On fine days my cousins used to practice in their back yard until the neighbours got annoyed with the noise. The whole band used to practice in the Labour Hall on Albert Road."
"I remember them - we used to tease Ernest and call it Briddon's Bolshevik Band. At Christmas time they used to go round playing carols, not only in Heeley, but elsewhere, in order to raise funds for new musical instruments."
"There was the Salvation Army Band - they used to go round playing all over Heeley. At one stage they had two drummers - one very small man - who seemed to be hardly any bigger than his drum and the other , a very large man called Goodison I think, who made his drum look small."
"My uncle played a banjo and his daughter learned to play the mandolin and they often went as a duet playing at concerts. I remember they played on the bowling green at the back of the Red Lion, the part that is now a car park."
"A lot of churches and chapels had youth bands, there were Boys Brigades and Church Army bands and they would practice in the Sunday School rooms and play when they were on parade before and after Sunday services and on the way to and during the Whit Sings in Meersbrook Park."
"Some bands used to play in the bandstand in Meersbrook Park."
"Sundays would be quite "tuneful" days, with the Salvation Army band playing at the bottom of the roads, the Boys Brigades parading before and after service, a band playing in. the park after Sunday School and Church bells before morning and evening services."
"In Victorian times and as late as the nineteen thirties there were many local orchestras and bands. There was no shortage of would-be musicians and children were encouraged to learn to play an instrument. Long suffering parents were generally able to put up with their offspring's early attempts to play a tune. However many an unfortunate violin and brass instrument player was banished to Cat Lane woods when his audience could no longer put up with the noise. I am reminded of a cartoon, a policeman knocked on the door which was opened by a surprised parent. Apparently a neighbour had complained that somebody in the house was "murdering Beethoven". In the background of the cartoon young Johnnie was scratching away on his violin."
Briddon's Brass Band
Members of the Briddon family and friends formed the band. (Photograph thanks to Mrs Elsie Beetey [nee Briddon] whoes father and his brothers started this Heeley Band).
The Despised Dandilion - L. Haywood
It is just before the end of April  and already the glowing yellow heads of the dandelion flowers are brightening up every area of waste ground in Heeley and many edges of little-trodden paths - as well as some peoples' patches of garden! Although they can flower at almost any time of the year the 'British Flora' gives May as the main month of flowering, with the end of the month usually the time for blowing the 'clocks' or 'tick-tock' heads of the single seeded fruits, which are blown in the air with their tiny parachutes. Gardeners describe it as a troublesome weed because it is very difficult to get rid of. The strong tap roots go down very deeply into the soil and if you try to pull it up you have great difficulty in removing it all. The little bit left behind has the ability to produce new buds on its damaged surface and soon you have two or three shoots where before you only had one! The bright flowers attract insects for cross pollination, but should this not occur, then the flowers can self pollinate themselves and it has been shown that the seeds will develop even if pollination has been prevented. So each flower head will inevitably produce a full dandelion clock of seeds. Our ancestors found its ability to grow almost anywhere in any kind of soil a great advantage and for centuries it has been used as a food and medicinal plant - even early herbals of the Middle Ages included the dandelion.
The leaves are a dark green colour which indicates a high iron and mineral salt content and they were regularly gathered for use as a salad plant, especially in late winter and early spring when other fresh salad plants were rather scarce. The author Rowena Farr, in her book 'Seal Morning' describes how her aunt, with whom she spent much time as a young child, would try to shield the dandelion plants in the little walled garden in the croft and prevent the sheep from gaining entry, so that they would have fresh salad to eat. The leaves have a rather sharp taste to them and as a child I remember that my father would put an empty plant pot upside down over one or two plants near the garden hedge and not gather the leaves until they had been covered for a couple of weeks - this meant that they would taste less bitter and still add a different flavour to the early lettuce he was growing in the greenhouse. Old leaves remain bitter, so it is better to use young leaves for salad. The leaves can also be used as a vegetable and are cooked in the same way as spinach. The 'dandelion and burdock' drink that my father used to buy sometimes from Jack Allen's (the herbalist in Gleadless Road) is made from the dried leaves of the plant. The young leaves can also be made into dandelion tea. For one ounce of fresh dandelion leaves pour on one pint of boiling water and allow to infuse for ten minutes. Sweeten with honey if you need to and you can drink the tea either hot or cold.
For hundreds of years the bright yellow flowers have been made into drinks and in some country areas this is still done. Different recipes produce dandelion wine and dandelion beer or dandelion stout.
The roots are very beneficial and especially helpful in liver complaints and as a laxative and a diuretic. The dried roots have been used in a cure for gallstones, children's jaundice, liver complaints and rheumatism. A tea made from leaves is soothing in a bilious attack and one made from mature roots, drunk three times a day improves digestion and relieves constipation. Prolonged boiling of dried leaves and roots produces a soothing tea which relieves scrofula, eczema, scurvy and skin eruptions if a wineglass full is drunk . every three hours.
Young maidens would gather dandelion flowers just as they were coming in to bloom and boil them in water for half an hour. After straining, the liquid was used to wash the face night and morning. Used regularly it removed skin blemishes and freckles and 'beautified the face'.
All parts of the plant produce a white milky juice or latex. This liquid has long been used as a cure for warts. The juice from a cut surface is rubbed on the wart night and morning for several days and left to dry. This is continued until the wart goes black, when it will begin to shrink and disappear. I know of several Heeley children whose warts were treated in this way - including myself.
When I was a child I remember seeing many children gathering dandelion leaves for their pets - especially rabbits, those who had cage birds would also try to gather the seeds for them. Pigs also are very fond of dandelions and when foraging will even grub up the deep roots to eat. The use of dandelion leaves for rabbits has not died out, because earlier this month I saw a boy and his father looking for dandelion leaves for their pet rabbit.
Another use for dandelions is still in being - the roasting of the roots to make dandelion coffee. Several firms now produce this - which is free from caffeine and does not have other, side effects of ordinary coffee. Most herbal shops now sell tins of the dried roasted root, but I am unable to buy now the brand that we used to have at home. When I was a child we rarely had coffee, it had not achieved its popular "instant" fame, but when we had visitors and coffee was made my father would have 'Dr. Thompson's Dandelion Coffee'. It was sold in a cylindrical dark green tin, with a picture of the revered Dr. Thompson complete with beard, moustache, top hat and st4ff collar and a short account of the virtues of the contents. I still have dandelion coffee as a bedtime drink, but although I have tried to dry and roast my own dandelions, I cannot get the flavour in my drink that old Dr. Thompson managed with his dandelions.
Did you know?
that on February 4th 1579 the violins and piano belonging to Charley Peace the murderer here sold.
that from Heeley Tilt to the bridge on Myrtle Road, were thick woods. 'In this wood a murder was committed'. The murderer was hanged at York Castle.
that in 1966 a figure in white was seen floating amongst the, trees in Hang Bank wood (ometimes called Brownells wood ). This wood is said to be haunted by a man who hanged himself there.
that near where the home of the Little Sisters of the Poor stood, at the entrance to the Midland goods warehouse was-a row of poplar trees. 'Here a well known Sheffielder shot himself'.
Heeley History Trust - The Heeley Exhibition
The Heeley Exhibition is owned by the Heeley History Trust We aim to make the Exhibition available for display as widely as possible, and also to provide a collecting-point for further material about Heeley's history.
The Exhibition was put together in 1980, and was first displayed to celebrate the opening of the Community Centre in Heeley. It aims to tell the story of life in Heeley from the earliest days of settlement until. this century.
Many Heeley residents and ex residents lent photographs for the Exhibition, and most of the other pictures came from Sheffield libraries, museums and art galleries. We were able to make copies of these so that we could keep the Exhibition together permanently. However, we are not normally able to provide copies of any pictures from the Exhibition for individual members of the public. This is because we have to respect the copyrights on Exhibition materials, which are held not by the Trust, but by owners of the individual items.
The Exhibition - or parts of it - can be loaned for display by schools, community groups, in public buildings etc., always provided that the Trust is satisfied with security arrangements. Please get in touch at the address below if you are interested in displaying the Exhibition.
The Trust is very happy to accept donations (or loans for copying) of any photographs or other material relating to Heeley's history. These items will gradually be added to the Exhibition, so that they can be seen and appreciated as widely as possible in the local community.
Heeley History Trust can be contacted through Jos Kingston. Secretary, Heeley History Trust 138 Alexandra Road Heeley, Shield S2 3EG Tel:, 584073
You can also get in touch via the Community Librarian at Highfields Library; or through the Heeley History Group which meets on Monday afternoons during term-time at Heeley Bank School.
Parts of the Heeley exhibition will be on show at the Anns Grove School Centenary in June and at the Heeley Festival in July (21st).
Can you help?
We have been asked if we know any of the Millingtons?
Does anyone know the Binney Family?
Has anyone got a photograph of the old lodge to Thorpe House?