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No. 5 : LATE MARCH 1987

  1. WELL ROAD IN THE 1930's.................................p1
  2. A MOTHER’S CHORES IN THE 1930's...................p4
  3. OLD REMEDIES...................................................p4
  4. BIRDS 70 YEARS AGO..........................................p6



Here, as promised, is Number 5, hot on the heels of Number 4, to use up the very welcome surplus of material our readers have been giving us. Mrs. Gregory’s contributions alone almost fill this edition! The next one will come out in May, with special items on memories of Whit Monday. We shall also leave readers’ comments on last editions’ items till next time.

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's History Workshop." This is organised by Heeley Adult Education and has weekly meetings at Heeley Bank School every Monday afternoon newcomers especially welcome.

We are always very 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 50 or even 30 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 or slightly different places.

So please keep the new information flooding in don’t keep it to yourself while you’re still around to tell us: Either tell one of our regular members, or write or telephone to Heeley’s History Workshop at the address below. Best of all, cone along to Heeley Bank (see below) and join our conversations about old heeley. You’ll be very welcome.

Finally, don’t forget:


Look out for our Heeley stall, as well as those of local history societies and groups from all over Sheffield. We’ll be displaying photographs and old everyday items, and selling copies of all the booklets produced to date.


Meetings: Heeley Bank School, Heeley Bank Road (at the junction with Myrtle Road), Sheffield 2. Every Monday, 1.45-3.45pm, except school holidays.
Open to anyone - newcomers especially welcome.

Extra copies: Community Snack Bar, Heeley Bank School, Mondays, 10.00am-3.00pm, every week except school holidays.

Enquiries and Messages: Oliver Blensdorf, Tel. 553587 or c/o Mount Pleasant:Community Centre, Sharrow Lane, Sheffield, S11 8AE.


From Mrs. Marie Gregory, nee Reynolds

1 enjoyed reading about Heeley and seeing in my mind’s eye what it used to be like. I remember Brailsfords very well to me as a child it was a magical place, always so clean, and the windows were lined with glass shelves and then tilled with lots of tiny bottles of sweets. They sold beautiful biscuits and chocolates and their home-made potted meat was mouth watering. If I remember right it was run by two sisters. Next up the road was an opening into a large yard, the back door of Brailsfords, Rowe’s Pork Shop, Bowlers Meat and Dennifs Meat shop, which was all on London Road.

Past the yard opening was Hill’s newsagents shop where you went up two steps into the shop. I can remember what a thrill it was to get my comics. I used to buy ‘Chips’, which was a pink paper comic, and ‘Film Fun’. Next was a small sweet shop which an old lady kept it was closed for a long time alter her death, then made it into a house. Above that were two more houses, then a cobbler’s shop. Well Place was the next, with houses all along one side - at the top of Well Place were the backs of some of the houses in Artisan View. Down the other side from the top were two larger type houses then a yard and another large house which was B(r)own’s (?) coal merchants. Then at the bottom was Geosons shop, which was a grocery and off license where people used to take basins for loose piccalilli, etc., bottles for loose vinegar and jugs for beer. Next door to that tip Well Road were two houses with an entry in between, then two houses, an entry and another house.

Next, all one could see was large walls with iron railings on the top and then a flight of steps leading to two front gardens and two houses these houses stood high up above the road and they were the only two houses to have front gardens and private good-sized back gardens, plus their own toilets. At the back of these two houses was a fairly large building which had a stable, large store place and a large place over the top - this was all fastened up with large doors opening up in Well Head Road. The tenants of the two houses were given keys to all doors because it was their back way where the bin men came.

At one time we were tenants of one of these houses for about 40 years and we were the tenants of the stable and buildings, first my grandparents then my parents. We were meat deliverers. My father used to own a horse and cart and it was my thrill to go to work with him Saturday mornings - we used to go to the abattoir to collect meat, but first we went to Pond Hill to the Ice Stores to collect large blocks of ice which were put on the cart before collecting meat - it kept the meat cool; also to deliver ice as well to the butcher’s shop for their own ice boxes. We also used to deliver blocks of ice to Granelli's where we would always get our cups full of ice cream.

My father’s horse was a large cart-horse - he was called Bob. He was brown with white markings. He was so tame and gentle I used to ride him bare back when after work on Saturday we used to take him from the stable on Goodwin Road (which is still there, or was the last time I went on there). I used to show off a bit by standing on his back along Gleadless Road people used to look at me but they didn’t realise that his back was so large and he was so gentle it was as safe as being on a table, but it looked good. My Dad used to take him to the farm to let him have his freedom in one of their fields for the weekend in the good weather. He used to go into the field, chase around it then start rolling in the grass, he always made me laugh. I don’t really know how long we had him, it seems to be all the time. I can't remember us not having a horse as a child. About 1936 my father let Bob go to a circus - he exchanged him for one of their show horses. This horse was a complete opposite it was a beautiful black mare with a white star on her forehead, she used to pull the cart, lifting up her legs rather like she has always been taught to do in her work in the circus. This horse had been over-trained and had kicked her trainer who was getting afraid of her, but my Dad bought her. Gone

were my days of riding bare back as I was frightened of her. If anyone but my Dad went into the stable she used to snort and kick out high with either her front legs or back (whichever was the nearest to her foes). My Dad loved her and was so proud of her when he went out with her, no one dare go near her or the dray when he was out at work.

In .1938 my Dad heard that the shops he used to deliver to on Shalesmoor and around that area, were being demolished so my Dad sold his dray and his beloved mare "Bess". He t6ld the two men who bought her and the dray that she was good now but they mustn’t use a whip of any kind on her, just to speak gently to her and she would always oblige. He even went for two days with them on their work, saying nothing, just watching and being there while she got used to them but alas a couple of weeks after she killed herself and the man driving, by going through a brick wall. My Dad was so upset it took him months to get over it and if he’d only waited, the war was declared in 1939 so the shops were not pulled down, he lost a good round of shops and all the trade he’d built up. The other man got in touch with my Dad saying that his mate did use the whip and wouldn’t take any heed to him when he tried to stop him.

I think he got the hay, straw, from the farm at the bottom of Hurlfield Hill where we took both horses. The manure was given to Mr. Houseman (I think that’s what he was called) who used to live at the top house over the wall in the first yard up the top half of Artisan View. He used to pass his buckets over and my Dad and anyone, including me, used to fill them, then pass them back over the wall. He used to give us beautiful flowers, vegetables, and tomatoes, etc. so it worked very well for them both. The cart was a flat dray and we had a boxed seat at the front where we sat. I think it was green painted with a thin gold line down the edge. My Dad kept the stable above and he also kept fowls. Mr. Cardwell was well known in Heeley. He eventually took over our former stable in Well Head Road. He dealt in second-hand goods and he was there many years. I think he came into the stable in the 1930’s just before the war.

Further up Well Road still, large walls continued to another flight of steps and above were two more houses, then Newcombes sweets, grocery and off license and they owned the next building which came on Well Head Road, which was a Dairy. Mr. Newcombe was called Tom and he used to deliver milk in a Tate & Lyle Sugar box with pram wheels attached and he had quite a good round about Heeley so a lot of people must still remember this. The milk came in large churns and the milkman carried measures to pour the milk out of it into his customers jugs or basins, etc. Later on he got a motor bike with a wooden box on the side to carry the churns. The milk was collected from Heeley station (where th2 scrap yard is now). It used to come from farms from Hathersage, Bamford, Clay Cross, etc.

The road went bending now and the next place was at the bottom of Tillotson Road and it was a hairdresser and later on a greengrocery. Stevensons sweet shop was at the bottom of Boynton Street. Across from Stevensons was Fletchers chips and fish shop and it was well known for people used to queue at this shop sometimes over half an hour, they were so delicious. Next, up Well Road were all houses, then a sweet and grocery shop which practically came on to Hyde Road. Next came a pie and pea shop, then two houses and finally the Shakespeare Public House. I should mention that opposite the Shakespeare public house was a large wall and behind was a large area of uncultivated ground stretching down to the first shops going down this part of Gleadless Road which was Taggy’s ice-cream shop.

Coming down Well Road from the Shakespeare from the other side was another Public House which started at the top of Oak Street, then about three houses, an entry and another three houses. Then three more houses, an entry and three more houses. Next came Kendall’s yard and house - they had a woodturner's workshop. Below came three back-to-back houses. The front three houses came directly on to the pavement but there was an entry to the back of these and they had a garden and the toilet block where each back to back house shared a toilet. On the opposite side of this

entry was Stacey’s fruit and sweet shop when I can remember going for td peanuts, 5 palm toffees for 1 old pence, and 2 old pence of pot herbs these usually used to be 1 onion, 2 carrots and a small turnip. Then came the hairdresser’s shop, next was a house, then another shop which was Fry’s - they used to sell tripe, cow-heels, and home-made bakery. These last four houses were all tenanted by one family - Nora had the baker’s shop, Barbara lived next door, Olive had the hairdressers and Annie had the greengrocery - they were all sisters. The four sisters were all married. No. 33 Well Road was the tripe, bakers shop and she was called Nora Fry. She used to bake her own bread cakes and pastries every day. Her husband was well known as a painter and sign writer, he was called Sydney. He did a lot of work in certain cinemas and as his daughter, Barbara was my best friend, we never went short of complementary tickets to visit the pictures. Barbara lives now in Albert Road and she had a brother called Rodney. Next door at 35 was Barbara Bolton - this was just a house. Her husband was called John -he was an electrician. I think they had only two boys, David and Gary. At 37 was a house-window shop but the daughter Olive Powell, made it into a hairdresser’s shop. She had one daughter called Olive, also. Next was the sweets and greengrocery shop - this had one shop window then the doorway, then small house window, the sister here was called Annie and her husband was called Percy. They had one daughter- who lived with her husband for many years in Artisan View. The sistErs’ maiden name was Whitehead and their parents lived at No. 37 until their death.

Next was an entry to three buildings - the first’ two were houses. The bottom one was Harrisons - this shop was very Small and I often, as a child, used to Stand spell-bound by this shop, it was so old-fashioned; to describe it best is to imagine it in York Museum for when I go there I always think of Harrisons. It was run by an old lady who was very polite but this shop seemed to be untouched by time. Next came three back-to-back houses then an entry and three more hack-to-back houses. At the top of the yard’ were toilets so again two houses shared one toilet. Next was Hill’s toyshop - a thrill again for me - it was like Aladdin’s cave for us children. Hills owned the newsagents opposite as well and they lived in the large house below the Post Office and shops on Albert Road. Below Hills was an open yard to three more houses where a deaf and dumb lady lived - she always seemed to be at the top of this yard and everyone used to wish her Good-day, etc. Then there was a greengrocery shop and a Herbalist, then came part of the Heeley Palace.

There was a well in our front cellar. The walls of our cellar were very thick and one side was cut out like a big shelf with cut-outs in the brick wall. The ceiling was made of stone and the opposite corner was the well. My Dad remembered it open as when my Grandmother lived there she used to use it but when my Mother took over the house she got my Father to put a large stone slab over it so I never saw it open but if we had a heavy rain storm or heavy snow, the lady who lived next door used to complain that water was in her cellar but we could hear only water running under the slab into the well so ours was always dry. There was also a well (past Skinner’s Builders’ yard) up Artisan View just outside the back door of Number 42, where Mr. Newcombe’s son used to live.

On London Road from the corner of Well Road was Brailsfords at the corner. Bowlers next shop, Rowe’s pork butchers. There was Denniffs meet shop, a shop which sold all sorts of eggs including foreign eggs, then an entry to the houses at the back, then the public house and then King’s bacon shop which came at the bottom of Artisan View. Opposite the next corner of Artisan View was Wood’s Hens Outfitters and hairdressers, then was a meat shop and Sorby’s fish shop, then bakers and Phillip’s pork shop. Next was Beecraft’s hardware this shop was very long and full of all sorts of smells from the different soaps and powders, etc. I can’t remember what was on the corner, all I can recall was it was a car salesroom. Across the bottom of Thirlwell Road was the Red Lion public house, the same’ as now. I can't recall the shops next but on the corner was a large grocery shop. It was quite old-fashioned - every bag of sugar, dried fruit, etc. was wrapped in blue bags.

From Mrs. Marie Gregory

On childhood recollection, didn’t our parents and grandparents work hard, black- leading the Yorkshire range, even before lighting the fire in the morning. I remember my Mother blackleading our range with a brush, then polishing it and finally polishing with a piece of old velvet type material cloth, then out came the emery paper for the shiny steel parts. These all had to be worked on until the result was bright and shining. But the bread and oven-bottom cakes were beautiful that came out of it so perhaps it was all worth the work.

All the floors had to be scrubbed and polished on one’s knees. Then washing day, when the fire was put under the copper ready to toil water to put the washing in. I’ve seen my Mam scrub my Father’s butchers overalls and aprons until veins stood out on her hands. There were no bathrooms. We used to have a tin bath in the front of the fire for which the water used to all have to be boiled first.

Every Spring cleaning time Mam used to put clean sheets on the floor of our attic and open all the pillow cases and bolsters and carefully empty the feathers out in separate piles to wash the pillow cases. Then after washing the cases and ironing them with a flat iron (no electric ones), we had the task of putting the feathers back, then sewing them up again. My Mam got her labour-saving goods later on but she certainly worked hard when I was growing up.

From Mr. Eddie Chapman and Mrs. Gladys Wilkinson

Little cuts and cracks on fingers - some used heel bole and also there was a pencil form about 2" long which was melted like sealing wax and put over the cut whilst still warm and this set like sealing wax on the finger, bandage was used to keep the wax in place this was sticky and in the form of a lipstick but loose like a pencil.

Chilblains home made lard from leave fat (white fat from a pig). Cut fat into pieces and then render down in the oven, pour off fat. Squeeze all the fat out with a fork, pour fat back into dish then eat the scraps of meat for a meal with salt and pepper and bread. For the chilblains mix lard and mustard together and makes of ointments up like pill boxes. Rub on chilblains when you go to bed at night - this is when they itched.

People used herbalists instead, of doctors.

Bad chest - linseed and liquorice put in a basin or 2lb jam jar linseed and boiling water, chop. liquorice in small pieces and put with the linseed. Leave to stand on the oven top until all used up. Dose - drink when necessary. Syrup of mulberry was used for sore throats. Horehound - take for colds. Bad chest, colds, etc. - spread goose grease fat (fat from cooking a goose) on brown paper and put on chest and back. It smelled terrible. . Whooping cough - same treatment. It was shocking to see children coughing. Sore throats - blow sulphur down the throat.

Cumfrey - for sprains, bruises and knocks - also for stomach trouble. Make poultice and lay leaves on sprains. I knew of a wound from a cricket bail on the face which was treated with cumfrey and was better very quickly. There is a story of pink for women, blue for men, i.e. the plants which bore these coloured flowers.

Sometimes a heated bottle was used to create a vacuum over the boil. If the boil was not ready for bursting it took the skin and flesh off because the bottle could not be released until a break of some kind was formed. Poultices were also used for boils. One man got a boil on his hand from the palm to the back of his hand. He went to Tom Priestley and said "Can tha do owt wi’ it?" But, how did he get a Doctor’s note for work? He was told "Go to the Hospital and let them treat it to get your note but come to me for the herbal mixture ‘to make it better." He went to the hospital for notes and Tom Priestley treated it. When the boil was ready to burst the hospital wanted to lance it. The man didn’t want the hospital to cut it so Tom Priestley treated it, trimmed it up and sent him back to hospital but, of course, Priestley had cured it, the hospital just provided Doctor’s notes.

In the 1930’s the worst thing was ravages of flu. There were fatal results until M & B tablets came. 1933, 35 and 37 were the worst for flu., 1957 brought Asian flu. 1937 Dr. Mac went down with flu and his assistant treated 500 cases between Monday and Friday single handed - the surgery was open from 8.00am until midnight. In 1918, 1,000,000 died of flu. Doctors, if conscientious, died young.

There were always people willing to come out and nurse sick people, and stay until 11.00pm for a moderate fee.

Main illnesses and obstructed air-way diseases (from grinding) and a lot of chronic leg ulcers. Measles, Whooping Cough and Scarlet Fever were rife. Scarlet Fever was taken to hospital. Rickets were common.

Poor people suffered from exhaustion, especially women working in factories during the 1914-18 war. Denmark Road, Penns Road, Heeley Green, Edwin Road and Cambridge Road were on the bread line and a lot bare-foot - would not go to Doctors because they could not pay.


Thick skin on feet - use Sellars sauve, also for corns.

Herbigrass - bitter drink - tonic if feeling low and rot much energy. Mash like tea and leave to cool. To clear the blood, Find for stomach pains.

Constipation - constipation herbs - mix with boiling water - take on Sunday morning, eat nothing all day and fit and well Monday morning.
T.B. Wincarnis and eggs plus shells - mix and drink.
Headaches - feverfew - keep chewing a small amount.
Eyes - bathe with cold tea, milk or boracic crystals mixed in water.
Ears - a bit of warm onion inserted in ears.
To clear the blood - every weekend a dose of brimstone and treacle.

Always two stone jars on top of stove - in one herbigrass for blood, and in the other, linseed end liquorice for colds.
Sweet Nitre - sweet drink - for most things (with Rochelle Salts).
Mustard poultice - Sciatica, and mustard baths - for fits and colds.
Castor oil - terrible, had to drink 1 oz after birth of a baby.

Ipicacumma and Echinacchia - both for coughs and colds - 2oz of each, mash and drink.
Raspberry leaves - sickness and childbirth - women's problems. Rosemary, Valerian and Mistletoe mash dried leaves for insomnia.

Mrs. Wilkinson remembers a funny story - a man I knew was knocked down on Heeley Bottom and when carried into this Herbalists asked, on recovering, "Am I dead, yet?"

From Mr. Eddy Chapman

Somebody was mentioning Corncrakes. The last time I heard one was before the war at Low Edges. At one time they were quite common. From Gleadless Road to the bottom of Far Lees Wood, you would hear the corncrake as often as you would hear the Cuckoo. It sounded a bit like a football rattle. It were when I were a youth. Were in the latter years at school. Before I started work, round about 1914. When there were trout in Far Lees woods. It was corn in the fields where I heard it. The right hand side was corn, the left hand side was grass as you went down path from Gleadless Road to the bottom of Far Lees Wood.

Near the bend - left hand side going down left hand side going up past the Newfield Health Centre on the bend, there was the gateway, style, whatever, going down to Far Lees wood. There was a lot of wild life there. You could hear Grouse. I can remember grouse. And going over to Rollin Wood there were grouse, pheasants and rabbits in the gorse patch which was just outside Rollin Wood. (Questioned: Could it be partridge instead of grouse?) No, it were grouse. In Rollin Wood. That was when I were a lad - me grandad used to take me.

Near Rose Cottage, where the gamekeeper lived, there were a big patch of gorse on the corner. And the kingfisher used to nest in that gorse patch, in a hole in the bank.

Then there were swallows in Clarke’s Farm. Continualy flying in and out.

On the lane at the bottom of Hurlfield Hill to go down to Rollin Woods, you walked on the path past the farm and then diagonally across the fields till you came to the land that sloped down to the river, and- there was a tell tree with a Stormcock (Mistle Thrush). We always wanted to go up for it but it was always too high. We would go perhaps 8 or 9 feet up the tree and look up but we couldn’t get there.

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