Thursday, 27 December 2012

News - Defiant’ hidden treasure is building’s salvation (Doncaster)

IN recent decades, hundreds of historic buildings across Yorkshire have been swept away in the name of regeneration, their demise often unnoticed until it is too late.

During 2012, new glass and steel blocks have sprung up in Doncaster’s Waterdale, and initial blueprints had condemned an unprepossessing red brick building on the corner of the site for demolition.

The St James’ Leisure Centre was set to be flattened in 2013 as part of the town’s £300m Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ) project, decades of neglect meant many would never have mourned its passing.

But behind its crumbling brickwork lies what experts have described as a “rare survival” from the period between the two World Wars – a suite of Turkish and Russian baths still in use.

Their unlikely presence has now saved the centre from the bulldozers, meaning it will stand defiant next to Doncaster Council’s gleaming new offices and a “new performance venue”.

According to English Heritage – the body which maintains sites and advises the Government – which has granted the St James’ Centre grade II listed status, there are just three other examples of similar Turkish baths in the country, – in Newcastle, Westminster and Islington.

Although council chiefs were initially keen to see the building razed, they have now been forced to welcome its listing and write it into their plans for the town’s cultural and sporting future.

Doncaster Council’s head of development Peter Dale had initially wanted to see the baths pulled down and a new complex built in their place because the current building, which also has a fully equipped fitness studio, “did not meet 21st century demands”.

He said: “A swimming pool and leisure centre was always part of the Civic and Cultural Quarter masterplan so we will look at incorporating the St James’ pool and health club into the scheme.”

The building was designed by the Doncaster borough’s then estates surveyor Mr RE Ford,

As well as the Turkish and Russian baths, English Heritage experts also pointed to the St James’ swimming pool, which many of the town’s older residents can remember being boarded over with a sprung maple wood floor for films and dances.

In their assessment of the building they said: “The St James’ Street Baths, is an inter-war public baths built in 1932.

“It retains much of its original plan, which clearly indicates that it was carefully designed as a multi-purpose recreational building to be used year-round.

“The swimming pool and associated areas such as the slipper baths and changing rooms, together with the basement Turkish and Russian baths suite, were accessed from the entrance on Waterdale.

“Additional interest is provided by the provision of facilities for winter time activities when the pool was boarded over.

“A completely separate entrance opened into a crush hall giving access to the pool hall for activities such as dances concerts and films. It had a stage and projector room, both of which survive.”

Doncaster’s elected mayor, Peter Davies, who is 68, and grew up in a village near the town, said he clearly remembered attending cinema shows in the pool hall and hearing others talking about going to events there.

Mr Davies added: “St James’ Pool and Health Club and its rare Turkish and Russian baths are being incorporated into a major regeneration scheme which is driving Doncaster forward but at the same time recognises our historical assets.

“The town is establishing itself as a hotspot for new investment and development and is becoming one of the most desirable places to live, work and visit.

“The Civic and Cultural Quarter is rejuvenating a large part of Doncaster’s town centre.

“New, 21st century landmarks are transforming the skyline in Waterdale but our proud heritage is also being preserved.

“Sir Nigel Gresley Square, named after one of our most influential historical figures, the new Civic Office and the state
-of-the art performance venue will help bring the vibrancy 

Mr Davies added: “While the plans will see the imposing fa├žade of the former girls’ school on the other side of the CCQ site restored with this wonderful frontage and prime site being perfect for a charming hotel.”

Baths become hot property
DONCASTER’S Civic and Cultural Quarter scheme is being built on the site of the town’s former Waterdale surface car park and further education college which relocated to new buildings several years ago.

It includes a £22m civic building, which includes a new council chamber and offices, which council workers are currently moving into.

The St James’ Baths is not the only historical building to survive, and there are plans to save at least the facade of Doncaster’s former Girls’ School, which stands on the opposite corner of the CCQ site.

The baths, which reach temperatures of close to 100F “survive largely intact, retaining mosaic floor, wall tiling and the original drinking fountain” according to English Heritage.


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Events - Sheffield Central Library 2013

Sheffielders Born or Bred

16 January at 6.30pm - Jackson Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield 1
Illustrated talk by Sheffield Archives and Local Studies staff on some of the famous and infamous people and characters who have contributed to Sheffield's fame and fortune.
Sheffield's Parks and Gardens
13 February at 6.30pm - Jackson Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield 1
An illustrated talk by Doug Hindmarch on how Sheffield's green spaces were acquired and are used. 
Sheffield's War 1914-1918 
Wednesday 13 March at 6.30pm: Jackson Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 1XZ.  Tickets £2.  Advance booking essential.
Local historian Peter Warr describes and illustrates life and work in Sheffield during World War One.

Sheffield A-Z
Wednesday 17 April at 6.30pm - Jackson Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 1XZ
Mike Spick explores the history and topography of Sheffield in twenty-six parts, arranged in alphabetical order. 
Making the Armaments Centre of the World: Sheffield 1860-1914
Wednesday 15 May at 6.30pm - Jackson Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 1XZ
Chris Corker traces the development of the armaments industry in Sheffield through to the outbreak of World War One, with reference to Cammell-Laird, Firths, Browns, Vickers and Hadfields. 
Building Schools for Sheffield 1870-1914: The Work and Buildings of the Sheffield School Board
Wednesday 19 June at 6.30pm - Jackson Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 1XZ
Valerie Bayliss of the Victorian Society presents an introduction to the history of the Sheffield School Board and discusses many of its buildings and their architectural features.
My Adventures with Harry Brearley
Wednesday 17 July at 6.30pm - Jackson Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 1XZ
Local storyteller Andy Messer relates how a chance conversation led to his discovery of the "Boy's Own" story of Harry Brearley, and the writing of a graphic novel about the inventor of stainless steel.  Includes the mysterious tale of the missing sundial.
Tickets £2.  Advance booking essential.  To book a place contact Sheffield Archives on 0114 203 9395 or email us at

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Event - Museum ready for open day (Rotherham)

VISITORS to the South Yorkshire Transport Museum will get free entry if they arrive for an open day on Sunday in a pre-1973 classic vehicle.

The museum, on Waddington Way, off Aldwarke Lane, Rotherham, opens at 11am and last admission for visitors will be 4pm.

A vintage bus will be providing a shuttle service to the museum from Rotherham Interchange.

A collection of vintage buses, a Diamond T, and one of only two Rotherham motorbuses ever restored will be on display.

Entry is just £3.50 for adults, £2 for concessions, or £8 for a family of up to two adults and three children.

For more information, call Dave Tummon on 0114 2553010


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Events - City celebrates 100 years of Sheffield steel

IT’S nearly 100 years since the discovery that changed the city and the world forever.

Next year marks the centenary of stainless steel and Sheffield is planning a year-long party to celebrate.

Unveiling the plans at the Millennium Gallery this morning, Master Cutler Neil MacDonald said events would cover, not just Harry Brearley’s discovery in a Brown Firth laboratory, but also the entrepreneurial spirit which saw him realise its huge potential.

“It’s a chance to blow our own trumpet and tell everyone about it,” said Neil.

‘Design To Shine’, an exhibition of stainless objects opens in the Millennium Gallery in February 2013. Kelham Island Museum will host ‘Rustless’ the Harry Brearley Story and the Cutlers Hall is having an open day on March 23.

There will also be a Women of Steel Concert, a David Mellor exhibition and a host of industry visits and tours. Meanwhile Sheffield Newspapers is producing a coffee table book.

Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield, said she hoped the celebrations would inspire young people.

For the full programme of events, go to:


Monday, 3 December 2012

News - Historic landmark given new lease of life (Sheffield)

Plans to preserve an important and unique part of Sheffield’s Victorian history have been given the green light after a 15-year battle with conservation authorities.

The Anglican Chapel in Sheffield’s General Cemetery is a Grade 2 listed building and known for its distinct gothic style and Victorian spire. Despite its position as an integral part of local history, the chapel has been allowed to fall into disrepair and has stood empty for a number of years.

Efforts to bring the chapel back into use have been on-going since 1997, but the latest proposal to convert the historic building into two domestic flats has finally been given the go ahead by Sheffield City Council.

Valerie Bayliss from the Sheffield Victorian Society said she was pleased to see an iconic monument being restored. She said: “The General Cemetery chapel has been empty for many years and has been subject to extensive vandalism. There have been several attempts to find a new use for it, and we are pleased that at last the essential repairs will be carried out and the building returned to use.”

The chapel, built in 1850, was designed by Sheffield architect William Flockton in a Victorian gothic style whilst other buildings in the cemetery are considered to be of a Classical or Egyptian style. The building is unique for its distinctive windows and entrance as well as the spire which was purposefully built too big so as to clearly visible.

Sheffield General Cemetery opened in 1836 and is one of the oldest public cemeteries in Britain. A number of figures from Sheffield’s industrialist past are buried there including steel manufacturer Mark First and the 19th century chartist Samuel Holberry, known for his role in the failed Sheffield Rising of 1840.

Two previous schemes to renovate the Anglican Chapel were turned down by planning officials after meeting strong local opposition. The latest proposal however is supported English Heritage and the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust who have looked after the cemetery since it closed to public burial in 1979.

The chapel will be converted into two flats with parking space for four cars. A council spokesman said that every effort would be made to preserve the building’s historical features.

Councillor Andrew Sangar said it was important to bring the chapel back into use but expressed concerns that the proposed plans did not go far enough.

He said: “In the past we have turned down numerous schemes to bring this building back into use and it needs to be done otherwise it will fall down. It is currently in a dreadful state of disrepair.

“In principal I support the idea to bring back old churches and old chapels into use. But I think we have missed an opportunity here.

“Given the history there and the little of it we have left to us today. This scheme does not go far enough to preserve an important and unique part of Sheffield’s history.”


Book - Birthday book captures life of Sheffield institution

SHEFFIELD folk shared their memories of a city institution at the launch of a new book all about it.

Neil Anderson launched his book celebrating the 80th birthday of Sheffield City Hall at the popular venue this week.

The title shares some of the hall’s fascinating past and stories, including some ghostly goings on.

As well as being the home of ballroom dancing and concerts, the hall is thought to have had at least three resident ghosts during the decades.

Author Neil, who is also the founder of a PR firm in Dronfield, gave a talk and signed books for fans at the launch on Wednesday.

He said: “It was fabulous.

“It was great to meet a lot of people and it was said I had shown how important the hall has been to different people over 80 years.

“I was quite nervous about taking the project on because the hall does hold such an important place in the hearts and minds of decades of Sheffielders.

“It was really nice to get positive feedback from people who said I had captured it totally, that was great for me.”

The book celebrates all that has happened under the City Hall’s roof since it opened in September 1932.

From hosting megastars such as The Beatles, to surviving World War Two air attacks and promoting peace concerts, the hall’s history is laid bare.

The birthday book costs £12.95 and is available to pick up from the city hall, by calling 0114 2233740, at The Star bookshop and from book retailers.

Tell us your memories of the City Hall in Sheffield?



Thursday, 29 November 2012

Event - Memories of war at country estate (Brodsworth)

HISTORIC Brodsworth Hall is set to step back in time to the dark days of the Second World War with a new exhibition.

And visitors are being urged to share their wartime memories to capture a snapshot of life at the country estate between 1939 and 1945.

To stir local memories, a series of reminiscence sessions will be held next month featuring an actress playing the part of wartime house maid Mollie Hindle, a real life employee at Brodsworth during the era.

In the 1940s, Brodsworth and many of its estate buildings were taken over by soldiers, initially from the 44th Home Counties Infantry Division, and then the Royal Artillery, all part of the larger 1 Corps.

It was from these troops that Mollie came to find her future husband, Walter Nicholls.

Walter was billeted in the stable block at Brodsworth where Mollie and her family lived, as her father was the estate foreman.

The couple married in 1942 at Brodsworth Church, just before Walter’s section moved away.

After the war they settled in Kent, but their two daughters, Janet and Celia, spent most of their school holidays at Brodsworth staying with their grandparents who were still living in the stables.

After many years living in Kent, Janet returned to live in the Brodsworth area in the 1970s - and she returned to the hall to meet the actress playing Mollie.

She said: “I think it’s excellent that this project will allow people with memories of Brodsworth Hall during the war to share them to become part of this fascinating exhibition.

“Meeting the actress that will play my mother as part of the reminiscence sessions was very moving, and I’m sure she’ll do a great job of telling my mother’s tale and encouraging others to share their stories too.”

The memories captured at the reminiscence sessions will be used to form an exhibition, as part of a project named Duty Calls: The Country House in Time of War, which goes on display next year largely thanks to a £99,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Caroline Carr-Whitworth, curator of Brodsworth Hall, said: “Brodsworth was significantly affected by both world wars, but particularly during World War II when the hall and its estate were used by the military as billets.

“This had an enormous impact on all of its occupants from the owners to the people working on the estate’s farms and nearby villages such as Marr, Pickburn and Hampole.

“We have a wide range of source materials already – from estate and personal archives from the early 20th century, to oral histories recorded by those who remember the house through the years, but we are hoping we can uncover many more through these reminiscence sessions, and people contacting us.”

A session will be held at Woodlands Library on December 12 with a further session at Brodsworth Hall on December 14.

Places on the December 14 session must be booked in advance by emailing, or calling David Alcock on 01482 318961.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Events - Priories Historical Society Talks 2013 (Worksop)

All 2013 talks will be held at 7.30pm at the BCVS Old Abbey School building next to the Priory Church, Priorswell Road, Worksop, S80 2BU. Entrance is still only £3 (or £2 for members) Free tea/coffee and biscuits are provided at each meeting. Membership remains the same at only £5 per year. The meetings are on the first Thursday of each month.

February 7th – TBA

March 7th – Local Finds and Their Preservation
Sam Glasswell from the Bassetlaw Museum in Retford comes to talk about what has been found in our local area and the techniques used to keep them in good condition.

April 4th – Lady Arbella Stewart – The Queen That Never Was
A fascinating talk by David Templeman from the Manor House in Sheffield on Lady Arbella Stewart, Englands ‘lost queen’. Follow her life, the plot to overthrow James I and her final days in the Tower of London.

May 2nd - Raymoth Lane Excavation
Pam Cook talks to the society about the last large scale excavation to take place in Worksop. Discover the Romano-British history of the area around Gateford and what discoveries were made during the dig in 2003 and 2004. (Due to the expected attendance levels this will be a ticket only event).

June 6th – Great Houses and Halls
An illustrated talk by Pat McLaughlin, one of the areas greatest experts on churches and mansions. Come and discover the facts on our local areas surviving and long gone large houses, who owned them and some interesting facts.

July 4th - TBA talk by Ian Morgan

August 1st /September 5th/October 3rd /November 7th /December 5th TBA

Petition - Save the Grade II Listed Edwardian wing of Jessop Hospital for Women (Sheffield)

Sheffield City Council will very soon make the decision on whether the University can demolish this nationally important building as part of their plans to build a new Faculty of Engineering building.

The decision will be based on whether the need for the new building outweighs the legal protection given to the listed building. The National Planning Policy Framework states that substantial harm to or loss of a grade II listed building should only be for an "exceptional reason".
If you wish to oppose the application to protect part of Sheffield's nationally important heritage please do one or more of the following as soon as possible:

Object at the council's online planning service,

email the planning committee councillors,

email your councillor,

email Paul Blomfield (MP for Sheffield Central),

email the University's Vice Chancellor.

Links are below.


Objections must be made on the following grounds (please feel free to use one or more of these, and amend in your own words if you have time):

I object to the University's plans to demolish the Grade II Listed Edwardian wing of Jessop Hospital in order to build a new Engineering Faculty building.

The Jessop Edwardian wing is a nationally important building which is an integral part of the early development of the Jessop hospital, being designed by the same architect who built the Victorian wing to complement his earlier building.

I believe that the need for the new University's Engineering building is not exceptional enough to warrant the demolition of this Listed Edwardian building. Clearly a new Engineering building can be built without demolition of the Listed hospital building.

The University has done a great job of renovating the Victorian wing of the hospital and can do the same with the Edwardian wing, while still constructing a new Engineering building. The two are not mutually incompatable.

The proposed new building does not fit sympathetically with the surrounding Victorian and Edwardian area of the city comprising the Victorian wing of the Jessop Hospital, St George's Church and the Sir Frederick Mappin Building - all listed buildings.


If you contact the University's Vice Chancellor, you may wish to add the following:

The University's reputation and standing in the city will be severely diminished if it goes ahead with plans to demolish the Edwardian wing of the Jessop hospital, where tens of thousands of Sheffielders were born over 100 years.

The council's online planning service:

The planning committee councillors:

Cllr Alan Law (Chair) -

Cllr David Baker -

Cllr Richard Crowther -

Cllr Tony Downing -

Cllr Jayne Dunn -

Cllr Ibrar Hussain-

Cllr Peter Price -

Cllr Janice Sidebottom -

Cllr Diana Stimley -


Find your councillor:

Paul Blomfield:


University Vice Chancellor (Keith Burkinshaw)   Via SCHF

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

News - Village bid makes history (Killamarsh)

A SHEFFIELD community group is celebrating after becoming one of the first in the country to win a new grant.

Killamarsh Heritage Society scooped £3,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories scheme to record and celebrate the village’s history.

Ian Beck, society vice-chairman, said: “We can’t wait to get started.

“We love where we live and know there is so much to discover about our past.

“We are really excited about telling other people our findings, sharing our heritage and history with them.”

The group will record residents’ memories of living in Killamarsh over the years - from its origin, through the time when it had three coal mines to the present day – to produce both a book and digital history.

All Our Stories launched this year in support of BBC Two show The Great British Story and aims to involve everyone in their heritage.

Hundreds of groups were successful in the first round of grants.

Emma Sayer, head of the lottery fund in the East Midlands, said the Killamarsh project would see people “embark on a real journey of discovery”.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Article - Horses for Courses (Doncaster)

Steadman’s founder John Graham Steadman was born in Mattersey in 1850 and, after a short spell as the landlord of Thorne’s Red Bear, he came to Doncaster in 1875. 

He established himself as a horse-breaker in Silver Street, where he gradually built up a well-stocked livery stable, eventually moving to larger premises in Highfield Road. 

At one time he had around 50 horses and these were hired out by the hour or by the day. 

In 1887 he started the first horse-bus service in Doncaster, from Station road to Hyde Park and Avenue Road.
He was a familiar figure on the box of his four-in-hand, and made a speciality of drives to the Dukeries and other spots of interest. 

An advertisement, placed in the Doncaster Gazette Directory of 1908, shows the different rigs that were available for hire – dog carts, landaus, hansoms, coaches and four-in-hands. 

With the arrival of the petrol engine, the four-in-hand days rapidly became a memory, but John Steadman kept abreast of the times. 

New premises were acquired in Cleveland Street in 1904, providing accommodation for both horses and equipage and motor vehicles.
The stables were built on the first floor, and horses were led up a ramp ‘to go to bed.’ 

Also during the Edwardian period a couple of motor charabancs were purchased. Allegedly, these were the first of their kind in Doncaster and they ran excursions to Woodlands, which was considered in those days to be one of the town’s best picnic areas. 

John Graham died in 1922 and from this time his two sons, John and Arthur, took control. 

The Undertaker’s Journal for that year reported: “The garage space at Cleveland Street is completely covered by glass. There is accommodation for 100 cars, a mighty consideration for race week. 

Motor-coach and funeral hearse building are also undertaken, as also funeral management to and from all parts of the country. No-one can do this better than the Doncaster firm.”

Gradually, the number of horses was reduced in favour of motor vehicles. In 1934, the last three hearses, eight coaches and four horses were sold by public auction. 

The passing of this era was then marked by the beginning of a new one, as motorised funeral corteges and taxi cabs became a feature of the firm. 

The Cleveland Street premises underwent many improvements over the years, providing additional offices and chapels-of-rest. Also, the fleet of hearses and taxis continually changed to provide the latest models and greatest comfort. 

In 1962, the business transferred to Balby Road, having outgrown the town-centre property. 

Steadman’s traditional role as a taxi firm ended in 1984, though the involvement with weddings and funeral continued. 

John Graham’s grandson, Gordon, sold the company in 1987 to Hodgson Holdings. This latter company subsequently merged with the French Company Pompes Fenebres General and Kenyons of London. 

n In John Butler’s obituary published in the Doncaster Evening Post of January 16, 1981 it was stated that the 89-year-old had taken a risk, when aged 21, starting a small ironmongery shop at 9 Silver Street.

His gamble paid off and soon the shop was too small and he moved a short distance down the street into a larger shop. 

The shop was closed on January 15, 1981 while eight of the 12 members of staff attended his funeral in Bridlington. 

He began as an apprentice ironmonger at an old shop called Charles Bros in Baxter Gate, and allegedly believed in good old-fashioned personal service. 

His good friend, managing director Roy Smithson, who had worked at the shop for 35 years, said: “He believed in personal service and I will carry on in the same traditional ways.”

Mr Butler’s daughter Barbara, who lived in Florida took over ownership, but Mr Smithson carried on the running of the shop. 

Mr Butler, whose wife Helen had died about 10 years before, had retired to Bridlington about 20 years earlier. 

At first he came to Doncaster on the train twice a week to cast an eye over the running of the shop and later motored over to the shop each week. 

Mr Butler lived in Town Moor Avenue before he moved to Bridlington. 

Butlers were always respected for their vast and varied stock where customers could buy almost everything.
John Butler could not resist a bargain. What the Butler saw the Butler would buy, provided the price was right, and he would tour sales and Government auctions, particularly of ex-war department items. 

Often he would buy huge quantities which would then remain in their original packaging, stacked from floor to ceiling in a bewildering catacomb of rooms, some still clothed in the stippled wallpaper of their original domestic days.


Personal Retort to Robert Ilett!!!

Firstly may I state that there was no Battle of Worksop. Contemporary records refer to an ‘encounter’ and a ‘skirmish’ when the Yorkist vanguard met up with a Lancastrian patrol in the days before The Battle of Wakefield. The description as a battle seems to arise from a hyperbolic description by a member of a local history society a few years ago. The clash took place in December 1460 when Richard of Gloucester, the future King Richard III was eight years old and so it was plainly not possible for him to have ‘fought the battle of Worksop’ as stated by the MP in your last edition.

Worksop Guardian

I'd like to point out the following facts to Mr Ilett:
1) The name Battle of Worksop has been used in several books prior to the article I wrote so I did not come up with that name

2) I'm not hyperbolic, a little eccentric maybe 

3) there is no definitive number of dead for the 'battle' so it cannot be proved whether it was a skimish or full on bloodbath, there is only one surviving contemporary account only gives it a brief mention and doesn't give numbers. No-one knows where the bodies were buried/dumped. If the encounter was so small it is unlikely it would have even been mentioned as encounters were commonplace and hardly worth mentioning. Other accounts may have been destroyed either in the revenge carried out by the Lancastrians (such as the Croyland Chronicles) or during the reformation when many books were burnt.

4) Other historians agree this encounter may have had a significant affect on the Battle of Wakefield. 

Perhaps Mr Ilett should concentrate on his cases rather than belittling myself and other people who regard Worksop's history as actually being important!

Dave Cook

Friday, 16 November 2012

Event - Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England (Sheffield)

We think of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I as a golden age but what was it actually like to live then? If you could travel to London in the 1590s, where would you stay, what would you eat and wear? Would you have a sense of it being a glorious age, and if so, how would that glory sit alongside the poverty, diseases and violence?

Ian Mortimer answers the key questions that a traveller to Elizabethan England would ask applying the groundbreaking approach he pioneered in his bestselling Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England.

Dr Ian Mortimer is an award winning author and historian. He also writes historical fiction, published under his middle names James Forrester.

Price £7.50/£5.50 24th November 11.00 at the Showroom as part of the Off the Shelf event.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

News - How ground movement is changing landscapes (Nottinghamshire)

new surveying technique developed at The University of Nottingham is giving geologists their first detailed picture of how ground movement associated with historical mining is changing the face of our landscape.

The new development by engineers at the University has revealed a more complete map of subsidence and uplift caused by the settlement of old mines in the East Midlands and other areas of the country and has shown that small movements in the landscape are bound by natural fault lines and mining blocks.

It appears to support concerns that movement associated with historical mining is continuing far longer than previously anticipated.

How the research was done
The research has been led by Dr Andrew Sowter in the University’s Department of Civil Engineering. He said: "This method allows us to measure patterns of slow millimetre-scale movement across large regions of the landscape and, in the UK, almost everywhere we look is dominated by our industrial past. Large tracts of our land, including parts of our cities, towns and infrastructure as well as agricultural and woodland areas, are steadily creeping upwards over mines that were closed decades ago."

The new development builds on existing technology that allows engineers to use satellite radar technology to measure points on the landscape over a length of time to assess whether they are moving up (uplifting) or sinking down (subsiding).

A complete picture
Previously, this has relied on using fixed, unchanging objects like buildings that can be accurately re-measured and compared against previous measurements time after time. However, the technique has not been practical for use in the rural landscape meaning that geologists could only get half the picture.

Now, Dr Sowter has developed a technique called the Intermittent Small Baseline Subset (ISBAS) method which adapts the same technology and extends it to rural areas by taking stacks of these radar images and identifying those more transient points in the rural landscape against which changes over time are able to be measured.

The technique is now being used by the British Geological Survey (BGS), based in Keyworth in Nottinghamshire, which is the world’s oldest national geological survey providing expert services and impartial advice on all areas of geosciences for both the public and private sectors.

Principal geologist at the BGS Poul Strange said: “This new technique is going to allow us to refine our geological maps. Previously when surveying rural areas we were almost guessing and the final result was more of an interpretation. Now we are able to produce maps that far more accurately reflect what is happening with the geology below the surface and enable us to predict any potential risks posed by ground movement.

“Rural areas are particularly important because we need to know what is happening with the geology there and how movement or natural fault lines may affect future developments such as new housing or high speed rail links.”

Bounce back effect
The technique will assist BGS in the work it is doing looking at potential ground movement in former mining areas of South Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire where most mines closed no later than the early 90s.

The BGS has so far recorded geological evidence that movement in areas where deep coal mining has been in operation historically actually continues for up to 11 years, far more than any previous estimate such as the six-year limit set by the Subsidence Act of 1991.

They believe the problem may be caused by ground water, which would have been pumped out while the mines were open, seeping back into the disused pits and causing a ‘bounce back’ effect on the surrounding landscape. However, they estimate that this uplift is only likely to offer around a 4% recovery on where the landscape would have been before mining began.

In particular, they have been using the new technique to explore the rural areas surrounding locations like Swadlincote in Derbyshire and Oakthorpe near Measham in Leicestershire which have a long-standing history of problems with mining-related subsidence.

Seismic activity
They are able to see how this movement is interacting with natural fault lines, which could potentially cause other seismic activity such as the Market Rasen earthquake of 2008, which measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale and was felt as far away as Wales, Scotland and London.

The research could also be of vital significance in assessing future issues with subsidence and uplift connected with other types of activity such as fracking, where geological shale rocks are drilled and injected with fluid to encourage them to fracture and release natural gases.

Dr Sowter has previously spent time working at The University of Nottingham China Ningbo, where his research centred on China’s ‘sinking cities’ problem, where some of the country’s most densely populated communities, such as Shanghai, are sinking under the weight of towering skyscrapers.

Funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the work aimed to develop techniques to help Chinese authorities identify with far greater accuracy which areas are moving and by how much.

(EurekAlert, November 2012)


Website - Sheffield Community Heritage Forum

Sheffield Community Heritage Forum have now set up their own blogsite for the latest developments in the local history around Sheffield.  They will also be posting important news and events on the blogsite in addition to photos of Sheffield’s fantastic heritage community.

 They meet quarterly and meetings are open to everyone and anyone interested in finding out more about the heritage activity happening in Sheffield and its surroundings.

If you are not already a member of the mailing list, please contact to begin receiving all information and updates on events and projects happening in Sheffield’s cultural and heritage environment. You can also send your own promotional or informative material to the address from where it will be circulated amongst members.

To contribute blog posts or photos to the site, please don’t hesitate to contact the administrator on the email above.

Blogsite at

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Book - Sheffield’s Shocking Past: The Twentieth Century

A BOOK has been released about shocking incidents from Sheffield’s past.

It is called Sheffield’s Shocking Past: The Twentieth Century, and was written by local historians Chris Hobbs and Matthew Bell.

It is the follow up to a similar tome by the pair which focused on the Victorian period.

Included are tales about a killer cat from Millhouses, death by scalding at Heeley Baths, and the city’s earliest motor accidents.

Chris, 58, of Crookes, said: “It’s a bit ghastly but there seems to be a real appetite for this kind of thing.”

Matthew, 50, of Heeley, added: “People are fascinated by a little historic death and disaster.”

Here The Diary presents some of the best - or should that be worst? - extracts...

Hillsborough crush, 1934:
The record attendance at Hillsborough was on February 17 1934 for Wednesday’s FA Cup tie against Manchester City. But tragedy struck when a fan was crushed to death in the Leppings Lane end.

The Manchester Guardian reported five of George Hill’s ribs were broken. It said: “The inquest jury said more crush-barriers ought to be erected at the ground. A mounted policeman who had several years experience said he had never seen a crowd behave in such a manner. Several people near the railings were screaming for assistance.”

The city’s first motor tragedy, 1907:

Three people died in Sheffield’s first motor accident on August 25, 1907.

The Manchester Guardian reported: “A terrible accident occurred in Manchester Road, near Sheffield. A motor charabanc, conveying a party organised by the proprietor of a Sheffield hotel, was returning from Derbyshire, and all went well until Moscar Top was reached. of the wheels caught a telegraph pole. The char-a-banc was swung around into a stone wall with a fearful impact and overturned.”

The dead were five-year-old William Ernest Harrison, the son of a stoker at Sheffield Corporation; Benjamin Handley, 33, a bricklayer of Boston Street; and Hugh Fearn, 37, a clerk of Abbeydale Road.

Death by Cat, 1904:
Domestic butler William Ranger, of Millhouses Lane, was 63 when, in March 1904, he was scratched on his arm by his Persian cat.

The Manchester Guardian reported: “A few days afterwards there was severe pain and swelling near the elbow, and a doctor was summoned. A month after the accident the doctor found the patient livid and struggling for breath. There was no improvement after that time and he died.”

The book, published by city firm ACM Retro on November 14, is available for pre-order from The Star.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Community Archaeology - Graveyard Surveys - Cromwell

Nottinghamshire County Councils Community Archaeology team have organised another graveyard survey at Cromwell. They will be out at the graveyard between 10 am and 2.30 pm, on the 19th and 20th November. 

For those of you who haven't done graveyard survey before, it involves recording the text on gravestones, as well as their condition. It's very satisfying, and is really great information to help people who are researching their family history.

Toilets are available in the neighbouring village, inside Norwell church. There's also a coffee shop in Cromwell itself at the services by the A1. Some people like to bring a camping stool or blanket to sit on while recording the stones.

For further information please call the team on Tel: 0115 9696 525/Mob: 07917 212 554  or visit the website at

Friday, 9 November 2012

Website - New Histories (Sheffield)

It's amazing what you can find when looking for random new snippets on the internet, I found the New Histories online journal via an Amerian news article

The themes are mostly interanational but as it's led by students at the University of Sheffield it becomes local enough to get a mention on here.

Dave Cook

Thursday, 8 November 2012

News - Community welcomes new Robin Hood attraction (Edwinstowe)

COMMUNITY leaders have welcomed plans to develop a new £13m visitor centre in Sherwood Forest.

Chad revealed last week that the £13m tourist attraction, based on the legend of Robin Hood, will be completed by 2015 subject to planning permission.

The planned 40-acre ‘Discover Robin Hood’ visitor attraction will include a medieval fortress, dungeons and a maze with talking trees.

John Peck, who is Newark & Sherwood district councillor for Edwinstowe, also welcomed the plan.

“It’s very exciting news for Edwinstowe. As the gateway village to Sherwood Forest, tourism is very important to the local economy and the prosperity of our High Street,” he said.

“I want to make sure Edwinstowe gains some real benefits from this development.

“I understand there will be up to 100 jobs created and I will be seeking assurances that the majority will go to local people and that local tradespeople will be used where possible.

“There will also be important issues to address to reassure Edwinstowe residents and I will be asking for early discussions about how to manage the increased traffic and minimise disruption to residents living next to the new attraction.”

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said the forest will benefit from the new attraction being developed away from sensitive areas of the iconic landscape.

Wildlife Trust chief executive John Everitt said: “We’re delighted that the council and Discovery Attractions will be bringing investment to provide a 21st century attraction.

“It’s crucial that facilities are developed sensitively alongside the National Nature Reserve to help preserve the fragile wildlife of Sherwood Forest.”


News - Memorial builders (Edlington)

WORK is under way on a memorial garden being built to remember the 133 men who died working at a Doncaster colliery.

The Yorkshire Main Commemorative Trust has started work on the garden in memory of those killed working at the pit, in Edlington, between 1909 and 1985.

Chairman of the Yorkshire Main Commemorative Trust, Frank Arrowsmith, said: “This garden and the Yorkshire Main memorial wall have been a two-and-a-half year labour of love.”

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint and Edlington ward Coun Phil Cole joined trust members to see work on the £30,000 plaque and arch scheme get under way.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Event - Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars History Project Launch

Friday, 30th November 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm.
Ruskin Hall, Walkley Community Centre, 7a Fir Street, Walkley.

Enjoy a glass of wine or fruit juice and some snacks while finding out about a new exciting Walkley history project.

You can see the archive of the Walkley Action Group, set up by local people to save Walkley from the bulldozers. Highlights include the maps showing the phases of demolition, how Walkley would have looked like after tower block redevelopment and of every house in Walkley colour-coded for its condition.

You can visit the Club’s WW1 memorial windows in the snooker club.

We will give a short introduction about the project.

Two exciting speakers are now confirmed for the launch!

Geoff Green, a leading light of the 1960s’ Walkley Action Group will introduce the work of the Group in campaigning against the slum clearance plans.

Narendra Bajaria was the council planning officer who led the Walkley Improvements Scheme during the 1970s which led to Walkley houses being ‘saved’ and ‘modernised’.

Each will talk for about 5 minutes about their work in the Walkley clearance and improvements scheme.

There are plenty of ways to gfet involved. You can sign-up for:

1) Being kept up to date about the project.
2) To volunteer to be an Oral History Interviewer, with training provided.
3) To volunteer to be a Local History Researcher, with training provided.
4) To have your memories of Walkley in the 1960s and 1970s recorded.

Walkley Community Centre is managing this exciting three-year history project, beginning in November 2012.

The project will:

1) Research the lives of Walkley people before they went to fight in World War 1 and preserve the memorials of fallen members of the Walkley Liberal Reform Club.
2) Explore the council plans to demolish Walkley in the 1960s and 70s.
3) Make public the Walkley Action Group archive in the Walkley Commnunity Centre.
4) Record memories of Walkley during the 1960s and 70s.
5) Find out what Fir St was like in 1908 when the Walkley Liberal Reform Club was built.

We hope the project will lead to the establishment of a Walkley History Society, who will use the Community Centre as its base.

For further information please contact Bill Bevan, 0114 2345411,, or visit

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund


News - Mining memorial bid gets cash boost (Hucknall)

A BIG cash boost was given this week for a memorial to miners who died working at pits in Hucknall and the surrounding area.

Hucknall members of Ashfield District Council agreed to make a total grant of £2,400 for the highly-praised project, which has been backed by the Dispatch.

The decision was made at a meeting of Hucknall Area Committee.

The proposal is to record the names of the pitmen who lost their lives. As part of the scheme, memorial stones owuld be placed on the site of the iconic miners’ statue on Station Road, Hucknall.

The campaign was started by former miner Barrie Lewis, of Hucknall, whose father, Lawrence (34), was killed in an accident at the former Hucknall ‘Top Pit’ on Christmas Eve 1960, and has received full backing from the Dispatch.

A suggestion is for the memorial to be backed by a book featuring the names of those killed at the two Hucknall Collieries or Linby, Bestwood, Newstead and Annesley Pits.

On Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10, Barrie will sit at a table in Hucknall Library to meet members of the public and raise awareness about the campaign.

“I hope people will take advantage of this opportunity to find out more about what the project is all about,” he said.

Area committee chairman Coun Jim Grundy (Lab) said he hoped the grant would act as a catalyst to attract further funds for the scheme.

A total of £9,000 or £10,000 is needed and donations so far received include £500 from the grant-making Nottinghamshire Community Foundation.

Barrie said he hoped the work would be completed in time for the proposed memorial to be unveiled at a ceremony next summer.

A report to the committee stated that publicity in the Dispatch had shown ‘considerable support’ for the project. The work will be carried out by a stonemason and other contractors.

Research into the names of miners to be remembered had been a painstaking task carried out at such locations as libraries and archive offices, the report added.


Event - Southwell Iron Age Day

Southwell Archaeology will be hosting an Iron Age Day on Saturday 17th November at the Old Courthouse, Southwell, 10am – 3pm.

The morning will be spent discussing the aims and objectives of the new Burgage Earthworks project and will include:

Introduction to the Project: Southwell Archaeology chairman John Lock will discuss the main threads of the project and how this exciting new ‘hands-on’ archaeology project will pan out over the next year or so.

Documents Research: Southwell Archaeology committee member Ellis Morgan, who will be leading the archival research and map work of the project, will discuss his plans for the coming months to research the early history of the Burgage. He will also be recruiting interested people who want to be involved in this research.

Archaeology Training & Fieldwork: Matt Beresford, of MBArchaeology, will be outlining the practical archaeology aspect of the project and providing dates for training days in surveying, excavation and finds analysis. He will also provide an overview of the archaeological aims of the project.

In the afternoon, a workshop will be held looking at the British Iron Age with an aim to provide those attending with a basic introduction to the period and how Southwell fits into the wider landscape.

This is an exciting new project for Southwell Archaeology and a great opportunity for the local community to be involved in finding out more about the early origins of Southwell.

Southwell Archaeology are always looking for new members. If you are interested in joining the group or being part of the project, contact or


News - Rare ‘vampire’ skeleton unearthed in Nottinghamshire (Southwell)

A 1400-year-old ‘vampire’ skeleton with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles, has been discovered in Britain, a new report has claimed.

The skeleton dating from 550-700 AD found buried in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire has shed light on rare ‘vampire’ burials in Britain.

Long dismissed as myth and legend, the vampire is associated with spooky stories, the Daily Mail reported.

It is believed to be a “deviant burial”, where people considered the ‘dangerous dead’, such as vampires, were interred to prevent them rising from their graves to plague the living.

Only a handful of such burials have been unearthed in the UK till now.

The discovery is detailed in a new report by Matthew Beresford, of Southwell Archaeology.

The skeleton was found by archaeologist Charles Daniels during the original investigation of the site in Church Street, which revealed Roman remains.

Beresford said when Daniels found the skeleton he jokingly checked for fangs.

“Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period the punishment of being buried in water-logged ground, face down, decapitated, staked or otherwise was reserved for thieves, murderers or traitors or later for those deviants who did not conform to societies rules: adulterers, disrupters of the peace, the unpious or oath breaker,” said Beresford.

“Which of these the Southwell deviant was we will never know,” he said.

Beresford believes the remains may still be buried on the site where they originally lay because Daniels was unable to remove the body from the ground.

John Lock, chairman of Southwell Archaeology, said the body was one of a handful of such burials to be found in the UK.

“A lot of people are interested in it but quite where it takes us I don’t know because this was found in the 1950s and now we don’t know where the remains are,” Lock said.

The discovery comes five months after archaeologists found remains from a third grave in central Bulgaria linked to the practise, the report said.

The skeleton was tied to the ground with four iron clamps, while burning ambers were placed on top of his grave.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

News - Sherwood Forest visitor centre to get £13m 'Robin Hood' revamp (Edwinstowe)

A VISION for a world-class Robin Hood experience in the heart of Sherwood Forest has been revealed.

The £13 million Discover Robin Hood attraction will feature interactive exhibits, an open-air theatre and an adventure playground.

Construction will begin in autumn next year with the project expected to be completed by spring 2015.

The company behind the scheme – Discovery Attractions – said it wanted to give Robin Hood the home he deserves.

Chief executive John Lowther said: “Robin Hood is such a strong pull for tourists and we want to develop an attraction that will be fitting to the legend.

“Our vision is to build a flagship attraction for the county which will give a huge boost to the local economy.”

The plans come after years of uncertainty about the Sherwood Forest centre, with a number of plans shelved in the past due to lack of available funding.

John Cottee, chairman of the culture committee at Notts County Council, said the private investment was necessary to make the attraction a “jewel in the crown” of Notts.

He added: “We want to raise the profile of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest and we have found a vision for the centre that we agree will be fantastic. We are hoping this new centre will attract visitors from all over the country and the world.”

According to the developers, the plans will create around 100 jobs and benefit the local economy by more than £2 million a year.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Event - New Work in Nottinghamshire (Nottingham)

Wednesday 14 November 1pm - Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

Emily Gillott, Andy Gaunt and David Budge - Nottinghamshire County Council Community Archaelogy Team

The team discuss some of their latest projects with community volunteers including their current audit of archaeological sites along the River Trent between Newark and Gainsborough, and their hunt for the Great Fire of Mansfield Woodhouse in 1304.

Come and hear about how these discoveries are providing us with new information about the county. You can also handle objects from the excavations and find out about volunteering for future projects.

All talks take place in the Lecture Theatre next to the Museum at 1pm.

Admission FREE. Places are limited so please book in advance with the Box Office on 0115 846 7777


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Event - Dungworth Local History Project

Local History Project Inaugural meeting Wednesday, 14 November 2012 2pm at Dungworth Village Hall

If you are interested in local history and would like to help commemorate the centenary of the First World War, or find out more about the lives of local people during this or any time, please come along to the meeting or telephone 2341243 for further information.

We can obtain a grant to help us.

We can do any or all of the following:-

Set up a ‘heritage group’ to begin research into local and or ‘family’ history, identify previous occupants of houses, take trips to the Sheffield Archives to look at records such as school log books, or collect photographs or other memorabilia. We could add information to the previous Dungworth ‘Walk into History’ book and get this re-published or updated. We could focus on the lives of people in this area during the war to find out how they contributed to the war effort through the ‘home front’ and their protected occupations, rather than fighting overseas, involving and passing on memories to children to help them

learn about life in the village up until and during WWI.


Events - Friends of Wincobank Hill (Sheffield)

The Five Arthurs - a talk by David Anson (£2 includes refreshments)

The Arthur Legend is enduring and has many aspects. David will deal with five of them but is always glad to hear of any more. Come and find out more about the king who never was, but who has entered the British psyche and has had more influence than many real monarchs.

6.30 - 8.30pm Thursday 1st November 2012 at Upper Wincobank Chapel, Wincobank Avenue, Sheffield S5 6BB

AND- save the date for -

The Wincobank Hill Lantern Procession

Wednesday 14th November 2012 5pm from Uppoer Wincobank Chapel

Come and help us light up the hill. The this new and exciting event is being organised by the Friends of Wincobank Hill and Sheffield City Council Woodland and Ranger teams. Local schoolchildren have been making lanterns which they will carry during a walk in the woodlands around and up the hill and some enchanting visual interest is being planned. Park Rangers will be on hand to lead the way and share information about the area.

If you fancy a magical walk through our Ancient Woodland come and join us. Bring a torch and wrap up warm. Strong footwear advised. We regret the event is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs due to the rough ground and steep hill. There will be hot drinks served at the Chapel afterwards. The event should finish by 7pm. For further information please phone 07980 143 776

There is a reserve date of the following Wednesday,November 21, in case of very bad weather.


Event - Ecclesall Woods Heritage day (Sheffield)

A celebration of Sheffield’s Woodland Heritage through Wood and Metal Sunday 28th October 11am - 3pm

● Traditional Woodland Crafts ●

● Making Iron from Ore and Charcoal ●

● Folk Music Around the Fire ●

● Learn what it was like to live in the woods ●

● also Tea and Cake●

Ecclesall Woods

Woodland Discovery Centre
Abbey Lane, S7 2QZ, 01142356348


News - Council urged to act now and save historic Sheffield lodge

CAMPAIGNERS are urging Sheffield Council to save the last remaining historic building at a former school site.

Grange House, built in Victorian times, was one of two mansions that became part of the original Abbeydale Grange Grammar School, off Abbeydale Road.

The neighbouring Holt House, dating back to Georgian times, suffered neglect and an arson attack and was demolished a decade ago.

John Clarke, who is part of the group which has saved Portland Works little mesters’ workshops, near Bramall Lane, said: “The lodge is boarded up and the roof is in poor condition.

“The council needs to take action to preserve it, or sell it so it can be saved.

“Grange House, with Holt House, were the two mansions that formed part of the original school.

“It appears to have been built for John Rodgers, of the Joseph Rodgers cutlery firm.”

Both properties later passed into the ownership of manufacturer John Firth, before being taken over by Sheffield Education Committee in 1918, to house a school.

Howard Greaves, of Hallamshire Historic Building Society, said: “It would be sacrilege to allow it to deteriorate to the point it has to be knocked down.”

Grange House was due to be sold to the developers of sheltered housing on the site of the former school, which closed in 2010, but was withdrawn from the sale.

A council spokesman said: “The building was going to be demolished as part of the site development, but a case was made to keep it as it was considered a ‘character building’.

“Unfortunately, there has been some vandalism, but we have not refused to sell it and are testing the market to get the best deal.”


News - Yorkshire King "should be buried in Worksop"

Remains that could belong to King Richard the third should be laid to rest in Worksop, an MP claimed today.

Tests are being carried out to see if a male skeleton, that was discovered in a Leicester car park last month, belongs to the "Yorkshire King" who lived in Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire

The infamous monarch, who murdered his nephews to take the throne, was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. He was taken to Leicester where he was buried at the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as the Greyfriars. But his actual whereabouts became lost over time.

There have been calls to bury the monarch at York Minster. But today in the Commons, Bassetlaw MP John Mann said Worksop should become the King's final resting place.

“The great priory of Worksop, halfway between [Leicester and York], the end of the road of the forest and the centre of the kingdom of Richard III can provide the most appropriate final resting place for the king.
– John Mann MP (Labour, Bassetlaw)


Seriously??? I think Mr Mann should realise Worksop was a Lancastrian stronghold. I like the idea though -Dave C|

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Event - Rotherham folk can trace family history

Staff at Rotherham’s Archives and Local Studies Service are inviting local folk to trace their family history.

A special 'Archives Workshop' for beginners will be held on Friday, November 9, from 10am to 12 noon. Visitors will be able to discover and learn to use resources to help trace their family history, which includes census information, electoral registers, school records, parish registers and workhouse records.

Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, Councillor Amy Rushforth, said: "Rotherham's Archives and Local Studies Services is a fantastic resource and the staff are first class when it comes to helping members of the public dig into the past."

The cost for the session is £3 per person. Advance Booking is essential - call 01709 336633 to reserve your place or visit Rotherham Archives and Local Studies, now located in Clifton Park Museum.


Event - Virtual Tour Round Hardwick Hall (Oldcotes)

You can see the treasures of Hardwick Hall without the trouble of driving there on November 19th at Oldcotes Village Hall. 

Historian Maureen Taylor will give a virtual tour for those who are unable to get to Hardwick, or for those who are thinking of going and want to be well prepared for what to look for.

The power-point presentation visits the Hall room by room in the same sequence that an actual visitor would see them in. Descriptions of each room and the history of the artefacts are given in great detail.

The lives of Bess of Hardwick, her husbands and her granddaughter Arabella are interwoven into the presentation. Without them, the rich tapestry of the Hall could not be told.

The talk starts at 19.30 and tickets are £2 for members and £3 for visitors, no booking is required and free tea/coffe and biscuits are given.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Radio - Hidden Histories on Radio Sheffield

Ron Clayton will be appearing on Radio Sheffield weekly on Saturday mornings at 7.17am with a new programme looking at Sheffield's hidden histories. If you can't get up that early on a Saturday morning then you can catch up with these by visiting the Listen Again website here:


Event - Town heritage meeting (Mexborough)

A TALK on medieval armour and weaponry will be given at a heritage meeting in Mexborough later this month. 

The Mexborough and District Heritage Society meeting will take place at The George and Dragon pub in Church Street on Tuesday, October 30, at 7.15pm.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Event - Record-breaking tractor show (Newark)

With more entries still expected, the 2012 Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show has already broken last year’s record of exhibitors.

SOME of the tractors on display at last year’s Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show.Organisers of the event which will be held at Newark Showground on November 10 and 11, have so far received 1,030 entries as an added celebration in its tenth anniversary year.

Among the hundreds of tractors on display will be 106 Perkins Derivatives — a feature for the 2012 show — with a further 12 commercial vehicles in this section, 48 nominated entries, 70 entries under the banner of Friends of Ferguson Heritage, 66 Ford and Fordson and 96 entries from Blue Force members.

Blue Force was launched in April last year to encompass Fordson, Ford and New Holland tractors, skid units converted by the likes of County, Doe, Muir-Hill and Roadless plus commercial vehicles such as the Ford Thames Trader.

Heritage vehicles number more than 130, covering classic caravans, cars, commercials, Land Rovers, military, motor-cycles and bicycles.

There are more than 200 static displays, including 94 horticultural pieces of equipment — nearly a third of them the featured Landmaster range of machinery — and 44 static engines.

A total of 19 clubs and societies will have stands, where members will impart knowledge, passion and a host of anecdotes from the past.

Main ring attractions include the popular Dancing Does plus heavy horses and costume-bedecked carriage drivers with their British native ponies.

A first for the show is the Get Ahead For Christmas marquee with chefs Teresa Bovey and Linda Hewett giving tips and advice on celebratory fare.

There will be a host of craft stands bursting with festive gift ideas.

The vintage auction run by Brown and Co on the Saturday and the Sunday Sort-Out will revert to the Newark Ring.

Lots for the auction should be directed to Judy Strawson on 01652 654833.

Alternatively interested parties can email her at judy. or to download an entry pack.

Anyone wishing to have a pitch at the Sort-Out should contact Mary Hopkins on 01636 705796 or email mary@newark

There are more than 40 trophies up for grabs and these will be presented following the annual Remembrance Day Service in the George Stephenson Exhibition Hall on the Sunday.

Britain’s rural heritage is rich with native breeds of horses, ponies, livestock and poultry, used for working the land and to provide food and clothing. and this will be showcased in the Living History of the British Isles exhibition.

Among the many animals on display will be Welsh, Fell, Shetland, Exmoor and Highland ponies, three of the largest mules in the UK —Ruby, Muriel and Major — a white donkey by the name of John Barley Corn who is frequently seen at garden parties, in Nativity plays and now attends ploughing matches put to a Ransomes Smallholders Plough, and Shire, Clydesdale and Percheron heavy horses.

Two cheeky faces that are regulars at the exhibition are alpacas Boo and William.

Some of the oldest breeds of sheep will be represented by Norfolk Horns, Herdwick and Lincoln Long Wools as well as the North Ronaldsay.

Pigs and cattle are represented well with British Lops, Large Blacks, Oxford and Sandy Blacks among the pig breeds on display with Highland, Lincoln Red, Jersey, Shetland and Belted Galloways as fine examples of some of Britain’s best in beef and dairy cattle.

Sunday sees two calf shows taking place within the exhibition — the Midlands and East Anglia Hereford Breeders Association Regional Calf Show, which returns for a second year, and the inaugural Mixed Breeds Calf Show. Both feature young handler classes.

The exhibition includes a host of displays charting ancient crafts from stick-making to spinning animal hair.

Visitors are encouraged to bring some of their pets’ hair and see it turned into yarn.

For the first time at the event there will be masonry carving.

Outside displays feature a selection of horse-drawn wagons and agricultural implements, a shepherd’s hut and assorted farming bygones.

Visitors will also be able to try their hand at archery.

Further entertainment is in the form of sheep racing, where spectators will have a chance to place bets on the outcome.

There is also One Man and His Pig — dog agility but with a pig.

Advance tickets for the event which runs from 9am to 5pm on the Saturday and 9am to 3.30pm on the Sunday, are available online.

For more information visit or call 01636 705796.   From:

News - Impact of war on village life (Flintham)

A Heritage Lottery grant of £16,710 has been awarded to Flintham Society for a project looking at the impact of the first world war on life in the village.

Mrs Sue Clayton, secretary of Flintham Society, which is undertaking a project about the first world war.Keeping the Home Fires Burning? will look at agriculture, social life, education, employment, religion, the village economy, housing and health, population and migration, and gender issues.

It will focus mainly on those left behind while the men went to fight in France, looking at women, children and older residents and how their lives, and the village, changed.

The head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, Emma Sayer, said: “As we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war many people will want to learn more about the individual stories that will make this world-shattering event relevant on a personal level.

“The emphasis on the families left behind will quite literally bring the conflict home to people.”

The project will look at how agricultural, social and cultural rhythms of life were disrupted; how women took over traditional male roles; how education was affected and whether employment patterns changed.

It will investigate how people’s eating and shopping habits changed.

It will build on material already held at Flintham Museum.

School log books, church documents, newspapers and resources kept by the University of Nottingham Manuscript Department, as well as external resources such as the 1911 census, the 1910 Land Tax Survey and the National Archives at Kew will be used.

The findings will be put on the museum website and a dedicated blog. The project will end with an exhibition at the village hall.

The grant will allow basic conservation of archives housed in outbuildings at Flintham Hall, which are at risk of deterioration.

Young people taking their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will receive database training so the museum card catalogue can be computerised.

Mrs Sue Clayton, secretary of Flintham Society, said many people were skilled in researching their own family history but tended to work in isolation.

She said: “Our project aims to utilise those skills and apply them to the more communal activity of researching the village history. This will inspire us to use the material in different ways and also bring people together.”


News - Decision due on Robin Hood visitor attraction

THE long-awaited transformation of Sherwood Forest will move a step closer on Wednesday (17th) with confirmation of the successful bidder for the project.

Nottinghamshire County Council has been considering two proposals for a new visitor attraction at the world-famous Robin Hood site and will seek approval from the policy committee on its preferred choice.

Both bidders are anonymous at this stage and no plans will be made public until the 10--day formal procurement process has been completed.

The new operator will design, fund, build and manage a new visitor centre attraction, which hopes to boost tourism by up to 150,000 visitors a year.

As previously reported in Chad, plans for a tree-themed design fell through after the project failed to win support from the Big Lottery Fund.

Last year, the county council decided to shelve the development until 2014 due to funding cuts.

The brief for the project is to create ‘a new visitor attraction which promotes and enhances the reputation of Sherwood Forest, the legend of Robin Hood and the broader history and heritage of Nottinghamshire’.

It will also create new jobs , boost local businesses and the wider local economy.

Coun John Cottee, chairman of the county council’s culture committee said: “Many months have already been spent on these proposals to reach this point which we hope will not only help us open a new attraction to captivate and enthuse visitors, but also to help preserve the natural ecology of Sherwood Forest and be a major boost for tourism and job creation locally.”

Members of the policy committee will be asked to approve the council’s recommendation at County Hall tomorrow.

Confirmation of the successful bidder means the council will then enter into legal agreements for them to manage the new development.

Coun Cottee added: “I know that there are a lot of people who are waiting to find out what will be happening at Sherwood and I’d like to reassure people that as soon as we have some information to share - we will.

“It’s worth adding that whatever the successful bidder designs, it will be subject to the usual consultation and planning processes.”

Celia Brooks, chairman of Edwinstowe Parish Council, thinks moving the centre closer to the village will benefit local businesses.

She said: “We need the right sort of attraction. We don’t want Disneyland.

“We are not worried about it being closer to the village as it may improve business.

“Improvements on the access road will need to be made.”


Event - Sheffield celebrates 100 years of ‘Heritage Makers’

Sheffield is celebrating 100 years of the Hunter Archaeological Society, fondly dubbed the ‘Heritage Makers’, with a new exhibition charting the history of Sheffield and the surrounding area.

The exhibition, open to the public at the University of Sheffield’s Western Bank Library, is a celebration of Sheffield’s past and the people who have given it a voice. It is also part of the Society’s year-long centenary celebrations in 2012.

In May 1912 the Hunter Archaeological Society held its first meeting in Sheffield, with around 300 members and the Duke of Norfolk as its first president. Involving Sheffield people from all walks of life, the Hunter has served the community with its remit to study, communicate and campaign for our unique heritage.

Important historical artefacts, photographs and documents will be brought together on show for the first time to explore how the Hunter Society has brought the city’s important past to life. Sheffield Castle and Manor Lodge feature prominently and the public will have the opportunity to see finds excavated at both important historical monuments.

The exhibition also delves into some of the fascinating life stories of Society members, including many influential in Sheffield society over the last 100 years.

Ruth Morgan, Secretary of the Hunter Archaeological Society, said: “It’s been an amazing few years building up to the centenary, not only in working together as a team to plan events and in researching the life stories, but in discovering how little the Society’s role and interests have changed over all those years. People have come and gone, and contributed their time and skills, but we still campaign to save Sheffield Castle and raise the profile of archaeological sites on the Moors. This exhibition tries to capture some of that. We have enjoyed it all and learnt lots of new skills, and we hope our activities this year will have inspired many people to take an interest in their heritage and get involved.”

Andrew Moore, Exhibitions Curator at the University of Sheffield’s Western Bank Library, said: “Heritage Makers has given us the opportunity to showcase some amazing local history objects in the new exhibition gallery at the University of Sheffield's Western Bank Library. It has been great fun working with the Hunter Society, Museums Sheffield and Sheffield City Archives to help bring items together to tell some of the fascinating stories of the Hunter Archaeological Society. A great free booklet, available in the exhibition space, also looks in more detail at a number of important and influential Society members over the last 100 years.”

The exhibition is free to visit during library opening hours from now (October 2012) until the 21 December 2012, opening hours 9am – 7pm from Monday to Thursday, 10am – 7pm on Fridays and 12pm – 6pm on Saturdays.

The exhibition is a partnership between the Hunter Archaeological Society, University of Library, Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Archives and Libraries, and inHeritage. It is funded by the University and the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Group - Sprotbrough Local History Group

Symeon from the Doncaster History website is looking into setting up a local history group in Sprotborough.

If you would be interested in either helping to get a group off the ground or would like to be part of a Sprotbrough group then please get in touch with him via the website

Friday, 12 October 2012

News - Cash boost for Brodsworth war research

A COUNTRY house in Doncaster has secured a grant worth nearly £100,000 which will help research for a wartime project.

The English Heritage has announced that following the £99,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it will go towards a three year project examining the role that Brodsworth Hall played in the two World Wars.

Research is now underway and examining the social history of how Brodsworth Hall, and the people living in and around its estate, were affected by the wars.

The research will provide the basis for public displays within the Hall, its owners and staff during these years of conflict.

The project will also enable stories from the period to be explored and shared within the community, through a digital display developed with the involvement of local groups and children.

The first stage of the project, which will launch at Easter 2013, will be a trail throughout the Hall and events focussing on life during World War II.

An exhibition about World War I and the community’s support for those serving in both wars will launch at the same time, with events surrounding this to follow in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

English Heritage intends to hold a series of reminiscence sessions over the autumn to gather such stories and record peoples’ memories, and David Alcock of Heritage Learning will be arranging these.

Anyone with stories relating to Brodsworth during either World War should contact David on or 01482 318961.

Alternatively contact Caroline and staff at Brodsworth Hall at Brodsworth Hall, Donaster, DN5 7XJ, or ring 01302 722598.

The Brodsworth Hall ‘In Time of War’ project is part of a series of independent exhibitions taking place at country houses throughout the region in 2013-14, co-ordinated by the Yorkshire Country House Partnership.


News - Pits reveal signs of Roman past (Bingham)

Archaeologists believe they may have found the remains of a Roman settlement in the centre of Bingham.

Mr Rowan Bird, 59, of Abbey Road, Bingham, looks for artefacts in Cherry Street as part of the Roots of Bingham project.Part of a timber frame was found by volunteers helping the Bingham Heritage Trails Association’s Roots of Bingham project between Cherry Lane and Fosters Lane.

About 25 volunteers have helped to dig more than 40 test pits in gardens since April. The digging will finish next year. The volunteers hope to dig 60 pits in total.

The project has unearthed pottery and artefacts dating from Roman and Medieval periods, as well as more recent finds.

Mr Peter Allen, of the association, said the timber frame was significant as Bingham was previously believed to have Anglo Saxon origins.

“We are getting a nice story about the origins of Bingham. There’s a Roman origin to the town we hadn’t anticipated,” Mr Allen said.

Mr Geoff Ashton, also a member of the association, said most of the Roman artefacts dated from the 1st Century. He said there was evidence of a bottle-making industry and ironwork in the town centre.

The association expects to find about 15,000 artefacts by the time the project ends. About four to five thousand have already been found.

Association members can usually identify if artefacts are Roman, Medieval or later but large, significant finds will be analysed by experts to get a more precise date and to gather as much information as possible before results are published.

Full results are due in 2015.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Event - Trading Histories: 700 years at Sheffield Castle Market

Come and find out about a new HLF-funded project which will be investigating the life and history of Sheffield Castle Market and its trading community. They will provide details of the project and let you know how to get involved in activities throughout the year. Bring your ideas for research themes which they can incorporate into our project. All welcome!

The project team includes:
Ian Beesley, photographer
Ian McMillan, celebrated poet
Kid Acne & Anne Mawdsley, Sheffield artists
Sheffield Archives & Local Studies Library
Sheffield City Council
University of Sheffield, English Department

Sat 3rd November 2012, 10am-12noon
Discovery Centre, Sheffield Manor Lodge, S2 1UL

To book a place please contact:
Grace Tebbutt, Community History Project Officer,
Green Estate, Manor Oaks Farm, 389 Manor Lane, Sheffield, S2 1UL
e: t: 07713308122


Event - Celebration day as institute turns 175 (Epworth)

ARTEFACTS dating back almost 200 years are to go on display at a major event showcasing Epworth’s heritage.

An open day is being held to mark the 175th anniversary of Epworth Mechanics’ Institute Library which will include a timeline depicting the area’s history.

The timeline will feature details of events and activities at the institute since it was opened by businessman William Read in 1873. It is now one of the last remaining institutes in the country.

There will also be a display of old pictures of the Isle of Axholme and copies of the Epworth Bells dating back more than 100 years will be available for people to look at.

Volunteer Chris Pledger, 56, of Sandtoft Road, Belton, said: “This is a major event in the calendar for Epworth and we want as many people as possible to come along and join in the fun.

“It is a great chance to find out about the history of the institute and Epworth in general. People can also see the great work we do here and see what activities are on offer.

“We also have details of Mr William Read who was an eminent local businessman, draper, publisher and grocer.

“The timeline looks fantastic and it has taken a fair few months to pull together through research. You never know, there might be details of some of your friends or family members.”

The celebrations will take place between 10am and 3pm on Saturday, October 20.

A raffle has been organised with the chance to win a number of prizes donated by businesses. Top prize is a 30 minute flight for two from the Real Aeroplane Club near Howden.

A number of community groups and organisations will also have stalls selling everything from books to cakes.

In addition staff will be asking for donations to a fund which will pay for the restoration of old copies of the Bells.

The mechanics’ institute was historically used as a place to provide education to adults, with a specific focus on technical subjects. It was housed in many places before finding its current home in the Manor Court House in Market Square in 1949.