Luke Berry

Luke Berry - Roche Abbey, Maltby - 1889

Luke at Roche Abbey

Luke Berry is my third great grandfather and he was born in 1823 in Kexborough, Barnsley. In 1845, Luke married Jane Walker.

Luke and Jane issued seven children, four of which did not survive infancy; three succumbed in quick succession during the 1860s from Scarlet Fever. The surviving children were, Hannah Berry (1845 to 1924), Agnes (1847 to 1916) and Priscilla Walker (1852 to 1918). Hannah is my second great grandmother and she married Francis Pinder in 1867.

In the 1850s, Luke and Jane moved to live in Rotherham, where they remained. Luke died in 1891 and Jane in 1897. Their headstone still survives in Moorgate Cemetery, Rotherham, but has now toppled over and the inscription is no longer visible.


Rotherham Waterworks


We regret to have to record the death of Mr. Luke Berry, which took place at his residence, the Waterworks, Frederick Street, Rotherham, on Saturday evening. The deceased gentleman was 68 years of age. He had not been thoroughly well since June last, when he had the misfortune to be thrown out of a trap on his way to Ulley Reservoir. On that occasion he received a severe shock, and his heart had been in weak state ever since. However, he had only been confined to the house for about three weeks and was downstairs a few days before his death. Dr. Baldwin had been his medical adviser, and recently, Dr. Dyson, of Sheffield, was consulted. The cause of death was angina of the heart, coupled with an asthmatic condition.

Frederick Street, Rotherham - 28.05.09 (3)

Frederick Street

Mr. Berry was a native of Kexbro’, near Barnsley. In his younger days he was engaged at Taylor’s Mills, Redbrook, and subsequently he was employed at Mitchell’s Ironworks, Worsbro’ Dale, as engine fitter and pattern maker. After a few years in that position he proceeded to the Kirkstall Forge, Leeds, belonging to Messes. Beecroft and Butler. It was at these works that the large engines at the Waterworks were produced. Mr. Berry had worked himself into a position of trust, and amongst other places visited Germany on the firm’s account. When the engines were erected at Rotherham, he had the management of the work, and as was customary with the firm with which he was identified, he stayed six months after their completion to see that all the work was in proper order. At the completion of that period the Local Board of Health secured his services as resident manager and engineer, a position which he retained for a period of 36 years.

Luke Berry - Roche Abbey - Circa 1889 (Copyright Liz Early)

Luke at Roche Abbey

Mr. Berry followed many scientific pursuits, and the observatory in the yard adjoining the house was an indication of the manner in which his mind was bent. Chemistry may be said to have been his favourite science, especially analysis, and he was able to test water and other liquids in a practical way. His apparatus shows he spared no expense in the acquisition of knowledge not only for the purposes of his profession, but also for his amusement. He constructed a valuable telescope, and also a sidereal timepiece, to and him in astronomical studies. At the time of his advent to Rotherham he made an organ. This instrument was used on one occasion at the Mechanics’ Hall, when an oratorio was performed. The organ was afterwards sold to Dr. Sewell, then organist of the Parish Church, and later it came into the possession of the Rev. Dr. Falding, and was used at the old Independent College, in College Road, Masbro’.

(Grave No. 69) Moorgate Cemetery, Rotherham - 24.06.09 (2)

Berry grave

Mr. Berry was fond of the microscope, and devoted some attention to photography, being a member of the council of the Rotherham Photographic Society, and also of the Rotherham Naturalists’ Society. Electricity found in him an earnest student. He introduced a system of electrical indicators, by which he could ascertain the depth of stored water at the reservoirs. He brought out several patents, one being a smoke consumer which is in use at the works at the present time. About twelve months ago he introduced a method by which two large boilers would do the work which four used to do, and saved something like £50 per month in fuel alone. As an organiser, his tact was clearly demonstrated in 1886, when there was a famine. For years he contended that Dalton was a necessity, the supply at Ulley, Pinch Mill, &c., not being adequate in the case of a continued dry period. The force of this brought home to the opponents of the scheme by the night and day labour which had to be done in a time of drought, to secure the use of the Dalton water. Mr. Berry took little or no part in politics although his views had a Conservative tendency.

For many years Luke was a local preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist denomination, first being identified with Talbot Lane and latterly with Eastwood Chapel. The deceased gentleman was held in great respect, and his demise is regretted by a large circle of friends. He leaves a widow and three daughters, viz, Mrs. F. Pinder, Mrs. J. Early, and Mrs. Brelsford.

Moorgate Cemetery, Rotherham - 13.07.09 (4)

Moorgate Cemetery

The interment took place at the Rotherham Cemetery, on Thursday, the officiating minister being the Rev. A. Westcombe. The mourners were Mrs. Berry, Mr. and Mrs. F. Pinder, Mr. and Mrs. J. Early, Mr. and Mrs. Brelsford, Mr. Mark Berry, Senior, Sheffield; Mr. Mark Berry, Junior; Mr. and Mrs. A. Price, Master Harry, the Misses Edith and Beatrice Pinder, Mr. W. A. Brelsford, Mr. Geo. A. Early, Mr. Walter Early, Barnsley; Mr. F. A. Early, Mr. Ernest Early, Mr. Jno. Walker, Barnsley; Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Wilson, Mr. J. Wilson, Miss Wilson, Hoyland; Mr. Herbert Walker, Miss S. A. Walker, Miss L. Walker, Miss M. A. Pinder, Mr. Palfreyman, and Mr. W. Crabtree, Doncaster. The members and officials of the Corporation followed in seven carriages. There were present Alderman Wragg, and Councillors F. Mason, G. Gummer, J. Pearce, T. Charles, J. Chesterfield, J. Cox, E. Hickmott, D. L. Winter, J. B. Habershon. The Mayor (Councillor W. L. R. Hirst) had written expressing his regret that he should be prevented by another engagement from attending the funeral. The Town Clerk (Mr. H. H. Hickmott) was unavoidably absent in consequences of having to be present at an important mining inquiry at Sheffield. The borough officials present were Mr. C. H. Muss (sic), borough accountant; Mr. E. Cooper, borough collector; Mr. G. J. Thurgarland, assistant to Town Clerk; Mr. J. Enright, chief constable; Mr. T. Bellamy, gas secretary; Mr J. Taylor, baths manager; Mr. H. Albiston, park keeper; Mr. E. C. May, park keeper; Mr. O. E. Parkin, sanitary inspector; Mr. H. J. Wright, stores keeper; Mr. J. Goodwin, gas manager; and Mr. W. Law, deputy market inspector. Wreaths had been forwarded by employees of the Waterworks, the officials of the Corporation, and from members of the family.

This post was originally published on Mollekin Portalite on 29/06/2011.

One Response to “Luke Berry”

  1. peter Herbert Says:

    From Peter Herbert, husband of Margaret. When Margaret asked if anyone had any information about the waterworks she never expected o receive such an informative and interesting reply. Thankyou very much. Between the ages of 7 and 13 years I used to visit my grandparents from Friday to Sunday once or twice each month at the waterworks house,6 Frederick Street. My bedroom on the upper floor at the side of the house looked directly onto the old observatory although some air raid shelters had been built between the two. I have many happy memories of going with my grandfather each Saturday morning,checking various water installations from Kimberworth on one side of town to the pumping station on the other. My favorite was Holidays at Home week when I stayed for the entire week and my first job each day as chief helper, was to make sure that the paddling pool n Clifton Park was clean and full. Thanks again, Peter and Margaret Herbert.

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