Swinton Voices Book

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Robert Craig

Swinton’s streets have been walked by an incalculable number of people, most of whom are no longer living but each with many and often whole lifetimes of experiences of Swinton. The aim of this book is to record the memories of Swinton in yesteryear by people still alive today, for the benefit of current and future generations of Swintonians.

I established the ‘Swinton Record’ project in 2008. The goal was to record all names on headstones standing in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard. Within a year, I was looking into the lives behind the names. Before long, I realised that I was researching all of Swinton’s past population. Each person in the Churchyard had a personal story to tell but often lost forever when they died.

The inspiration behind this book was, ‘Memories – Recollections of Rawmarsh people’ that was produced by the Rawmarsh Manor Farm History Group, in 2004, which I read in 2008. I announced the ‘Swinton Voices’ project in January of this year. Rather than publishing a hard copy of ‘Swinton Voices’ and incurring printing costs etc. which might not be recouped, I decided to produce a publication that would be easily accessible to people, regardless of location, free of charge.

I wholeheartedly thank each and every author for submitting an account for the inclusion of this edition; without them, it simply wouldn’t have been possible. I hope that their stories are well read, around the globe, for years to come.

It is desired that this first edition will prove to be an inspiration and catalyst for additional submissions. Accounts of memories as recent as last year would be welcome; what might be deemed as being contemporary now will be considered as being old in years to come. So if you’ve enjoyed reading this book, please submit your own account for inclusion in future editions.

The book is currently only available in PDF format. EPUB and Kindle versions may be available in the future when I have mastered how to render the book correctly in each format.

Download the ‘Swinton Voices’ 2017 edition by clicking here.

Robert Craig, Swinton, Tuesday 12th December 2017

Station Street Chip Shop, Swinton

Station Street, Swinton - 23.05.16

Chip Shop, Station Street, Swinton

This building on the corner, to the older generation, is best known as ‘Elbeck’s chip shop’.

When the Elbeck family left, it was sold to Charlie and Georgina Cross. Charlie and Georgina left to run a chip shop in Cleethorpes.

I remember in 1992, it was renamed to ‘Land and Sea’.

In 1995, George Kalegerou took over the shop and was a very friendly owner. He renamed it to, ‘Athenia’ (after his daughter). People who can recall George will be familiar with his saying, as you walked through the door, of, ‘five minutes for cheeps’! Another familiar saying was ‘do want beets with the cheeps’?!

George left in 2010 and it was renamed again to ‘Station’. It seemed to exchange hands numerous times in the subsequent years before closing in 2016. It is, as of November 2017, empty and unused, with its final name change being, simply, ‘Fish & Chips’.

Perhaps in the 1980s, it had the nickname of, ‘Greasy Nicks’.

A fire engine once embedded itself in the chip shop whilst attending a 999 call out.

23 Piccadilly Road, Swinton

Former shop(s), Piccadilly Road, Swinton - 07.05.11 (3)

23 Piccadilly Road, Swinton

This shop, at 23 Piccadilly Road, was for many years owned by Alec Burden who was also a Milkman for the Piccadilly area.

According to Malcolm G. Plant’s book, ‘Piccadilly the Hamlet’, the shop was initially opened by Charles Green in 1926.

Alec sold the shop to the Bennett family.

I remember first going to the shop in 1991 and it was a small, typical, corner shop. I’m not sure exactly when it ceased trading, but I think probably in the mid to late 1990s. It is now a private dwelling.

The shop is also rumoured to be haunted!

Glassworks, Swinton

White Lee Road, Swinton - 29.06.09 (35)

Avago Karting (site of the glassworks)

Circa 1850, James Tillotson came to Swinton, from the Leeds area and established a glassworks on White Lee Road. These glassworks would exchange hands in subsequent decades, notable owners being William Wilkinson and Dale, Brown & Company. The business was sold to United Glass in the early 1970s and finally to Canning Town Glass. The business was closed in 1988 with the loss of over 400 jobs.

(C) 93 (Tillotson) - 12.06.09 (2)

Tillotson family in grave in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard, Swinton

William Rupert Brown died in February 1929 at his home at 9, Priory Road, Sheffield. He was a member of Dale, Brown & Co. which they acquired in 1913 from the South Yorkshire Glass Bottle Company after they had been derelict and disused for two or three years. William was born in Stroud Green, North London and educated in London. As a youth, he was a traveller for a London glass bottle producer. At 19, he joined the staff of Alfred Alexandra & Company Limited and eventually became London manager of the firm. Mr. Brown, his future partner was at the time the works manager for the same firm in Hunslet. When they purchased the glassworks, William moved to Sheffield and Mr. Brown settled in Wath but later moved to Wetherby.

Gas was directly supplied to the glassworks via a pipe that ran from Manver’s Main coking plant in Wath.

The iconic chimney that belonged to the glassworks was finally demolished in 1996 and an indoor go-carting centre now occupies the land where the glassworks once stood.

Bowbroom, Swinton

245 Queen Street, Swinton

245 Queen Street, Swinton

245 Queen Street, Swinton in 1984 & 2010

245 Queen Street, Swinton in 1984 & 2010

This entry pertains to the Bowbroom area of Swinton, focused on a family that had lived here.

CONTACT FROM AMERICA – In February 2009, David Watts from America contacted me via my website and informed me that one of the photos in my Swinton Record project, pertained to his family tree. I then proceeded to do further genealogical research on David’s behalf which uncovered many remarkable finds.

Bowbroom, Swinton in 1855 & 1892

Bowbroom, Swinton in 1855 & 1892

One of the first amazing discoveries in David’s family tree was that he descends from the Barron and Hartley glassmaking families that had moved to Mexborough from Hunslet (near Leeds) in the first half of the 19th century. David is also connected by marriage to the Kilner glass makers of Conisbrough.

THE STEVENSON FAMILY, BOWBROOM & SWINTON – Bowbroom (also known as Baw Broom and Bow Broom) is a very small area in Swinton, South Yorkshire, and probably few people have heard of the location other than the people that live there. On the 1855 map of Swinton, Bowbroom doesn’t appear to be inhabited by humans whereas, by 1892, there is plenty of activity.

(F) 1862 (Stevenson) - 19.03.09 (2)

William & Catherine Stevenson’s Grave in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard, Swinton

David’s second great grandparents were called William Stevenson and Catherine. William, originally from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, moved to Denaby in South Yorkshire sometime in the 1860s. By the 1881 Census and on the 1891 Census, William is a Grocer and Provisions Dealer at 95 Queen Street, Swinton. By 1901 he is living in the Mexborough end of Swinton on Frederick Street and is recorded as being a retired Publican. William and his descendants had a strong presence in the Bowbroom/Queen Street areas of Swinton and in surrounding neighbourhoods:-

– William’s daughter, Harriet, born circa 1863, married Jonah Jones and together issued at least ten children. Harriet and Jonah are David Watt’s great-grandparents. On the 1891 Census, Jonah is a Licensed Victualler at the Cresswell Arms, 5 Thomas Street (Bowbroom). Presumably, Jonah must have passed on the license of the Cresswell Arms to his brother in law, Fred Walker (see below) who was the Inn Keeper of the Cresswell Arms on the 1901 Census. On the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, Jonah is a Publican/Beerhouse Keeper of the Butchers Arms (Station Street, Swinton).

Lupton's Shop (Queen Street), 1 Manvers Road & 33 Queen Street, Swinton

Lupton’s Shop (Queen Street), 1 Manvers Road & 33 Queen Street, Swinton

– William’s daughter, Lily, born circa 1865, married John William Firth who on the 1901 Census was a Grocer at 90 Dolcliffe Road in Mexborough and then a Grocer at 1 Manvers Road in Mexborough (now converted into a residential dwelling).

– William’s daughter, Hephzibah, born circa 1867, was firstly married to Joe Worby who was a Grocer and Provisions Dealer at 48 Queen Street on the 1891 Census. By the 1901 Census, Joe had died and Hephzibah was married to Fred Walker who was an Inn Keeper at the Cresswell Arms, 5 Thomas Street (Bowbroom). By the 1911 Census, Hephzibah was once again widowed and a Grocer at 33 Queen Street.

Albert Street, Frederick Street & Stephenson Place, Swinton

Albert Street, Frederick Street & Stephenson Place, Swinton

– William’s daughter, Alice, born circa 1873, married Tom Lupton who was a Grocer at 80 Queen Street on the 1901 Census and then a Shopkeeper at 215 Queen Street on the 1911 Census. On Queen Street near to the Bowbroom area, there is a row of terraced houses known as Lupton Buildings. Nearby to these houses was a shop which I remember well and which closed circa 1998.

Bowbroom Wesleyan Reform Church, Swinton - 05.02.16 (1)

Bowbroom Wesleyan Reform Church, Swinton

STEPHENSON PLACE – Hephzibah Jones (1881 to 1951) was a daughter of the above Jonah Jones and Harriet Stevenson. Hephzibah married Samuel Young. Hephzibah and Samuel issued at least six children, one of which was called Hephzibah Young. Hephzibah was born in 1912 at 245 Queen Street (Bowbroom). Hephzibah is the mother of David Watts. Included in this entry are photos of Hephzibah Young (nee Jones) standing outside of 245 Queen Street (Bowbroom).

David’s mother visited her birthplace in 1984. The broken up paving and cobbles of Stephenson Place are visible in the 1984 photo and were visible for many years after – well into the 1990s and possibly even into the 2000s.

Cresswell Arms, Bowbroom W.M.C. & Thomas Street Stores

Cresswell Arms, Bowbroom W.M.C. & Thomas Street Stores

245 Queen Street (where David’s mother was born) was a Grocery shop. I visited this shop many times and it was known locally as Sams’ (the name of the owner (Samuel Whitworth) in the 1970s and 1980s) or the ‘Beer Off’ as it was an Off Licence. I was, in fact, the last customer of this shop circa May 1997. I’d always previously believed that the road (now a dead end) to the left of the shop was formerly Albert Street before Albert Street was rebuilt in the 1970s and further extended in the 1980s. However, after studying maps of the area, I realised that the location of Albert Street has never changed (except for the 1980’s extension). The road next to the shop is in fact known as, Stephenson Place. Although Stephenson Place is visible on maps from the late 19th century onwards, it was not until 1930 that it is given an actual name on a map. I believe that Stephenson Place may have been named as such due to David’s Stevenson ancestors living in the vicinity (I appreciate the difference in spelling although on the 1901 Census it is called Stevenson Street).

Bower Road & Hatherley Road, Swinton

Bower Road & Hatherley Road, Swinton

CHANGES IN BOWBROOM – Noticeable changes in the Bowbroom area since when the Stevenson families lived in the area are:-

– Demolition of the old housing. I remember as a child there being waste ground where what is now the new extension to Albert Street/back of Stephenson Place. There were piles of old bricks and I recall Bonfires taking place on this land.

Dearne & Dove Canal, Swinton - 12.10.95 (b&w)

Dearne & Dove Canal, Bowbroom, Swinton in 1995

– Bower Road and Hatherley Road were created in the late 1930s by Swinton Urban District Council. They were named after prominent Swinton residents, Aquila Bower and Doctor Sydney O. Hatherley.

– The Cresswell Arms pub was rebuilt in the 1940s. Running alongside the modern day Cresswell Arms appears to be the remains of an old access road. I believe that the now redundant road running in front of the Cresswell Arms was perhaps a section of the original Thomas Street.

– The Cresswell estate was erected in the early 1960s, which included new streets in Bowbroom, called Cresswell Road, St Michaels Avenue and Queens Avenue, along with adding houses to Bower Road, Queen Street, and Thomas Street. Thomas Street was extensively redeveloped.

Cresswell Road & St. Michael's Avenue, Swinton

Cresswell Road & St. Michael’s Road, Swinton

– Bowbroom W.M.C. Club, on Thomas Street, was also rebuilt and a row of shops opposite, with flats above, were built.

– The Dearne and Dove canal at Bowbroom was mostly filled in, in the 1960s although small stretches of it still remain today.

– The Chapel was rebuilt in the 1970s in a slightly different location. Originally, it appeared to be set behind housing on Queen Street and accessible from Stephenson Place. It is now located on the corner of Queen Street and Stephenson Place, adjacent to the Grocery shop (245 Queen Street).

Bowbroom, Swinton

Bowbroom, Swinton in the 21st Century

– The 19th-century bridge spanning the Dearne and Dove canal was blown up and rebuilt in the 1970s. The course of Queen Street was slightly altered/straightened when they did this.

Although the majority of the original buildings in the Bowbroom area have been demolished and rebuilt, I’m sure that Bowbroom’s past inhabitants would still recognise the area.

FINALLY – Special thanks are owed to David Watts for the supply of the old photos featured in this entry. Any comments, photos or memories of Bowbroom which people may have, would be appreciated.

Swinton Post Office

Post Office, Swinton

Swinton Post Office

The Post Office on Station Street occupied the building it was in for all or most of the time it has been standing. In 2014, it closed and relocated to a nearby Spar convenience store, also on Station Street. It is now occupied by the B.A.R.C. animal charity shop.

The Darby family ran the above Post Office in the 1970s.

Most of the other Post Offices in the area have also closed:-

Highthorn Post Office in Kilnhurst closed in January 2004.
Roman Terrace Post Office closed in the 1990s.
Swinton Common Post Office closed in February 2004.
Victoria Street Post Office in Kilnhurst closed in February 2004.

Another Post Office, in Swinton, that closed many decades ago, was on Bridge Street, in the building to the right of the bric-a-brac shop in the photo below on Bridge Street.

Dolly Morgans', Swinton

Dolly Morgans’ (left) & Former Post Office (right)

Ward & Sons, Swinton

Ward & Sons, White Lee Road, Swinton - 25.06.13 (3)

Ward & Sons, Swinton

This business, located on Market Street, was established by Charles Jackson of Bridge Street and A. & C. Derwent, initially in Crossland Street in 1870 which became the ‘Bala Water Company’ in 1874. William Ward established ‘Mineral Water Works’ circa 1900 and ‘Ward & Sons’ began bottling ale for Bass and Worthington breweries.

Ward & Sons possibly ceased trading in 1982, when operations were moved to Bass Charrington’s brewery in Sheffield. Much of the factory was demolished, some of it quite recently, but an old dilapidated looking section of it remains that is accessed from White Lee Road. This surviving, storage part of the factory where bottles etc. were kept, was taken over by A.C.R. Packaging who named it Ensign House. A.C.R. Packaging packed greetings cards etc. and possibly stored sweets too. It most recently appeared to be trading in furniture and a gym occupies/occupied the rear of it.

Chapel Hill Farm, Swinton

Chapel Hill, Swinton - 01.07.17

Chapel Hill, Swinton

John Sharpley, born circa 1829 in Penistone, married Emily Crawshaw in 1873. Together, they had a very large family, issuing at least eighteen children. John was a farmer and in the 1880s, he and his family, moved to live and work in Swinton.

The Sharpley family had, over the years, to my knowledge, four businesses in Swinton; a farm at Chapel Hill, Church Street (Church Farm that dealt with dairy), Fitzwilliam Street (Manor Farm) and a butchery at Swinton Bridge. It may be that Chapel Hill Farm and Church Farm were one and the same farm.

Sons of John and Emily that followed into the faming business, were, James (who initially farmed at Wombwell, then Swinton’s Manor Farm and latterly at Elm Tree Farm, Hooton Roberts), Thomas (known as Tom) (Chapel Hill Farm), Ben (Church Farm), John (Chapel Hill Farm & Manor Farm) and Albert (who became a butcher). Their youngest son, Colin, may also have helped with the business although he died relatively young at the age of 23, but was living at Church Farm at the time of his death.

The farm at Chapel Hill, which included an orchard, was demolished when St Johns Road and Chapel Hill bungalows were constructed. At the time, Tom Sharpley was operating from here and following the construction of the new bungalows on St Johns Road, he resided at 9 Chapel Hill.

111 Queen Street, Swinton

Former shop opposite Queen Street School, Swinton - 29.05.13 (1)

111 Queen Street, Swinton

This property is now a private residence, but it had previously belonged to Mr. Knowles who was a Scottish newsagent. I’m not sure exactly when Mr. Knowles took ownership, but it was probably in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

My earliest memories of this shop are from when I started attending Queen Street Primary School across the road in 1980; my mum would walk me to school and buy me crisps from the shop for my break time.

In later years, I worked for Mr. Knowles between 1990 and 1993, delivering the Rotherham Star newspaper daily at tea time, six days a week, with an additional delivery on Saturdays for the ‘Green ‘Un’. For this, I received £5 per week. After a few months, I switched to a morning round that paid £8 per week, which was £1 more than the other morning rounds due to it being longer. After a while, I switched to a shorter round that paid £7.

Mr. Knowles taught us to how fold a newspaper properly and always insisted that we posted the papers all the way through the letterboxes – very basic skills, but ones which most current newspaper deliverers don’t appear to have. Saturdays and Sundays were the hardest days with the various newspaper supplements and we’d either have to carry two bags or go back for the second one. Monday to Friday was a 07:00 start, Saturdays was a 07:30 start and on a Sunday we’d have a lie in as we didn’t have to start until 08:00. I think the only day we had off was Christmas Day, writing of which, Christmas was always a good time for tips; I’d usually make around £25.

Mr. Knowles didn’t say much (what he did say was hard to understand) and perhaps even came across as grumpy, but he was cheerful in his own way and was pleasant to work for. He’d always have a pipe in his hand and the shop had a permanent odour of pipe tobacco smoke. I never remember Mr. Knowles being ill, but around March 1993, when we arrived at the shop one morning, it was closed and we couldn’t get in. It transpired that Mr. Knowles was ill with bronchitis and had to be taken away to a hospital. I never saw him again. I was told, some years later, that he’d gone into sheltered accommodation in Rotherham and died just a few years later. He’d always seemed like an old man to me and he must have been in his 80s by the time he’d left the shop.

After Mr. Knowles, a lady bought the business and ran it for maybe three or four years. I believe it then changed owners again; I remember in late 1997, it was opening later and I think it was even selling alcohol. The last time I remember patronising this shop was in late 1999 and it ceased trading shortly after.

Prior to Mr. Knowles, the shop was owned by a Mr. Redditt who was also a newsagent and general dealer.

Queens Foundry, Swinton

Queens Foundry, Swinton

Queens Foundry, Swinton

Following the great Sheffield flood of 1864, Thomas and Charles Hattersley relocated their iron foundry at the end of Queen Street in 1864 and called the premises, Queens Foundry. These premises were demolished in 1936. The business was moved to much larger premises in 1869. These works provided employment for hundreds of Swinton people and produced stoves and grates. At some point in the 20th century, the works were acquired by the Stelrad company who specialise in the production of domestic radiators. In the 1990s, the building was divided into small units in order to cater for small businesses.