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

Peace Garden, Swinton

Peace Garden, Swinton - 01.05.11 (1)

Peace Garden, Swinton

This was opened in 1986 to commemorate the ‘United Nations International Year of Peace’, on the site of the ‘Rookery’ which was a collection of cottages at the corner of Rookery Road and Church Street.

A ‘Rookery’ was a colloquial term given in the 18th and 19th centuries to describe a dense collection of residential properties, usually in an area that we would today call a ‘slum’.

In 2007, the Garden was renovated and a sculpture, called ‘Blooms’ by Hilary Cartmel, was added in order to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Garden’s dedication to peace

Dale Brown Social Club, Swinton

Dale Brown Social Club, Swinton (site of) - 21.07.13

Site on the Dale Brown Social Club, Swinton

This club was connected to the Dale and Brown glass works that was located nearby. This club closed 1995/1996 and the snooker tables were sold to Bowbroom W.M.C. The club buildings have since been demolished. Football is still played on the sports ground which was connected to the club.

Rock House & Harrop Gardens, Swinton

Harrop Gardens, Swinton - 21.04.16 (2)

Harrop Gardens, Swinton

Rock House in Station Street was originally the home of Edwin Thomas Harrop. In 1932, this house was purchased by Swinton Council and for a time used for educational and child welfare purposes. The Misses Harrop, granddaughters of Edwin, donated the grounds of the house to the Council with the intention of them being used by the elderly people of Swinton. In the 1960s, this house and the gardens were removed to make way for Swinton Precinct, municipal buildings and a pocket park called Harrop Gardens.

Going Down Swinton

Ship Inn, Swinton

Ship Inn, Swinton

A weekend night around Swinton was a very popular activity in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Swinton was the place to be and people would travel from far and wide from around South Yorkshire to get here.

The three main venues were the Red House, Ship Inn and the Tow Path (latterly called the Canal Bar). Other nearby watering holes included the Don Hotel, Station Hotel, Swinton Bottom Club and Swinton Victoria Club.

The decline of the above pubs seemed to occur sometime between 1999 and 2004, but when exactly? Did something happen to cause the decline? Personally, I put it down to a shift in tastes. The Ship Inn etc were basically traditional pubs and the younger generation wanted more trendy ‘bars’ that sold cocktails in a more refined atmosphere.

The Canal Bar was the demolished in 2006 and the Ship Inn in 2012. The Don Hotel closed for business in early 2010 and is now a catering and retail establishment.

Did you ever have a night out around Swinton? Have you any photos or stories to share? Did you perhaps meet your future husband/wife around Swinton?

Swinton Racecourse

Racecourse and entrance to it

Racecourse & the entrance to it

Swinton Racecourse was established by Earl Fitzwilliam in the 19th century. The track is still visible and can be walked upon, although a section of it has disappeared underneath a Wath housing development. The entrance to the racecourse can still be walked along.

The stables for this racecourse were demolished in the 1980s and houses have now been built in their place.

The Picture House, Swinton


Cafe Sport, Swinton

Cafe Sport, Swinton

This cinema, built in 1929, could seat 1100 people and was opened in 1929 with ‘Battle of the Sexes’ after being built by Wade & Sons of Wath. In 1961, bingo began to played here on up to three days per week. It finally closed as a cinema in the 1970s but reopened as a skate boarding venue, then became Swinton Squash Club before finally being converted into a health gym with a bar, called, Cafe Sport.

Carnegie Library, Swinton

Carnegie Library, Swinton

Carnegie Library, Swinton

A grant of £3,000 was made by the Scottish born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, which resulted in this library opening in June 1906. As well as being a library, social functions were hosted upstairs. A new library was opened in the 1970s and the Carnegie library was eventually converted into flats.