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.

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

Bowbroom W.M.C., Swinton

McColls, Thomas Street, Swinton

Bowbroom W.M.C., Swinton

The current, 1960s, building replaces at least one earlier wooden structure; it actually started life as a cottage.

The Club was tied to the Wards Brewery of Sheffield. In the early 1970s, the brewery refurbished the Club with very 1970s decor, i.e., orange chairs etc. It took the Club decades to pay this debt back to the brewery and it was never refurbished again, retaining the 1970s decor until it closed in 2012.

In 1995, perhaps giving or taking a year, Wards brewery was taken over by the Vaux brewery. Guest beers began appearing as alternatives to the Wards & Darley bitters which had only ever been available before.

Brazier family (pre WWI) (copyright Doug. Brader)

The Brazier family residing at Bowbroom cottage, prior to World War One

The Club Secretary, Alec Botham, kept trying new ideas in order to entice custom in the 1990s and 2000s, such as introducing a short-lived hot snack counter, soup nights and even organ nights where ‘Mac Duprey’ would take centre stage.

Club ‘turns’ used to be frequent and infrequent; sometimes weekly and sometimes monthly.

The Club had all the usual sporting teams – darts, fishing, football and pool etc. and awards would be handed out at the very well attended darts and fishing ‘do’s’.

Circa 1996, the Club purchased a snooker table from the defunct Dale Brown Social Club on White Lee Road. The pool table was then moved into the ‘tap room’ and the snooker table placed in the main Club room, where the pool table had been situated previously.

In the 1990s, due to complaints regarding noise, the ‘one armed bandit’ was placed into its own little booth, which looked quite odd.

The Club used to have a dedicated Bar Steward, but this role was made redundant, perhaps in the late 1990s.

Due to a clientele base that was literally dying off, monetary problems and an inability to adapt to the requirements of the younger generation, the Club closed in February 2012. There was talk of it being used as a child day care/community centre and even as a private club. The latter idea was aborted due to it being stipulated by Rotherham Council that it would require a huge perimeter fence erecting around it, which deterred the investor. It was eventually sold to the McColls retail chain who opened their store there in December 2013.

Members of the Club’s Committee included:-

Alec Botham (Club Secretary) – Circa 1992 to 2008
Sam (?) Childs (Committee) – 1970’s
Phil Craggs (Club Secretary) – 2008 to circa 2011
Wilson Davies (Committee) – ? to circa mid 2000s
Bernard Gothard (Committee) – ? to circa 2006
Dick Larder (Committee) – ? to circa 2004
Sam Simpson (Committee) – ? to circa 2010
Glynn Taylor (Committee) – ? to circa 2010
Arthur Wain (Club Secretary) – ? to circa 1992
Michael Weeks (Committee) – ? to 1997
George Wood (Committee) – ? to ?
Harry Wray (President) – ? to circa 2003

Plant Hotel, Swinton

Plant, Mexborough

Plant Hotel, Mexborough

This early 20th century public house closed for business early in 2011. It took its name from the nearby railway plant and at the time of its construction, was in the Roman Terrace (Wath Road) area of Swinton (now Mexborough). It was demolished in 2013 and in the Spring of 2013, a Farmfoods retail outlet was built on the site.

Landlords have included:-


Ship Inn, Swinton

Ship Inn, Swinton

Ship Inn, Swinton

This mid 18th century public house was built in the shape of a ship, by Charles Simpson who was a barge builder in the adjacent canal basin. It closed for business in 2009 and was purchased by Rotherham Council in the same year. It was demolished in March 2012.

Landlords have included:-

Charles Simpson – 1800s
Brett Jones – ? to 2009

Other notable members of staff include:-

Gary Atkinson (Bouncer)

Church Hall, Swinton


Swinton’s Church Hall

When Saint Margaret’s Church was erected in 1816, Swinton’s Norman chapel of ease was demolished. In its place was built a Glebe House which in the early 19th century was converted into an infants’ school. A Glebe House is a church house provided for a member of the clergy.

In 1911, the above Glebe House was demolished and in 1913, Saint Margaret’s Church Hall was built in its place. Whilst preparing the land for the construction of the Church Hall, the remains of ten people were found. It is thought that they were victims of the Plague and had been buried in a mass grave. The remains were exhumed and interred in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard.

The Church Hall was, over the years, used for a number of different purposes. As well as serving the Church’s social functions, schoolchildren from the nearby Fitzwilliam School would eat their dinners and perform P.E. here. It was also used by social clubs, such as Swinton’s badminton club.

As of November 2017, the Church Hall is surplus to the requirements of Saint Margaret’s Church and is up for sale.

Medieval Public House, Swinton

Chapel Hill, Swinton

Chapel Hill, Swinton

This ancient public house was situated close to the Norman Chapel, at Chapel Hill, and is perhaps the oldest of all Swinton’s inns which dated back to the medieval times.

Swinton Chemical Works Explosion

Former Croda, Kilnhurst

Former Croda Site




Early on Saturday morning the unusual sound of the fire bell was heard at Mexbro’. It transpired that an explosion had occurred at the chemical works at Swinton, and that a great destruction of property had been the result. This was the third disaster at the works within a comparatively brief period. About a year ago a workman lost his life by the poisonous fumes emanating from one of the large vats in which he was working, and a mate was only “brought round” with great difficulty. Prior to this a quantity of the inflammable liquid became ignited, and considerable loss was sustained by the owners, Messrs. Ellison and Mitchell, who also carry on similar works at Cleckheaton. It appears that about ten minutes to eight on Saturday morning an employee named James Lawrence, of Doncaster, was on duty at the works. He had been firing up a still which was preparing about 3000 gallons of benzoline. One of the proprietors would have been engaged near the same spot in all probability had he not met with a slight accident to one of his feet the previous day. He had interrogated Lawrence just before the accident as to whether all was right, and received a reply in the affirmative. Suddenly, however, there was a terrific report with a simultaneous flash of fire, which appeared to envelope the whole premises. Before it was known what had happened, residents at Swinton and Kilnhurst had feared an explosion had occurred at the Thrybergh Hall Colliery, and the wildest rumours were afloat. The workman, Lawrence, considers himself fortunate that he was not killed on the spot. When the explosion occurred he was far from the still, and the concussion “carried” him several yards away. The flames caught him, and the partial disfigurement of his face is proof of the great danger he was in. It is remarkable that he was not more seriously injured. He was promptly removed to the hospital at Mexbro’, after previous treatment by Dr. M’Call, of Kilnhurst, and it is hoped he may soon recover the burns appearing to be only facial and superficial. He has sustained no internal injury, beyond the shock to the nervous system. Another workman named Joseph Lee was on the ground, but he escaped unscathed. As an illustration of the force of the explosion, the top of the still, constructed of half-inch boiler plates and said to weight seven or eight tons, was carried through the air some 50 or 60 yards, finally alighting in a large tank of water. In its flight it just missed a tall chimney, which thus escaped demolition. The masonry of the benzoline shed – containing ten large boilers, capable of containing 3000 of liquid each – collapsed with a great crash, while the flames were darting heavenwards. The mechanism which ensured the security of the boilers also gave way, and the flames then devoured the benzoline inside. The boilers were fortunately by no means full, but there was ample liquid to cause a startling conflagration, which lasted a long time, until the benzoline had all been devoured. There was no wind at the time, otherwise the consequences would have been much more disastrous. The width of the building was about 11 yards, and the length about 40 yards. When the members of the fire brigade arrived from Mexbro’, their endeavour was to save that portion of the works which had thus far escaped. Between 30 and 40 benzoline barrels were on the ground, and these were removed to a safe distance from the fire. Water was poured upon the contiguous property in as large volumes as possible, though at the first the jet appeared much inadequate for the purpose. The labours of the brigade were not only arduous, but dangerous, while they stood in the vicinity of the blazing building, which every now and again gave ominous cracks, as though the whole would collapse. But no one was hurt. Captain Humphries (who is surveyor to the Mexbro’ Local Board) had charge of the brigade. Amongst others who zealously assisted were Mr. H. A. Fenner, the company’s analyst, Mr. W. H. Mitchell, and Mr. J. C. Haller, surveyor to the Swinton Local Board. Large crowds assembled from Mexbro’, Swinton and Kilnhurst, having been attracted by the fire bell and the flames. The extent of the damage is at present a matter of speculation, though it is calculated to amount to £2000 or £3000. The loss will be only very partially met by insurance. The cause of the explosion is not definitely known, but it is surmised that the “worm” at the top of the still had become clogged, thus preventing the escape of steam from the benzoline, under which was the furnace.

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.

Swinton Common Colliery

Swinton Common Colliery (site of) - 12.05.11 (33)

Swinton Common Colliery Shaft Marker

Swinton Common Colliery (site of) - 12.05.11 (12)

Old Swinton Common Colliery Workings

Most people know about South Yorkshire’s coal heritage and many from the area will have heard the names of Manvers Main and Wath Main coal mines which were in operation in Wath Upon Dearne during the 19th and 20th centuries. However, most people are perhaps not aware that there used to be coal mining activity in Swinton.

Most of Swinton’s inhabitants will be familiar with Creighton Woods and have probably walked in there and seen the Sister’s Lynch-gate at the entrance but probably aren’t aware that there used to be a coal mine in close proximity to this entrance. This coal mine was called Swinton Common Colliery and would have been a relatively small affair in comparison to the likes of Manvers Main and Wath Main.

Former Scout hut, Swinton - 25.06.10 (3)

Former Scout Hut

Swinton Common Colliery closed in the 1920’s and was demolished soon afterwards.

Evidence of Swinton Common Colliery’s mining activities is still present in the surrounding landscape in the form of dips, holes and mini canyons which in the present day seem to be a venue of recreational activities for bikers. All of this man made damage however now seems perman-madeatural in its environment and has been covered and filled by trees and undergrowth over the course of 90 years since the closure of the coal mine.

The location of the mine’s actual pit shaft is easy to locate as there is a concrete marker on the spot and is situated on open grassland bordering Creighton Woods on Woodland Crescent.

There is also a brick building still standing that was used by the coal mine. It’s last use was as a Scout hut.