Mr. Riley Retires This Month


Riley’s Coach Depot

Dorothy May Berry, born in 1904 in Parkgate, Rotherham, is my third cousin, thrice removed and daughter of Harry Berry and Agnes Wood. Dorothy’s brother, Frank, is also featured on this site.

In 1928, in Rotherham, Dorothy married Leonard Riley and together they issued two children.

It is interesting to note that Leonard’s brother, Cecil Riley, was the proprietor of the very well known Rotherham business, Riley’s Coaches, which was founded early in the 20th century. Riley’s coach depot was located on Sheffield Road in the Westgate area of Rotherham. Leonard and his family were a Westgate family, living there when the 1911 Census was conducted. Riley’s Coaches were taken over by Gordon’s Coaches of Rotherham in the 1990s.


Rank Hovis Flour Mill

Below is a newspaper article pertaining to Leonard’s retirement in 1966. Leonard worked at the Rank Hovis flour mill, located on Canklow Road, in the Westgate area of Rotherham. Premier Foods, the owners of Rank Hovis, closed the mill in 2008 and it was demolished in January 2012.


Mr. Riley retires this month…

Mr. Leonard Riley, of 19, Beechwood Road, Rotherham, received two presentations at an informal gathering, at the Town Corn Mills of Hovis, Ltd., Rotherham, on Tuesday, from Mr. E. A. Williams, Activity Chief Executive (Technical), Flour Milling, Joseph Rank, Ltd.

Mr. Riley was first presented with a gold clock to mark the completion of 40 years with the firm, and was afterwards presented with an engraved silver cigarette box from his colleagues, to mark his retirement later this month.

Starting with the firm in 1922 as an accounts clerk Mr. Riley became commercial manager, a position which he has occupied for many years.

Mr. Herbert Graham, of 9, Nidderdale Road, Rotherham, was presented with a stainless steel tray and tea set and a coffee table and cutlery to mark 40 years service with the company. He is the head warehouseman.


Priscilla Walker Berry & Jesse Early

Effingham Street, Rotherham - 15.04.07 (6)

Effingham Street

The Early family joined my family tree when Jesse Early married my second great grandaunt, Priscilla Walker Berry, in 1870 at Saint Philip’s Church, Sheffield.

Priscilla, born in 1852 in Kirkstall, Leeds, is the daughter of Luke Berry and Jane Walker. Both of Jane’s parents were born near Barnsley, but at the time of her birth, Luke was working as an Engine Fitter in Kirkstall.

Priscilla, along with the rest of her family, moved to Rotherham in the 1850s.

Jesse was born in 1849 in Chesterfield. How he and Priscilla met, I have no clue.

Jesse was a well known Butcher in Rotherham, trading and living in Effingham Street. In the early 1900s, Jesse must have been feeling adventurous as by 1911 he was a Shopkeeper in Weston Super Mare although he and Priscilla did move back to Rotherham.

Priscilla and Jesse issued seven children, called, George Arthur (1870 to 1937), Walter (1872 to 1941), Frederick Ambrose (1875 to 1952), Ernest Albert (1876 to 1962), Florence Amy (1879 to 1948), Blanche Emily (1882 to 1901) and Bernard Vincent (1888 to 1919).


Early grave

Despite being well known Rotherham people, Priscilla and Jesse only received short obituaries.


EARLY. – On Dec. 3, 1918, at Smeaton Villa, Albany street, Priscilla Walker, the patient and loving Wife of Jesse Early, aged 67 years. Interment at Moorgate Cemetery on Sunday, Dec. 8, 1918.


EARLY. – Feb. 10, 1920, at Barnsley, Jesse, the dearly beloved husband of the late Priscilla Walker Early, aged 70 years. Interment, Rotherham Cemetery, Sunday Feb. 15 at 1.45 p.m.

Frank Berry & Honor Brotherton


Stone Row

Frank Berry is my third cousin, thrice removed and son of Harry Berry and Agnes Wood. Frank’s sister, Dorothy, is also featured on this site.

In 1915, Frank married Honor Brotherton, in Rotherham, and together, they issued two children, who were called, Alfred Kenneth (1921 to 1974) and Mona (1925 to 1989).


Parkgate Iron & Steel Company

I’d known since 2005 that Frank’s parents had settled in Parkgate, Rotherham, after moving from Gawber, Barnsley, in the 1890s but it was not until last year, when I made contact with two of Frank’s granddaughters in one of my Facebook Groups, that I was able to move forward with this branch of the Berry tree.

Frank was born in the same year that his first cousin, twice removed, Luke Berry (my third great grandfather), died. I currently know of only two Berry families to settle in Rotherham, so Harry and Luke were no doubt aware of each other.

Doncaster Gate Hospital, Rotherham - 19.08.07 (4)

Rotherham Hospital

Although Frank’s obituary below states that he was born in Parkgate, he was actually born in Gawber.


DEATH OF MR. F. BERRY. – The interment took place in the Haugh Road Cemetery, Rawmarsh, on Wednesday, of Mr. Frank Berry, aged 55, of 30, Stone Row, Parkgate, whose death occurred in the Rotherham Hospital, Doncaster Gate, last Saturday.


Moorgate Hospital

Mr. Berry, who was born in Parkgate, was employed as a ladle carriage driver by the Park Gate Iron and Steel Co., Ltd., for whom he had worked since he left school. He leaves a widow, a son and a daughter.

The service was conducted by the Rev. H. E. Sladden, and the mourners included: Mrs. H. Berry (widow); Mr. A. K. Berry (son); Miss M. Berry (daughter); Mr. and Mrs. L. Riley and Mr. H. Brotherton (brothers-in-law and sister); Mrs. P. Thompson, Mrs. S. Shaw, Mr. and Mrs. B. Cuthbert, and Mr. and Mrs. J. Maiden (brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law); Mr. and Mrs. H. Wood and Mr. and Mrs. F. Wood (uncles and aunts); Mrs. M. Bacon (cousin); Mr. M. Kavanagh, Mr. D. Shaw, and Mr. D. Cuthbert (nephews); Mrs. E. Denton, Mr. B. Denton, Mrs. E. Elvidge, Mr. W. McLane, Mr. H. Goodall, and workmates.


Haugh Road Cemetery


BERRY (Honor). – Suddenly, after a short illness at Rotherham Municipal General Hospital, on January 30th, 1948, aged 50 years.

Mona Berry


River Don

Mona Berry is my fourth cousin, twice removed and daughter of Frank Berry and Honor Brotherton.

In 1950, Mona married Ernest Burton and together issued one child that died in infancy.


Missing woman found in river

A Rawmarsh woman who went missing from her home has been found dead in the River Don.


Mona’s grave in Haugh Road Cemetery, Rawmarsh

The lifeless body of Mona Burton (64) who lived at Hawke Close, Rawmarsh, was spotted in the river at around 8.30 pm near to St Anns Bridge on Monday evening by a man walking his dog.

She had been reported to police as a missing person by her husband earlier that evening.

Firemen from Erskine Road and Oaks Lane Stations recovered the body.

A police spokesman said that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mrs Burton’s death.

Blanche Emily Early

Effingham Street

Effingham Street

Blanche Emily Early, born in 1882 in Rotherham, is my first cousin, thrice removed and daughter of Priscilla Walker Berry and Jesse Early.

Below are details of an inquest held a few days after Blanche’s tragic death.



An inquest was held at the Rotherham Hospital on Monday night before Mr. B. Bagshawe, Deputy Coroner, touching the death of Blanche Emily Early, daughter of Mr. Jesse Early, of 26, Effingham street, which took place on Saturday morning, the 14th inst., as the result of injuries sustained by her falling from a bedroom window, at her father’s house, on Wednesday morning, the 11th inst. The first witness was Mr. Jesse Early, of 26, Effingham street, pork butcher and provision merchant, who said the deceased, Blanche Emily Early, was his daughter and was nineteen years old. She was not strong or healthy in her younger years, but had improved latterly. She assisted her mother in household matters. Witness saw her on Tuesday night, the 10th inst., when she went to bed in her usual health and spirits. In fact she was very cheerful indeed. Her sister and she slept together, and deceased was the first to retire. Witness next saw her about eight o’clock on the Wednesday morning, when she was carried upstairs. He was in bed when he was told she had fallen out of the window and he went out of his bedroom and saw her being carried upstairs. She was unconscious. Dr. Baldwin was sent for and Dr. Locke came at once after which Dr. Baldwin attended her up to her death, which occurred on Saturday morning at half-past one o’clock. Witness had no knowledge as to her having thrown herself out of the window.

Rotherham Hospital

Rotherham Hospital

The Coroner: Was she a hysterical girl? – No, sir. Had she walked in her sleep? – Not to my knowledge. Was she in trouble? – No, sir. Quite sure? – Yes, sir. You have never heard of her walking in her sleep? – No, sir. So far as you know had there been any quarrel between yourself and anybody? – No, sir According to the report made by the police she appears to have fallen from a window. How do you account for it?

Effingham Street

Effingham Street

Mr. Early: The only way in which I can account for it is this: my eldest daughter and the deceased slept together, and my wife called them up at half-past seven. My eldest daughter got up first and began dressing herself. She left Blanche in bed. My eldest daughter pulled the Venetian blinds up, and I think that must have startled the deceased. She then got out of bed and went past my other daughter to get into the bath-room as she thought. She put on her stockings and skirt. At the top of the stairs is a bedroom where she kept her clothes, and I think instead of going into the bath-room she had taken the wrong turn. The Coroner: What height is the window from which she fell? I should think about 20 or 30 feet. I mean from the floor of the bedroom to the window. What height is the bottom of the window to the floor? Witness: It is only like a step. Why should she open the window? Witness: It is a window which slides up easily. In fact it flies up. It does not open outwardly. Is there any similarity between that window and the one leading into the bath-room? Witness: In the bath-room the window is much higher. She would have had to climb to get out of the bath-room window. Is that the only explanation you have to give? It seems an extraordinary thing that a girl should walk into a room, open the window and jump out or get out without rhyme or reason. Have you any further explanation? Witness: Not the slightest. My other daughter will tell you more perhaps. By the Foreman of the Jury: Do you think she was awake? Witness: I think not. I think she was in a dazed state. The Coroner: Had she opened that window before? – Yes. By a Juror: Do you think it possible she mistook the window for the door? Witness: That is what we think. It was not quite light and we think she missed the door. Florence Amy Early, daughter of the last witness, said on Wednesday morning week her sister and she were sleeping together.


Early grave

Deceased went to bed first on the Tuesday night and was asleep when witness got to bed. She was in her usual state of health when she retired to rest. Witness was awakened by her mother at half-past seven next morning and she got up shortly afterwards leaving the deceased in bed and drawing up the Venetian blinds. Witness was then undressed, She had drawn up one blind and was drawing up the second, when her sister got up and went out of the room as she thought to go to the bath-room. Then she heard her go to the other bedroom. The Coroner: I suppose you thought she had gone to the bath-room to wash herself? – Yes. Was it dark? – It was just breaking light. It was very dark that morning. The Coroner: She left the room as you say in this half-dressed condition. What happened afterwards? Witness: I heard her go into the back bedroom and thought she had gone for some clean clothes. Before I could do any more my brother shouted up the stairs that she was in the yard. What I thought was the drawer opening must have been the window. My brother shouted, “Blanche has fallen into the yards.” She was taken upstairs, and after a time regained consciousness, when she said she did not remember anything; she never remembered getting out of bed. The Coroner: Was she in the habit of getting out of bed and walking about the house? – Not lately. Had she ever been? – The time we remember her coming down in her sleep was six years ago. You know that of your own knowledge? – Yes. Did you see her leave the room? – Yes. Did she seem awake or asleep? – I did not notice. I expected she was awake. You thought she was going into the bath-room to dress? – Yes. Lily Woolley, domestic servant at 22, Effingham street, said on Wednesday last she saw Blanche Emily Early come through the bedroom window. Witness saw her sitting on the window sill. She had on her night dress, skirt and stockings. She thought Miss Early was talking to her. Her mouth was moving. Did you notice if her eyes were open? – Yes, they were open. The Coroner: Can you account for this? – I cannot, sir. Why should she fall from the window. Do you know the reason? – No, sir.

Blanche's grave inscription

Blanche’s grave inscription

The Coroner said there was only one conclusion to be come to. The deceased up to about six years ago had been in the habit of getting up in a somnolent condition, which sometimes did occur, especially with young girls at a certain age. The evidence pointed to the fact that the deceased was cheerful when she went to bed and that she had no trouble. There was nothing suspicious in the case, and there was no reason to suppose that she committed suicide. He thought the verdict of the jury must be that she died from the effects of a fall from a bedroom window whilst she was probably in a somnolent condition. The Jury, at the close of the inquiry, expressed their sympathy with Mr. Early and his family in their trouble.

Theft Of A Coat

Rotherham Water Works

The newspaper article below pertains to my third great grandfather, Luke Berry:-


James Greenwood, a tramp from Leeds, was charged with stealing a coat, belonging to Mr. Luke Berry, of the Rotherham Waterworks. It appeared that on the 30th Sept., at about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, Mr. Berry’s daughter saw the prisoner coming from her father’s house, which adjoins the waterworks. She missed a coat which had been hanging up in the lobby of the house, and gave information to the police. The prisoner was shortly afterwards arrested by Police-constable Herbert, and he made some false statements as to his place of abode in Leeds. – He was now sent for trial at the sessions.

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.