Swinton Voices Book

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Craig Mollekin

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.

Craig Mollekin, Swinton, Tuesday 12th December 2017
www.facebook.com/swintonrecord

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Patio Estate, Swinton

Calladine Way, Swinton - 03.08.13

Calladine Way, Patio Estate, Swinton

The Patio Estate, renamed to ‘Fitzwilliam Estate’ by Rotherham Council in the late 1990s, was built in the late 60s/early 70s. The roads on the estate were named after Swinton Councillors and the properties consisted of apartments built in blocks of two and three levels.

It was initially quite a prestigious place to live. People who moved here weren’t allowed to have rent arrears and were often professional people, like Teachers etc.

It is heated by a central boiler house which has been known to often break down over the years and perhaps one of the reasons why the estate became not quite as desirable as other places to live.

Antisocial behaviour became quite rife as time progressed, including the odd murder, to the point where Rotherham Council decided something had to be done about it. In the late 1990s, along with the name change, the third levels on the blocks were demolished, presumably to help with noise nuisance problems. A road was also put through the entire estate and a number of properties actually demolished.

I once visited an almost identical estate in Rotherham, in 1991, called, ‘The Lanes’. In contrast to the patio estate, the Lanes was very peaceful and well maintained by its residents. I asked why there was such a difference between the two estates and was told that the Lanes was inhabited almost exclusively by elderly people.

Yorkshire Tar Distillers Limited

Former Croda, Kilnhurst

Former Croda Site

In 1886, Henry Ellison of Cleckheaton purchased four acres of land. This firm became known as Ellison & Mitchell Limited and distilled tar. In 1927, the important tar distillers amalgamated to form the Yorkshire Tar Distillers Limited. The Kilnhurst works expanded from four acres to thirty acres and a quantity of tar being distilled increased by five times. In later years the company was acquired by Croda and operated until circa 2000.

Carlisle Park, Swinton - 22.06.17 (5)

Carlisle Park, Swinton

Mr. George William Mitchell (69) of Amphion House, Avenue Road, Doncaster, died on Monday 5th July 1943. He had been a director of Yorkshire Tar Distillers since it’s formation in 1927.

After much controversy, ‘Gleeson Homes’ began building houses on the land here in 2013, after taking away contaminated soil and capping the earth a few feet down. As of November 2017, houses are still being built. This new housing estate is called, ‘Carlisle Park’.

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

Gaping Goose Inn, Swinton

Gaping Goose (remains of), Fitzwilliam Street, Swinton - 16.11.08 (3)

Location of the Gaping Goose on Fitzwilliam Street, Swinton

This public house, also known as the Swan with Two Necks, was a Coaching Inn but was eventually converted into a house. Families called Jenkinson and Kemp lived here. It was demolished in the early years of the 20th century.

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.