Local History - Articles and letters about Bradway's past

Winter 2004

Post Box - No longer a secret society - Barbrook Reservoir


Post Box

Dear Sir,

With reference to your article in the Autumn Edition on Bradway boundaries. The post office still recognises the old boundary between Greenhill and Bradway as at Fox Lane/ Beauchief Drive where the post code changes from Sheffield 8 as Greenhill/ Woodseats etc, to Sheffield 17 Bradway/Dore.

It is correct to say that Lower Bradway is now part of the new Greenhill Beauchief Ward for Local Elections. However having an occasion to contact my local MP I was informed that only the Local boundary had been altered and not the Parliamentary Boundary, that we were still part of Hallam constituency and had not been transferred to Heeley!

No doubt at some future date this anomaly will be corrected.

David Memmott

Dear Sir,

Last week I was in Howden visiting an old scholar and her husband from my teaching days at Greenhill and she gave me a number of Bradway Bugles. They provided me with many happy memories of my time in that area.

I taught at the Greenhill School from 1939 to 1954 (except for the war years), then I was at Jordanthorpe from 1954 to 1968, when I moved to another Sheffield school before retiring in 1976. I also lived in the Greenhill Bradway area from 1946 to 1980 when we moved to Worksop. Hence this area has many happy memories for me.

Each Christmas I hear from old scholars who tell me about their grandchildren. Yet I still remember them as teenagers, what they looked like, and where they lived in those far off days. No doubt many are retired for I am ninety.

Some of my most memorable days were during the years 1956 to 1968 when each Easter holiday I would take a party for a holiday to Holland, Germany etc. In those days we were not allowed to go in school time.

Are there any of your readers who remember me? I would love to hear from them and know what they have been doing these past sixty years. Thereby my memory will be refreshed. The Bingham's, the Senior's, the Ridgeway's, The Holmes. The Maddocks etc etc.

I did read in an article about Sir Harold Jackson, a real older friend of mine. The writer said there were only two schools named after Councillors i.e. Sir Harold, and the Bingham schools, but what about what used to be called the Rawlinson school at Meadow head. He was a Chairman of the Education Committee in pre war days.

Thank you for all the interesting news of the past and present.

S. Glen Walker

Dear Sir,

Returning to Bradway on a visit to see my parents this September, I took the opportunity to walk around the neighbourhood in which I grew up. My family lived at the corner of Birchitt Road and Bradway Road until I was in my mid-teens and although I moved away in the early 1970s, finally settling in San Diego, Sheffield always feels like home.

One of the first stops along my walk was at the bank on Twentywell Lane. I suppose the bank is what Americans would call quaint. It's a tiny place, but when I arrived it was bustling with customers. No chance here of any privacy as customers queued to do business with the charming lady bank teller. Nobody seemed to mind the cramped accommodation and it was a pleasure to see a sub-branch still in operation these days and offering excellent service.

When I came out of the bank, it put me in mind to realise just how little this shopping area had changed in 30 years. These days everybody has a car, and supermarkets and hypermarkets spring up everywhere. But here an oasis of neighbourhood community shopping still thrives. I noticed how well stocked and busy the greengrocers seemed and the chemist shop that has been there ever since I can remember continues to do well.

Walking to the corner of Twentywell Lane and Bradway Road, I saw the off licence that I remember as "Jessinger's. I remember how I used to watch Mr. Jessinger slicing ham or bacon that one asked for by a number for the thickness required.

The new pedestrian crossing is an obvious asset to the area, because Bradway Road is far busier than when I was a boy.

I walked down the road towards the other shops next to the Bradway Hotel. Passing our old home, I saw how magnificent the beech hedge now looks that my great uncle planted around the house. I remember it as a row of twigs that we thought would never do anything.

To my delight, I discovered that Bradway now has its own coffee shop, S17. With tables outside and an excellent light menu and range of drinks, this is a wonderful addition to the community. I went inside and was going to have a coffee, but couldn't resist trying the Dandelion and Burdock. The taste of it pulled me even further along the road into my journey of nostalgia..

As I walked back towards Tinkers Corner and my parents' flat, I thought how nice Bradway looked. The front gardens were brimming with interesting plants and trees and the houses looked strong and substantial, especially when compared with flimsy California homes.

It was a pleasure to see the old place again and to experience something of the friendly and thriving community it continues to be. The few changes I saw seemed to be changes for the better. Bradway is a fine place to live!

Mark Holmes, San Diego USA

No longer a secret society

Bradway Group identified at last. After living in Bradway for 36 years, I feel sure that I must be nearing the stage of being declared a "Bradway veteran", writes Roger Davis.

There are certainly a number of people who have spent their entire lives in the area containing the Rosamund, Everard, Longford, Wollaton, St Quentin, Twentywell and Birchitt estates, which have seen many families come and go.

I have met many of them over the years through the Bradway Scout Group and felt that I had a pretty good knowledge of "who does what" throughout the area, but was recently surprised to discover that there was one thriving group that has met regularly for 33 years, of which I had no knowledge.

When someone mentioned the Bradway Ladies Discussion Group, I said "What's that? I've never heard of it." I am glad to say that I am now fully briefed on the group's existence thanks to meeting two active members.

The position of joint secretary and treasurer is carried out by Mrs June Wright of Rosamund Avenue, backed up by Mrs Betty Jennett of Whirlowdale Road, who joined forces to brief me. The group is strictly women only and does not advertise for members! "It is not exactly a secret society, but we just do our own thing without any fuss," said June Wright.

The club began in l963, starting as a baby sitting club. The first meeting was held at Mrs Peggy Pearson's home in Rosamund Drive with six people attending, one of whom was Betty Jennett. The group has continued ever since with meetings held every three weeks plus one day to run through every day of the week. There is no worry over finding a meeting place and paying rent as the meetings are always held in member's homes.

"We have an annual subscription of £2 and pay 50p a meeting for coffee," said June Wright. "Profits from the coffee goes to local charities." "Membership now stays around the 30 mark and everyone is very keen. We talk about all sorts of topics now - everything but babies - and can be quite up to date.

"When we first met the only topic we talked about was babies but now we cover a wide range of subjects. Recent meetings have included talks on freedom, alternative medicine and Sheffield theatres. "We pay for about two speakers a year, otherwise our own members and friends fill in with musical evenings, games, holiday recollections and topical affairs. "It is a free and easy gathering of friends with everyone prepared to take a turn with making their homes available".

The activities of the club are now recorded in three beautifully kept log books illustrated with photographs. The present log displays a treasured notice for the Group Dinner celebrating the Millennium at Abbeydale Golf Club and is signed by 23 members

For a change from house meetings, visits are sometimes arranged to local places of interest and in June this year there was a conducted tour for a group of members around the Sheffield Botanical Gardens. With no speaker arranged for the July meeting, the meeting discussed a range of subjects including Princess Diana's memorial pool, fast lanes on motorways for multiple filling of cars and the traffic situation on Bradway Road. In August members brought a variety of interesting antique pieces to examine, including teaspoons, a drawing set, a jewellery set, old cards and a Dutch painting.

Roger Davis

Barbrook Reservoir

This reservoir lies on Big Moor, which is the huge tract of moorland between the Owler Bar to Froggatt Road and the Owler Bar to Baslow Road. Recently the water has been drained off and the dam wall breached. This is because the reservoir has not been used as a water supply source for many years. To comply with current safety legislations, it has been necessary to drain and formally ‘discontinue' the structure to ensure that it can no longer retain significant volumes of water.

The ‘still' or pond reservoir was originally constructed by impounding the Bar Brook, which rises on Totley Moss and eventually joins the River Derwent at Baslow, by Chesterfield RDC Waterworks Department in about 1882. Subsequently, in 1908 or 1910 a new dam wall was constructed to encompass some 30 acres and hold 100 million gallons of water; at it's deepest the new reservoir was 34 feet deep.

The embankments were constructed from materials dug from the reservoir basin and although the supply works were demolished in 1999, the reservoir continued to hold water but the integral iron and steel structures became so severely corroded that the safe operation of the draw-off valves was no longer possible.

Consultants were retained in 2001 to draw up a scheme for restoration of the area, facilitate the establishment of new habitats. Key species are twite, snipe and curlew, reptiles and invertebrates. Under those plans it is intended that the streams would be re-established. Just below the main reservoir is a small ‘still' reservoir and here I have seen large numbers of dragonflies. We await news of progress in restoring this part of Big Moor, which is so rich in archaeological features. The accompanying sketch is taken from Lady Cross on Big Moor looking towards Chesterfield with Barbrook Reservoir in the middle distance. Here the moor is covered with heather and large tufts of coarse grass (sometimes known as Turks Heads). This type of grass probably gave us the name Bents as in Totley Bents and Bentley.

Brian Edwards

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