WOW! What a place this is and I am really happy that I got to see it before it gets demolished, even though I know that I am a little late to the party. 28 Days Later and Derelict Places have lots of reports on this place, going back a few years, so you can take a look at how the place has deteriorated.
The footprint of this place is huge, the site was owned by Bovis Homes who bought the site back in 2006. They had planned to put 500 homes on the site. However, local opposition halted plans stating that the area could not sustain that many new homes, which I agree with 100%. I believe that discussions are underway once again to build on the site, but the plans have been scaled down. I personally think that the site should be made into some sort of nature reserve as it is located in a quiet valley surrounded by countryside.
The factory is known locally as the Storr’s Bridge Works. However, I believe that it has been occupied over the years by a few different companies, including Thomas Marshall and Co, Hepworths and Carblox. The valley of Loxley supplied bricks to the Sheffield steel industry, beginning in the 1800s and ceasing in the 1990s. The area was rich in ganister which came from the Stannington pot clay seam. There were multiple mines in the area (I believe one may remain but I have yet to find it).
The factory closed when the demand for produce decreased alongside the decline of the steel industry in Sheffield.
There is hardly anything left of the factory today. Most of the interiors have been removed and what is left has been trashed. People have done a great deal of fly-tipping on the site also, which the council have failed to clean up.
The site is located along a public footpath and whilst there are some signs up that say “do not enter” the site is easily accessible due to the temporary fencing being removed in parts. There is some great graffiti (and some not so great) on the buildings. The most interesting part of the site was being able to walk through what I think are the old furnaces, but you will have to watch my video in order to see that :).
If anyone reading this worked at the factory, please comment and share your memories as I would love to hear them.
Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. However, Halloween 2020 was a little different. I did not decorate this year as I did not want to encourage trick or treaters. I still wanted to do something for Halloween so I decided to take a walk to Sheffield General Cemetery. A little odd? Maybe, but the cemetery is actually a Grade II listed park, Conservation Area, Local Nature Reserve and Area of Natural History Interest..
The cemetery opened 1836 and was the principal burial ground in Victorian Sheffield containing the graves of 87,000 people. It was one of the earliest commercial cemeteries in Britain. Today, it contains the largest collection of listed buildings and monuments in Sheffield, ten in total including Grade II listed catacombs, an Anglican Chapel, with the Gatehouse, Non-conformist Chapel and the Egyptian Gateway, each listed at Grade II*.
The Cemetery was closed for burial in the late 1970s. Sheffield City Council removed many of the gravestones in the Anglican area to create more green space near to the city centre. The remains of those buried were not disturbed.
Cemetery residents include:
George Bassett (1818–1886). Founder of The Bassett Company—the company that invented Liquorice Allsorts. Mayor of Sheffield (1876).
George Bennett (1774–1841). Founder of the Sheffield Sunday School movement. The memorial to him (c.1850) is Grade II listed.
John, Thomas, and Skelton Cole. Founders of Sheffield’s Cole Brothers department store in 1847—now part of the John Lewis Partnership.
Francis Dickinson (1830–1898). One of the soldiers who fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean war.
William Dronfield (1824–1891). Founder of the United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades, which inspired the creation of the Trades Union Congress.
Mark Firth (25 April 1819–28 November 1880). Steel manufacturer, Master Cutler (1867), Mayor of Sheffield (1874), and founder of Firth College in 1870 (later University of Sheffield). The monument to Mark Firth is Grade II listed, the railings that surround it were made at Firth’s Norfolk Works.
William Flockton, architect.
John Gunson (1809–1886). Chief engineer of the Sheffield Water Company at the time of the collapse of Dale Dyke Dam on 11 March 1864, which resulted in the Great Sheffield Flood. Samuel Harrison, who documented the flood, and 77 of the flood’s victims are also buried in the cemetery.
Samuel Holberry (1816–1842). A leading figure in the Chartist movement.
Isaac Ironside (1808–1870). Chartist and local politician.
James Montgomery (1771–1854). Poet/Publisher. The grave and Grade II listed monument to James Montgomery, were moved to the grounds of Sheffield Cathedral in 1971.
James Nicholson (died 1909). Prominent Sheffield industrialist. The memorial that he commissioned for himself and his family c.1872 is Grade II listed.
William Parker, merchant. The monument to William Parker, erected in 1837 by the merchants and manufacturers of Sheffield, is Grade II listed.
William Prest (died 1885). Cricketer and footballer born in York, who lived most of his life in Sheffield. Co-founder of Sheffield Football club.
A post came up on my Instagram feed by Heritage Sheffield which stated that, the Shiregreen Working Men’s Club, where the penultimate strip scene from the 2007 movie, the Full Monty was filmed, is to be demolished. Horrified, I immediately picked up my camera and ventured across the city to take some pictures of the club whilst it was still there. Local petitions temporary halted demolition plans. However, since then Eyre Investments, who own the land, have been granted permission from Sheffield Council to demolish the club and build on the land.
In my opinion, Sheffield Council were always going to grant permission for the demolition of the club. Sheffield Council is one of the most corrupt local councils in the country. I am sure I need to say no more. Like many other important Sheffield landmarks, it is to be lost forever. We have lost our industry, we have lost Don Valley, the Cooling Towers, The Hole in the Road, and we are soon to lose the Shops on Division Street. As a native of Sheffield, I feel that Sheffield is losing its identity.
The Shiregreen WMC opened in 1919 on Shiregreen Lane and moved to its current location in 1928. The club closed in 2018, after 99 years of operation.
Traditionally, WMC’s were to provide recreation and education for the working-class communities, mostly in the industrial north of England. However, they were mostly recreational, with their peak being in the 1970s. Normally, clubs required membership with thousands more waiting on the lists to become members of their local club.
Slowly, WMC’s started to decline in the 1980s. The pits closed and so did the steelworks. Changing social patterns, Sky TV, and cheap supermarket alcohol hit the WMC’s hard. The 2007 smoking ban also caused further decline for the clubs. Traditionally, the WMC’s were smoke-filled buildings, bad for your health, sure. However, it was just part of their identity.
Within a few miles of the Shiregreen Club, there are several other WMC’s still operational. However, it makes you wonder, how long can these clubs stay open? The area that surrounds Shiregreen WMC is already a deprived area. WMC’s served as community hubs, whilst as a nation, we are losing our sense of community. Rather than thinking about lining their pockets, I think Sheffield Council should consider its people and communities a little more.
Thanks for reading.
I’m not sure if it is too late, but please sign the petition below:
Today, parts of the old RAF base at Woodhall Spa make up the Thorpe Camp Visor Centre. However, if you look around the area, there are other hidden remains of the old base.
Before my visit, I found some blog posts and watched some YouTube videos on the derelict parts of the base. However, when I got to Woodhall Spa, some of them have now sadly been demolished (video below).
However, if you know where to look (some locals told me) there are still some buildings that remain.
Thorpe Camp, officially known as the Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre, is part of the former Royal Air Force barracks for RAF Woodhall Spa.
The buildings that today make up the Centre were formerly part of the No.1 Communal Site, which was built in 1940. In 1998, the camp was made into a visitor centre by the Thorpe Camp Preservation Group.
Woodhall Spa and the surrounding area has a long history connected to the RAF. The 97, 619, 617 (Dambusters) and 627 Squadrons were based at RAF Woodhall Spa.
For a more in-depth look around the Thorpe Camp, please watch my video below.
Thanks for reading.
Before you visit, check their website for opening days and times as these have changed due to COVID.
This was the first time that I have stayed in a hotel since the COVID lockdown. My holiday to the USA had been cancelled and whilst I did not want to take a holiday in the UK, I decided to take a weekend trip to Lincolnshire and stay in a hotel that has been on my radar for a while, the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa.
I love Woodhall Spa, the quaint little village has some wonderful history, from being a Victorian spa town to the military and aviation history through the two World Wars.
History of the Petwood
The Petwood was originally built as a private home for wealthy heiress, Baroness Grace van Eckhardstein. She had received a large sum of money from her father’s will and decided to build a country retreat in her favourite woods or “pet wood” as she called it.
Her home was built in a Tudor style, complete with a hand-carved oak staircase that visitors can still admire today. Grace was a divorcee, but married for a second time to a politician called Sir Archibald Weigall in 1910.
The Petwood has seen its fair share of celebrities over the years. Grace and her husband would entertain politicians, aristocrats, sporting stars and those of music hall fame. King George VI and Prince Charles have also stayed at the Petwood.
Like many other large homes, Petwood was requisitioned for use in WWI where it served as a military convalescence hospital. During WWII the hotel was home to the 617 Dambusters Squadron from 1942.
A Review of my Stay
I love to travel and stay in all different types of hotels and motels. The Petwood is definitely what I would call a more traditional hotel. The hotel gets 3 AA stars, which I would say is about right. However, I felt like they maybe and try to promote themselves as a luxury hotel. Indeed, you are staying in a former country retreat in a beautiful area. However, the hotel just felt like it was missing something.
I booked through ebookers and paid only £59 for the room. I had £39 in Bonus + and also found a 10% promo code online. Prices are normally about £100 per night, but always look around before booking. I use Trivago and Hotels Combined to search for the best prive. Also, be sure to use Quidco. If you have not already signed up, below is my link. Also, I have found a site called Honey recently. It scans the internet for discount codes. I was sceptical at first but i’ve found it to be awesome. My honey link is below also.
The hotel has implemented a one way system and requires guests to wear a mask inside the hotel communal areas. Obviously when you are in the restaurant and bar, this is not a requirement. I did notice that many of the members of staff did not have masks on though. I understand that it must be awful to work wearing a mask, but at the same time, there is a reason as to why everyone should be wearing them in public places.
I booked a standard double room. The room was nice and clean, as was the bathroom. There was not much of a view though, the room overlooked bins and what I think is the service area as it was very noisy late at night. I like to sleep with the window open and I was woken by banging, I had to get out of bed to close the window. Also, there was only instant coffee. This is something that I always find bizarre in English hotels. I travel a lot in America, and even in the cheapest motels you get some sort of filter coffee. Yes, America do have more of a coffee culture, but that has now migrated to the UK and so I always wonder why hotels continue to leave only instant rubbish in the rooms.
I had wanted to eat at the Tea House in the Woods. However, I think that I underestimated how busy Woodhall Spa was going to be and it was fully booked. For convenience, we ate in the hotel restaurant. The food was nice, definitely not gourmet, it was more of a traditional menu, nevertheless, it was reasonably priced and good. The service was also excellent.
We also had breakfast in the hotel, it costs £15 pp and you get tea/coffee/juice and then something from the cold and hot options. If you just want a coffee and a yogurt, the breakfast isn’t worth it. However, if you get a full English, coffee, juice and a pastry, then its worth it.
On check out, the reception did try and charge me an extra £30, which was incorrect. Make sure you always check your bill and work out your charges as hotels do make mistakes.
For a more in depth look at the hotel and gardens, be sure to watch my video below :).
Monk Bretton has been closed since March due to COVID. Although it is a free site, sadly in the past, the ruin has been damaged by vandals and so the site can not remain open at all times. Despite the site being free entry, the gates get locked every day at 3pm and re-open at 10am.
It is unfortunate that Monk Bretton does not get the same protection as other English Heritage sites. Roche Abbey is similar in size and yet that is a staffed site. During my visit I witnessed an incredibly ignorant individual who was climbing up the ruin (I have made a video with a little more information and a picture of said individual below). As Monk Bretton is un-staffed, English Heritage rely on people using common sense and being respectful, clearly they cannot rely on this. I do think they need more signs that say ‘DO NOT CLIMB ON THE RUIN’. If this fails, I personally think that the gates should remain locked and only opened maybe once a month when it can be staffed.
From what I can gather, the volunteers of this site take care of it, rather than English Heritage that doesn’t seem to care much. The gatekeepers are volunteers, which makes it more upsetting when you see litter, graffiti and idiots climbing the ruins.
Monk Bretton was founded in about 1154, by a local landowner called Adam Fitzswaine. The priory served as a daughter house to the rich Cluniac priory at Pontefract. After 50 years of disagreements, Monk Bretton seceded from Cluniac Order in 1281 and became a Benedictine house.
The priory was quite substantial as it owned properties across South Yorkshire, with rights over five parish churches. It is also said that Monk Bretton worked coal and ironstone in the Barnsley area. After Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, Monk Bretton was closed and materials from the priory were used elsewhere.
The priory passed into the ownership of the Blithman family and then in 1589 the estate was bought by William Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. He converted the west range of the cloister into a country house for his son Henry.
Today, the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and now in the care of English Heritage/ volunteers.
Roche Abbey was founded in 1147 and housed Cistercian Monks. (The Order of Cistercians are a Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that branched off from the Benedictines and follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. Also called ‘white monks’ due to their light colour robes).
At its peak in around 1175, there were approximately 50 monks, 100 lay brothers and servants. Roche Abbey was suppressed in 1538 when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.
Today the site is managed by English Heritage. Entry is £5 for adults and £4.50 for concessions. As of August 2020, you must book online before visiting, this also includes EH members.
There is only one interpretation board on site. When staff scan your ticket, they ask if you want to buy a guide book for £4.50. I think this is a little bit wrong, I understand that the extra money goes towards the upkeep of the site. However, some more boards would be nice, rather than trying to get people to buy the book.
This has been on my list of places to visit for a while. It was a sunny Sunday morning and so I decided to take the 40 minute drive to the Snake Pass to finally go and have a look.
There are two parking spots off the Snake Pass. I parked at the Doctors Gate but the more direct walking route is accessed from a little further along the Snake, towards Manchester.
There were quite a few other walkers out, due to the poor visibility, I missed the turn off from the main footpath to head towards toe crash site. It isn’t signposted, but I believe the pile of stones along the footpath is where you are meant to turn off.
On the 3rd of November in 1948, the United States Air Force Boeing RB-29A Superfortress 44-61999 set off from RAF Scampton and was heading to the United States Air Force Base at Burtonwood near Warrington.
Visibility was poor and the crew thought that they had been flying long enough to have crossed the hills and so they started to descend. The plane hit the ground, setting on fire and killing all 13 crew members on board.
Below are a series of pictures and a short video of my visit.
Amongst many other sectors, the heritage sector, especially small independent museums have suffered greatly due to COVID, so it is nice to be able to try and support as many as possible now they are re-opening.
The South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum is quite hidden away at the back of the popular Lakeside area of Doncaster. The buildings once formed part of RAF Doncaster, which the museum took over when they were vacated by Yorkshire Water.
There is loads to see and some great displays. They don’t just have aircraft, they also have lots of other history on the military.
It is definitely worth a visit. Parking is free, there is plenty of space for social distancing and they have put one way systems in place.
Below are a few pictures from my visit. Thanks for reading.