Sheffield General Cemetery

October 31st 2020.

https://www.gencem.org/

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.

(source Wikipedia)

The Mystery of the Creepy Coastal House.

I tried to recall from my many visits to the area if this house has always been derelict. However, I could not remember. The house is situated along a public footpath, a route popular with walkers and joggers. Despite the boarding on the windows, there are no fences up, no private, or no trespassing signs. I find it strange that a house in such a beautiful area is derelict.

In the garden, there is an old, rusty lawnmower and some plant pots that grass has now grown over. It appears that the gardens were once carefully maintained. There is a small outhouse containing some rubbish and a catalogue from the 1980s. It looks like maybe this house has not been touched for some time.

There is no glass in the windows, but there is a small gap in the boarding that I managed to poke my GoPro through. When I looked at the video (linked above), the inside of the house is ransacked. Perhaps someone broke in and looked through whatever was left for anything valuable. From the interiors, I think the house has been derelict for some time.

I have scoured the internet, but I cannot find any information relating to the history of the house. I wondered what its initial purpose was. It is situated away from the other residential homes around the port. I wondered if this building was either a watch house or a fisherman’s house. The stairs at the rear, that provide access to the upstairs level made me think that it served another purpose than just being a residence. Perhaps someone elderly lived in the house and after they passed away, there was no-one to inherit the property, so it was left.

For now, it remains a mystery.

The Remains of Britain’s Largest Prisoner of War Camp.

Lodge Moor, Sheffield, July 05 2020.

Hi, welcome to my blog if you are new here. If you are returning, welcome back.

This location has been on my to visit list for a while, but I never knew much history about it until I started doing research for this post. It is another one of the forgotten historically important places of Sheffield, that the council choose not to acknowledge.

There isn’t much left of the camp, as you can see from the pictures below, it is very overgrown and only foundations remain. The former camp is located in some public woodland off Redmires Road in Lodge Moor. The woodland gets a lot of foot traffic from walkers, runners and cyclists. If you did not know what these ruins were beforehand, there is no way of knowing as there is absolutely no interpretation or memorials on the site.

According to the book, Sheffield’s Great War and Beyond: 1916-1918 by Peter Warr, Redmires was initially used to accommodate the Sheffield City Battalion (Sheffield PALS), I believe from December 1914 until May of 1915. After this it was used for the the Royal Engineers until 1918. In 1918, it was opened as a prisoner of war camp, housing German prisoners until 1919. Peter also notes that the camp was used in 1920 by parties of school children, this would make sense as on some old maps the area near the camp is labelled “Redmires Special School”.

Sometime between 1918 and 1919, Hitlers chosen successor, Karl Dönitz was held at Redmires. When Dönitz was released from the camp and returned to Germany, he was made commander of the German U-boats, before becoming head of the German Navy. Eventually succeeding Hitler to become president of the German Reich.

The camp was also used in the Second World War, firstly for Italian prisoners, who were put to work on local farms and then after D-Day, it was used to house Germans. It is said that the camp housed between 10,000 to 12,000 inmates at its peak.

In 2019, archaeology students from the University of Sheffield excavated the site. Their report can be found here.

The former Lodge Moor hospital next to the camp, now apartments was once used as a fever isolation hospital. From what I have read online, during the First World War, there was an air landing strip next to the camp that was used to defend Sheffield against Zeppelin raids. However it was only used until 1916. In his book, Redmires – Tales From the Ridge, Keith Baker notes that the airfield was ceased due to protests that it would disturb patients at the hospital.

During the Victorian times, there was also a racecourse near to the site. However it was not in operation long, possibly due to it’s remote location from the city centre.

If you have anymore information, or anything I have written is incorrect, please leave me a note in the comments as some of the information that I have read has been contradictory.

If you intend to visit, there is parking on the road or there is a car park next to the recreation ground just past the Sportsman pub. Just be careful If you are walking, running, cycling or riding a horse, it seems to be a place frequented by quad bikers and off road motorcyclists.

Thank you for reading. Watch my video below for a more in depth look.

This is the only sign that references the camp.
Sheffield’s only Prisoner of War camp, once known as “Redmires” or the Lodge Moor Camp.

Sources and further reading:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-48869080

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/lodge-moor-pow-camp-ruins

https://darkyorkshire.wordpress.com/tag/redmires/

Sheffield’s Great War and Beyond: 1916-1918 by Peter Warr

Hitler’s Hangmen: The Secret German Plot to Kill Churchill December 1944 by Brian Lett

Catcliffe Glass Kiln, Rotherham, England.

The Grade I Listed Catcliffe Glass Cone in Rotherham was built in about 1740 and is the oldest remaining structure of its kind in Western Europe. It is one of 4 similar structures that remain in the UK.

Sorry for the dull picture, the weather was terrible when I visited.

The cone formed part of Catcliffe glass works, which was established by William Fenney in the eighteenth century. The works passed into the possession of Henry Blunn (date unknown) before being closed sometime between 1884 and 1887.

It is said that prisoners of war were housed here during the First World War and during the 1926 industrial disputes, the cone was used as a canteen for feeding children.

Glass making is an ancient craft and can be dated back to ancient Egypt. The industry increased in Western Europe around the 16th century when Industrialisation was on the increase.

At the beginning of the 19th century, there were dozens of glass cones in the industrial areas of England. The unusual cone shaped buildings were developed due to shortages of timber fuels and so glass factories had to use coal to power their furnaces. The buildings would have a furnace in the centre and an underground flue. Fumes would be expelled through the apex of the tapering shell. The structure and the underground flue system was to increase the draft.

Glass cones fell into disuse when the Pilkingtons factory in St Helens, with it’s modern production techniques concentrated the industry, becoming the centre of the glass industry in Britain.

Other glass kilns in the UK are: Alloa in Scotland, Leamington and Stourbridge.

Thanks for reading. Have a look at my video below for a look inside.

Sources:

New Scientist, 4 Jul 1974.

http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/graphics/Visiting/Family%2BAttractions/EDSCatcliffeGlassCone.htm

Conservation and Restoration of Glass, Sandra Davison, R.G. Newton

Hoober Stand

My first post lockdown trip took me to Hoober Stand near Wentworth in Rotherham. I’ve driven past this many times and never looked into what it was until now. The tower is Grade II* listed and was built between 1746 and 1748 by English architect Henry Flitcroft. The purpose of the tower was to celebrate the role that Whig aristocrat Thomas Watson-Wentworth, Earl of Malton (later the 1st Marquess of Rockingham) played during the quashing of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. The tower’s name, Hoober Stand, comes from the nearby settlement of Hoober.

You can go up the tower, there is a small fee of £2.50 and it is open 2–5 pm on Sundays and bank holiday Mondays from the spring bank holiday weekend until the last Sunday in September. 

LuminoCity Light Festival, New York.

LuminoCity Festival is a festival of lights, held on Randalls Island, New York the festival is a spectacular display of light art.  I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere like this, it was definitely an unusual experience and I highly recommend it.  Just a few things to note before you go.  Book tickets in advance on the website https://www.luminocityfestival.com/ , adult tickets are $38 each.  There is a shuttle bus that departs and returns from Manhattan, E 125th and 3rd Ave, but you can also get the M35 bus.  However, if it is late at night, I would recommend the shuttle if you cannot take your own car.  I would advise buying tickets beforehand, but we got a return ticket on the day as we did not feel comfortable getting the public bus late at night. There is parking available on the island, but it is $20 per car, OUCH! 

This year (2019), the festival ran from November 23rd and is on until Jan 5th 2020.  Entry is 4:00pm-11:00pm on selected days. Below are a few images that I took, along with a video. 

The Abandoned Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel and Baker, California, USA.

Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel opened in 1957 and closed in 2009. There is not a great deal of information about the motel, but it is currently for sale at a price of $390,000. I first saw Arne’s on a YouTube video and so when we were driving through Baker, I had to stop off for a look. 

The town of Baker was named after Richard C. Baker, president of the Pacific Coast Borax Company and the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad.

Baker has some other cool places to stop including; The Mad Greek Cafe, The World’s Tallest Thermometer and Alien Fresh Jerky.

The World’s Tallest Thermometer

The thermometer is 134 feet tall in honour of a 134 degree Fahrenheit (56.67 degrees Celsius),recorded in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913. The thermometer was built by the Young Electric Sign Company of Salt Lake City, Utah in 1991 for a man named, Willis Herron, a local businessman who spent $750,000 to build the thermometer next to his Bun Boy restaurant (now closed).

Alien Fresh Jerky

Luis Ramallo opened his first Jerky shop in Crystal Springs, Nevada, in the year 2000. In 2002, he moved the store to Baker, CA.

Rhyolite Ghost Town, Nevada, USA.

On the way to Beatty, Nevada sits the once booming town of Rhyolite.  Today, there is nothing much left of Rhyolite apart from a few ruins, the bottle house and the old station.  Nevertheless, it remains one of my favourite ghost towns.  I first visited Rhyolite back in 2016, and then returned in 2017. Unfortunately, in the space of a year, I noticed more graffiti and the old truck near the bottle house had gone. 

In 1904, Frank ‘Shorty’ Harris and Eddie Cross discovered gold in the nearby Bullfrog Hills.  By 1908, it is said that Rhyolite had a population of around eight to twelve thousand people. Although the mine produced more than $1 million in bullion in its first three years, by 1910, it is estimated that the population fell to just under seven hundred people.  The last Rhyolite resident passed away in 1924.  Many of Rhyolite’s buildings were relocated to the nearby town of Beatty.  The Miner’s Union Hall in Rhyolite became the Old Town Hall and many other buildings were used to construct a school. 

Rhyolite gets a mention in Ian Flemming’s 1956 novel, Diamonds Are Forever.  

Spectreville is a fictional place but there is a Specter Range near Amargosa Valley in Nevada.

The Bottle House (known as Tom Kelly’s Bottle House) was restored by Paramount pictures in January of 1925 for the filming of a silent movie, The Air Mail. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I did not take a picture of the house.

The movie, The Island (2005) starring Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor was partially filmed in Rhyolite as was Six-String Samurai in 1998.

Ruins of the School Building
H.D. and L.D. Porter Store
H.D. and L.D. Porter Store
The Train Depot (privately owned)
Ruins of the John S. Cook and Company Bank Building 
The Train Depot (privately owned)
Ruins of the John S. Cook and Company Bank Building 

Useful Information:

Rhyolite is a mixture of private and federal land.

Entry is free and the ghost town is open 24/7

Remember, be respectful and take nothing but pictures.

Happy exploring!

Goldwell Open Air Museum, Nevada, USA.

Next to the ghost town of Rhyolite sits the Goldwell Open Air Museum.  The museum began in 1984 when Belgian artist, Charles Albert Szukalski installed ‘The Last Supper’.  I must admit, I don’t know much about art and sculptures. However, the sculptures are said to be designed within the context of the desert landscape that it is situated in. The sculpture of the miner and penguin is a tribute to Frank “Shorty” Harris. Harris, along with his partner, Ernest Cross founded Rhyolite along with many other mining towns around the Death Valley area.

Fred Bervoets, Tribute to Shorty Harris.
Charles Albert Szukalski, Self Portrait.
Charles Albert Szukalski, Self Portrait.
Charles Albert Szukalski, The Last Supper, 1984.
Dr. Hugo Heyrman, “Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada” 1992.
Sofie Siegmann, Sit Here!
Charles Albert Szukalski, Ghost Rider, 1984.

The museum is open 24/7.

Happy exploring!

Zzyzx, San Bernardino County, California, USA.

Formerly Soda Springs

Located off Highway 15 in California, Zzyzx is home to the California State University Desert Studies Centre.  However, it was once home to a health spa called Soda Springs.  The spa owner, Curtis Howe Springer was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He worked as an insurance salesman and then a radio evangelist, calling himself “the last of the old-time medicine men.” However, it seems that Springer had no formal medical training.  After making some money through preaching and selling homemade homoeopathic remedies, Springer used the money to file a mining claim in the Mojave Desert, which he called the area, Zzyzx.

Springer built a hotel and health spa on his desert land, heating the water with pumps and claiming that the site offered miracle cures.  Soda Springs ran for almost 30 years with people believing they were receiving natural medical treatments.  In 1969,  several customers made complaints and the American Medical Association subsequently investigated Springer, labelling him the “King of the Quacks.”   He was convicted in 1974 of fraud for which he served prison time.  Springer died in 1985 at the age of 88 in Las Vegas.

Only a few of the old buildings remain today but nevertheless, they are a reminder of the obscure story of Curtis Howe Springer and how one man managed to con people for the majority of his life.

Tips for visiting.

We just stopped by on route to Los Angeles. The place was quiet with maybe one more person having a look around. I assume you can walk around at your leisure as we did, but if you want to make sure before visiting, contact the university. http://nsm.fullerton.edu/dsc/desert-studies-center

Happy exploring.