Cemaes Bay Brickworks and Tramway.

I have been visiting Anglesey for about 25 years and I have visited most of the popular tourist places. My most recent trip was on a bank holiday weekend and I knew that the island would be busy. To try and avoid the crowds, I looked for places that were a little off the beaten path and I came across the old tramway and brickworks at Camaes.

I could only find one website with substantial information on the history of the works. They were known as the Afon Wygyr, named after the nearby river, and were opened in 1907. The operational lifespan of the works was only 7 years, with production ceasing in 1914.

The works are accessed via a lovely little walk through some public gardens near the river. The path takes you under the A5025 and directly past the works.

For a look around the works and some history, please watch my video below.

Thanks for visiting my page.

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)

Shiregreen Working Mens Club, Home of the Full Monty.

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:

http://chng.it/4ss2pKf9Yq

Penmon Priory, Anglesey.

I visited Penmon Priory during the August 2020 bank holiday weekend. I knew it would be busy, but it was packed, with the car parks completely full. Parking was £3, even if you did not go down to Penmon Point. I only went to look at the historical ruins, yet I was charged £3 to park only to find the church and Dovecot closed. I understand that whoever runs the car parking at Penmon wants to make as much money as possible. However, they could at least ensure that places are open if they insist on charging.

I have made a video below of my visit for a look inside the ruins that were open.

Penmon Priory is thought to have been established by St. Seiriol, as early as the 6th century.
St Seiriol’s Well

The Holy Well is fed from a spring behind the church. The well is located in its own walled garden and is a very tranquil place. The waters were believed to have healing powers and would be visited by the sick in the hope to be cured by the waters.

The dates as to when the well was used seem unclear. However, the brick structure that surrounds the well dates from about 1710.

St. Seiriol church

The 12th century stone church and tower date from around 1140 and is a fine example of Romanesque architecture.

Flagstaff Quarry

You can see the derelict Flagstaff Quarry buildings from the road. However, getting to them is quite a trek. They are on private land and can only be viewed from the fence along the beach.

From the limited amount of information available online. It appears that there was a small quarry and pier at this location prior to 1874. However, in 1888, William Baird & Co commenced operations at the quarry, which supplied fluxing stone to their steelworks in Glasgow.

Thanks for reading.

Boot’s Folly, Sheffield.

Hello, welcome to my blog.

I grew up not too far away from Boot’s Folly (also known as Strines Tower or Sugworth Tower). The tower was built in 1927 by Charles Boot of the construction company Henry Boot & Sons. Charles Boot resided at the nearby Sugworth Hall, a Grade II Listed country house. The hall was up for sale recently for £1.5 million pounds.

There are a few theories as to why the tower was built. One theory was that, Charles Boot constructed it so that he could see his wife’s grave in Bradfield churchyard across the valley. However, multiple sources state that the tower was built as a job-creation scheme for workers from Sugworth Hall during the depression.

The folly stands at 315 meters high and was constructed from leftover stone used to build the nearby Bents House. Today the structure is Grade II Listed. There used to be a wooden staircase inside the tower, but that was allegedly removed in the 1970s, after a cow got stuck at the top.

Thanks for reading. Please also watch my video below for a look inside the tower.

Sources and further reading:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1203769

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

Tea Party at Boston Castle, Rotherham, England.

Visit date – 3rd July 2020.

As I write this post it is the 4th of July so happy Independence Day.

I think the only positive outcome of the COVID-19 lockdown, for me anyway is that I have discovered many places in my local area that I never knew existed. As my educational background is in American studies, I was super excited when I discovered Boston Castle and the connection that it has with America.

The castle is not a castle as such, it was built as a hunting lodge for Thomas Howard, the 3rd Earl of Effingham in the late eighteenth century.

The castle got its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when colonists protested against the British crown for unfair taxation, throwing cases of tea into the sea.

Thomas served in the Coldstream Guards (the oldest continuously serving regiment in the British Army) and supported protests by the colonists in the USA. When Thomas’s regiment was ordered to America on active service, he resigned rather than support something that he did not believe in.

The castle today is managed by Rotherham Council, according to boards at the castle, they are looking for volunteers. I will link the website for the castle below should anyone be interested in helping out. I don’t want to put anyone off, but whilst I was doing my MA, I offered to volunteer with Rotherham Council heritage services as they were advertising for help and It was a requirement for my degree. They completely messed me about and I also found them to be incredibly unprofessional. However, considering that Rotherham council are one of the worst local authorities in the country, I should not have been so surprised.

The council also run tours of the castle (subject to change due to COVID).

There has been an ugly extension built on the side of the castle, I assume this was due to tight budgets not allowing something more in keeping with the original architecture.

There is a lovely view from the castle towards Sheffield and the grounds of Boston Park are nice to take a walk around.

Thanks for reading.

http://bostoncastle-rotherham.co.uk/index.html

Barnsley Main Colliery

May 2020.

As the lock down has now eased slightly, it is nice to be able to get out a little more. Many places are still closed, but there are a few places that are un-manned that you are free to walk around, maintaining social distancing of course. My trip out took me to Barnsley Main Colliery. In 1862, the colliery was producing 180,000 tons of coal. The pit closed in 1991, the site was cleared apart from the headgear and buildings, which were to be preserved as a memory of the history and heritage of the areas mining past. As well as a way to remember men that tragically lost their lives in the Oaks Colliery disaster.

The Oaks Colliery at Hoyle Mill suffered a series of explosions in December of 1866, where 361 people, including rescue workers were killed. However, researchers today suggest that number is closer to 380. It is still to this day the worst mining disaster in England.

The colliery is cared for by the Barnsley Main Heritage group. https://barnsleymainheritagegroup.com/ There is a small car park but it is not always open if there are no volunteers on site. I recommend parking at the nearby Abbey Lane car park and walking to the colliery from there.

Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire.

Tattershall castle is located in Lincolnshire, close to the beautiful Woodhall Spa.  I always like visiting this area as there is plenty of heritage, especially if you like the history of the RAF. 

The original castle was built by Robert de Tateshale in around 1231. He was granted a licence by King Henry III in order to build a crenelated manor house.  The castle was then passed to Ralph, 3rd Baron Cromwell sometime in the fifteenth century.  Ralph became Lord Cromwell in 1433, and remodeled the manor into a more lavish home.  It is said that half a million bricks were made at Edlington Moor Brickworks for the castle re-model.

Cromwell died, childless in 1456. I have found two versions of what happened to the castle after his death. One is that it was passed to his niece, Joan Bouchier. When Joan’s husband, Humphrey Bourchier changed sides during the war of the roses from the Yorkists to the Lancastrian cause, Yorkist King, Edward IV seized the castle on Bourchiers death. However, the National Trust website states that on Cromwells death, the castle passed into the Crown’s possession who subsequently granted it to loyal and familial subjects.

In 1573, the castle was purchased by Edward Clinton (Earl of Lincoln) and remained in their possession until 1693. It was then passed to the Fortescue family, who never lived at the castle and so let it decline. At one time, it was also used by farmers as a cattle shed.

In 1910, Tattershall and its contents were sold to a buyer in the USA (rumoured to be William Randolph Hearst). The sale included the contents which included the tapestries and fireplaces. However, in 1911, Lord Curzon purchased the castle and saved it from exportation and in August of 1914, the Castle was opened as a visitor attraction.  The castle became the property of the National Trust when Lord Curzon died in 1925. (The Curzon family home of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is also property of the National Trust).

I visited the castle on Sunday the 27th of October. The castle had been decorated for Halloween as they had an event on for kids, which made it a little busy and noisy for my liking. There isn’t a great deal to see, you can do an audio tour if you want more information whilst you are walking around. If you are not a National Trust member, adult entry is £7.50 without gift aid. There is a small shop (the old gatehouse) selling the usual National Trust merchandise and small selection of cakes, overpriced sandwiches and hot drinks. I had a coffee and it wasn’t very nice if i’m honest.

My pictures did not turn out as good as I would have liked. The light was too bright and shadows too harsh. But I have done my best to edit them.

A view of the Holy Trinity Collegiate Church from one of the upper floors in the castle.
The Guardhouse and Holy Trinity Collegiate Church.
The Guardhouse, now the shop and castle entrance.
One of the huge fireplaces saved by Lord Curzon.
The ruins of the stable block with the castle in the background.
Graffiti inside the castle.
Some of the tapestries saved by Lord Curzon.
The castle roof (photograph taken with iPhone)
Tattershall Castle (photograph taken with iPhone)

Thanks for reading.