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Deepcar Area

Foreword

The history and development of Religion, Schools, Sport, and Railways in the district have their own dedicated sections on our website; therefore we will only briefly refer to these subjects in this section as applicable.

It must be stated that is very difficult to separate the history of Deepcar from that of the other locations which make up the district of Stocksbridge, as events which stimulated a change in one area drove similar changes in the others.

Deepcar

The early signs of civilisation and a settlement in the area were discovered at Deepcar close to the joining of the two rivers, the Don and the Little Don, this article titled 7,000 Years Old Find at Deepcar describes the finding.

These other articles describe findings which have been uncovered in other parts of the district.

Early man in the Stocksbridge area

Maglemosian Hunters

Discovering our past 1

Discovering our past 2

The eastern approaches to Deepcar, from the nearest city of Sheffield some 10 miles away, can best be described as ancient managed woodland, which in spring is covered by a mass of bluebells and other wild flowers.

About one and half miles before Deepcar at Morehall, we pass two roads on our left, the first takes the low route through the Ewden valley and the second winds its way up the valley to Bolsterstone.

Dominant, high on our right are the Wharncliffe Crags with Wharncliffe Lodge standing proud on the skyline.

We are in an area known as the Bithomes, which has had a number of different spellings of its name at various times.

The name Bithomes is thought to have derived from ‘by the holmes’, with holmes being the word for a flat flood plain, it is hard to imagine the area ever having been a flat flood plain as the River Don is now many metres below the level of the road.

Approaching from a northerly direction, via the villages of Thurgoland and Wortley the two roads join together close to the Tin Mill, and the old Wortley Station, which is now a private dwelling.

It is worth noting here that the Trans Pennine Trail runs alongside the old station building. The trail forms part of a coast to coast route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders that links the North and Irish seas, with much of the route using disused railway tracks.

The Tin Mill is a pleasant area to walk or fish, the dams being used by the local angling club.

Representatives from the neighbouring Hunshelf Parish have recently completed an archaeological survey of the Tin Mill site in an attempt to determine more of its historical past.

Close by is a much photographed beauty spot called the “Wortley Leppings”, the old wooden bridge seen here, has long since been replaced by a metal one. “The Leppings” however remain and are passable with care.

Previously the only place for vehicles to cross the River Don at Deepcar, was the Soughley Bridge, but since the opening of the Stocksbridge By-Pass in 1988, this bridge has been used mainly for local traffic.

The area close to the bridge was used for the tipping of spoil from the adjacent refractory works, and for decades it smouldered and burned due to underground fires.

Often in times of rain the road would be engulfed in steam. The area was eventually cleared in preparation for the construction of the bypass.

In 1805 the Langsett, Wadsley & Sheffield Turnpike was opened, Thomas Jeffery’s map of 1770 shows that before that date not even a cart-track existed between Stocks Bridge and Deepcar, the only thoroughfares being the old pack horse routes along the hilltops.

At the top of Vaughton Hill there was a Toll-Bar, which stood in a triangular fence.

The keeper of the Toll-Bar was Mr. Porritt a pioneer of Methodism in the district, he extracted contributions from travellers, which went towards the upkeep of the road.

Here are some later photographs of Vaughton Hill notice the Travellers Inn public house which is now a private residence.

Why not read this poem about The Vaughtons of Vaughton Hill.

In 1850 the only Public Houses marked on the map of the area were the King & Miller, the Royal Oak at Deepcar and the Coach & Horses at Stocks Bridge.

According to the 1851 census, at Deepcar there were four farms totalling 69 acres, three of the farms also traded as Inns.

One of the innkeeper/farmers was a cabinet-maker, who together with a blacksmith, a butcher and a butcher/grocer, a cordwainer, a cornmiller, a joiner and a wheelwright served a community of 26 households.

In terms of population, Deepcar at that time was larger than the village of Bolsterstone, but it didn’t have a Church or a Post Office, however it was closer to the new road and the railway station and therefore had greater opportunity for expansion.

We briefly mention the Station here because of its importance to the early development of the district and the local Steelworks, but don’t forget to check out our section on the development of railways in the area.

In 1851 the Deepcar Corn Mill was still in operation. There was a Blacking Mill at the bottom of Haywood’s Lane and at the Henholmes Works, bricks and tiles were being manufactured.

In 1859 the St. Ann's Catholic Church was built, followed in 1868 by the Wesleyan Chapel at Old Haywoods, and then in 1877 the Deepcar St. John’s Church was built, as a daughter Church to St. Mary's at Bolsterstone.

Don’t forget to check out our section on the development of religion and church’s in the area.

Around the middle of the 1800’s an itinerant glazier by the name of John Armitage bought the Henholmes Works, this first photograph shows the works in 1890.

The works thrived under the ownership and direction of Mr. Armitage, who died on the 13th of November 1890, aged 74 years.

The works had previously been owned by Messrs W. J. & R. Turner, three brothers who had little success with their combined engineering and brick and tile manufacturing business.

Here we have an article about the life and achievements of John Armitage, a very fitting tribute written by Albert Coultas who himself started work with the company as an office boy straight from school in 1901.

The article about Mr. Armitage gives a description of what the Deepcar of 1850 must have been like, he visualises arriving by train and progressing along Station Road and then Manchester Road, picturing such places such as the Chemical works, the Royal Oak, and the King and Miller public houses and other buildings, which were the only ones around at the time.

Take a look at some of these more recent photographs of Station Road and some of the buildings mentioned in the article.

Joseph Kenworthy in his Handbook Number 4 gives an account of the Armitage and other local works, employed in the manufacturing of products using the clay and ganister mined in the area.

See also the following two articles Local Industries of the Past No 3 and Local Industries of the Past No 4 describing the inductries which built up around the mining and utilisation of these natural mineral resources.

Thomas Brooke left the employment of John Armitage, to start his own pipe works at Bracken Moor; a trade advertisement of the time shows the works as being established in 1854. Thomas died on the 29th of December 1897, at the age of 69.

John Grayson Lowood took over the former chemistry works at Deepcar, establishing a ganister mine and refractory works, which produced a variety of bricks and other basic industrial requirements, the business was registered on the 1st of July 1890 and exhibited silica and ganister blocks at the Antwerp trade fare of 1894, where they took the gold medal.

These photographs show the works and the various production operations which go towards the making of bricks and also a photograph of the Lowood Works Star Children's Ring in Lowood field in 1954.

In 1891 the Gregory’s brickworks chimney was erected and was subsequently demolished exactly 100 years later.

In 1902 William Brooke left his father’s works to set up another pipe works at Pot House in Stocksbridge.

Fox Glen or “The Glen” as it is also known, is a small valley of land, bestowed on the people of Deepcar and Stocksbridge by the Trustees of the late Samuel Fox , in commemoration of the Coronation of George V and Queen Mary in 1911.

A commemorative Medal was struck and issued to the employees who joined Samuel Fox from Bradwell, together with the heads of departments of the time.

Only a handful of these were ever issued, as it was discovered after the coin, were “minted” that it was Illegal to offer a coin depicting a head on one side which was not the head of the reigning sovereign.

The 300-odd coins produced were impounded by the local U.D.C.

The original entrance to the Glen was at the bottom of a small winding road, which we believe was demolished by a runaway traction engine.

The Glen is criss-crossed by paths, and was well used by families for Sunday walks and picnics in the summer months.

Concerts were held here featuring local choirs and bands.

Being central to Deepcar and Stocksbridge the Glen was often chosen for special events, when people from around the district came to celebrate.

Services were held there to mark the ending of the World War I and to welcome home the troops.

May day celebrations were also held there and the crowning of the May Queen were regular occasions celebrated there.

By the 1930’s the Glen had a seesaw, a sand pit, swings and a roundabout, much like the equipment to be found in the children’s playgrounds of today.

There was also a wooden Shop selling Sweets, Pop, Ice Creams and other things. What do you remember about this shop, do you have any photographs ?

This photograph shows Eric Charlesworth sat outside the shop. The photograph was taken around 1925.

Further up the Glen there was a series of paddling pools and a swimming pool.

Does anyone remember this gun which was located in the Glen in the 1930s?

Although the Glen remains a very pleasant place to walk and relax it is sadly not used now as often as it once was.

You may wish to read the following articles about the Glen in earlier times.

Fox Glen Remembered

Fox Glen (The Clough)

Fox Glen 1

Fox Glen 2

Fox Glen Memories.

In 1925 the Steel houses were built at Ellen Cliff at a cost of £400 each.

In 1942 at 6.20pm on the 4th of November, Deepcar had a taste of World War II when a Lockheed Hudson light bomber, which had been converted for training duties, crashed close to the Fox’s tip.

You can read this account of the incident in this article A World War II Air Crash at Deepcar.

In 1964-65 the construction of the large private Ideal Homesteads estate started, to the south of Carr Road

In 1965 on the 28th September the new Sewage Works were officially opened on the outskirts of Deepcar by Clifford Batty Chairman of the Council.

Also in 1965 the houses which made up Wharncliffe View were demolished. Their previous name was Mangle Row, so named because there had been a mangle in the middle entry passage which had been for common use.

In 1968 the construction of the Wilson Road Flats started and they were completed two years later.

At an earlier date (built around 1946) there were Prefab type buildings in Wilson Road, this first photograph is of Kathleen Smith, outside their Prefab at number 4 Wilson Road, Deepcar and the second is of her baby brother, Robert Smith.

 

It was later renumbered as number 24, because it confused the postman, as there were similar numbers in use for the older houses already there.

You can clearly see the view they had of Florence Buildings and the Lowoods chimneys.

Wilson Road sloped quite steeply and the stone wall at the side of the garden, with a cowfield on the other side, tapered inwards at the bottom of the road.

Her Dad spent months making paths front and back, a patio and a base for a swing as well as setting out all the garden with vegetables and fruit bushes.

The lounge had a very small stove/fire on the inside wall and it had two doors on it with little panes of glass in them.

The door at one end of the lounge went into the kitchen where they had a built-in table, which folded up against the wall when necessary, a built-in ironing board, which lifted up from one of the base units, and wonder of wonders a built-in fridge!!

That was very modern in those days.

Her Mum used to get bottles of orange juice from the Baby Clinic up Stocksbridge, in bottles similar to the size of a medicine bottle, and make lollipops in the ice-cube tray.

Also in 1968 on the 14th December the Deepcar Playgroup building was officially opened by Mr. D Foulds Divisional Education Officer.

In 1969 the cottages adjacent to the Miners Arms public house were demolished.

In 1970 the Stubbin estate Community Centre was officially opened.

Also in 1970 Florence Buildings also known locally as “Donkey View”, which incidentally was the place where the writer was born, was demolished.

1972 saw the end of the Steel Houses, which were the first Council houses to be built in Deepcar, they were being demolished to make way for Truman Grove to be built.

In 1974 the Deepcar Village Hall was built by members of the local community.

In March of 1993 the tyre dump on the tip behind Lowoods works caught fire. Up to a million tyres were burning and the smoke was visible from up to 15 miles away.

More than 40 fire fighters attended the blaze.

Local residents had been opposed to the tyre depot prior to it opening.

This is the only photograph we have of Deepcar Feast I remember going to this annual occassion as a child, and I bet many of you have simillar memories and perhaps Photographs.

If you have let us know.

 


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