Exhibition at Ecclesfield Library, 3rd to 24th Aug.

I’ve just set up a small exhibition at Ecclesfield Library, High Street, Ecclesfield as part of the Archiving Project. It will run through August and is available to view during Library opening hours. The exhibition is based on some of the topics: shops, pubs, chapels, the library and industry which have been discussed at the monthly reminiscence sessions that have been held in the Library since last August. It also features photographs donated by the members of the group and material from the Parish Council. A lot more material has been collected and is being collated as part of the project – some of which will be appearing on the Project website over the next few months. The monthly sessions are continuing with the next on Wednesday 24th August at 3pm – the topic will be summer holidays, day trips etc. All are welcome.

Yorkshire Day at High Green Miners’ Welfare Hall

I took a display along to the event on Saturday 30th July which was thoroughly enjoyable and well attended. There was a couple of renditions of On Ilkley Moor Ba’Tat and demonstrations from the groups who use the hall including Line-dancing and Zumba. There was also chance to have a go at ‘sword dancing’ which I didn’t attempt but mostly because I was talking to a steady stream of people about local history of the area. Several more anecdotes and memories to add to the collection. Our project steering group chairman, Cllr Andy Bainbridge, helped out on the day talking to people and explaining about the project. Our display was between the 6 Jolly Miners and Heritage High Green stalls so ideally placed. The latter had a display of Yorkshire food as well as local  history. It was all ably organised by Darren Ward our community health worker and decorated with Yorkshire flags the previous day,

Walk to Toposcope – 9th July

: Ecclesfield Parish Council Archiving Project Walkers at the Toposcope on Jawbone Hill for the 65th anniversary of the Festival of Britain

: Ecclesfield Parish Council Archiving Project Walkers at the Toposcope on Jawbone Hill for the 65th anniversary of the Festival of Britain

On 9th July, a group of 12 walkers set off from Grenoside Reading Room to walk to the look-out point at Jawbone Hill to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Britain. The toposcope was erected by Wortley Rural District Council as part of a series of local Festival of Britain celebrations which took place across the area during 1951. The idea for the walk came from having been given some material relating to the local celebrations, during the work on the Heritage Lottery Funded project which has led her to try to find out more.  I’ve been told that there was a ceremony at the toposcope when it was unveiled which a large crowd of people attending. These included school children and a band. I’d love to know if anyone has any more photographs or memories of that day, or if anyone took part in any of the other events which took place in Grenoside, High Green or connected to the Newton Chambers works.  If you have please contact me by email at Christine.Handley@ecclesfield-pc.gov.uk or phone on 2845095.

Grenoside Gala, 18th June

This was their golden Jubilee event and they had invited past Gala Queens to attend. I joined with the Grenoside & District Local History Group to bring a display about the project. The group had put a display together about the gala queens and some of the previous queens had also brought some of their own photos. We were in the room where they held their tea party and it was good to see so many of the previous queens and their families looking at the displays. I was fortunate to be introduced to the first Gala Queen, Barbara Foster from 1956 who told me that she was presented with a necklace as Gala Queen. She still had the necklace and presentation box with her name on it. The photograph below shows Barbara in front of the display with her neighbour Helen Jackson.

Barbara Foster, the first Grenoside Gala Queen in 1956 with her neighbour Helen Jackson. Photo. taken at Grenoside Gala June 18th 2016

Barbara Foster, the first Grenoside Gala Queen in 1956 with her neighbour Helen Jackson. Photo. taken at Grenoside Gala June 18th 2016

Party in the Park, High Green – 11th June

I joined with Heritage High Green with a small display about the project and some of the historical information we have been collecting through the project. Despite a damp start it was an enjoyable day. Our Parish Chairman, Cllr. Kath Granger opened the event and came to talk to us at the display. I showed her some of the images from the Thorncliffe collection which we are archiving and she recognised her grandfather, Mr Garrett, in one of the photos. This was good as we had not previously got a name for the photo.  We were also joined by city councillor, Cllr. Andy Bainbridge, who is also the archiving project steering group chairman.

Cllr Andy Bainbridge with Parish Chairman, Cllr Kath Granger, and Mary Birch (Heritage High Green)

Cllr Andy Bainbridge with Parish Chairman, Cllr Kath Granger, and Mary Birch (Heritage High Green)

Ecclesfield Library Reminiscence Sessions

I am running a group at Ecclesfield Community Library with ‘Reminiscence sessions’ from 3pm to 5pm on  29th June, 27th July, 31st August & 28th September (all are Wednesday afternoons)

jimHandley 4completeGroup

These are informal sessions where we meet to talk about ‘old times’ around Ecclesfield with some people bringing along a selection of photos to start us off. All are welcome, just come along.

The next session at the end of June will be looking at the churches and chapels in the area; their sunday schools, whit walks and other events.

Later in July we will be putting on an exhibition and open event in support of the library looking at the history of the library and the local area in support of Ecclesfield Community Library. It will be open to the public during Library opening hours. The exhibition is being developed at the monthly local history reminiscence sessions which take place in the Library. For more details please contact Christine via the parish council offices.

Festival of Britain Summer Celebration Walk

On Saturday 9th July we will be holding a guided walk starting and finishing at the Grenoside Reading Room to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Britain celebrations. The Grenoside community organised a large number of events between May and November 1951 as part of the national festival; a display of some of these will be at the Reading Room for people to see.

View over Birley Carr from Back Edge in May 1970

View over Birley Carr from Back Edge in May 1970

Wortley RDC commemorated the festival by installing a viewing point at the top of Jawbone Hill next to the Birley Stone. On 9th July, setting off at 1.30pm, we will be walking to the viewing point taking photos when we get there and along the way. We are aiming to re-create the 1951 event when the vieiwing point was unveiled with a group photo. at the same spot. We’ll then walk back to the Reading Room for refreshments and a chance to see the displays.

The afternoon will finish about 4.30pm. All are welcome to join the walk or see us at the Reading Room around 3.30pm on our return.

’90 Years Young’ celebration event

HHG displayThe ’90 Years Young’ event on 30th April was a great success thanks to the sterling efforts of the members of Heritage High Green with their displays, parade of fashion through the ages and organising refreshments. We were also treated to two fascinating talks by Jenny Bland about life in the 1920s when Princess Elizabeth was born and a display about mining and the anniversary of the Oaks mining disaster.


Cllr Sheila Constance opening the eventThe day was opened by the 2015/16 Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr Sheila Constance who welcomed everyone to the event. She later told me how much she had enjoyed it especially the parade and the number of people who had made favourable comments about the day.


The Laburnum Tree of Memory picture and roll call of members of the chapel in 1947 was on display and we had a visit from the man who did the lettering for the roll call. I would like to put a copy of the picture into the archive as it will be of interest to many local people.

fashion paradeYou will be able to see more about the event and some of the displays at this Saturday’s ‘Party in the Park’ in Mortomley Park, High Green (11am to 3pm). I’ll be there with information about the Archiving Project and some of the historical information we’ve been collecting.

’90 Years Young’ in High Green

On Saturday 30th April, we will be looking back at the last 90 years in High Green at an event taking place in the Wesleyan Church schoolroom just off Wortley Road. This will look at the changes which have taken place in the village and the domestic, working and social lives of its inhabitants. The event marks the Queen’s 90th birthday with a timeline of events and will feature displays and a ‘fashion through the ages’ show by Heritage High Green. Jenny Bland will be bringing her History Van and transporting us back to the 1920s when Princess Elizabeth was born. There will be much more from the Archiving Project and I’ll post up more details as we go along. If other have any material they think will be of interest and would like to contribute please contact Christine at the Parish Council Offices.

Toposcope at top of Jawbone Hill

1951-2016: The Festival of Britain 65 years on

In 1951, the summer long Festival of Britain celebrating the start of a new modern era had an impact on the local Ecclesfield Parish area as well as being a focal point for the whole of the UK. Planning started in 1949 with local councils and communities being given the opportunity to organise their own celebrations and festivals over the summer of 1951. We’ve already discovered some material in the Parish archive relating to the local festival(s) which took place across the Parish and in the role that local companies such as Newton Chambers played in the construction of the site.

As part of the Archiving Project, I’d like to collect more material to create a display and hold an event to celebrate the 65th anniversary. This is likely to take place in late June or early July and may include a walk to the Birley Stone and the Toposcope which was placed there in 1951.

If you took part in the original festival locally or went on a trip to London to visit the Festival and have any photos or other material, I’d be interested to hear from you. please email christine.handley@ecclesfield-pc.gov.uk