There were 12 of us at the Newgate Close ‘down memory lane’ event on 21st July. We chatted about a range of topics over a couple of hours and a cup of tea. I learnt that the site of Newgate Close flats used to be a swampy field with springs running through where people used to pick watercress. The springs have been culverted and I’m assured that after heavy rain if you stand outside at a certain point you can hear the water rushing down under your feet. A pair of semi-detached houses were knocked down to make way for the road entrance when the scheme was developed. It was built under Wortley RDC and there is a picture of the ‘new’ scheme in their celebration brochure. I had a few more geography lessons amid tales about the estate which surrounds it and the roundabout at the end of Jeffcock Road. It was really interesting to hear about daily life not just in High Green but other areas during the 1930s and 40s. A couple of the people who came along said we could go and talk to them again and knew others who would be good to talk to regarding the project.
Joy and Mary joined me on my visit to the Scouting archive at Hesley Wood Scout Camp today. Thanks to Paddy and his colleagues who, over a cuppa or two and biscuits, showed us some of the collection they have started to put together over the last five years. The material covers a wide range of topics taking in the early history of Scouting in the Wentworth District, the development of Hesley Wood Scout Camp and the connection with Sir Harold West and Newton Chambers right up to the latest South Yorkshire Challenge camps. It was great to hear some of the history of the site and the crews who have been responsible for building and maintaining it. In the early days this included apprentices from Newton Chambers sent over to help out. We agreed it would definitely be worth another visit or two to look at the archive in more detail and have a walk to look at some of the evidence of earlier industrial history. I am particularly interested in looking at the development of the camp and the connection with Newton Chambers as part of the Archiving Project.
Highlights of the session included a chorus of ‘We are the Ovaltinies’ prompted by one of the mystery objects ( a Horlicks drink mixer) from the Libraries Services’ memory box. The contents of the box together with a few additions was set out on display. People were asked to choose one object that they had definitely used, one they knew what it was and another that they didn’t have a clue about. Given the age of the group, most knew all the objects and could remember their use. This broke the ice and we had a wide ranging discussion about what life used to be like before mains electricity, gas, running water etc. etc. and how houses and industry had taken over farm land. Prices of bus fares and a comparison with today was made using ‘old’ and ‘new’ money. Notes from the talk were taken by Beth, from Ecclesfield School, who was on work experience with me. These will be tidied up and then added to the project.
Please get in contact if you would like something similar for your group.
The project now also has a presence on Facebook with its own group page. Chloe, one of the project’s new volunteers will be helping me to maintain and regularly update the group page with posts, comments and notices of events. We are hoping that this will reach a wider audience for the project and encourage more people to get involved. Other Facebook users will be able to join and ask questions or leave answers and comments about the archiving project material.
There were about 20 people at the talk in Chapeltown Library on Thursday. I showed people examples of the range of material that can be used to explore local history in all its different aspects. The overall theme was that everyone has a local history which they can explore – whether they have lived in an area for a few years or all their lives. It can be looked at through diaries and documents, photographs and maps and by walking round the local area.
Some of the photographs triggered particular memories. One photograph was of the old Rural District Council Offices at Grenoside. It provoked discussion about the ‘food office’ at Grenoside somewhere that families had to go to collect their ration and welfare coupons for young children. It was set in its own wooded grounds opposite the Council offices. I’m going to follow up with the Grenoside group to see if they have more information which we can share.
I was invited to give a short talk to the group on Tuesday 21st April about the project and how members can get involved. During the presentation I showed a section of a 1950s Ordnance Survey map and some photographs of the area around Stubbing House Lane. Not being local to the area, I knew little of the detail. After the talk several people came to talk to me and share their recollections of the Stubbing House area. They also told me about the bomb storage area, now the site of the crematorium and how the village had developed. My visit was quite timely as some of the older long-term residents and members of the group had started to talk about holding some reminiscence sessions to record their memories. This is something I’ll be able to support and will be contacting the group to arrange times and dates. We’ll probably be holding them in Grenoside Reading Room.