Category Archives: News

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

Project Group Visits

During the next few months I am organising a short series of visits to local archives and groups. The first of these is on Thursday 25th February to Stocksbridge Local History Group’s and their archive – contact Christine via email for more details.

Other visits are being arranged to the libraries at Kelham Island Museum, the National Coal Mining Museum and Eden Camp. More details of these will appear shortly.

An Introduction to Oral History

Saturday 27th February:

Oral History Training: a 1-day workshop from 10am to 4.30pm for volunteers who would like to be involved in talking to and recording people’s memories. This is being organised as part of the archiving project and is free with lunch included. No prior knowledge is needed, just an interest in people and local history. Places are limited to 12 so pre-booking is essential. Venue to be confirmed. For more details or to book your place, please contact Christine via email or through the Parish Council office.


Yuletide & Christmas Traditions

This event is taking place at Newton Hall, Chapeltown on Wednesday 2nd December 2015 between 2pm – 8pm. It is free to drop in. There will be a programme of activities through the afternoon and evening. An outline of these is set out below, times will be added later when confirmed.

Share your memories of past Christmases and Winters

Bring along a photograph, postcard, picture, recipe, old decoration, memory for the Archiving Project Yuletide memory wall. Contribute to the timeline – a 100yrs of Xmas:  Who has the oldest tree ornament ; nativity set ….. What was your first toy? Favourite book? Film, TV show, song, carols. Scan and upload your photo. to the digital archive and website

WW1 Traditional Christmas

Find out what Christmas was like 100yrs ago during WW1 with Jenny Bland (the History Van) – listen to a short talk about Christmas traditions and have an opportunity to make a decoration to take away. From 2pm to 4.30pm

Traditional Carols & Music

Listen and join in with local songs and carols led by John & Vic. Bowden. through the afternoon.

The Natural History of Christmas & how Victorians re- invented Christmas

Hear about how the Victorians invented Christmas traditions with an illustrated talk by Ian Rotherham. at 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Window shopping

Look at the displays of past shops & shopping – what can you remember?

Test your knowledge

Take part in our Christmas quiz.


Refreshments available – teas and coffee; sausage rolls, mince pies, almond slices, fruit cake, jam tarts …. from 2.30 to 6pm.

Meet the Project 25th June

The coffee morning held at the Parish Council Offices was the first in a series of ‘Meet the Project’ events where people can find out more about the project and the opportunities there are to get involved.

It was organised by the project co-ordinator helped by Beth and Clare, two work experience students from Ecclesfield School. We set out a selection of archiving material,presently stored in the Council Offices, for people to look at.

There was lots of enthusiasm for the project, offers of help and much discussion. It also generated some new ideas that can be followed up.

Volunteering Opportunities

There is a range of opportunities for people to get involved in the project. The opportunities include:

Cataloguing & Recording Archive Material

Scanning & Digitising Archive Material

Archive Website Testing & Support

Reminiscence and Oral History Work

Helping at Events

Sourcing & Contributing New Material

More details about each of these can be found in the list downloadable here.

If you would like to discuss any of these opportunities please get in touch with Christine at the Parish Council Office or come along to the Coffee Morning on 25th June.

Oral History Training – introductory workshop

On Saturday 18th July there will be a 1-day workshop led by Dr Michelle Winslow, Oral History Society regional trainer, for local volunteers to find out how to carry out an oral history project from deciding who to interview to publishing their memories. This is part of the remit of the archiving project and interviews made will form part of the project’s records. Places are limited to 12 people so pre-booking is essential. The workshop is free and lunch & refreshments will be provided. The workshop will take place at Grenoside Reading Rooms. A copy of the outline programme can be seen here. If you are interested in the workshop please phone 284 5095 or email

25th June Coffee Morning – Meet the Project

This is taking place at the Parish Council offices between 10am and 12noon. It has been organised for prospective volunteers to come along and find out more about the project and how they may be able to get involved. There will be a range of local history material on display and a preview of the new website as well as a chance to chat informally about the project. Everyone is welcome and there is no obligation to sign up for volunteering!

Exploring Local History Talk

I will be giving a talk at Chapeltown Library on Thursday May 21st at 2pm. The talk will be illustrated looking at different aspects of local history around the Ecclesfield Parish and beyond. I will be covering some of my interests in changing landscapes and the people who lived and worked in them and how these can be explored in different ways.

WW1 at Kelham Island Museum – South Yorkshire Through Time

A group of us went along to an event at Kelham Island Museum on Sunday 26th April organised by the South Yorkshire Through Time group for Sheffield Hallam University.

It was really interesting to listen to the speakers talking about some of the aspects of the industrial scale of the War from the Munitions Factories and Women’s Work and Sheffield’s role in this. We had the opportunity to look at the special exhibition that the Museum has on the War and the Home Front. It gave many talking points which were followed through after lunch with more talks about the impacts of war on local lives and how this can be brought to life in the current day through drama, displays and exhibitions.

Finally, there was a presentation and discussion about funding through the HLF’s dedicated funding stream to help local communities investigate and commemorate aspects of life during WW1. This can include all sorts of projects around daily life as well as the military and may be something that the project can support local groups to apply for.