An unpleasant experience in Conisbrough

Conisbrough Cemetery

Conisbrough Cemetery

The Jacobs family features in my pedigree and is becoming an increasingly large tree. Research conducted indicates that they were living in the Cambridgeshire region since at least the early 1600s. They mostly worked as agricultural labourers but a couple of branches in the late 1800s and early 1900s decided to try their luck in the north, presumably because of the plentiful and relatively well paid jobs. My second great grandmother (Eliza Ann Jacobs) along with her family moved to Rotherham in 1902 and settled there. Eliza’s uncle had settled in Wombwell in South Yorkshire, previously, in the 1870s but by 1901 was back in Cambridgeshire. Two of his children stayed in South Yorkshire however. The newspaper article below pertains to one of Samuel’s sons who was called Samuel Charles Jacobs. I’d been unable to find him on the 1911 Census but a cousin recently informed me that he had died in Conisbrough in South Yorkshire in unusual circumstances:-


Unmarked Jacobs grave in Conisbrough Cemetery

Unmarked Jacobs grave in Conisbrough Cemetery

UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE. – Mr. G. Jacobs, the landlord of the Castle Inn, had a rather unpleasant experience towards the end of last week. On the Thursday evening, about 7-20, his brother in a practically destitute condition, put in an unexpected experience. It was soon found out that he had been scouring the country for the past 12 months, and a warrant was out for his arrest on account of his neglecting his wife and family at Chesterton, in Cambridge. He was apparently, in a broken-down state, and said he had come to die. New clothes were given to him, and he retired about nine o’clock. After a restless night he rose shortly after ten o’clock next morning, and medical aid was summoned. He expired, however, shortly after three o’clock on Thursday afternoon while sitting in a chair, about an hour after he had received medical attention. The funeral took place at the cemetery on Sunday afternoon, Mr. Jacobs paying all the expenses incurred. The Rev. W.A. Strawbridge officiated at the graveside.

(There appears to be an error in the reporting of the incident as Samuel is reported as arriving on Thursday and then dying during the following day on Thursday)

Arthur Parkin



Arthur Parkin is the husband of my third cousin, thrice removed (Catherine Loukes). Below is the newspaper article published shortly after his death with details of how he demised.

St. Philips Road, Sheffield

St. Philips Road, Sheffield

In lieu of direct evidence supposition had largely to be reported to at the inquest at the Sheffield Coroner’s Court to-day on the body of Arthur Parkin (48), of 70, Milton Street, a Corporation carter, whose death took place in curious circumstances. From the statements it had been found possible to collect, it appeared that the man, who was a carter in the Cleansing Department, was discovered lying in a pool of blood, suffering from terrible internal injuries, and the theories on which the jury based its verdict of “Accidental Death” were that the man, whilst applying the brakes before proceeding down a hill with his waggon, had been caught by the wheel and run over.

(Grave No. 90) City Road Cemetery, Sheffield (Copyright Tony Morton)

Arthur’s grave in City Road Cemetery, Sheffield

A fellow-workman said that when he left Parkin at 2.45 a.m. he was all right, and was leading his horse and waggon, loaded with nightsoil, up Thomas Street, on his way to the destructor on Penistone Road. Henry Crouch, a Corporation street sweeper, found the body of Parkin in St. Phillip’s Road lying in a pool of blood, but could form no opinion as to what had happened. He made the discovery as day was breaking, and the horse and cart were nowhere to be seen.

Some time later, said another Corporation employee, he found the horse and cart of which the deceased had been in charge near the destructor in Penistone Road. The brakes were hard on, and the horse was pulling up the hill “as though it had gone mad.” In his opinion Parkin had been caught by the wheel whilst applying the brake in St. Phillip’s Road.

Dr. Mowat, of the Royal Infirmary, described the terrible injuries of the man when he was admitted to the institution. All the ribs on the right side were broken, there was a wound reaching down to the bone underneath the chin, and bruises on the chest and head. There were also severe internal injuries.

At the conclusion of the inquest, Mr. E. B. Gibson, who represented the Corporation, expressed the sympathy of the Cleansing Department with the relatives of the dead man. He was a good, honest workman, and the department were very sorry to hear of his death.

Operation Hurricane

Operation Hurricane

Operation Hurricane

In an entry on this site (, I wrote about how a couple of my cousins died as civilians during the Sheffield ‘Operation Crucible’ Blitz of 1940. In contrast, in this entry, I write about how three of my German cousins died as civilians during World War II. To set the background as to how I lost English and German cousins in World War II, I’ll explain that through the paternal side of my family, my ancestry can be traced back to Rhineland in Prussia (now Germany). My second great grandfather, Johann Mölleken, came to England with his family circa 1860.

My second cousin, twice removed is called Emilie Mölleken and she was born in 1906 in Hiesfeld, Dinslaken, Rheineland, Prussia. In 1932, she married Friedrich Gerhard Van Laak. Together, they issued three children called Fritz (born 1932), Erwin (born 1934) and Heinz-Dieter (born 1937).

Friedrich Gerhard Van Laak owned a house painting and pharmacy business in Hiesfeld. With tax-payer’s money during World War II, the basement of this store was developed into an air raid shelter. This basement therefore always had to be accessible.



In the early hours of 14th October 1944, the Royal Air Force launched a massive 1000 bomber air raid, codenamed ‘Operation Hurricane’ on the German city of Duisburg in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The route of the bombers took them over Hiesfeld. At 08:46, Hiesfeld air defence made a direct hit on a four engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber flying in at 52,000 meters altitude. Consequently, a second Avro Lancaster was also affected. The two bombers were due to hit the Hiesfeld air defence and their numbers were NF928 and JB297.

A reporter filmed this event out of another aeroplane. Because of the great quantity of bombs and the half full tanks of fuel that the bombers were carrying, the force of the explosions ripped the bombers apart and the cascading large and small debris scattered for miles in and around Hiesfeld. Several witnesses described how aeroplane and body parts fell from the smoke filled sky. Fires broke out across the entire of Hiesfeld. This was followed by sporadic bomb explosions. Several unexploded bombs also scattered around aimlessly. At several points dead Avro Lancaster crew members were found with unopened parachutes still on their backs.

Avro Lancaster

Avro Lancaster

The Van Laak store was hit by falling aircraft debris and was completely destroyed by subsequent fire. In the air raid shelter underneath the store were twenty three civilians, all of which were killed. A fire-fighter, who was recovering the bodies there, reported that the lungs of the causalities were burst due to the huge explosion and pressure wave. They were found with bloody foam at the mouth but otherwise, their bodies were unharmed. The shelter did not collapse and so all of the causalities were found, still sat down. The inputs and outputs of the air raid shelter were filled in, during the explosion. Paint buckets caught fire and exploded which hampered the rescue attempts.

Near to the Van Laak store was a greengrocer’s store and people had gone to buy cabbage that morning. Once the air raid sirens sounded, the people fled into the Van Laak air raid shelter.

Sadly, Emilie and two of her children (my third cousins), Erwin and Heinz-Dieter were killed in the blast. Their eldest child, Fritz (still alive at the time of writing) survived because he was in School.

All 14 crew members of NF928 and JB297 were recovered and buried in the cemetery of Dinslaken. In 1947, they were reburied in the Imperial Forest Cemetery of Kleve.

Special thanks are owed to my cousin, Hermann Mölleken, who provided details of this tragic account.

Van Laak grave (

In a twist, the granddaughter of my second great grandfather (Johann Mölleken) was killed as a result of German bombing in Liverpool in 1941. Her name is Hilda Augusta Tudball (nee Köhler) and is my first cousin, twice removed. Unfortunately, Hilda does not seem to appear in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database (yet) but thanks are owed to her granddaughter, Victoria Carr, for informing me of how she died.

Further information regarding the Mollekin/Mölleken family can be found at and A full list of currently known war dead in my family tree can be found at

Death of Mary Ann Marsden (nee Pinder)

Leeds Infirmary

Leeds Infirmary

In July 2009 after meeting a distant cousin, I learnt that my 2 x great aunt, Mary Ann Pinder, died as a result of a boiler explosion. Because Mary didn’t seem to reveal her true age on Census Returns, trying to find a corresponding death entry was difficult. Mary married Sam Marsden in Rotherham in 1895 and below is a newspaper entry pertaining to her death.



Five deaths at the Leeds Infirmary were investigated by the City Coroner (Mr. J. C. Malcolm) at the Town Hall yesterday.

Three of the cases were the results of burning accidents, and the victims were Harry Haigh Fern, two years of age, of 11, Parsonage View, Leeds; Reginald Fletcher, aged three years, of 1, Tennyson Street, Pudsey; and Mary Ann Marsden (48), wife of the caretaker at the Girls’ High School, Headingley Lane, Leeds. The clothing of the two children caught fire while they were playing with matches, and in the case of Mrs. Marsden her blouse was set alight at a gas stove. Verdicts of “Accidental death” were returned in each case.

Jas. Alderson, aged 10 years, of 7, Dalmeny Terrace, Rodley, fell a distance of seven and a half feet from a warehouse “landing” whilst at play on Saturday. He died from hemorrhage caused by the injuries. The jury agreed that the boy’s death was accidental. Frederick George Sales (53), out porter, of 4, Wharfedale Street, Leeds, died whilst under anaesthetic. The jury concurred with the doctor’s statement that an operation was necessary in consequence of internal injuries, and returned a verdict that death was due to misadventure.

Joseph Goodall and the Lund Hill mining disaster

Lundhill mining disaster

Lundhill mining disaster

Joseph Goodall is my 4 x great uncle. On 27th February 1857, Joseph was killed in one of the worst mining accidents ever to occur when a fire-damp explosion ripped through the underground workings of the Lund Hill colliery, near Barnsley. 189 men and boys were killed. One family alone lost seven members. It took five months to recover Joseph’s body from the mine after which he was buried in Saint Thomas’s Churchyard in Gawber. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert donated £300 to the disaster fund which was subsequently set up. Below is a transcription of a newspaper article published shortly after the disaster.


Lundhill mining disaster

Lundhill mining disaster

It is our melancholy duty to record one of the most awful and fatal colliery accidents which has perhaps taken place in the history of coal mining in this country. The scene of this sad occurrence was at Lund Hill, near Hemingfield, about six miles from this place, and one from the Wombwell station on the South Yorkshire Railway, known as the Lund Hill Colliery, at present worked by a firm under the name of “The Lund Hill Coal Company”. The accident occurred about 12.15 a.m., on Thursday last. During the time that the banksmen and the above-ground workmen were at dinner, a loud explosion was heard, and almost at the same moment the corf and chair suspended in the drawing shaft were driven with extraordinary violence against the head gear of the shaft, by which the latter was considerably broken. The alarm spread immediately, and the most direful consequences of a terrific explosion were soon made evident to all. The cupola of the air shaft was rest asunder; and the volumes of fire and smoke which issued there-from depicted fear all around.

Lundhill disaster monument, Darfield

Lundhill disaster monument, Darfield

The workmen at hand immediately hastened to the spot, and under the superintendence of Mr. Coe, the viewer of the mine, proceeded to repair the head gear of the shaft, in order to render assistance to the workmen down in the mine. But in the mean time no person can describe the scene which speedily followed. As the alarm spread, the most fearful forebodings sat upon each countenance. Messengers were despatched for assistance in every direction to the neighbouring collieries, and in a very shot time the vicinity of the pit was alive with the most distressing and horror-stricken faces. The surgeons from Barnsley and the district were summoned or volunteered to render assistance to any of the men who might be got out. But before any of the unhappy beings who were at work in the mine could be got out, a large concourse of the wives, children, and relatives of those in the mine were gathered round the pit hill, and the most appalling and heart-rending sight was presented. The despairing shrieks of the women and children, and the fear which sat upon the faces of all assembled cannot be here adequately described.

Saint Thomas the Apostle, Gawber

Saint Thomas the Apostle

Joseph Goodall's grave

Joseph Goodall’s grave

The number of persons who descended the shaft in the morning would be about 180, including men and boys; and from the above-ground appearances, those experienced in mining expressed but faint hopes for the lives of those below, The utmost efforts were, however, made to prepare for a descent into the mine, and many times were those persons attempting to gain an entrance drawn up and down the shaft before the chair could descend to the bottom. The effort being at last successful, they, however, only succeeded in rescuing about 19 from the bottom of the shaft. Those men, being engaged in the dip workings, had rushed to the pit shaft on the first shock of the explosion; and, awful to relate, these 19, with about 12 persons who came out of the pit at dinner time, and just before the explosion took place, are all that are that saved out of the number who entered that morning. The sacrifice of life must therefore amount to near 150 persons who have thus met an untimely death, in this most fearful of all calamities which has yet befallen this mining district. The report of the disaster soon spread far and wide, and but few persons could at first believe the report circulated, so fabulous indeed did it appear. The owners of the colliery were telegraphed for, and messengers despatched to inform them of the awful tidings. Mr. (missing text) work to subdue the fire, but, at the hour of our account leaving on Friday the fire still continued, and the pit remained sealed up to stop the current of air which feeds the flame in the cupola shaft. On Friday the interest seemed only to increase, and thousands of persons assembled at the colliery. Many to satisfy themselves of the reality of the accident, and many more unhappily to bewail the fate of those buried in the dark abyss below. We shall endeavour, in our subsequent editions of the week’s paper, to present any further information which we can obtain relevant to this dreadful catastrophe.

Growing up in Wentworth, South Yorkshire

Mum with her mum and sisters

Mum with her mum and sisters in Wentworth

In this entry I have written about my mother’s memories of growing up in Wentworth. Amongst other aspects of growing up in Wentworth, I have detailed who lived in the cottages on mum’s street. Because of the vast period of time that had elapsed since mum had lived there and talking to me, some details regarding who lived where and at what numbers, may be slightly inaccurate, although details of the actual families and people are accurate. This entry will be of particular interest to people who were living at Wentworth in the 1940s and 1950s although I hope it will have a general interest to anybody who knows the area. Some of the more personal detail will hopefully appeal to my relations.

Wilfred Street, Rotherham

Wilfred Street, Rotherham

My mum was born in her grandmother’s house in Wilfred Street, Westgate, Rotherham in 1938 and spent her early years living in Greasbrough. In 1944, my mum and her family moved to live at Street in Wentworth.

Schooling in Wentworth

Mum attended the Wentworth Church of England School for 5 years between 1944 and 1949. Miss Tradewell was 1 of 3 Teachers and was the one who taught the youngest children. Then after Miss Tradewell, it was Mrs Smith (7 – 9 year olds) who my mum remembered as a being good Teacher. Mrs Smith was nicknamed Miss Louisana by the children. After Mrs Smith, it was Mrs Wright who was also the Head Teacher. Miss Tradewell lived close to the School on Main Street in Wentworth. Miss Wright lived in a small cottage on Church Walk.

Wentworth School

Wentworth School

Mum remembers speaking to Miss Wright after she’d left School regarding her progress etc. A neighbour of Miss Wright was Molly Chappell.

11+ children used to have a lesson behind the blackboard.

There were the usual School activities such as Christmas concerts and Harvest Festivals.

One incident that mum remembered and that made her mum laugh was when she came home singing ‘that’s the way the honey goes’ when it should have been ‘that’s the way the nanny goat’.

There used to be nice jam pasties at dinner time at School which which didn’t consist of normal strawberry/raspberry jam.

Shops in Wentworth

Wentworth Post Office

Wentworth Post Office

Shops in Wentworth were the Cobblers, Joseph Hills Butchers, Bassendales Newsagents (opposite to the Cobblers and Butchers), a sweet shop (possibly run/owned by Miss Godfrey) which was basically a front room and then the Cooperative Store (Mr Green was the Manager and his daughter was called Anita).

Opposite Bassendales was the Harry Wheatcroft garage which later became the Bistro. Harry Wheatcroft married June Wigfield. The Wigfield family were Estate workers at Wentworth Woodhouse and lived at Lea Brook.

Mechanics Institute, Wentworth

Mechanics Institute, Wentworth

There wasn’t a Baker’s shop in the village, but a man called Gerald from Binns’s Bakery used to come round in a van with bread.

The Post Office was run by Mr Ibbotson.

There was ‘the hole in the wall’ which sold vegetables and which bordered on where the Garden Centre is now.

Asquith’s used to come round in a lorry with vegetables and fruit. After the Second World War mum remembered buying a quarter of cherries from Asquiths.

There was a mobile chip shop that came round once a week but mum remembered the chips as being dire.

There was a mobile Library that came to the village once a week, but there weren’t many good books to loan. Instead, mum would go to the Mechanic’s Institute for her books.

Entertainment in Wentworth

Wesleyan Chapel, Clayfield Lane, Wentworth

Wesleyan Chapel, Clayfield Lane, Wentworth

Mr Ibbotson (the Post Master) was also a Preacher and used to give a sweet to each of the children before showing films in the Chapel on Clayfield Lane. This was every Tuesday night.

When aged 7, mum remembered going to Wentworth Woodhouse for a concert to say goodbye to the American soldiers. Songs sung included ‘In The Gloaming’ (sang with Joan Ogle), ‘When The Lights Go Low’ and ‘With A Hundred Pipers.’ Mum practised beforehand at the Goddard’s house. Mum remembered being blamed for singing out of tune but believed she was the scapegoat because she was the youngest.  Consequently she was quick to point out who was actually at fault!

Mum used to pay one penny to go up Hoober Stand and that would allow you to go in and out as much as one wanted.

Wentworth Woodhouse

In the Autumn, mum would collect chestnuts at the end of the lane in the wood near to Needle’s Eye.

On Bonfire night, there would be a competition between the bonfires of Lea Brook and Street. Don Cooper (Joyce Robinson’s friend) used to prepare and do the bonfire and fireworks every year on Airey’s field.

At Christmas time, mum would sing carols around the Street and down to Colonel Langdon’s house which was across the fields at the top of the yard off the lane. Colonel Langdon had a big house and had something to do with the Wentworth Estate.

Needle’s Eye, Wentworth

Healthcare & Police

Wentworth was served by Doctor Mills who had white hair and lived on Clayfield Lane.

There was no Dentist in the village – it was in Wath at Dunford House (originally the home of the Whitworth brewing family).

The village Policeman was called ‘Bobby Bunfield’ and he lived in the bottom house before going towards Elsecar on Main Street.

Neighbours and other Wentworth people

#3 Street – This is where my mum and her family lived. Prior to moving in, somebody had been keeping ducks in the house. The house was electrified, but there was no gas supply, so food was cooked on a Primus stove in the kitchen. There was a range in the living room. Upstairs, there were 3 bedrooms. A bathroom was put in upstairs years later. Circa 1952, the toilet was moved from the end of the garden to a flushing version outside of the back door.

Street cottages, Wentworth

Street cottages, Wentworth

#1 Street – The Chantry family. These were old people but nice. After the Chantry family had left, the Smith family moved in and then the Owen family (mum remembered that their daughter was called Dorothy). With regards to the Smith family, Walter Smith was the father, Edna was his wife and Michael was their son. Walter pounced on mum after climbing over a stile, down a field at the top of the Street yard which led to Landon Drive on Cortworth Lane and stole her purse. Walter was sent to prison and died there. Howard Davies (brother of 2) who might have been a labourer on the Estate also lived at #1 at one point and mum remembered him having two brothers.

Satchel snatched from schoolgirl

WATH police are to-day searching for a man aged about 35, who snatched a school satchel from a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Talbert-drive, Street-lane, Wentworth.

Most of the contents of the satchel have been recovered except for a purse, which contained 11s.

The girl was Jean Rowbottom, of Street Cottages, Wentworth, who was on her way to school.

The description of the man is: Dressed in dirty raincoat with belt, dark-coloured scarf, woollen gloves and believed to be wearing Wellington boots and no hat.

#2 Street – Jim Wright and his wife Dorothy lived here and they didn’t have any children. Mum remembered Jim as being an odd man; very tall with ostrich like legs and with a piping voice. Mum’s mum and dad were close friends with the Wright family. They eventually went to live in Malton, North Yorkshire and mum remembered visiting them and returning home in the dark and being scared. They may have had something to do with the Estate. Tommy Tinker and wife with their daughter, Mary, moved into #2 after the Wright family had left.

Next to Jim Wright and family were the Hill family. Mavis Hill was the daughter and was older than mum and when she got married, she lived around the corner from the Street. She ended up running off with a Jehovah’s Witness and mum never saw her again. There was also a son. When mum’s mum and dad were having their kitchen and living room asphalted in the late 1950’s (after mum was married), they moved into the empty Hill house for about a week. After the Hill family left, the Fuller family moved in. Jean(ie) Fuller was mum’s friend and was a little younger. They used to play ball against the smooth toilet brick wall. Jean’s hands were always bandaged up with black tar bandages due to eczema. Jean had a brother called Tony. Their parents were called Tom and Rene.

Hoober Stand, Wentworth

Hoober Stand, Wentworth

Next to the Hill family were the Bamforth family. They had a daughter called Joy.

The Lidgett family lived in the next house along from the Bamforth family. Everard and Diane were the children and were quite posh. Their dad might have been called Ted and their mother had a fancy name. Everard was older than mum but Diane was of the same age. After the Lidgett moved out, the Nuttall family moved in. They were called Jim and maybe Ada. Their daughter was called Winnie. But Ada had about 4 daughters from a previous marriage; Ida was one of them and mum was friends with her. Winnie married an Irish man and they ended up living with my parents in Greasbrough for a while but she died young.

In the house along from the Nuttall family, was the Airey family. A branch of the Airey family lived in Swinton and some are buried there.

Around the corner from the Airey houses were more dwellings and gardens. The aforementioned Mavis Hill moved into one of these at one point.

The corner bottom right house was the Wright farm. The wife was nicknamed as the black widow as she dressed in black and always looked miserable. Apparently she wasn’t well liked for some reason. They had a daughter called Enid. Enid married Lol Hunt’s brother (Ken). Ken and Enid then took on the Hunt house because Lol and family moved (they may have gone to to live in the neighbouring hamlet of Harley). The Wright Farm had fields at the back although the first field at the back was Airey’s field. Bonfires were held on the Airey field and may also have been occupied by ponies. The Wright field was at the side/back of the Airy Field.

Lol Hunt, with children David, Elaine, Irene, Ian, Peter and Paul (twins) resided in the next house along at bottom on the same same side as mum’s home. Lol Hunt may have been a Miner. Lol’s brother (the aforementioned Ken) might also have been a Miner.

The grandparent’s of mum’s friend (Joyce Cooper) lived in the next house along. Joyce’s grandfather had been a Miner. Mum remembered that their house had a carpet! They had a son called Colin and he married a lady called Irene. After the Cooper family had moved out, Kath Airey who married Jack Howse, moved in. They issued a daughter called Pamela. Jack Howse may have been a Miner. Mum’s mum and dad became friends with the Howse family and would to go to the Greasbrough Brass Band Club together, opposite Green street. Jack and Kath’s nephew, Geoffrey Howse, is the author of many local history books. When very young, my mum’s sister, Ann, swallowed half a needle whilst eating a pomegranate. Kath Howse was called upon to help retrieve the needle. Cotton wool was somehow utilised in this procedure.

Street, Wentworth

Street, Wentworth

Next along was Mrs Parkin who mum remembered living in a tiny cottage. Mum didn’t recall ever actually seeing her.

#5 Street – The Hopkin family lived there, Terry and Val. After the Hopkin family left, the Davies family moved in. They were called Faith and possibly Walter. Walter had served in the Second World War and became a Postman afterwards. Their daughters were called Lynn and Linda. Terry and Val Hopkin moved to Rockingham Road in Swinton and are buried in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard.

Next to the Hunt family was Fred Airey’s small holding (hens and he had a field). He lived with his parents (his father was called Oscar). Fred Airey used to have a lorry and cleared the middins out at the back of Street and would chuck some rotten smelling red powder out after doing so. Mum believed he must have been employed by the Council. His father, Oscar, was a Miner.

Opposite the Street yard was the Parkin residence.

Carrying just on from the Street were more dwellings. Mum remembered Frank Airey moving into one when he got married. There was a woman who my mum’s mum knew who lived in one and she worked in a Butcher’s Shop in Greasbrough. The White family also lived around here and mum remembered that their son was called, David.

Further along around the corner of Street was another row of dwellings. Joyce, Morris and Agnes, Donald and Brian lived in the house next to the ‘old garden’. At the very right end of this row from looking at it was the Carr family. They had a daughter called Annie and a Donald Carr lived there who may have been a son. In the house to the left of the Carr’s home was the Davies family. Len was the father, who mum remembered as being quite an officious character and might have worked in the Parkgate Chemical Works and his wife or grandma was called Edith. Their children were called Sheila and Peter. Sheila married Pete Thompson and moved to Scotland. The Burley family was in the next house and one of them married the sister of an Edith Davies whose family may have originated from Wath.

Paradise Square, Wentworth

Paradise Square, Wentworth

In the next house was the Hague family. They had a son called Eric who was younger than Joyce Robinson. Mum watched the 1952 coronation on the Hague’s television. This part of the Street was called ‘Down Row’.

Mum remembered a Johnny Wardle (who later became a cricketer for England) and that his sister worked on the Burrough’s buses that passed through Wentworth.

Other people that mum remembered from around Wentworth were, Barbara Jones (lived in Paradise Square), Terry Kingston, Ian Lomas (now a Councillor), Bridon Exley (from Harley), Joan and Elizabeth Chapman, Philip and Margaret Whitaker, Tom Evans and George Wright, a Farmer who lived on Glasshouse Green.

Mum thought she remembered a Barbara Burley in the Mechanic’s Institute.

Mum also remembered a Joy Bamforth being born.

World War II

During World War II, there was an Anderson air raid shelter at the top of the yard that was beside Tommy Tinker’s house. Mum remembered the shelter being there for years after.

Evacuees lived in Hoober House. Mum knew a girl called Brenda who was one of these. Evacuees also lived off Cortworth Lane.

At the end of the war, there was a street party at the bottom of the Street yard.

Mum’s dad had to put the car away under cover on George Wright’s farm for winter because of petrol rationing.

Mum’s dad trained ‘Bevin Boys’ at New Stubbin Colliery, Greasbrough during the war and at night time was a Saint John’s ambulance driver attending to causalities of the Sheffield Blitz. On one occasion he attended a large underground air raid shelter where everybody had squashed in to keep safe. Unfortunately a bomb had hit and everybody suffocated to death whilst stood up.


One of mum’s friends was Joan Lill who was the daughter of the Landlord of the George and Dragon.

On one occasion, mum went to the Church Fair with her friend, Sandra Rispin and her mother asked ‘what did you bring her for?’  Sandra lived on Main Street.

George & Dragon, Wentworth

Mum’s friend, Joyce Robinson, lived in the Lodge next to the Mausoleum and her parents were the Caretakers for the Mausoleum.

Shirley from Lea Brook was also mum’s friend.


Craig Mollekin (right) in the back garden of 3 Street, Wentworth in 1979

Craig Mollekin (right) in the back garden of 3 Street, Wentworth in 1979

There are a number of hamlets in Wentworth. One is Lea Brook and the Jones family lived there (Mrs Jones might have worked at Wentworth Woodhouse with mum’s mum), the Laister family whose relations (Ernie) lived at end of the lane with his dad near to Needle’s Eye. Bryan West lived at Lea Brook. Another hamlet was Hoober where Les Marsden lived there.

There were no street lights in Street.

Mum’s dad used to keep chickens in the back garden. Moran chickens, bantam chickens and Rhode Island red chickens are varieties that he kept. Mum never remembered eating the chickens but remembered them being given to relations. The chickens were on the right hand side of the garden as you looked down, next to the toilet and for a time there was just a scraggy lawn on the left hand side as looking down with a gooseberry bush in the hedge. The hens would hide their eggs in the hedges and undergrowth and the cocks would ferociously defend them. Mum’s dad had to ‘neck’ a few that got too vicious.




The 1918 flu pandemic (the H1N1 strain) that lasted between January 1918 and December 1920 infected 500 million people and killed up to 100 million. Unlike normal influenza, the 1918 strain generally affected healthy, younger people. This was due to their stronger immune systems overreacting. People would often contract pneumonia and die due to suffocation from their own secretions. It is interesting to note that the 1918 flu pandemic caused more deaths than the whole of World War One. It is thought to have originated at Camp Funston in Kansas, America in March 1918. Due to the infected troops living in close proximity to each other and because they travelled around the world, the deadly flu virus soon spread.

Fred Rowbottom

Fred Rowbottom

Fred Rowbottom - death certificate

Fred Rowbottom – death certificate

My great grandfather, Fred Rowbottom, died from the 1918 flu virus. Fred caught it and his doctor told him to stay in his house, but he decided that the pub might make him feel better. He went out on a very cold night, contracted pneumonia and subsequently died. I know that at least 4 other members of my family tree died from this deadly virus. Below are a couple of newspaper articles regarding two families in my tree that suffered. The first regards the death of my great great granduncle who was called William Henry Remmington and the second is regarding my first cousin, thrice removed (Bernard Vincent Early) and his family.

Remmington. W. H.

Remmington. W. H.

William H. Remmington

William H. Remmington




Transport Driver W. Remington (1/5 York and Lancaster Reg.), son of Mr. and Mrs. Remington, of 9, The Crofts, Rotherham, who is reported to have died of pneumonia, following influenza, in France on December 20th last, was one of the original members of the 1/5 Batt. York and Lancaster Regt. (the local Territorials) which left England in April, 1915. He was 23 years of age, and joined the Army on the outbreak of the war. At the time of his illness he was on the point of being demobilised in order to return to work at the Silverwood Colliery.


Early grave

Early grave

EARLY. – Bernard Vincent Early, aged 30, died at 6, Lister Street, on Thursday, Feb. 27, from influenza. Elizabeth Early, aged 31, wife of the above, who died on Friday, Feb 28. Cyril Early, aged 11 months, infant son of the above, died March 5.

The relatives of the above beg to thank the workmen of Messrs. Steel, Peech and Tozer Ltd. for their practical sympathy, the bearers who volunteered to carry the little family to the grave, and all friends for their expressions of grief in this sad event.


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