Violent and bloody death that shocked brewing firm

No. 7 Oakdale Road as it looked circa 1900.

No. 7 Oakdale Road as it looked circa 1900.

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The striking cast-iron window railing can be found over the bay window of No. 7 Oakdale Road.

This property still retains its Victorian charm.

No. 7 Oakdale Road as it looks today, complete with the Victorian balcony.

No. 7 Oakdale Road as it looks today, complete with the Victorian balcony.

What I can fathom out is that the first tenant of the property was Mr John Richdale who was a brewer in the town.

Both John and Henry Tomlinson formed a partnership around 1860 and even though they were in partnership, John Richdale was still described as a Brewers’ Traveller in 1867, probably trying to sell their own beer.

In January 1875, they purchased land on Bramall Lane to build their Britannia brewery.

This brewery was still trading as Richdale & Tomlinson up until 1894 and in 1898 it was renamed as Richdale’s Britannia Brewery.

An aerial shot of the Hope and Anchor Brewery in Cherry Street.

An aerial shot of the Hope and Anchor Brewery in Cherry Street.

They continued to brew beers and ales until 1956 when Hammonds of Bradford and Rotherham took them over.

But soon after the takeover, the brewery ceased trading and was closed.

Henry Tomlinson took over the adjacent Anchor Brewery on Cherry Street.

In 1942, this brewery and Carter, Milner and Bird Ltd of the Hope Brewery amalgamated and became the Hope & Anchor Brewery.

The logo of this brewery could still be seen on the boundary wall of the brewery on Cherry Street but this was demolished, thus taking away another piece of Sheffield history.

The only reminder is that the building that now sits there is named Anchor Point.

The wall still retains the red paint that I remember as a child and I think the house that stands on the corner of Cherry Street South has some connection to the old brewery as its painted in the exactly same colour.

It was from here a terrible occurrence was played out on June 20 1891.

From here, I quote from Chris Hobbs and Matthew Bell’s excellent book Sheffield’s Shocking Past.

“Mr Tomlinson lived at Woodlands, New Dore Road – it was obvious that something was amiss with him as he was terribly agitated on the Thursday night June 19 and into the early hours of Friday morning the 20, so much so, one of his daughters sent for the family solicitor, a certain Mr Porrett.

“He arrived some time later but he didn’t solve the crisis as it was obvious Mr Tomlinson was having some kind of breakdown.

“Mr Tomlinson left home at 6am later that morning and made his way to work, around 7.15 he called into the Highfield Police Station (still standing).

“He was perspiring profusely and he complained to the desk officer that children were shouting after him that he had murdered his wife and children with his walking stick.

“He also told the officer that Mr Porrett was coming to take him to the asylum and he asked the officer to send them to Woodhead Road so he could walk from the brewery and straight into the Hansom Cab then on to the asylum.

“After staying in the brewery till 9am when he made his way to the house of Mr Podgson, his clerk and cashier who lived at No 327 Shoreham Street, when he was taken into Mr Podgson’s house he was given a cup of tea but he was doing things totally out of character.

“Mr Podgson left to talk to George Tomlinson, the troubled man’s brother. Shortly after, Mr Tomlinson took a turn for the worse – he grabbed a pair of sugar tongs and tried to push them in his throat.

“These were wrested from his grasp by his groom Mr Charles Atkinson. He then asked for a knife and was told there wasn’t one in the house.

“He then wanted to enter the kitchen and he eventually got into the kitchen where he saw a knife on the table which he grabbed.

“Mr Atkinson was on him in a flash and managed to grab the blade of the knife but so hard was the struggle with Mr Tomlinson that Atkinson’s hand was cut from his thumb across the palm of his hand and down to his little finger.

“The wound was down to the bone, blood was everywhere, even though badly cut, Mr Atkinson continued the struggle but loss of blood made him give up and he was taken to a nearby chemist for treatment.

“With Mr Atkinson out of the way, Mr Tomlinson ran into the scullery and closed the door.

“Just a few moments later Mrs Podgson looked into the scullery and saw a huge pool of blood and she could hear Mr Tomlinson making a gurgling sound. She went for help to the brewery, she returned with two brewery workers where they saw that their employer Mr Tomlinson had cut his own throat.

“Dr Hardwicke and Dr Hunt were quickly on the scene but it was obvious that life was extinct, he had cut his jugular vein and his windpipe.

“The deceased was just 46 years of age and was the son of the late Mr Tomlinson of the Angel Inn Moorhead.

Mr George Tomlinson left a widow, three daughters and a thirteen-year-old son – such a desperately unhappy event for all involved.”

Sheffield has seen a resurgence of small independent breweries in the past few years, brewing real ale with some really strange names.

The problem with these ales and beers for me is once you’ve bought it, it could probably taste awful and then that’s a few quid wasted.

I’ll stick to Smith’s Magnet.

My two inebriated friends Mr Dawson and Mr Sorsby are drinkers of the first kind, they will try anything.

“They can both be heard singing along with Blackstock Lynn “We’re The King Of The Drinkers” to the tune of “I’m the King of the Swingers” from Jungle Book.

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