Mystical sightings

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Picture a mansion house on the top of a hill on the north side of Sheffield town before WWl. Majestic views over woodland to the south towards the town centre and, even with trees on its north side, country landscape views all around including the legendary seven fields.

Behind the 8ft stone boundary walls there were stables, outhouses, glasshouses, courtyards, lawns, fruit trees, kitchen gardens and floral gardens with an enchanting rockery.

This must have been a reasonable description of the ground around Bishopsholme House, for which I confess I have no knowledge, but its name implies that at some time an occupant was a senior member of the Christian clergy.

As a juvenile, my earliest memories go back to seeing wartime anti-aircraft barrage balloons from off Bishopsholme Road, in the foreground of the big house.

I still remember seeing enough rope to stretch to the moon. The ropes appeared thicker than my limbs which were being sustained by WWII food rations.

I also remember, when at Longley School, climbing over the wall near Busk Meadow to visit the then neglected rock gardens. The clear evidence of rock pools around a wishing well stirred my young imagination. Later, as young teenagers, we would explore the large derelict outbuilding where one year we stored most of our bonfire wood.

When WWII ended, the barrage balloons were removed for prefabs to help tackle the housing shortage. About 25 years later all the prefabs were replaced with modern brick houses to develop a lovely hamlet of dwellings at Busk Knoll combining with the developments on neighbouring Busk Meadow.

On and around the ex-footprint of the old big house, houses served by Burrows Drive completed the big change, with a Norwood, Longley and Shirecliffe connection.

The nearby changes were once reported where today’s Tesco supermarket was built on the site of the Forum cinema house, which in turn was built where Raisin Hall Farm House stood, and there have been many changes throughout the Sheffield region, but the changes at Bishopsholme outrank all.

However, I also offer the following two possibilities that could have happened in my lifetime.

Had we lost the war, the big house and grounds could have been used as a civilian control headquarters for Sheffield north. Nazi flags could have been flown where the barrage balloons had been anchored, but not called Busk Knoll.

Or, following our victory, the house and gardens were renovated enabling the fairies from the neighbouring Busk Meadow to fly amongst the rock pools every VE Day.

Incredibly the rock garden area is still open land covered only by excavated soil and grassed over well clear of any building structure, but to my knowledge, no mystical sightings have ever been reported.

Mike Dodgson

Marchwood Road, S6