Some Sheffield rogues of the past

Spence Broughton
Spence Broughton
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Samuel Holberry

THE leader of a Sheffield Chartist group which planned to storm the Town Hall in Waingate, set fire to the city and establish a workers’ stronghold.

William Broadhead

William Broadhead

The 1840 uprising was so well planned a group of men were even made responsible for throwing down spikes in Snig Hill to slow the police response.

A shame, then, that the meticulous fore-thought didn’t extend to checking who was attending the group’s meetings in Fig Tree Lane. The group was riddled with spies.

When 200 men gathered in the early hours of January 12, they were rounded up before a shot was fired.

Holberry got four years.

Town Hall in Waingate

Town Hall in Waingate

Spence broughton

AS Sheffield anti-heroes go, Broughton is right up there with Charlie Peace and Joe Elliott.

He was remembered long after his death in 1792 – partially for his audacious robbery of the Rotherham Mail Coach and partially because, for the next 36 years, his hanged body was displayed on a gibbet on Attercliffe Common.

Joseph Thompson and William Broadhead

WHEN Bridget O’Rourke showed her landlord a parcel which had been thrown into their Acorn Street home in 1861, he was surprised to see a bomb in her hands.

Unfortunately for Bridget the package exploded as she tried to get rid and she became one of the early victims of the Sheffield Outrages.

From her deathbed she said she had seen Joseph Thompson in the street when the parcel was thrown.

But, despite other witnesses also saying they had heard him threaten the home-owner because he was not in a workers union, a jury found him not guilty.

To this day, historians say it was the wrong verdict.

Broadhead, meanwhile, then treasurer of the Associated Trades of Sheffield, would later admit to paying for the murder of two men during the troubles.