Back on a bobby’s beat

Sheffield Police line up on Castle Green outside the Hen & Chickens'undated picture
Sheffield Police line up on Castle Green outside the Hen & Chickens'undated picture
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How things have changed for South Yorkshire’s police over the last hundred years.

What’s going on here then?

‘Ello, ello, ello - welcome to our first Tuesday Retro, which we’ve added to The Star after so many of you requested more nostalgia.

Every week I will be looking back in pictures at a different profession.

I will be putting the spotlight on how everything from uniform to health and safety have altered over the decades. And I would love to hear from you if you have suggestions for careers or companies you would like us to focus on.

It doesn’t matter if it is a dentist or builder, steel works or beauty parlour - we will cover them all.

When it comes to police there are always debates raging about whether things are better or worse than they used to be.

It is certainly a job which is on the frontline and under a permanent spotlight from members of the public because, of course, the police are where we turn first when we most need help.

Flashing blue lights, walkie talkies and tall helmets - we all know the stereotype of our typical bobby on the beat but how times have changed. I don’t just mean the technology now available to members of the constabulary, but also the types of crime they face on a daily basis and the punishments dished out .

Here is an article published in The Star in 1900 under the headline Prison Preferred to the Workhouse which shows just how different things are today...

‘Thomas Wagstaffe was charged with being a disorderly vagrant at Ecclesall Workhouse.

‘On Monday the labour master set him to break 10cwt of stone, but the prisoner only got through half a hundred-weight.

‘Later on in the day he was invited to turn his hand to oakum picking, but he declined the offer, saying he preferred to live in gaol, as he had not as much to do there as he had when in the workhouse.

‘The Stipendiary sent him to break stones or pick oakum at Wakefield for nine days.’

If you would like us to print photos of your old workplace or profession, send your images and memories to or write to Retro, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU.