NOSTALGIA: The colourful history of Sheffield’s Manor estate

The Manor Festival Bus being painted at the back of the South Yorkshire Bus Garage, Greenland Road Darnall, ready for the Manor Festival - July 1978'Pictured with the bus they have painted are Anna Lubelska, a community worker, and Maureen Storey, a youth worker
The Manor Festival Bus being painted at the back of the South Yorkshire Bus Garage, Greenland Road Darnall, ready for the Manor Festival - July 1978'Pictured with the bus they have painted are Anna Lubelska, a community worker, and Maureen Storey, a youth worker
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Our A to Z Retro tour of Sheffield and surrounding areas drops in this week at the Manor, a former medieval deer park that is now a modern housing estate.

The estate was built to move families out of their slums and people thought it was a huge improvement.

Aerial view of the Manor Estate, Sheffield - 1979

Aerial view of the Manor Estate, Sheffield - 1979

Malcolm Mercer was born on the Manor in 1923 and wrote a book called Portrait of the Manor. He told The Star in 2012: “I remember my mother always said that our house was a ‘Shangri-la’ compared to where she lived before.”

However, decline set in as unemployment grew in the city and MP Roy Hattersley branded Manor “the worst estate in Britain” in 1995 after an arson attack destroyed a school. As so often, the truth is more balanced than the negative headlines suggest.

The most famous building in the area is of course Manor Lodge, where Mary Queen of Scots was famously held captive for 14 years by the Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, the renowned Bess of Hardwick.

Following its 16th-century glory days, the lodge suffered a long decline and in 1708 most of it was demolished by order of the eighth Duke of Norfolk.

The Tudor Turret House survives, complete with its decorated banqueting room.

In 2004 the social enterprise Green Estate restored the site with £1.6m of Heritage Lottery funding.

In 1818 local poet John Holland complained that the “lone wreck of ancient splendour” that remained. The manor was used in part as a pub, the Norfolk Arms, and miners’ cottages for the pits in the area. The hamlet was called Manor Castle Village

Two years earlier William ‘Praying William’ Cowlishaw founded a Methodist Chapel and schoolroom there.

Rev Luke Tyerman described the scene: “There was the Manor cock-pit, filled with a godless and cursing rabble; and there was the Manor cottage, turned into a Sunday School, not filled like the other, but containing William and a few of his praying friends.”

In the mid-19th century violent disputes between miners and bosses were known as the Manor Outrages. Attempts to build early trade unions were knocked back.

The hamlet was abandoned after Manor Colliery closed in 1869.

Following World War Two, 15 homeless families squatted in disused military huts on Manor Lane. When the authorities tried to force them out, one squatter declared: “There are certain basic rights of man and if they are not carried out it is right we should ignore the law.”

They resisted and were rehoused in better conditions at a military camp in Norton.