Retro: ‘Grand old man’ puts long life down to hard work and not smoking

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Local historian Michael Parker, of Deepcar, came across a fascinating article on the “grand old man” of Thorpe Hesley in the Sheffield Daily Independent, November 27, 1929.

“Memories of the days when the Sheffield Independent was published at sevenpence per copy are recalled by Mr Abraham Jenkinson, who was born at Thorpe Hesley, in 1843, and has lived in the village all his life.

He attributes his long life to hard work, not smoking, and to looking after himself and his home.

He likes a glass of beer occasionally.

When young, his father, with two friends, bought the Independent between them, and he carried it from one to the other.

In his early days the nail and pipe making industry flourished in the village, and at the age of nine he started to learn nail making.

Four years later he began working in the mine.

He followed this occupation for nearly 60 years, and was employed in the various mines of Newton, Chambers and Co.

At the age of 72 he retired.

Mr Jenkinson recalls the time when there was no delivery of letters at Thorpe Hesley, and residents had to go to Rotherham to get their letters.

At that time there were village constables, and it was 70 years ago that the first policeman came to the village.

Thorpe Hesley’s ‘grand old man’ was one of the founders of the Mechanic’s Institute, erected in 1888, and is still a member.

For many years he was connected with Thorpe Hesley Wesleyan Church.

“When I was a boy the main food was oatcake, treacle and milk,” said Mr Jenkinson to a Sheffield Independent representative.

“My mother, who lived to be 93, had to get up early in the morning to bake oatcakes for her large family.

“White baked bread was a luxury, and we had it only once a week, as flour cost a guinea for three stones.”

During his lifetime Mr Jenkinson has lived under eight vicars of the parish of Thorpe Hesley, of which the Rev RTC Slade, now residing at Chapeltown, was vicar for 41 years.”