Sheffield suburb was home to city’s wealthy Victorians

A view taken from Psalter Lane, Sheffield, looking over the area towards Ranmoor.  Right in the centre of the picture is the well known Church of St. John's, Ranmoor - 30th April 1985
A view taken from Psalter Lane, Sheffield, looking over the area towards Ranmoor. Right in the centre of the picture is the well known Church of St. John's, Ranmoor - 30th April 1985
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This week’s stop on our Retro tour of Sheffield and surrounding areas is upmarket Ranmoor, a suburb of the city about three miles west of the city centre.

Until the mid-1800s there were only a handful of cottages on Ranmoor Road.

The gates of Ranmoor Hall, Sheffield - 1977

The gates of Ranmoor Hall, Sheffield - 1977

The name was often written as Rand Moor in those days. Apparently, Ranmoor means simply, ‘the edge of the moor’.

The 1850 Ordnance Survey map of the area also shows several sandstone quarries and Rand Moor cutlery works near the top of Storth Lane.

The Dukes of Norfolk were long-term landowners until the 11th Duke sold off large sections of his property soon after 1800.

The area attracted industrialists and merchants who fancied their own ‘escape to the country’.

According to the website of the Ranmoor Society, strict regulations were enforced about the size and nature of new buildings.

Large mansions were built in the 1860s by leading citizens, including steel bosses Henry Vickers, Mark Firth and two of his brothers and John Brown, who constructed Endcliffe Hall.

Endcliffe House was built in 1840 and owned by the family of a Sheffield solicitor, Henry Cadman.

It was extended in 1891 by new owner Sir Joseph Jonas, a German-born industrialist who migrated to the city in 1867 and became a leading steel manufacturer at Continental Steelworks.

He was also a philanthropist, contributing to the founding of the University of Sheffield

The university bought the house from Sir Joseph’s trustees in 1929, eight years after his death.

The end of his life was marred by a court case in 1918, when he was accused of dealings with a German armaments company.

He was stripped of his knighthood and removed from the list of JPs.

He had to fight not to be repatriated to Germany, despite being a naturalised British citizen.

In 1934 Sir Joseph’s old home became the university hall for women and was renamed Halifax Hall.

It provided a home to students for more than 80 years but has now become a boutique hotel.

Many other big homes have now been converted for commercial use, schools and a private hospital.

Of course, all those posh houses required a working population to support them and terrace houses for workers began to be built in greater numbers.