Retro: short life for Sheffield iron and steel firm

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Clarence Works of George 
Edward Hoyland, Burton Road

The decorative horseshoe can be found on what was the stables of George Edward Hoyland’s Clarence Works on Burton Road.

The horseshoe could easily be missed but when you do see it, you instantly know just what’s beyond the gateway. It must have been cheaper to employ your own blacksmith to change shoes or work on the wagons.

The Clarence Works do extend further along Burton Road down to the right with another arched gateway with the name of the works above.

George Hoyland operated from the works between 1887 and 1905, producing high-quality iron and steel. I can’t say why the business only seemed to last just 18 years.

George had an office in Orchard Chambers on Church Street. I suppose it was bit more pleasing on the eye than a dirty, noisy works.

This is where his son John Edward worked as a clerk and another son, George Fredrick, was an electrical engineer.

Looking at the census returns for 1881,1891 and 1901, you can judge just how he climbed the proverbial ladder of success.

In the 1881 returns George is recorded as a town traveller and was living at Brook Hall with his wife Annie Priscilla, along with son Frank Trickett aged three years, daughter Nellie aged one year, his aunt Mary Ann aged 57, plus a servant, Louisa Harris aged 18.

By the 1891 census George is now an iron and steel Merchant at his Clarence Works, I wonder why he named the works Clarence? After all there were at least another two works of the same name in the town.

He added to his family with sons George Frederick aged nine years and John Edward aged seven years and daughter Annie aged four.

It seems that tragedy struck as Frank Trickett is not recorded on this census return, so it may be safe to assume that he had died as he would have been 13 years old by then. Mary Ann was still living with them, described as living on her own means.

By the 1901 census the family had moved to 61 Dore Road to the Beeches. It seems as though aunt Mary Anne had died since the 1891 census. A new servant was working for the family and her name was Margaret Lowe, aged 19.

By the 1911 census all the children were still living at home unmarried. By this time Nellie was 32, George Fredrick was 30, John Edward was 27 and Annie was 24.

On the census night. a Mabel Bright was there in the family home. This lady was a typist, so it may be safe to assume she was doing some work for George. Also in the home was a new servant, Ada Wostenholm, aged 23.

It seems that George had done well in the space of 30 years after leaving a quite substantial property, Brook Hall, for the Beeches which is still standing I believe.

Although Clarence Works does not resound to the noise of hammers and steam engines churning out iron sand steel, it does have a quite different harmonious noise within its walls.

Besides several other independent businesses the Yellow Arch Recording Studios are housed here.

Artists who have used the studios for either practice or rehearsal include Arctic Monkeys, Tony Christie, Goldfrapp, Funeral For a Friend and the studios’ “resident guitarist” Richard Hawley.

It has been described as “a hub of the Sheffield music scene”.

That’s Sheffield all over, we can adapt to anything, I suppose George Hoyland and his family would give all the people working in his Clarence Works his ok.

Burton Road is in an area that was full of steel manufacturers and tool makers.

Unfortunately the large names have gone but when you walk around the area, you can still see and hear the hum of industry still going on, so its not a total loss. Cafes, bars, flats and shops show that there is still life here.

I did cause a bit of a problem on Mowbray Street lately. I just happened to mention my fans Mr Dawson and Mr Sorsby, that Mowbray Street was paved with gold in the old days

With their limited brain power they thought I meant real gold, so they turned up with picks and shovels and started digging up the pavement. They face court some time in August.

Burton Road seems to have been built in around the late 1860s and it was named after the Burton family who were lords of the manors of Wadsley and Owlerton.

William Burton, who owned Royd’s Mill at Attercliffe, married Margaret Bamforth and the lordships passed to their sons John, William, and Michael.

Nearby Mowbray Street was named after an ancestor of the Duke of Norfolk as the land it was built on belonged to him (was there anything he didn’t own in Sheffield?).

Sir Robert Howard married Lady Margaret Mowbray in the 15th century. Here’s a brief résumé of her place in English history;

Lady Elizabeth Fitzalan, Duchess of Norfolk (1366– July 8, 1425), was a noblewoman and the wife of Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk.

Through her eldest daughter, Lady Margaret Mowbray, Elizabeth was an ancestress of Queen’s consort Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, and the Howard Dukes of Norfolk.

Her other notable descendants include Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk; Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby; Sir Thomas Wyatt, the younger and Lady Jane Grey (by both parents).

This once highly industrialised area is now being redeveloped at an alarming rate.

The old works and firms that are unoccupied are either being reduced to rubble (shame) or they are turned into flats and apartments.

Seems the clock’s turning back to when people lived in the centre of town and shunned the rural areas.

The River Don is slowly returning to what it was 500 years ago, with fish and wildlife returning.

Only one week ago I caught sight of a kingfisher at the Corporation Street Bridge, and near Kelham Island fish can be seen in abundance.

I do object to the way that so-called slums around Neepsend and areas close by were demolished 30 to 40 years ago and nothing has been done with the land they stood on.

Now these areas are just a place for weeds, shrubs and such to grow rampant. Most of the houses just needed modernising as they were far superior to the ones that are being built today.

Streets disappeared over-night and cobbles still show where the communities lived happily for years.

These communities were split up and rehoused in different areas of the city, thus killing the close-knit harmony of families that were born, lived and died together.