Retro: Home for the rich and poor
Pitsmoor, the next stop in our Retro A to Z tour of Sheffield, is often in the news for gang-?related crime but has a fascinating history.
Famous sons include a city footballing legend, the inventor of stainless steel and a Victorian cricketer.
Harry Brearley, the metallurgist who discovered stainless steel, was born in 1871 into a poor family of nine children who lived in one room behind Spital Street.
Another Pitsmoor lad was Derek Dooley, the Sheffield Wednesday star whose career was cut short when he lost a leg to gangrene.
He battled back to become Sheffield Wednesday manager and was later a director of Sheffield United.
Cricketer George Ulyett, a batsman and fast bowler, was born in Crabtree in 1851. He played in 25 Tests, scoring 949 runs with a first-class career total of 20,803.
According to Chris Hobbs’ history website, he later became a pub landlord, at one point running The Vine on Brunswick Street, and died at just 46. He is buried in Burngreave Cemetery.
Museums Sheffield’s online history says that an Iron Age fort was discovered in Roe Woods, the area’s earliest recorded settlers.
The name of ’Spital Hill came from a hospital that was built in the 12th century.
In the Tudor period, Pitsmoor was still hills and farmland outside the city.
The old chippie on Andover Street called the White House is thought to date back to those times.
By the 1820s, Pitsmoor was still a hamlet on the turnpike road from Sheffield to Barnsley and Wakefield.
Toll Bar House on Burngreave Road had gates that swung across Pitsmoor Road and Burngreave Road.
In the 1830s wealthy families built mansions in the area. Abbeyfield House, now part of Abbeyfield Park, was built in the 1840s for local pit owner William Pass. By 1870, the heavy industry of the East End created jobs for migrant workers and terraced houses and homes were built around central courts in Woodside and Ellesmere.
The Vestry Hall next to Ellesmere Green was built in 1864 to serve this growing population of rich and poor.
A newspaper cartoon from 1879 shows a soup kitchen operating from the Vestry Hall, turning away barefoot, hungry children.
Slum clearance began after the war when council estates were built. Many people were moved away, never to return.
Migrants arrived in the post-war years from the Caribbean, Pakistan and Yemen in response to a shortage of labour in the steel industry.