Campaign to honour Ethel Haythornthwaite - the woman who fought to make Sheffield the green city we love

Sheffield today is known as one of the greenest cities in the UK when it comes to access to the countryside – and much of that is thanks to Ethel Haythornthwaite.

By David Kessen
Monday, 2nd August 2021, 10:47 am

Yet despite her major role in bringing access to the countryside to generations of Sheffielders Ethel’s name is largely unknown in the city where she lived and worked.

Today, we are launching a campaign to honour Ethel with a blue plaque where she lived, near Endcliffe Vale Road.

Born Ethel Mary Bassett Ward in Sheffield in 1894, Ethel began to take walks in the countryside around Sheffield for the sake of her health after the death of her first husband in the First World War.

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Supporters of the campaign for a blue plaque for Ethel Haythornthwaite, outside her former home and office. PIctured are (l-r) Heather Crookes, Sheffield University; Tomo Thompson, CPRE PDSY; Jean Smart, Ethel's former secretary; Caroline Bolton, archivist; Anne Murphy, Sheffield councillor.

Developing a love of the countryside, she established a charity in 1924 – now known as CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire – and dedicated the rest of her life to protecting local countryside.

Marrying Gerald Haythornthwaite in 1937, she helped start the first National Park (the Peak District), creating and protecting the green belt around Sheffield, and campaigned to save the Longshaw Estate.

We are teaming up with CPRE PDSY, Olivia Blake MP, University of Sheffield, and Coun Anne Murphy to campaign for the plaque.

Star editor Nancy Fielder said: “Ethel's story is far too inspirational for it not to be widely known and for Sheffield not to celebrate a woman who made such a huge difference, not only in her own lifetime but still to our lives and those who live in and around Sheffield today.

Ethel Mary Bassett Haythornthwaite. Picture: CPRE PDSY

“She deserves to be remembered and I am sure Sheffielders will pull together to help fund a plaque for her so she can never be forgotten.

“I have to admit, I hadn't heard of Ethel until the recent anniversary but as soon as I read her story I knew we had to do something special.

“I immediately contacted Olivia Blake, Anne Murphy and CPRE to ask for help to get this campaign up and running, and they were all delighted to work together with The Star to make sure this happens.

“This city doesn't do enough to shout about extraordinary Sheffielders or women who led incredible change so this is an opportunity to do both.”

CPRE has created a crowdfunding appeal,, to finance the plaque.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor