Redmires - home to a rediscovered war past

This week we step back in time to ponder over the history of the Redmires area.

Tuesday, 29th December 2015, 11:49 am
Pictured outside Redmires Sporting Club are from left:- Jonathan Saunders, Pete Jessop, Alan Green and Brian Hardy - 29th September 1989

The region is well-known in its own right for walking and three reservoirs of the same name.

But in 1998 a rambler who noticed lines and marks in the grass on a hill above one reservoir discovered something else.

Redmires Dam - Bank Holiday pictures - 27th March 1978

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The hollows and marks were the only visual clue to a series of trenches dug by local soldiers training for World War One.

Their existence had been forgotten until that chance discovery.

Archaeologist Helen Ullathorne from the Institute of Lifelong Learning at the University of Sheffield took a group of students to survey the site in 1999.

To their surprise, when they mapped the marks on the ground and considered what they could be, it became apparent they had found a series of trenches designed to World War One specifications.

Stanedge Lodge, Redmires, Sheffield

Some trenches had been designed for communication, cooking and there were also dug outs for practicing artillery attacks.

Even an empty bottle of Stones beer from the war period was found in a dry stone wall nearby.

Neighbouring Lodge Moor was also home to Sheffield’s only prisoner of war camp, which was key to Britain’s war effort during the Nazi uprising.

Huge slabs of concrete mark the foundations of the POW camp - known as both Lodge Moor and Redmires - where thousands of men were imprisoned as the military determined the long-term location for enemy soldiers.

Demonstration in progress at the City Hall over the proposed Gypsy camp at Redmires, Sheffield - 17th March 1976

It is said that inmates at Lodge Moor had started tunnelling in a bid to escape, doing the majority of their digging while the guards thought they were asleep.

Bob Moore, professor of 20th-century European History at The University of Sheffield, has previously said: “Lodge Moor was a holding prison - it was a transit camp. But it had a pre-war and post-war history.”

And the reservoirs which attract so many visitors are fed from the Hallam Moors by various small streams, including Fairthorn Clough.

They are named Upper, Middle and Lower and date from 1836 when they were built to provide clean drinking water through a water course down to Barker’s Pool five and a half miles away in the city centre following the devastating Sheffield cholera epidemic of 1832. The area is around six miles out of Sheffield.