THE DIARY: Shocking Sheffield

Sheffield's first motor accident - the crashed char-a-blak in Manchester Road, near Moscar Top, on August 25, 1907.
Sheffield's first motor accident - the crashed char-a-blak in Manchester Road, near Moscar Top, on August 25, 1907.
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A BOOK has been released about shocking incidents from Sheffield’s past.

It is called Sheffield’s Shocking Past: The Twentieth Century, and was written by local historians Chris Hobbs and Matthew Bell.

It is the follow up to a similar tome by the pair which focused on the Victorian period.

Included are tales about a killer cat from Millhouses, death by scalding at Heeley Baths, and the city’s earliest motor accidents.

Chris, 58, of Crookes, said: “It’s a bit ghastly but there seems to be a real appetite for this kind of thing.”

Matthew, 50, of Heeley, added: “People are fascinated by a little historic death and disaster.”

Here The Diary presents some of the best - or should that be worst? - extracts...

Hillsborough crush, 1934:

The record attendance at Hillsborough was on February 17 1934 for Wednesday’s FA Cup tie against Manchester City. But tragedy struck when a fan was crushed to death in the Leppings Lane end.

The Manchester Guardian reported five of George Hill’s ribs were broken. It said: “The inquest jury said more crush-barriers ought to be erected at the ground. A mounted policeman who had several years experience said he had never seen a crowd behave in such a manner. Several people near the railings were screaming for assistance.”

The city’s first motor tragedy, 1907:

Three people died in Sheffield’s first motor accident on August 25, 1907.

The Manchester Guardian reported: “A terrible accident occurred in Manchester Road, near Sheffield. A motor charabanc, conveying a party organised by the proprietor of a Sheffield hotel, was returning from Derbyshire, and all went well until Moscar Top was reached. of the wheels caught a telegraph pole. The char-a-banc was swung around into a stone wall with a fearful impact and overturned.”

The dead were five-year-old William Ernest Harrison, the son of a stoker at Sheffield Corporation; Benjamin Handley, 33, a bricklayer of Boston Street; and Hugh Fearn, 37, a clerk of Abbeydale Road.

Death by Cat, 1904:

Domestic butler William Ranger, of Millhouses Lane, was 63 when, in March 1904, he was scratched on his arm by his Persian cat.

The Manchester Guardian reported: “A few days afterwards there was severe pain and swelling near the elbow, and a doctor was summoned. A month after the accident the doctor found the patient livid and struggling for breath. There was no improvement after that time and he died.”

The book, published by city firm ACM Retro on November 14, is available for pre-order from The Star.