It’s taken longer than I thought to gather my thoughts about the latest case of ‘spontaneous heritage combustion’ and the most serious to my mind – the fire at Loxley Chapel.
If readers wish to see the extent of the damage, Google Loxley Chapel Fire and you will see it on You Tube. On June 17 I wrote an article for the Star called ‘Causes for Concern’ and Loxley Chapel was top of the list.
Now the chapel is probably the oldest building standing in the Loxley Valley. Surviving in the curtilage of the building are graves and memorials and in the surrounding graveyard.
Thank God I didn’t have our ‘owd feller’ put in there as it was between his last two pubs, the Rodney and the Shoulder.
Also there are the graves of Sheffield Flood victims. On a recent anniversary we had a re-enactor play the part of Mrs Armitage whose family were victims.
It’s also a part of the Sheffield Flood Trail which runs from Dale Dyke to Millsands. I have had 84- year-old folk ring me about what’s happened, folk who have family who wish to be interred in the graveyard at the side of relatives.
As a result I have been speaking to Nick Clegg’s office and sympathetic council officers about the future of the building and site as well as to Councillor Ian Auckland, our Heritage Champion. Why?
Because what has apparently happened at Loxley Chapel is not just a ‘Cause for Concern’ for Bradfield Parish Council or the people of Loxley but also the people of Sheffield and nationally.
I’ve two questions I would like to be answered publicly and I am sure others would also.
Can Dr Alan Billings confirm the rumour that the police caught two individuals removing material from the chapel and because it was not secured did not charge them but made them replace the material?
What was the result of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue investigation into the cause of the fire?
We will be ringing the bells shortly in respect of South Yorkshire Heritage – let’s hope it’s not the death knell for Loxley Chapel.