Retro letters: Sheffield sports trophy mystery, happy schooldays and Woman of Steel

Birley Spa Tennis Club trophy,  the W Goldthorpe Challenge Cup
Birley Spa Tennis Club trophy, the W Goldthorpe Challenge Cup
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I recently had published in the Retro section of the Star an article with photographs on the Spa Tennis Club, which was situated behind Birley Spa, and took its name from the Spa.

This is another piece of information about that club.

Workers at Firth Browns shell shop, taken during the First World War

Workers at Firth Browns shell shop, taken during the First World War

We had in our home a beautiful silver cup (as photographed), the W Goldthorpe Challenge Cup for Spa Tennis Club, which my father had won from years gone by at that club.

We assumed that the club had disbanded because of the war, and that my father had won it in 1936, but his name wasn’t on the cup for this year.

In fact, no-one’s name was on it.

I can list the winners as follows:

1923, 1924 and 1925 - E Brindley

1927, 1928 and 1929 - Havelock Mallander

1930 - T W Fowler

1931 and 1932 - W Barnes

1933 - E Glover

1934 - B Moore (my father - he would have been 31)

1935 - M Allen

And we are assuming that because my father had the cup, that he won it in 1936.

If anyone can throw any light on this I would love to know.

From Mrs G Musgrave, via email

Woman of Steel mum

I saw with interest your Retro article in The Star of Saturday, August 18.

The photograph of Firth Brown Shell Shop might well have included my mother, Florence Jane Batty, as she was after marrying my father James on his being on convalescence from France having been wounded there in 1917.

Her maiden name was Webster, so if the photograph was taken before 1917, that would apply.

I have a Woman of Steel medal for my mother but never knew where, in Sheffield, she turned shells. Would the person who supplied the photograph have a list of names?

I suspect my mother may be the small person, fifth from the left on the back row.

My father was in the trenches throughout the war. He spoke very little, if ever, of his experiences, whilst I recall him saying: (1) They gave us rum so thick, before we went over the top, that one could stand a spoon up in it! (2) We should have been with the Germans against the French.

The second point always seemed odd until our daughter, who lives in France, took us to a new museum of WW1. It was clear that in 1917 the French army was close to mutiny and, in the area where my father was, they buggered off and left the Brits to fight the Germans on their own. I suspect it was in that skirmish that he was wounded.

He must have seen so much death, suffering and destruction in his time in the trenches that he likely considered it ‘a doddle’ when he was taking his leave of us in his own bed.

We were all around his bed. He said, “Don’t be frightened, I’m not” and a little after said, “I’m crossing over Jordan”, closed his eyes and took his leave.

Editor’s note: we have no names for the photograph

Colin Batty, Ormesby Close, Dronfield Woodhouse

My happy schooldays

I was a pupil at Grange Grammar School from 1946 to 1951. My friend and I started at Eastern Avenue, Arbourthourne, then went to Holt House, then the Prefabs, finishing our final year at The Grange.

I remember a narrow path between the buildings when the teachers used to shout “Single file only, girls” and it was almost an unwritten law!

Our uniforms were brown and fawn with berets with the school badge HGS.

There are loads of photographs on the Totley history group website

Rita Revill, by email