Vin's plea for building's new owners to keep an old Sheffield prayer carved on wall

Vin Malone's picture of the touching prayer found on the wall of a building
Vin Malone's picture of the touching prayer found on the wall of a building
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I recently read in The Star that the empty Taylor’s Eye Witness Works on Milton Street has been bought by a company called Capital & Centric, writes Vin Malone.

I have been in touch with this company over a prayer that was carved into a quoin of the building on the corner of Milton Street and Headford Street.

The frontage of the Eye Witness Works, Sheffield

The frontage of the Eye Witness Works, Sheffield

This prayer from a working man must be a result of some incident in his life, a loss of a child, his wife or is it just one man’s plea to God? It goes:

My God my father while I stray

far from my home on life rough way

Oh teach me from my heart to say

Thy will be done, thy will be done

If thy should call me to resign

What most I prize it neer was mine

O only yield thee what is thine

Thy will be done

It’s signed H Beaver, February 8, 1875, I’ve read that the author of this plea is unknown and nothing is known about his life or occupation. Well with a little searching I think I’ve found Henry Beaver.

In 1862 Henry was working as a table knife fluter (putting decoration on pearl and ivory handles by hand) and he was working at Wells’ Wheel on Wellington Street.

He lived at 89 Fitzwilliam Street, just a stone’s throw from Milton Street. I have found the death of a Henry Beaver living at 16 Court Rockingham Street.He was buried in City Road Cemetery on May 26, 1887, and was 58 years of age.

Harvey Beaver, a child of just 16 months old, died at 258 Rockingham Street. I’m sure this was Henry’s grandson, born to his son Henry Jr. Henry’s grandson was laid to rest near his grandfather.

Henry’s wife, Sarah Ann, died while at Eldon Street. She was 52 years old. She was buried in Burngreave Cemetery on April 18, 1880. Burngreave must have been the area that she came from, as City Road Cemetery wasn’t open for burials until July 1881.

Henry’s original address of 89 Fitzwilliam Street had a varied set of tenants over the years. In 1856 Thomas Pilkington lived here. He was a partner in the firm of Pilkington, Pedigor & Storr who produced joiner’s tools, skates and other assorted hand tools out of the Headford Street works.

In 1897 William Sampson, a maltster, lived there. By 1901 William Sampson had changed his job and was now a pipe layer. By 1905 an optician named William Moseley lived here, followed in 1911 by William George Thornton. He was a table blade forger.

There were several other Beavers living in the town but only a handful. In 1911 at 90 Well Road a certain Frederick Beaver had a very interesting job. He was a shovel belter. Now what did that job entail?

I hope that Capital & Centric restore and preserve this simple prayer carved into a stone. I also hope they keep the World War Two air raid shelter cover, which is just below the prayer on Milton Street.