Retro: life in Sheffield castles

Wincobank Castle 1950s'Pictured Mary's mum-in-law, Suzy Furniss''Submitted by Mrs Mary Furniss, 81 Gleadless Avenue, S12 2QG
Wincobank Castle 1950s'Pictured Mary's mum-in-law, Suzy Furniss''Submitted by Mrs Mary Furniss, 81 Gleadless Avenue, S12 2QG
Have your say

Three Retro readers have been in touch with their memories of living in Wincobank and Pitsmoor castles in response to an appeal we ran a few weeks ago.

Mary Furniss, who now lives in Gleadless Common, remembers the castle, which was actually called Wincobank House and was on Winco Wood Lane, well.

The pictures on these pages were kindly loaned by Mary.

She wrote: “I met Bill in January 1958 and married on October 8, 1960 at St Thomas Church on Wincobank.

“George and Sarah Furniss moved into Wincobank Castle in approximately 1954 with their son Bill.

“Reg, the eldest, lived on Hyacinth Road, which was at the bottom of the hill. There was a path leading down the hill.

“Sarah (known as Suzy) was stewardess of the little club at the bottom of the hill.

“They had pigs and hens and worked hard.

“In 1960 they sold the castle to a builder, I think, then on June 13, 1960 moved to Welney where they had a smallholding.

“There were lovely views on the hill and there were some cottages down the lane which led to Jenkin Road.”

She also said that when Bill’s family lived on Parson Cross they used to have some ducks and geese. George wanted to expand the livestock they had, so they bought the castle.

The pigs lived in brick-built pens at the back of the house.

Mary remembers: “There were two long rooms downstairs. They had Billy’s 21st in one of them. That went through to the kitchen in the lean-to, where the iron range was. Suzy used to do the washing in the kitchen.

“The stairs used to run up between those two rooms.”

The castle also had what was referred to as a dungeon.

She has never understood why Wincobank House was able to be demolished and why it wasn’t saved as a listed building.

Mary said she was in bed when she and Bill met. Bill used to work with her mother and she brought him home one day to their home in Sicey Avenue and took him upstairs to meet Mary when she was sick in bed!

On their first date they went to the Capitol Cinema at Sheffield Lane Top to see Elvis Presley in Loving You.

Billy was registered blind and Mary said he used to do labouring jobs, including work for work for Jack Sergeant’s fruit and veg stalls at Sheffield markets. She worked for many years as a cleaner at the council offices in Bernard road and then worked for the domestic waste service.

Mary said life was struggle, which people don’t really understand these days. Sadly, she lost Billy to cancer seven years ago.

Peter Brookes, from Hackenthorpe, wrote: “I have a framed picture of Wincobank Castle that my son gave me for my 75th birthday.

“He saw the picture in the paper and asked if he could have a copy of it to frame, as I have lived in the castle in the 40s and early 50s.

“My parents, Rupert and Phillis Brookes, my brothers and sisters lived there.

“I mostly remember the winter of 1947 when the snow was so deep.

“The castle was a bit rundown but we did some repairs, mostly to the floors, and we also kept chickens and pigeons while we were there.”

Mrs A Crookes from Handsworth got in touch with memories of Pitsmoor Castle.

She said: “I remember it as we lived in what remained of part of it for a short time until it was demolished by the council in 1958 to build flats.

“We were told by neighbours that there was a tunnel running from Manor Castle, through which Mary Queen of Scots escaped, but I don’t know whether this is true or just hearsay.

“The property next door had gun racks round the cellar wall, apparently, and used to have a tower which had been removed.

“All the walls were about a foot thick and we had a mullion pane in one window.

“I still have my rent book for 10 Tower Hill, Pitsmoor and the notice to quit from the council when we were rehoused.”