It’s always great when people get back in touch via Retro: regular contributor Steph McKee Kirkland met the lad who gave up his bed when she was born!
Ralph Basford, who now lives in Tinsley, got in touch when he saw one of the pieces Steph wrote recently about the old Sheffield Shambles.
He remembered that his mum was worried when Steph’s mum was about to give birth to her because she lived at Myers Grove Lane in Malin Bridge, a good long way from medical help if needed when the baby was born.
Ralph’s mum Doris invited her to stay at their house in Brandreth Road, Upperthorpe. Ralph, who was around seven years old, gave up his bed, which is where Steph was born.
The two families had become friends because they had adjoining allotments.
Eventually, the McKees moved to Manor Village, which Steph has also written about for Retro, so they lost touch.
When Ralph saw Steph’s name in Retro, he wondered if it could be the little girl who was born in his bed. We put them in touch with each other and they had a fascinating time catching up with each other.
Ralph even had photographs of Steph in her pram, taken at their house.
Apparently Ralph has been looking to see if he could find Steph for years.
Steph said: “It was totally amazing. I didn’t know Ralph existed. I knew about his older brother and sister but I didn’t know there was a younger one and I didn’t know his bed had been given up for me!”
She even got her name from the house in Brandreth Road. Ralph’s dad William had a pianola and a piece of music called the Stephanie Gavotte caught Steph’s mum’s eye. That saved her choosing between her Scottish mother-in-law’s suggestion of Morag or her Irish mum’s preference of Mary!
Ralph has shared some memories of his dad, who was born in Nether Edge workhouse in 1900.
He said: “During the slump in the 1920s my Dad, while out of proper paid work, would do any sort of job he could find to help support his family.
“He received 32s/6d in benefit for his wife and two small children. He did jobs like shovelling coal in for better class people up at Fulwood, he drove a doctor round in the doctor’s own car.
“He travelled round Yorkshire selling haberdashery and he also did odd jobs on houses. Out of work but never idle.
“Re 2 Brandreth Road, Dad bought this house in 1943 for cash when back in full-time work, piece work, hard graft, working shifts. He also had an allotment to tend, which brought more funds in.
“We were lead to believe that Brandreth Road was built for Rev Brandreth Slater as a vicarage
but he never lived there.
“The two large reception rooms had bell pushes at the side of the fireplaces, which were in turn connected to a bell in the kitchen.
“There were five bedrooms and a box room. a large entrance hall and cloakroom and a large pantry.
“This was a beautiful property, and Dad and Mum entertained regularly, and we had some lovely musical evenings,
“Dad would play his pianola until two in the morning and didn’t disturb the neighbours, because of the passage and pantry between.”