The Ladies School

This was a small private school run by Sarah and Mary Rhodes who were the daughters of Hugh Rhodes, the minister of the Independent Chapel on Chapel Lane. Sarah had been born in Buxton and Mary who was eight years younger than her sister was born in Sheffield. By 1865, and probably earlier (in 1861 the sisters described themselves as ‘school mistress’), they had established the school at the ‘Chapel House’. The Chapel did not function as a place of worship between 1873 when Hugh Rhodes died and 1899 so the school might have provided an alternative use. Although named as the Ladies School in the 1881 census, the Rhodes sisters did not use this title when they advised readers of the Independent in January that they would ‘re-open their school’ on Tuesday 18th of that month and that they had a vacancy for two boarders[1]. They used this phrase in their announcements that were published just before the start of each term.

The census of 1871 recorded 6 girls between the ages of 10 and 14

The House and Chapel

The chapel had a school room and a house for the minister and his family but neither are large, so the house, at least, must have been quite crowded on census night 1881 when eight scholars slept there, along with the two sisters, their nephew Sydney and a 14 year old servant.

There is a gap in the newspaper announcements between September 1889 and September 1893 although Mary and Sarah continued to live in the Chapel House. The last entry is year later, in 1899 when Sarah was approaching 75 years of age and Mary was 60, so perhaps managing 6 vivacious girls was getting too much for them.

Perhaps the development of State Education (e.g. the Fulwood Board School) had reduced the demand for schools like this. In their notice in the Telegraph in January 1899 they said that they “Do not object to take Delicate Children” which suggests the sisters were not recruiting as many pupils as previously. This may explain why they began to let rooms in the Chapel House. Their notice in the paper in 1897 offering to accommodate bicycles suggests short stay lets, perhaps an early form of Airbnb! By 1904, they were looking for long term lets, offering 2 bedrooms and a sitting room in the house which was only 15 minutes’ walk from the terminus at Nethergreen!

Sarah and Mary Rodes disappear from the records from the middle years of the decade by which time the Chapel had become a home to a vibrant congregation. It was the location for ‘Pleasant Sunday Afternoons’ but that another story!

[1] Sheffield Daily Telegraph 08 January 1881

Record of FHG meeting 18/1/24


Present: D. A., J.B., A. C., M.L., J.P. & K. P.

  1. Website payment settled with thanks to AC
  2. Sheffield Heritage Fair 2025: KP suggested combined stall with Ranmoor Society
  3. Heritage Open Days September 2024: theme is Routes, Networks, Connections e.g. transport routes, communication networks, trade unions and social clubs; initial ideas shared e.g.
    • guided walk with suitability for groups of people
    • based around shops
    • Forge Dam
    • Woofindin area
    • A walk round the block with FHG
    • Where roads/lanes meet (e.g. Fulwood Road, Brookhouse Hill area)
    • Fulwood’s lost greens
    • Fulwood’s sports clubs

4.  A.C. shared c1935 map of area which sparked discussion around:

  • development of northern suburbs of Fulwood
  • Lodge Moor Hall
  • the Black Brook and Elliot stone
  • the Oak Brook
  • Crimicar Lane Hospital
  • sewage/waterworks across the area

5. KP. shared information about Gilcrest wood – building on last month’s discussion:

  • plans relating to land purchases around 1900s with view to building development which wasn’t realised
  • Castlewood Drive area development in 1930s
  • variations in naming for this area – 1700s Goulhirst, Gallhirst and Gilcrest and links to Goole/Gold
  • air raid shelter built into the slope of the land which was lost beneath 1980s housing on Canterbury Crescent

6. Involvement of Rotherham-based solicitors in land transactions noted

7. JB. shared extract from Reminiscences of Henry Coward (1919) which recalls performance for Plimsoll at Whiteley Woods Hall, probably around 1866

8. A.C. shared photos showing Fulwood area in past times

9. Everyone agreed wording to accompany AC’s article in Fulwood Messenger; led to discussion of Fulwood Chapel and when it was a boarding school run by the Misses Rhodes around 1880s

10. Website development

11. Everyone encouraged to contribute articles etc. to website

12. Reviewing chapters of KP’s book

13. Next meeting: 15th February 2024