Recently, there were two posts on FaceBook that included newspaper photographs of skaters on the ice at Forge Dam. The pictures show people ‘of mature years’ demonstrating considerable skill on the ice and this attracted a large number of onlookers.
Pictures printed in the Daily Telegraph in January 1909
The original post elicited a few responses including one which pointed readers to film on the Yorkshire Film Archive. Lasting nearly 30 minutes, this silent film is in fact three films put together from 1936, 1945 and 1953. Like the photographs in the newspaper at the start of the century, the participants are mainly adults though a few children are on the ice. From 5 minutes in, the footage is in colour.
The skating was clearly organised and managed. At one point there is a gentleman in a dark suit and wearing a bowler hat. He is stationary in the middle of the ice and appears to be ensuring safety an suitabble behaviour. There are also men clearing away the loose ice created by the blades as the skaters twist and turn
Later the film shows skiers – possibly at Jacob’s Ladder – and also skating on Wire Mill Dam.
The photographer was Kenneth Tofield (1906-1983) who was educated at Pannal Ash College in Harrogate. As a child, he lived on Chorley Road. He married Joan Stringfellow in 1947 and they had one child, John. A keen gardener, in the 1930s Kenneth won the Brighter Sheffield competition five times for the garden at his parent’s house (the category of the competition that he entered was ‘with help’ suggestion he did not do all the ‘spadework’!). Kenneth continued his passion for gardening at the house on Brooklands Crescent (No. 47?) Joan and he moved into after their marriage, creating colourful borders that can be seen on another of his movies “In My Garden”. This film also depicts John waiing for his father on his return from work at the Midland Bank.
Links to the 1st post and the 2nd post
Kenneth Tofield’s film is here. Other films by Kenneth held at the Yorkshire Film Archive can be found by searching the archive using ‘Tofield’.
Thanks to the original FaceBook poster and the person who shared Tofield’s film
At our second meeting last Thursday, members shared something about their research that intrigued, frustrated or surprised them.
Where does Griffin Sick flow?
Jane is studying old maps and the landscape to find out which stream flowing down to the Porter from the hillside rising to Hallam Head is the one called the Griffin Sick or Syke. There’s a reference to Griffin Sick Lane on the maps that Schofield recreated from Harrison’s C17th surveys.
David shared some funeral documents that have been in his family starting in the 1880s through to the 1960s. The star amongst the sexton’s and undertakers’ bills was a beautiful ‘in memoriam’ card with decorated edges.
The First Burial
Judith told us about the first burial in Fulwood churchyard. This was of Henry Dawes who died in January 1839 aged 16 months. Judith then told us about Henry’s family.
A Soldier’s Medals
Ray talked about his efforts to find out about his house that had been built in the 1920s. Frustratingly the 1939 register only recorded the house-keeper so he had not discovered anything of the occupants at the outbreak of war. He showed us a commercially produced house history. He has access to the plans of the house next door.
Ray also showed a set of WW2 medals that had been awarded to a soldier [name required] and then given to a local Royal British Legion branch. The medals traced the history of the war from el Alamein through the Italian campaign to the D-Day landings. Ray now hopes to discover something of the soldier’s life.
A Fatal Accident
Alan brought a story he’d found in the Telegraph published in 1853. The story was an account of the inquest. and told of an accident that befell Mrs and Mrs Marsh of Lydgate Hall. They had gone for a drive one evening in a Phaeton carriage. Going down Harrison Lane, something spooked the horse which started to go faster resulting in the carriage overturning. Mrs Marsh was thrown from the carriage incurring fatal injuries.
A Political Woman
Keith shared a story about Ada Moore, a Fulwood inhabitant in the period of WW1. He described how an article in the Telegraph contained some facts that seemed to be implausible. Using census data and Wikipedia he found an explanation for the inaccuracy and a link to John Maynard Keynes.
All these stories elicited many questions and comments and showed a wide range of interests.
Our next meetingThis is on 15th December when we will look at some online resources including Find My Past and
Ancestry along with probate records, We will look at records of births and deaths and associated religious ceremonies. We will also look at Military records such as the CWGC site and personnel records.
This is an excerpt from my History of Fulwood – a book in the making!
Forge Dam Café
An alternative source of amusement and refreshment was the café established by the Maxfield family at the Old Forge which offered boating on a large lake, swings, boats and in December 1890 readers of the Telegraph learnt that there was splendid skating to be enjoyed at Forge House which was 10 minutes from the Ranmoor Bus! One would have had to sprint from the bus but fortunately there was accommodation for tea. A further advertisement in January 1891 informed readers that Illumination of the ice by torchlight was in place.
Herbert Maxfield had been a file cutter for much of his adult life but around 1886 he and his family had moved from Brightside to Forge House. In 1891 he was described as a farmer, so it is likely that Mary was running the café. Maxfield’s farming activities were located at Redmires rather than near the old Forge. In 1888 he was advertising ‘Good Pasturing’ there. In 1890 he was able to offer Grouse Shooting at Fair Thorne Farm and indeed on the census night a year later, three of the Maxfield children were at the farm.
The café was proving popular, Mrs Maxfield advertised in 1886 that ‘School parties and visitors [would be] supplied with hot water for tea’ and in yje same year Maxfield applied for a licence to sell beer. In September when the application was considered by the magistrates, amongst whom was Alderman Gainsford of Whiteley Wood Hall, he said that he estimated the value of the property was £20. This proved fatal to his application as the opposing solicitors pointed out that the minimum requirement was property valued at £30. A few days later a letter from James Wing, the solicitor acting for Maxfield, appeared in the Telegraph that stated the rateable value of the property to be £22 and so the value for licencing was £50. A year passed before the application was made again and the question of value was the main contention. The overseers had set the rateable value at just under £35 for the property but this included the dam which covered half the land. The magistrates again refused the licence. Maxfield was certainly tenacious. In 1906 and 1907 he applied for a billiard licence which was refused on both occasions.
An article in the Independent in 1933 about the Sharrow Wesleyan Church noted that the original ‘Tin Cathedral’ was sold in 1900and became the tea room at Forge Dam.
In 1915 Maxfield was accused of poisoning a hen in a field on Brookhouse Hill. The case was that two men who were working on 181 Brookhouse Hill which is at the junction with Whiteley Lane saw Maxfield drop a parcel over a wall into the field. When examined by the public analyst, the parcel was found to have a sufficient quantity of arsenic to kill 50 people. Some of the parcel’s contents were eaten by the hen belonging to Mrs Fox. Maxfield denied the charge and Mrs Fox said she had been on friendly terms with Maxfield for many years and could not offer any reason as to why he should wish act in this way. The defence solicitor pointed out that there was no motive and suggested that the parcel had been on the wall and Maxfield had flicked the parcel with his walking stick. The magistrates said it was serious case and fined him £10. This must have been felt grievously by Maxfield who had an ‘unblemished character.’
Maxfield had tried to sell the business in 1913 without success but was successful in 1917. The advertisement for the sale described a successful venture covering six acres. There was extensive catering facilities and the dam had 13 boats including a motor launch along with fishing. There were also gardens with 1500 rose trees. This sale, caused by Maxfield’s ill health was successful and he and his wife moved to Eastwood Road. His retirement was short-lived as he died a year later ‘in his 80th year’. He was buried in Fulwood graveyard
William Knight was the proprietor in 1919. The café has continued to prosper down to the present time.