Fulwood gets its own Railway Station – nearly!

The idea was raised by William John Lindley C.E. of Sharrow Lane Sheffield in May 1899. His aims were mostly social, replacing many of the worst slum areas of the city with a brand-new railway, pleasure gardens and land for development of better housing for “reasonable and just conditions of life of the working classes of all degrees.”

The Sheffield Independent carried several letters about the project including one from the proposer indicating his estimated cost to be a little over £1,000,000 and a scheme whereby the capital and interest costs of construction could be recovered.

Graphic map of the proposed route

The scheme never received any official support but would have enabled those living in the city to enjoy a trip out to the Porter or Rivelin valleys and return home the same day. Below is shown the proposed route.

A rather grand new central station was to be built in Fitzallan Square in addition to the Midland and Victoria stations that were already established in Sheffield. The following illustration gives an indication of how it might have appeared:

Ideas for the city centre station

The circuitous route would have involved the construction of several new stations as well as the above. From the new Central Station the line would travel to stops at Bramall Lane, Endcliffe and Fulwood before leaving the Porter Valley to pass through an underground tunnel below Redmires Road, at a point a little way past Lodge Moor Hospital to re-emerge in the Rivelin Valley where it would stop at Stannington so passengers could explore the delights of Rivelin Rocks before passing on to Walkley and Malin Bridge Station. The train would then enter another tunnel before emerging at Neepsend station. It would next call at Victoria Station at the Wicker, which would be the connection to the wider rail network, before returning to the Central Station. No doubt it would have been a pleasant day out on a fine summer’s day.

What would the effects have been on Fulwood if the proposal had been adopted? Probably very little as the tram network was, by 1899, already bringing visitors as close as Nethergreen where they could travel by foot to enjoy an afternoon boating at Forge Dam or one of the other entertainments offered by Herbert Maxfield who owned the Dam site.. Afterwards visitors might enjoy a slice of cake while waiting for the tram at the establishment next to the terminus owned by the Oates family of Fullwood Hall. The only advantage the proposed railway might have had is that the proposed Fulwood station was nearer the Porter. This might have been good for the area of the various dams but Fulwood itself was some way off and up a very steep hill and it is doubtful how many visitors would want, or have time to, explore the delights of Fulwood itself. The site of the proposed station would also have been inconvenient for Fulwood residents at the beginning of the 20th century. If it had been built and was a success though maybe Fulwood would have extended down to the Porter Valley where there would now be shops and housing developments of all times.

The idea perhaps came a little too late. By 1899 railways had certainly lost any novelty value and Fulwood developed along the existing roads rather than around any new railway station.

Alan Crutch
23rd April 2023

Ancient Fulwood

Fulwood was only developed as a suburb of Sheffield towards the end of the 19th century and that, in itself, is an interesting story, but this article is about Fulwood in the dim and distant past. An extract from the 1850/1 OS map reproduced at the end of this short article will give you an idea as to how Fulwood was before it developed as a suburb of Sheffield

Pre-History

The story begins in the Mesolithic age when people were nomadic following the herds of wild animals and collecting nuts, plants and berries. They probably fished in local rivers and streams. An attractive area for both wild animals and early man, Fulwood would, as its name suggests, have been mostly covered in trees with many streams and rivers. Evidence that people were present consists of finds of flint here. A scraper was found in one of the fields below School Green Lane and a microflint was found near to where Blackbrook Avenue currently stands.

The story is similar in the Neolithic Age which began in around 5000 BC. A barbed arrowhead was found in one of the fields near Lodge Lane and another significant find has been made near the road up to Ringinglowe.

People were also here in the Bronze age (c2,500 BC – 800 BC) Yet again the Blackbrook Avenue area seems to have been particularly favoured as there are was evidence of both barrows and cairns in that region, and another near Cottage Lane.

The Roman Period

Enormous stones still form the base of old field walls in this area. These may date back to the Romano-British period (c50 AD – 400AD) and possibly earlier. A marble mosaic, roman pottery and what is described as an opus signium have all been found near Lodge Lane and a Roman coin of Constantine has been found in Stumperlowe. Roman pottery and evidence of a small building have been discovered at the top of Brooklands Avenue.

The Medieval Period

Aerial photographs show that several fields in the area have the ridge and furrow pattern typical of medieval farming and the early Court Rolls for the manor of Sheffield contain numerous references to families that had settled in Fulwood. The oldest names the Lynott family as taking 3 acres of land in Fulwood in 1283. As the Rolls only began to be compiled in the 1270s it is almost certain that this region was lived in and farmed well before that date. The monks from Beauchief Abbey had land in this area and Fulwood Booth is reported as being a place where the Lord of the Manor’s oxen were being raised in the 12th century.

Tudors and later

By the time of the Tudors (from 1485) there were several established families living in and farming land in Fulwood. As their wealth increased several of them seem to have begun to build more substantial houses. In the early 1600s they seem to have been competing as to who would live in the grandest house. Benet Grange, Fulwood Hall, Stumperlowe Hall and Whirlow Hall all seem to have been substantially improved at that time.

The story of Fulwood continues to the present day. In the twentieth century there were plans to run a railway connection to Fulwood and it was also proposed that the South-Western part of the Sheffield Ring Road should pass through Fulwood very near to the field opposite the chapel.

First Ordnance Survey of the area carried out in 1850 and published in 1854 (click on the map to see the on-line map). 

First Ordnance Survey of the area carried out in 1850 and published in 1854 Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland