Thursday, April 15, 2021

Titanic Chief Officer’s Links to Loxley Chapel (Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library "Monthly Marvels" Blog)

 

15th April marks the anniversary of the RMS Titanic disaster - when over 1,500 passengers and crew members tragically lost their lives after the British passenger liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean just a few days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York back in 1912. One of the most senior crew members who lost his life on this date 109 years ago was the Titanic’s Chief Officer Lieutenant Henry Tingle Wilde (1872-1912) who had close links to the old Loxley Independent Chapel (which later became Loxley Congregational Chapel and eventually Loxley United Reformed Church) on the north-western outskirts of Sheffield. In our latest Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library ‘Monthly Marvels’ blog, we highlight the Wilde family’s longstanding association with the Loxley Chapel over multiple generations as revealed through a recent cataloguing project we have carried out centred on the chapel’s historic records.













Henry Tingle Wilde was born on 21st September 1872 in Liverpool (where his father Henry Wilde senior had relocated from Loxley) but baby Henry was taken to Loxley just a month after his birth to be baptised at the Loxley Chapel - an indication of the importance of the chapel to the Wilde family who had worshipped there for generations. It's apparent that young Henry and his family continued to make regular trips back to Loxley from Liverpool and the old chapel there continued to occupy a special place in their hearts.

The newly catalogued collection of Loxley Chapel records at Sheffield City Archives (collection reference: NR2324) includes a range of historic church minutes and account books, as well as registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, dating back to when the chapel was first built in 1787, which illustrate the Wilde family’s prominent role in supporting the chapel and the local community in the village of Loxley over successive generations.

The records include various documents, for instance, concerning Henry Tingle Wilde’s architect uncle George Arnold Wilde (1841-1914), who served as a deacon at the chapel, and who notably carried out significant restorations to the Loxley Congregational Chapel (as it was then known) in 1890, and later drew up plans for the extension of the graveyard there in the early 1900s.

One of the more unusual items in the Loxley Chapel collection which has been unearthed through our cataloguing project is a 19th-century account/memoranda book (which also includes brief diary entries) evidently kept by Thomas Wilde (c.1795-1866), who worked as a 'saw grinder' and 'farmer' in Loxley. Thomas Wilde was Henry Tingle Wilde’s grandfather and George Arnold Wilde’s father. Thomas Wilde’s account/memoranda book, which dates from c.1819 onwards, sheds intriguing light on the lives and preoccupations of members of the rural community of Loxley back in the 19th-century. The small volume also helps to chart how Thomas’ grandson made the unlikely journey from a landlocked farming family in the village of Loxley to the beginnings of a successful maritime career, before ultimately ending in tragedy and his death on board the Titanic. 

There are lots of fascinating references to be found in Thomas Wilde’s account/memoranda book. On 25 August 1839, for instance, Thomas Wilde notes how the Rev. Sutton “preached to the chartists”. The following year, he records his duties as an 'Overseer of the Poor' for the wider parish of Ecclesfield in 1840. A year later, he includes notes on the census in his capacity as one of the census enumerators for the locality in 1841. In August 1853, there is an intriguing reference to payments for a Dr Thompson for "assisting a Hungarian refugee”.

Thomas Wilde’s account/memoranda book also includes a range of interesting medical and food recipes. Some of the recipes are reflective of the Wilde family’s farming duties, including recipes “for the scouring of young calves”, “for pleuro pneumonia among cattle” and even one “for a cow that gives bad butter” (this latter recipe comprising "2 ounces of ground ginger" and "3 pints of old wine"!)

















There are also medicinal recipes designed to help with ailments such as sore throats, coughs, toothache, consumption, one recipe “to prevent infectious fever” and even recipes for “cholera prevention and cholera cure” These latter recipes are indicative of how cholera was a major concern for people at the time with Sheffield facing a major cholera epidemic in 1832 which led to a number of fatalities (and further outbreaks occurring in 1849, 1854 and 1866).

Other (more pleasant-sounding sounding) recipes in the volume include those for “raspberry vinegar”, “blackberry wine”, “making buns”, “gingerbread cakes”, “sage puddings” and “mock madeira”.

As noted in his account/memoranda book, Thomas Wilde and his wife Ann had 10 children born between the years 1819 and 1841. The volume also includes some loose papers and notes relating to Thomas' second-youngest son Henry Wilde senior (born 1838) and shows how Henry relocated from Loxley to Liverpool where he obtained the post of ‘Chief Clerk and Cashier to the Liverpool and London Insurance Companies' and later became a 'Surveyor of Risks and Assessor of Losses' in Liverpool. Henry Wilde senior's move to Liverpool sparked the chain of events which would see his son Henry Tingle Wilde grow up in the Walton district of the maritime port city and embark on a seafaring career, becoming a Royal Navy Reserve officer and rising up the ranks with the White Star Line shipping company, culminating in his appointment as Chief Officer on the RMS Titanic's first and last voyage.     


After the sinking of the Titanic, Sheffield newspapers (as they did all over the country) feverishly reported on the tragedy. Initially, as in the extract below from an article from The Sheffield Evening Telegraph, Henry Tingle Wilde was reported as missing before his death was finally confirmed. This particular article draws attention to the Titanic’s Chief Officer’s Sheffield connections, mentioning how it was Wilde’s practice during his maritime career "to spend much of his time ashore in Sheffield".  

Wilde's final moments on board the sinking ship are disputed. One surviving witness at the subsequent inquest suggested Wilde shot himself on the bridge once the hopelessness of the situation became apparent. However other witnesses recalled seeing Wilde, "a big, powerful man", tirelessly working to the last to save the lives of others, loading as many people as he could into the available life boats before going down valiantly with the vessel, alongside Captain Edward Smith (1850-1912), the two men standing on the bridge, "with their arms extended to each other's shoulders".  

Newspaper reports from the time revealed that Wilde had lost his wife just a year before the tragedy, meaning his death on board the Titanic resulted in his four young children being orphaned.  


Henry Tingle Wilde wasn’t the first person associated with the Loxley Chapel to suffer the tragic fate of drowning. The Loxley Chapel graveyard notably includes a number of graves of victims of the Great Sheffield Flood of 1864 (following the bursting of the Dale Dyke Reservoir dam at Bradfield) and some of the headstones for the victims can still be seen in the graveyard to this day. Sadly the main chapel building itself does not remain intact.

In 1989, the Loxley Reformed Church (as the old chapel became known) was damaged by heavy storms which forced it to close temporarily but it reopened in November 1990 thanks to repair work funded largely by English Heritage. It closed however as a place of worship shortly afterwards in 1992 and fell into disuse and disrepair. In direct contrast to Henry Tingle Wilde and the Great Sheffield Flood victims, who perished at the hands of water, it seems the old Loxley Chapel may have met its final end by fire. Having stood for well over two centuries, the chapel was devastated by a fire in August 2016 and now lies in ruins. 


Although the future fate of the remains of the chapel seem uncertain, the fascinating stories of families like the Wilde family, who once worshipped there, are preserved and can be explored in the collection of Loxley Chapel records we hold at Sheffield City Archives.   



For more information on our sources at Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library, please contact us (email: archives@sheffield.gov.uk, website: www.sheffield.gov.uk/archives).  



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A year in archives: collection highlights from 2020

Last year was a strange time, pandemic and all, but despite the obvious obstacles Sheffield City Archives continued to run a service and collect new archive material.  In fact, Covid meant that many of you found the time to clear out and donate items to the archives, while others deposited their own responses to the pandemic in the form of diaries and photographs.  Here’s a brief look at some of the collection highlights from 2020…


What was life like in Sheffield in 2020?  This is a question that will be asked time and time again in the future.  But how much will we remember of these strange times?  It was (and still is) very real with rolling news coverage, lockdown restrictions and a profound change in everyone’s way of life.  However, restrictions will hopefully soon be lifted and 2020 will become a distant memory; we will soon forget the everyday experiences (good and bad, exceptional and mundane) that make this period in history so unique.  In March last year, we put a call out for people to record their own experiences of lockdown so that we could add them to the archives.  You responded immediately and as a result, we have amassed an incredible archive of material.  Pictured is one of the famous ‘Frontline Warrior’ images produced by Pete McKee. The series depicting different key workers with the strapline: 'Be Kind To The Frontline'. During the pandemic, artwork from this series popped up on billboards in Manchester and Sheffield. Following an enthusiastic response on social media, copies of selected prints were sold to raise money for NHS Charities Together. A full set of 'Frontline Warriors' was kindly printed and donated to Sheffield City Archives by Pete McKee in Aug 2020.

Not everything we received last year dated from modern times.  We were very pleased to receive a Parish Register from St Mary’s Church, Handsworth dating back to 1558.  The volume is called a ‘Composite Register’ as it records all baptisms, marriages and burials at Handsworth Parish Church from 1558-1667.  It had been kept quite safely at the church until now. At some point in the 1970s it went for re-binding at the Public Record Office in Kew, London.  When the original binding was removed it was found to be much older than the actual volume - possibly dating from the 1300s-1400s.  It is illuminated and contains notes for the intonation of words; a passage from John’s Gospel is also discernible.  Both bindings will be carefully retained, but our Conservator will re-bind the volume to ensure it is encased in a stable, future-proof cover.

In December 2020, while sorting out some old papers, a bundle of vacancy slips for July-August 1975 were spotted by an eagle-eyed depositor.  Instead of putting them in the bin, he offered them to the archives as a snapshot of the job market for school-leavers in Sheffield in the 1970s.  The adverts have a section for qualifications, experience and special qualities required of applicants which, by today’s standards, are somewhat eyebrow-raising!  Sheffield District Council wanted a trainee plan printer, preferably someone ‘not too ambitious but reasonably intelligent with an interest in photography’.  John Wenninger’s, the butchers on Abbeydale Road, were looking for sales assistants, ‘local girls preferred, neat, tidy, clean and well-spoken’.  Steeples, the chemist on White Lane, wanted someone ‘bright and of good appearance’ but most importantly ‘with clean fingernails’.  G.T. News on Brooklands Avenue simply wanted someone ‘sensible’ while Ernest Burgess was in search of a Junior Sales Assistant, preferably ‘smart and quick’ but above all ‘a nice lad’.  Jobs were also going at Proctors, the furniture store on Haymarket - ‘academic qualifications are not required’ stated the ad, but ‘common sense is a must’.  School leavers could also try their hand at becoming ‘Whippers’ (fastening runners onto fishing rods with thread) with Truflex on Cadman Street - qualifications: ‘conscientious and good with fingers’.  And finally, a General Labourer was sought for sought for a property repair business on Parson Cross Road - the young man had to be ‘tall and strong’ and ‘live locally, S5 or S6’.  There was certainly an interesting array of trades school-leavers could enter into, although whether candidates fitted the bill was another matter!

Finally, we had an unusual and rather special donation from Sheffield-based artist and lecturer, Yuen Fong Ling who has been working on a project called 'Towards Memorial' which explores the re-making of bespoke sandals originally designed and made by socialist, writer, poet and activist Edward Carpenter.  The project began at Sheffield City Archives on discovering examples of sandals Carpenter collected as reference, alongside a small newspaper advert, original photographs of Carpenter wearing the sandals, and paper foot patterns from his customers, one which was inscribed with 'Self 1892', pertaining to Carpenter himself. This led to a visit to The Garden City Collection in Letchworth to see an example made by his artist, friend and collaborator George E. Adams. Re-making the sandal was a way of interpreting the archive material and translating these sources into a contemporary design using modern materials, with ethical shoemakers Noble & Wylie (formerly Guat Shoes, established Sheffield in 1978). Each pair of sandals are handmade and stamped on each inner sole with 'Self 1892', as well as '1844' and '1929' to commemorate Carpenter’s year of birth and death.  The sandals have been initially gifted to members of The Friends of Edward Carpenter, a group of enthusiasts (and activists in their own right) who aim to commission a permanent public memorial to Carpenter in Sheffield city centre.  A number of short films were made by Picture Story Productions, Sheffield to document the production, gifting and wearing of the Carpenter sandals.  The films can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/user/SheffieldArchives1 A pair of sandals were also gifted to the archives; these sit alongside Edward Carpenter’s original sandals.

We also took in public records from Sheffield Magistrates' Court, HM Coroner and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  Records were also deposited by the Diocese of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and a number of local businesses and private individuals.

A full list of our new accessions will soon be published on The National Archives’ website: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/accessions/

You can also search Sheffield City Archives' online catalogue here: http://www2.calmview.co.uk/SheffieldArchives/CalmView/Default.aspx?

Picture captions (from top): 

Frontline Warriors by Pete McKee (X906); 

The original binding from the St Mary's Handsworth parish register (illuminated text visible, dating from the 1300s-1400s); page from the St Mary's Handsworth parish register - note the shape and curve of the parchment which is made from animal skin (PR158); 

Vacancy slip for Thomas Meldrum's, tool manufacturers on John Street, 1975 - main requirement of school leaver was 'common sense' (X920); 

Sandals deposited by Yuen Fong Ling - as worn by Magid Magid, Somali-British activist and politician who served as Lord Mayor of Sheffield from May  2018 to May 2019, Mike Jackson, co-founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) and the Friends of Edward Carpenter (FOEC), 2019; Yuen Fong Ling's sandals pictured next to Edward Carpenter's sandals in the archives, 2020 (X903).








Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Sheffield City Archives - Monthly Marvels

Sheffield Food History - Bassetts Sweets


George Bassett established Bassett’s the confectionery firm famous for Liquorice Allsorts and Jelly Babies in Sheffield in 1842.  Over 150 years on, the firm is still going strong and is now part of the Cadbury Trebor Bassett franchise. It is their biggest confectionary site in Europe and produces over 40,000 tonnes of sweets and crisps each year including the ever-popular Bassett’s liquorice and Trebor mints.

Before establishing his own sweet company, George Bassett had to serve his apprenticeship and learn the art of confectionery. Sheffield Archives holds George Bassett’s original Apprenticeship Indenture from 1832

(Sheffield Archives Ref:X159/1). It describes how Bassett was apprenticed to William Haslam, a confectioner of Chesterfield.  As the document shows, Haslam agreed to provide his new apprentice with ‘sufficient meat, drink, lodgings, and all other necessaries’.  In return, Bassett was expected to be a ‘faithful apprentice’ for seven years, agreeing ‘he shall not play cards of dice table’ and ‘he shall not haunt taverns or playhouses’.


Bassett lived from 1818 until 1886, he was a very successful businessman, and was also elected Lord Mayor of Sheffield in 1876. However, Bassett's most famous products, Jelly Babies and Liquorice Allsorts, were actually created after his death. 

Allsorts were created in 1899 as the result of a happy accident (or so the story says). Charlie Thompson was a salesman at the Bassett's company. He tripped while he was carrying a tray of separate liquorice and paste candies to show a potential customer. The candies became jumbled up, creating odd combinations. The customer was impressed and placed an order for the mixed-up candies - the first Liquorice Allsorts.

Discover More.

To find out more about the story of George Bassett’s there are various documents in our collection including:

·       George Bassett’s Apprenticeship Indenture, 1832

(Sheffield Archives X159/1)

·       George Bassett Account Book 1856-1859

(Sheffield Archives X159/1)

·       The History of Geo. Bassett & Co. Ltd (unpublished typescript, by D.G. Johnson, 1974)

(Local Studies Library 338.4 SSTQ)

·       Bassetts of England at Your Service – Geo. Bassett’s & Company, 1950

(Local Studies Library, PAMP 110 SQ)

·       The Bertie Bassett Logo [c.1980]

(Local Studies Library, MP 5832 M)

Or search our online catalogues for more material.


Digesting History.


This blog was inspired by recent Poet in The City digital event, Digesting History, a digital dinner table for a menu of poetry, conversation and film. Digesting History was created as part of Collections in Verse, a collaboration between Poet in the City, the British Library and Sheffield Libraries using poetry events and commissions to bring British Library exhibitions to life in four cities across the UK. The work in Sheffield was inspired by the British Library’s sold-out exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War. You can view the recording of this event online now. View Digesting History Recording.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Sheffield eLibrary has Changed



Changes to the eLibrary

We have now moved our digital eBooks, aAudiobooks and eMagazines from RBdigital to the Libby app. You will continue to be able to browse, borrow, and enjoy all the same great material you loved in the RBdigital app, now available in Libby.


To use Libby, you will need your library card number and PIN. 

Request your PIN


If you currently have a book checked out in the RBdigital app, it will be available through the remainder of the lending period, so you can finish your title without disruption or risk of losing your place in the book. Holds will not be moved, but you may export your Transaction History from the RBdigital websites by accessing My Account > Profiles. You can place holds on those titles again in Libby.



Kindle eReaders and Kindle Fire

We are sorry, but library-loaned ebooks are not compatible with Kindle eReaders. This is because Amazon does not support public library eLending outside of the US.


At present, the Libby app is not available on Amazon Fire, but you can access the same great content through the Overdrive app.


We have an exciting range of comics available to read alongside eMagazines.  Comics include popular Marvel titles such as Spiderman, X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Parents should note that some content is aimed at an adult audience.


Happy reading!



Monday, February 15, 2021

The Kids Are All Right: LGBTQ+ Books for Children and Young People

For decades, it has been a struggle to find positive, realistic fiction for children and young people that depicts the diverse range of identities in the LGBTQ+ community. Finally, though, we are starting to see more books being published in the UK, particularly for young adults.

In our LGBTQ Children's Book List PDFyou will find details of all the books discussed in our podcast with former Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judges Zoey Dixon (from Lambeth Libraries) and Liz Chapman (here at Sheffield Libraries). There are also a few bonus titles that we couldn’t squeeze into the podcast! This is still only a fraction of the books now available, so for more reading ideas, why not check out our LGBTQ+ Children’s & YA listchallenge? You can also get in touch with your local Sheffield or Lambeth librarian for suggestions, or contact our partner bookshop Gay’s the Word.



If you’ve enjoyed one of our recommendations, or want to let us know about something we’ve missed, join the conversation on Twitter! @SheffLibraries, @lamlibs and @gaystheword

 

In partnership with Lambeth Libraries and Gay’s the Word bookshop.



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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Do you have a special or inherited recipe?



Do you have a special recipe?  If you do, we’d love to see it!

Help us explore Sheffield’s heritage through food.

In the run up to our digital dinner time experience Digesting History, we’re inviting you to help us uncover recipes that reveal the ever expanding story of Sheffield. We want to hear about the recipes that are important to you.  Perhaps they were passed on from a family member or friend.  Maybe they were taught to you at school, or you survived as a student by relying on them.

It could be breakfast, dinner, or tea, or maybe a sweet treat that sparks a memory and takes you back to a different time, or even a different you…
 
Share your recipes, stories and memories with us and we might even include them in a new recipe booklet, published by Sheffield Libraries this spring, and distributed across the city.

What do I need to do?

Post a picture of your recipe (handwritten is fine!) and a photo of the dish if you have one (but no pressure) to the Digesting History Facebook page.  Just click on Discussion and leave a post.

Alternatively, email us at libraries@sheffield.gov.uk

Tell us where/when/how you first encountered this recipe.  What is the story behind it? What memory does it ignite?

Deadline for submissions: 21 February 5pm

To get things started...




Here’s a set of recipes collected at Walkley Library back in the 1980s.  It’s full of dentist frightening puddings and some great local memories extending back to the 1920s.



Happy sharing, cooking and eating everyone, we can’t wait to read them all and try them out!


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

£10k capital improvement proposals for community library spaces


Click to have your say 

Our Sheffield City Council community hub libraries (as well as volunteer run libraries) have been awarded a one-off cash boost this year of £10,000 each.  This funding will give each library the opportunity to make changes to improve their offer to the local community.

Therefore, we wish to consult on how to spend the funding to ensure the library space can do more for the communities that use them.

Library staff have identified options for improving the library space and we are asking for your views on those options and for any other suggestions you may have.  As each library space is unique, there are different options put forward for each library. 

This survey does not include Central Library, the Home Library Service or Archives.  

Although the volunteer run libraries in Sheffield are eligible for a 10k grant to improve their library spaces too, this survey is restricted to Sheffield City Council run libraries.   Please contact the volunteer run library that you use if you want any further information.

Why we are consulting?

We currently have an opportunity to improve our community-based libraries and therefore by consulting we can ensure this is what our customers want.   

It will not be possible to undertake all the ideas suggested by staff and customers, so consultation will help prioritise improvements now and into the future.

Click to have your say