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Fiddlestick

Sheffield History Member
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Everything posted by Fiddlestick

  1. Great photo Voldy. Look how sparking clean the glass is on 158. Imagine having worked at Tommy Ward's and being ordered to smash such splendid things to destruction ! Note the mirror arrangement on the trams, all they would show the driver would be other vehicles when they were almost in line with the very front of the tram, but then the trams didn't need to worry about affecting overtaking traffic or vehicles alongside, except on sharp bends. Where's that part hidden PD2 going if it's turning left ?
  2. I'm going back to the late 60's, early 70's here. Young-uns please note 'Lorries' (or 'Wagons') not 'Trucks' . The Woodhead Pass has seen many dramas over the years, a good few vehicles of all types, but mainly lorries, have gone over the steep side to their doom with many fatalities. The long-time rusting chassis of an eight wheeler ( 'eight legger ') could be clearly seen 60 foot down the drop until a few years ago. Returning from the Manchester side of the Pennines, before the M67 ( 'Motorway to Nowhere' ) was built, I would normally take the Mottram road up from Hyde rather than the Stalybridge road. On the way up Mottram Road there is a farm on the left, opposite the Hattersley council estate of Hindley and Brady notoriety. This farm was hit by a German V1 Flying Bomb in the war, one of a few launched from under the wings of Heinkel 111's over the North Sea from bases in Norway. At the top of that hill, by the Mottram cross roads and traffic lights, were two more things of interest; one was L.S.Lowry's house off to the left, the other was the amusing old cast sign on a facing wall, which is still there, pointing to the right and reading 'Broadbottom 1x1/2 miles ' Leaving those Mottram lights, you'd go down the hill ( Mottram Moor ) to the traffic light junction just before Hollingworth, where you'd have the choice of either turning right and returning over the Snake, or going straight ahead via the Woodhead ; few lorries chose the Snake due to its narrow twists and bends ( The origin of the 'Snake' name isn't what we thought either, see 'Snake Pass' on Wikipedia. ). Just to the left of these lights, by the Gun Inn, was a narrow lane with old cottages, in one lived Pat Phoenix, 'Elsie Tanner' of Coronation Street fame ( when it was worth watching !). Passing through Hollingworth to Tintwistle ( 'Tinsle' to the locals ), there used to be a shop-cum-transport cafe on the left , difficult parking, but a good 'caff '. I forget the old chap's name now, he was a big angling fan and was said to be 'living over the brush' with his lady who served at table. Continuing forward you would see the Woodhead electrics passing on the other side of the reservoirs, then climb on into the wind-swept wilds of the pass. No mobile phones back then, just a lone phone box in an emergency. Back in those days there was nothing like the amount of traffic which uses the route today, and so it was full steam home after leaving the built-up areas, unless..... unless you happened to get behind the two grey 8 wheeler ESC ( English Steel Corporation ) lorries which did two trips a day from ESC Hawke Street over to the ESC in Openshaw, Manchester. They were known for driving slowly, nose-to-tail all the way making it highly dangerous to attempt to overtake both on the narrow Pass. Nothing ahead of them as they crawled along, but a half mile of cursing drivers behind them. Given that your driving and rest hours had to be strictly adhered to, should you have just a short time left to get home, this could get you fined if you risked going over your hours. At the summit of the Pass there is a sign for ' The Pennine Way' ramblers' track which passes many aircraft wrecks, hell of a lot if you check up. Then, just before the Flouch junction, there was a shack-type cafe on the left which is still talked about today due to the eccentric owner. He had a sign outside reading ' No coaches, No Hikers No ....'.this that and the other, in fact everyone who he should be catering for. My steed was a too-modern-for-me 'Ergonomic' tilt-cab, Albion Clydesdale, I just missed the pre-motorways old timers which were far more interesting despite their draughty cabs, lack of heaters, crash gearboxes, no radios, no GPS etc..Most in those days, including BRS, had mates to help with loading / unloading, sheeting etc., but I did get over to Belgium once a fortnight on the BR ferries from Harwich to Zeebrugge. The four ferries in the fleet were named 'Norfolk'. 'Suffolk', 'Essex' and the newer 'Cambridge Ferry' which incidentally, in early 1970, carried the Woodhead electrics sold to the Dutch railways. All have long since been scrapped of course. I'll leave it there, hoping to attract more reminiscences ( or corrections !) from others who enjoyed the freedom of the road and being paid to see the splendours of Britain.......... and there were more than a few professional types who gave up their stressful and better paid careers for a life on the road ! Thanks.
  3. When I mentioned the picturesque aspects of the line, below is an official BR painting as hung in waiting rooms. There's a bit of artistic license used as the water didn't go quite so near to the track, but a stunning representation of nature and engineering. For anyone researching the line and its locos for the first time, you will notice that a main difference between the Co-Co's and the Bo-Bo's, apart from the number of axles, is that the Co-Co's had the red buffer bar fixed to the body, while on the Bo-Bo's they were part of the bogies. So much on the internet about them that I won't go on, but personal stories and anecdotes would add to all this if you have any. The aforementioned driver, Jack Marr, had loads of tales of the line. One loco, I think it was 'Electra' was, he said, known as 'The Killer' due to having struck more than one plate-layer, supposedly having come into a station one day with a severed head stuck on the buffer bar. Another was that his train broke down on that stretch in the picture one winter when the reservoir was frozen over, and the guard is supposed to have walked across the ice for some bottles to that pub which used to be there ( anyone remember its name ?). What a man ! Typical of the railwaymen of the time, he started as a steam fireman before becoming a steam driver, then was put on the Woodhead electrics from day one to the end and then on the London runs with diesels. When he died, his wife gave me his leather BR satchel and it was stuffed with technical papers which I couldn't begin to understand. A breed of working men long gone, but well remembered. Think I'll do one on my lorry driving days with tales of the Woodhead , B all else to do at my age !
  4. Thanks both. It just seems a monumental blunder to have such a great investment dismantled in such a short time. Don't know the economics, but hopefully it's 80 or so freight trains a day paid for the original outlay over those twenty odd years. As I mentioned groups campaigning for its re-opening as a railway, if you google 'Re-open the Woodhead Line.' you'll see their arguments and campaigns.
  5. Thanks ( fellow ) bus man. Although I can't remember the wedges on the first Atlanteans which I also drove, you show they also had them. Just wondering where they were kept as the luggage space wasn't great. I also can't remember the notices in the Atlantean cabs, but not doubting you, the memory plays tricks. However, the Atlanteans didn't need that other old cab notice of 'Don't rest your foot on the clutch pedal' as they didn't have one ! That other back-loader cab notice was a laugh, 'You are driving a covered top bus'. As a kid, watching the driver through the glass, I wondered what it meant, not surprising as the open toppers went ages before and I knew nothing about them at the time. A bit daft when you think about it, they must have had a pile of transfers to use up 40 years after they were necessary !
  6. 3rd. June 1954 saw the official opening of the newly electrified Manchester to Sheffield rail route through the new, double-width Woodhead tunnel which replaced the two original Victorian single bore tunnels at its side. Having had a neighbour who was a steam engine driver due to convert to the new electrics, he had taken us kids in his car, the first in the street, over the moors to see the progress of the wiring gantries being progressively erected. At the time we had no idea what the electric locos would look like, but going down Spital Hill en-route to Victoria station on the opening day, we got our first glimpse of one crossing the Wicker Arches and raced up the steps to the station ( and weren't there some steps !) to get a closer look. Wow, it beat our passion for both jet planes and the fictitious space ships in the Dan Dare comics ! Gleaming new in its all black livery with the early lion emblem of British Railways on its sides, we were enraptured, more so than when seeing the first of the super Roberts tramcars a few years before. You have to remember that kids in those pre-electronic gadget days were very transport and engineering orientated with their Dinky toys, Meccano sets, train spotting and wonderful comics like 'The Eagle' which had exploded views of trains, planes, ships etc.. not to mention going to the Norton Battle of Britain days and seeing the futuristic V bombers fly over, so it was a great event which gave pride in the British technology and engineering of the time. That same neighbour would later take us to the Darnall ( I think ?) sheds where he showed us inside one of the electrics, weren't our mates jealous ! As I can't recall seeing them, I don't know if the following is true or a railwaymens' joke, but there were said to be switches in the cab, one saying 'PANTS UP' and the other 'PANTS DOWN' referring to the compressed air mechanism which raised and lowered the pantographs ( collectors ) to the overhead cantenary, another was a switch saying ' 1/2" cock ' ! Can anyone verify ? The locos were of two types, Co-Co's and Bo-Bo's, the former having 3 x axles per bogie and used for express passenger service, and the latter with 2 x axles per bogie used for freight, all were built at Gorton 'Tank' ( don't ask ! ) in Manchester. In early 1970 with the alleged decline of passenger volumes, the Co-Co's were sold off to the Dutch railways and sent over on BR's 'Cambridge' ferry from Harwich to Zebrugge with the Bo-Bo's taking over the reduced passenger services until they ended fully, the Co-Co's running far more years with the Dutch than with BR, one of which has been returned and can be seen in the Manchester Industrial Museum. In July 1981 the whole system ended after just 27 years. Many argue that the decision was political and wrong, and still today there are groups campaigning for its re-opening. This is highly unlikely as BR sold the tunnels to the CEGB for, it is said, just £1 ! There have been plans to use the 'new' tunnel for a planned extension to the M67 motorway linking it to South Yorkshire, but this is still in mid-air. Like most great British industrial enterprises, the Woodhead line is now back to nature with the tracks removed and the tunnel fenced off. A cycle track now uses the former picturesque track bed alongside the Woodhead reservoirs and today's lads who would have found work on such railways are now stacking supermarket shelves, that's progress ! ( Don't I go on ? Most of this is available on the internet, but I've added memories from 62 years ago to give a personal perspective. Thanks for reading and please add your own memories. )
  7. Any staff ever have cause to use these and did they find any forgeries ? Not sure if they are they still in use today ?
  8. Most older back-loaders carried one of these under the stairs. It was a large, tri-angular block of wood with a metal handle and usually there was a separate wooden frame fixed to the floor to rest it in. The rule book probably explained how to place it beneath a back wheel as a precaution against hand-brake failure, but that was the rule book ! In all my time on STD in those days, I never saw one used, even on steep parking bays like Bridge Street. One Townhead driver I remember may have / should have used the wedge however, the chap who was always writing 'ROSPA' on the steering wheels ( Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents ) ! What was his name, anyone know ?
  9. Most older members will remember the revolutionary impact of television's re-appearance after the war, most sets being bought for the Coronation and after it. A memorable image for me was the BBC's TV Newsreel opening shot with the stirring 'Girl's in Grey' march by Charles Williams with the view of the famous Alexandra Palace TV mast with imaginary rings of transmission radiating from it and the words revolving around it. Looking at this bit of film of the opening shot, now available on You Tube, and still shots of the mast at the time, can anyone tell me if the outrigger arms are all horizontal or all at different angles as I've studied pictures for years and can't decide. The mast survives today, but the outriggers were removed long ago. It was a surprise to see ( an imitation of ) the mast featured in the David Tennant Doctor Who episode about the Coronation. Put the following in You Tube :- BBC Television Newsreel 1951 TV Comes To Alexandra Palace (1938) Salute to AP (Alexandra Palace) 1954
  10. That should have read 'already got' , not 'not already got'. It's all this modern terminology confusing my old brain....I wonder if old Tabby was 'gender neutral' , 'trans-gender' or one of the other 20 or so gender categories they've come up with ? Anyone else waiting for someone to invent a time machine that goes backwards only ?
  11. Remember those two fat women who used to sweep the inside roadways ? They were known as 'The Horses' I think. Don't know if I've already mentioned this somewhere, but in the Bar Mills someone had chalked on the side of a furnace " Oh Lord above, send down a dove with wings as sharp as razors, to cut the throats of all the blokes who cut the Bar Mills wages." Witty lot back then....the ' can't understand sarcasm' police would be down these days taking prints ! There was a large workshop dedicated to maintaining all the many clocks at ESC, they'd be out of a job now with modern clocks, you can pick up a decent wall clock in Wilkos for £2 these days, and yes, I know they're made by sweated labour in the Far East.......probably just down the road from where some of the ESC jobs and machinery went to ? Still, who needs a job-for-life apprenticeship with a good union, sports facilities, sick pay and the rest when these days grown men can get a zero-hours contract stacking shelves at Tesco's ( if the diversity quota system's not already got enough of that sweated labour that's packed up and moved here ).
  12. Worked for them in the late 1960's going all over Yorkshire maintaining pub cellar equipment. This Birmingham company's Sheffield branch was based on East Coast Road, just off Saville Street East, but all I can find now where I remember it being is a building described as an abandoned bottling plant which doesn't seem to fit the memory of the place. Anyone any info, photos or stories from the time ?
  13. Most people would make that assumption Hilldweller, it's a very odd residence entry.Thanks also Neddy, so him living on Petre Street wasn't just a rumour. Only saw him the once compering a great show around the early 80's at Blackpool's Grand theatre.
  14. Thanks Edmund. Can't quite make the birthplace out. It looks like "Jamaica. Kingston Resident." So the same neighbourhood ( Carwood Rd. Canada St. Kingston St. Jamaica St., all running into Petre St. ). I've had this trouble with other certificates where the handwriting is often illegible.
  15. Anyone know where he was born in Sheffield? Rumour had it that, when young, he lived at the junction of Carwood Road and Petre Street . Other names from that corner yard were Harry Lillis who ran a mobile shop in an old Bedford coach and Billy Limbs butcher's shop.
  16. Sometime in the late 60's / early 70's during a bus shortage, STD hired some Hudderfield Corporation CVG6LX's with East Lancs bodies for a period. They had a floppy little gear stick on a pod to the left of the steering wheel. We drivers were given just verbal instruction on the type as the gear change wasn't much different to the Atlanteans, but unlike the Atlanteans you had to look at it each change to make sure you were in the correct slot as it had a mind of its own. I drove only one of them on the 97's . Waiting passengers were most confused. Like Sheffield, Huddersfield ran a high standard fleet of buses along with trolleybuses on similarly hilly routes, the trolleys leaving the diesels ( and all else ) standing ! Huddersfield never had adverts on their fine fleet. Elderly and disabled passengers must have found difficulty boarding and alighting the trolleys as they had 2 steps to the rear platform, some can be seen and ridden on at the Sandtoft Trolleybus Museum near Doncaster.
  17. Yes, that's old age playing memory tricks ! I worked those routes regularly in the early 60's from Townhead Street, including the mind numbing 'round the houses' circuits. I look forward to anything you, or anyone else, can find madannie.
  18. Have I got this right as it's over 50 years ago ? As I remember, 555 was a normal looking Leyland PD2 until you went inside where the seats were not in the usual green-patterned moquette, but brown. It may have been a demonstrator bought by the department ? I remember it from the 160 /161 Shiregreen routes from Bridge Street. The photo, and comment, of PD2 545 below is presumably from the same batch. ( Photo from the excellent 'Old Bus Photos' site....scroll down the home page to Sheffield Corporation on the operators list.) Sheffield Corporation – Leyland Titan PD2 – KWA 545 – 545 Copyright Ian Wild Sheffield Corporation 1947 Leyland Titan PD2/1 Leyland H30/26R This is an all Leyland (H30/26R) PD2/1 of the first batch of 20 delivered to Sheffield in October 1947. These were withdrawn between 1963 and 1965 but then nine of them were reinstated and lasted until 1966. In May 1966 The Leeds and District Transport News came to Sheffield in Leeds 380, another PD2/1 with an early Farington style Leyland body and the two buses were used on a tour of Sheffield routes. I joined the tour in Sheffield and I still remember how the Sheffield bus left the Leeds vehicle standing on some of the Sheffield hills that were encountered. I always had a soft spot for these reinstated buses and 545 looks a fine sight at nearly 19 years old climbing Greystones Road on the South Western side of the City. In Sheffield in those days 18/19 year old buses were something of a rarity. The bus looks to have been ‘bulled up’ by the Leadmill Road Depot for the occasion but still reflects the high standard maintained by Sheffield City Transport.
  19. Just after the last trams ran and were stored in Tinsley sheds awaiting towing across to Tommy Ward's for scrapping ( Ward's paying just £40 per car !), a friend and I went there and were allowed in by the watchman, we were aged 15 at the time. No one else was there, which was odd given the emotions at the time, and we clambered in them at will, cutting off bits of seating and unscrewing seat corner handles etc.for souvenirs. On the platform of one tram we played with the controls and I think it was the vertical, circular brass brake wheel which we wound round and were amazed when it lifted the tram completely up off the rails, wheels and all. It must have been a mechanical back-up for the electro-magnetic brake shoes which clamped to the rails. I've just received a reply from the archivist at the National Tramway Museum at Crich to my querie about the 90 London Feltham trams which were bought by Leeds. I'd read years ago that they passed on the low-loaders through Sheffield going via Manchester and Huddersfield to Leeds which was far from the direct route and have often wondered if anyone saw them or if there were any photos of these London trams passing our own going through the city. It seems there are no photos, unless someone on here has some ? The reason for the long diversion is given in the reply :- Thank you for contacting us regarding finding out more about the London Feltham tram sent to Leeds. I have managed to find an account of the tram’s journey in J. Soper’s book “Leeds Transport Volume 3 1932-1953”, Chapter 66 1932-1953. The route from London was worked out by the Tramways Rolling Stock Engineer, Victor J. Matterface, who’s idea it was to acquire the Felthams. He made a trial run of the journey in his car, using a specially made, adjustable bridge gauge to measure the clearances, made at the Kirkstall Road Works. Feltham 2099 was selected as the first to go to Leeds, and Mr. Matterface accompanied it on its journey. It was towed by an A.E.C. Matador MUB 647 tractor; an ex-Ministry of Supply vehicle the Company had purchased the year before. Apart from an incident with a cyclist in London, the journey went smoothly until the tram reached Doncaster. Here there was a bridge Mr. Matterface had found was a tight squeeze but was just passable. However, in the time between his trial run and transporting the tram the road had been repaired, resulting in a higher surface level. A new route was planned which took the tram from Doncaster to Rotherham, Sheffield, Manchester, Huddersfield, Brighthouse and Bradford before reaching Leeds at 7:30pm 1st October 1949. The photo below being of one of them re-liveried and operating in Leeds with the trolley poles ( they had 2 when in London ) replaced by bow collectors. The one at Crich is a one-off, having centre doors and was sold to Sunderland. Plenty of photos on the net and some superb Feltham tram models by Corgi are available ( at around £10 2nd.-hand at model swapmeets.)
  20. That's the one syrup, thanks. I read it to him from a page torn out of a copy of '*** Bits' which it was in; a later one than illustrated, but you'll remember the publication. ( As a teen, the more interesting ***-bits mags were available in the back rooms of such establishments as that second hand shop in Grimesthorpe ( once allowed past the 'Health and Fitness' titles !) Forgot the owner's name, but he was there for years, he moved from his original shop opposite Suggs store near Grimesthorpe school to a shop opposite the Victory picture house on Upwell Street.
  21. Anyone remember these ? Townhead Street's Haydn Hutchinsion, eccentric old tram man who went onto buses, lived Dobbin Hill, Ecclesall,.........Leadmill's Walter Clarke, old Jamaican conductor, slow on the bells,...........Leadmill's Brian Fenwick, conductor.....and a driver on the Gainsboro' route in the early 60's called Ken (Shaw ?). Everyone from that era will remember these head office staff ; Mrs. Monker, Mr Glentworth and Mr. Nott. I once got Mr.Nott in a good mood by telling him the rhyme of Mr.Nott and Mr.Shott which he hadn't heard ( and which I can't fully remember now ). It was about a duel between the two and it ended, " Nott was shot and Shott was not." Glentworth lived at Dore village so, best behaviour when on that route ( was it route 50 ? ) 'Horse-face Nora' was often heard repeatedly shouting " F****ing bus men " until a driver spoke to her and then it became "F****ing inspectors." ! .
  22. That answers it splendidly Edmund, many thanks. I'd forgotten that Norfolk Street continued past the Peace Gardens, befitting the saying " There was a queue ( etc.) as long as Norfolk Street !"
  23. Just noticed on one of Richard's photos that the chap with the hat and walking stick looks like Councillor Sidney Dyson, what a brass-necked cheek ! This is the man responsible for scrapping the trams in Sheffield, trams with years of life left in them, all have run at Crich for over 50 years now, 510 serving Sheffield for just about 10 years of a forty-year life span for trams. Those not preserved were sold off for scrap to Tommy Ward's for £40 each in 1960, well done Councillor Dyson and chums.
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