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"relief Work" After Ww1

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I’ve become very intrigued by “relief work” in the city for unemployed men after World War One. What jobs were done, and how was it arranged?

As far as I know, work funded by the Council or the city’s two Boards of Guardians included the construction of Prince of Wales Road, Whirlowdale Road through Ecclesall Woods, road work in Pitsmoor and Twentywell, widening Abbey Lane and Abbeydale Road, relaying some tram tracks, constructing Wadsley Service Reservoir, setting out recreation grounds, levelling slopes at Wincobank, garden-building at Firvale, and contributing to other improvements.

Does that seem right? And what else was done at that time? For how long did it go on? Anything else?

Any ideas/information?

Many thanks


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A bit of background,

"The most well documented and perhaps most significant struggles of the unemployed emerged in the 1920s and 1930s around the National Unemployed Workers' Movement (NUWM).[2] The NUWM might be said to have been an extension of the militant shop stewards' movement of 1914-1918. This movement had successfully challenged the right of management unilaterally to decide matters in the workshop, despite the agreement between the TUC and the government that a truce in the class war should be called for the duration of the world war. As unemployment rose after the war, the militant shop stewards were among the first to lose their jobs. Those who formed the core of the NUWM were ex-shop stewards as well as unemployed ex-servicemen."


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I understand that Rivelin Valley Road from the Holme Lane junction to Rivelin Post Office was built along land, previously bought by the Water Committee, by the unemployed. Work was started in November 1905.

Before the road was built only a few isolated sections of road existed along the valley bottom with several roads crossing the valley.

Roy Davey in his book "Reminiscing Around Rivelin" devoted a chapter to the road.

The Water Committee bought huge numbers of small trees to plant in the valley. Unfortunately they didn't have the foresight to realise that the trees they planted along both sides of the roadway would cause so much misery when modern motor cars come into contact with large tree trunks at speed.

Turn of the twentieth century photos of the valley show a scene strangely devoid of trees, we can thank the Water Committee for the sylvan scenes we see today.

When I was a nipper on the swings in the little playground built on the old Spooner wheels Dam as part of the 1951 Festival Of Britain, I could look across the valley and see the railings along the top of the Bole Hills at Crookes. Twenty years later they were completely obscured by the trees opposite.


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Another bit of background.

In 1931 Sheffield's unemployment rate ( mainly men) was running at 23.1%, with half of Sheffield's steelworkers unemployed.The real figure was even higher if those who were unemployed but uninsured were added. Free school meals were provided for the deserving and in 1931 this amounted to 1,2611,111 meals. Schemes in Sheffield also provided shoes and clothes to the most underprivileged of children.... the clothes/shoes/boots were suitably marked to stop them being pawned

There were two types of relief...That such as built the City Hall.... aimed at employing the unemployed and expecting the job creation would see wider results by virtue of the multiplier effect and secondly, the mindless, pointless physical work which saw unemployed digging trenches and then filling them up!

Incidentally, Rotherham refused to implement the much hated Means Test and the Government appointed nominees to run the scheme.

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I was told of men at Parkwood laying a rough continuation of Douglas Road as relief work, and of them digging a field backwards and forwards which may come under the mindless pointless work.

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History dude

From Sheffield Growth of a City.

7,000 unemployed in Sheffield December 1920. The Distress Committee devised schemes to help. The first was a new road (Prince of Wales). A grant of £50,000 was expected from the Ministry of Labour.

March 1922 Prince of Wales Road had £66,708 spent on it. Opened October 1921.

March 1924 Ridgeway Road spending amounted to £29,000.

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