Jump to content
Sheffield History

The Old Spa Well on Cuthbert Bank Road

Recommended Posts

Sheffield History

1076377954_Screenshot2020-05-25at22_18_38.thumb.jpg.a86165486f5e3578dc5d96c9197369d5.jpg

Screenshot 2020-05-26 at 11.07.51.jpg

Screenshot 2020-05-26 at 11.15.47.jpg

Let's see what we can find out about this amazing little building on Cuthbert Bank Road. It's situated behind The Burgoyne Arms and I'd love to know more about it!

The Burgoyne Arms on Langsett Road was once noted for an old spa well around the back; reportedly popular long before the current building was erected.

In 1859 the proprietor (replacing William Lister) was Robert Hales, a celebrated giant (said to be 7ft 8 ins tall, chest size 64 ins) and ‘the Wonder of all Europe and America’ - after many sea travels and an engagement in Barnum's American Museum, he ‘cast anchor at the Burgoyne Arms’ with the English ‘General Tom Thumb’ (another circus act) a frequent visitor.

Source (& quotes): 1860 advertising pamphlet, Sheffield local studies.



What else can we find out about this fantastic little building?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000
On 19/05/2020 at 18:13, Sadbrewer said:

Here you go Jim.

 

Screenshot_20200519-181214.jpg

The extract is from a book published in 1863 by a Mr J Derby, but he is clearly following the excursions of his “famous ancestor” JG Zimmerman - so I presume the reference to ‘twenty years earlier’ above references Zimmerman’s timeline, not his own [i.e. eighteenth century].

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000
On 19/05/2020 at 11:23, Jim2000 said:

You’re right - just looked. I also forgot Robert Hales was from Norfolk - The ‘Norfolk Giant’! (sound of two pennies dropping....)
So I presume ‘General Tom Thumb’ was really a child (their son) masquerading as a very small adult.


ED87A37F-29CD-469B-9ADB-3F3651C659EF.jpeg.8e10b00afc8c9b74b60bbe606a0d9dae.jpeg
 

There were a lot of these ‘Infant Wonders’ among travelling acts - just think of ‘Ninetta the Infant Phenomenon’ in Dickens (Nicholas Nickleby). In fact her parents gave her GIN-AND-WATER daily to stunt her growth, because appearing very small was what kept the crowds coming back!

Maybe that’s one reason General’s parents went into the licensed trade at the Burgoyne Arms....

 

It’s tempting to think young ‘General’ was administered a mixture of Gin from the pub (to keep him small) and water from the old Spa Well in the back yard (to maintain his health in other ways)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000
On 18/09/2018 at 16:24, hilldweller said:

I'll chuck my twopenneth in.

Entry in my 1942 Kelly's Directory.

Don Johns(Chemists) Ltd

Wholesale Chemist

2 Birdwell Road Sheffield 9

Laboratories:- 47 Cuthbert bank Road Sheffield 6

I must say that it looks like the place where a lone mad scientist might dwell

hilldweller

This story just gets better! The main pharmacist/patent medicine maker at this address seems to be John Edwin Crowe, the company is Don John’s (anglicisation of Don Juan surely) and they offered an amazing range of services!

(from Independent 28 Dec 1933)

 

E834B3DA-9E75-4936-A651-F6D71A011CE0.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000

194 Earl Marshall Rd - the addresses match...

8133D6F8-E172-4005-BE39-528E1D479973.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000

The Patent-Medicine potions-master gets married...

5652A96A-824B-405F-92EB-97921EDE945F.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000

Robert Hales, the Norfolk Giant, settled at the Burgoyne Arms in 1859 determined 'to roam no more', according to an 1860 advertising pamphlet by Messrs. Levy and Sons, (Outfitters And Tailors of High Street, Sheffield):

            Many Persons are anxious to know how many Yards of Broadcloth it will take to make Mr Hales a Suit....

They need only venture into town to find the answer on High Street, it said, where Levys’  ‘will inform the curious of that fact’.

He had been a merchant seaman under a Captain Wells of the brig Neptune (bound to Calcutta). He once (reportedly) travelled in an overnight stage coach with a bear (bound for Wombwell's Menagerie, Great Yarmouth Fair), and, unable to see who was there in the dark, remarked. "What a very comfortable coat you have got to travel in".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
neddy
7 hours ago, Sheffield History said:

1076377954_Screenshot2020-05-25at22_18_38.thumb.jpg.a86165486f5e3578dc5d96c9197369d5.jpg

Screenshot 2020-05-26 at 11.07.51.jpg

Screenshot 2020-05-26 at 11.15.47.jpg

Let's see what we can find out about this amazing little building on Cuthbert Bank Road. It's situated behind The Burgoyne Arms and I'd love to know more about it!

The Burgoyne Arms on Langsett Road was once noted for an old spa well around the back; reportedly popular long before the current building was erected.

In 1859 the proprietor (replacing William Lister) was Robert Hales, a celebrated giant (said to be 7ft 8 ins tall, chest size 64 ins) and ‘the Wonder of all Europe and America’ - after many sea travels and an engagement in Barnum's American Museum, he ‘cast anchor at the Burgoyne Arms’ with the English ‘General Tom Thumb’ (another circus act) a frequent visitor.

Source (& quotes): 1860 advertising pamphlet, Sheffield local studies.



What else can we find out about this fantastic little building?

I remember the fella building this and some of the stone was delivered by us he was a shop owner from next door  to the pub built as a potato store as I remember.

 

Here's a bit of history for Robert Hales I took some years ago,

Robert Hales - 7 feet 6 inches (228.6 cm)
Robert Hales was born to William and Anne Hales on 2 May 1820, in the village of West Somerton near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. He was one of 9 children. Both his mother and his father were over 6 feet tall. His 5 sisters averaged about 6 feet 3 inches and his brothers averaged 6 feet 5 inches. However, one of his sisters (Mary Hales, later to become Mary Laskey) measured 7 feet 2 inches and another sister (Anne Hales, later to become Anne Laskey) measured only a few inches shorter than her sister Mary. Robert Hales grew to a height of 7 feet 8 inches tall. His weight was said to be over 32 stone and his chest measurment was 64 inches. 
Robert's father William was a farmer but Robert himself became a sailor. At the age of 13 he joined the navy, but when he was 17 years old he became to big. Robert Hales started to exhibit himself at the Tombland Fair in Norwich and the Brittannia Fair in Great Yarmouth. Later he joined his sister Mary and her manager/husband Joe Laskey. After Mary Laskey died at the age of 30, Joe Laskey married the sister Anne Laskey who was about 6 feet 8 inches tall. Robert did not agree to Joe marrying his other sister and the group parted. 
Robert Hales went to America where he met P.T. Barnum. Barnum signed him for his American Museum and Robert was exhibited in New York and was known as the Norfolk Giant. While with Barnum, he met and 'married' the giantess Eliza Simpson. He toured with Barnum for 2 years before he went back to England, tired of touring. He became the landlord of the Craven Head Tavern in Drury Lane in London. Robert Hales died in 1863 in Great Yarmouth and was burried in West Somerton. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000
1 hour ago, Calvin72 said:

Great map thanks - I think it should be about in the centre of this image, but no ‘well’ obviously corresponding to it. Could it have been neglected/forgotten for a while (since the 18thC) and rediscovered during building work for the Inn - i.e. just after the map was made (late 1850s)?

FD78AB2A-DBDE-4CC4-A2F3-96218385DDFF.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000
27 minutes ago, neddy said:

I remember the fella building this and some of the stone was delivered by us he was a shop owner from next door  to the pub built as a potato store as I remember.

You said “some of the stone” - did you mean there was already some stonework there, and it was cobbled together from old and new?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
neddy
14 minutes ago, Jim2000 said:

You said “some of the stone” - did you mean there was already some stonework there, and it was cobbled together from old and new?

I think he got some from the demolition of some properties on Cuthbert Bank if you look at the building there is very little facing stone just the rubble from inner walls on stone faced buildings, he did a good job of it eventually.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000

Extracts from ‘Great Yarmouth Mercury’ article on Robert Hales:

“Accompanied by his sister Mary, who may also have been over 7ft tall, he appeared at fairs and shows throughout the country and in 1848 travelled to the United States. He starred at the New York circus of the legendary impresario PT Barnum who then sold tickets for a 'wedding' involving Robert and possibly another man posing as a giant woman....

....it is possible that Robert married an Irish woman called Elizabeth Simpson who may have given birth to his son while in America.

What is beyond doubt is that Robert married Maria Charlotte Webb on his return to England, living firstly in Greenwich before moving to Sheffield where he ran a pub called The Burgoyne Arms.

Accompanied by his sister Mary, who may also have been over 7ft tall, he appeared at fairs and shows throughout the country and in 1848 travelled to the United States. He starred at the New York circus of the legendary impresario PT Barnum who then sold tickets for a 'wedding' involving Robert and possibly another man posing as a giant woman...

...Robert wrote a pamphlet in 1849 called The Quaker Giants which has a woodcut illustration of his wedding to Elizabeth.

In the 1861 census he declares a boy called 'General', whose given age meant he would have been born three years before Robert's marriage to Maria.

In another book mentioning The Norfolk Giant the author claims he saw Robert in a London gin shop with a fat man, who is introduced as the 'wife' he married in America. Again Robert may have put him up to write this as he did not want it known he was a bigamist.”

 

Source:  https://www.greatyarmouthmercury.co.uk/news/the-tale-of-the-norfolk-giant-1-469918

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim2000

434D998B-0B27-440E-8C35-75AAC2DD988F.jpeg

46834B78-F83A-4DB9-8582-5F19B534569C.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...