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Ponds in Pond Street


Minnie
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Please could someone explain to me what the 'ponds' were there for? I gather that they go back a long way, but in the 1800s were they used in someway in connection with the manufacturing?

Thanks

 

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Hi Minnie. There were originally a Series of Ponds and Mill-races that supplied Wheels and Forges.

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The first ponds would have been fish ponds. Probably to keep Sheffield Castle stocked up with trout and salmon and other edible fish. I suspect at first they were natural ponds formed during the floods of the Sheaf and Porter joining up with the River Don. These would have been improved upon by man to stop them drying up, plus make them accessible for fishing etc. After the Castle had gone, industries used the rivers as a power source, creating dams in the Sheaf and Porter, which diverted water by small streams (mill-races) into ponds to feed water mills.  

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Fish ponds were an essential part of Medieval life.  Fish were not classed as "flesh" by the religious authorities, and therefore could be eaten on fast days such as every Friday.  The poor did without (or poached), the rich and religious communities kept fish.  How many people realise that when they have fish on Friday "because it's tradition", they are actually commemorating the events of Good Friday?

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