Jump to content

Arthur Hayball

Recommended Posts



I wonder if you can help me. I work in the Grand CaféRestaurant De Heerdt in Putten, Holland (www.deheerdt.nl). The main bar is an old church altar. Last week one of the staff said we should have a party for the bar as it is 200 years old. Sure enough, carved into the left hand end are the names 'George Goldie Archt. London and Arthur Hayball, Sculpt. Sheffield - 1803.' Many guests show interest in it. The rumour is that it came from a church in The Hague, but we can't be sure as it was bought with the rest of the fixtures when the restaurant was given a revamp eight years ago. A Google search led to you. Any information on George or Arthur would be appreciated.

Eunice Dovey, Eunice@worldmail.nl.


Email reply :


It's unlikely that Arthur Hayball made the alter you mention here http://www.scalan.co.uk/scalannews27.htm in 1803, as he was born somewhat later …

Arthur Hayball(1822-1887) the son of a Sheffield builder and joiner was a wood carver who supplemented his income as a portrait photographer and teacher.7 He had trained and later taught at the Sheffield School of Art being influenced by Alfred Stevens, Godfrey Sykes and later John Ruskin. In 1851, he won a gold medal at the Great Exhibition for a highly acclaimed walnut cabinet in the Italian style.8. He went on to work with several architects including Weightman & Hadfield, George Goldie, J.B. Mitchell Withers and William White. As well as carrying out much local work, he also received commissions to execute work in churches in England, Ireland America and Spain.9 The 1881 Census shows he employed eight men and two boys together with his daughters, one of whom, Clara, became a skilled carver. However, his premises were unremarkable. In 1878, the rateable value for his home, warehouse, workshops and steam saw in the garden of 9-13 Cavendish St., amounted to just £58.

Picture of Arthur here :


Further details and pictures of Arthur's life and work will be posted soon on


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thomas Hayball 1790-1865, with Grandchild Clara Hayball (Clara Keeling), born 1852


Thomas HAYBALL joiner and builder Tudor Street White's 1833

Thomas HAYBALL Carpenter & joiner 60 Rockingham Street Pigot's 1841

Thomas HAYBALL Joiner & builder 60 Rockingham Street White's 1849

Thomas HAYBALL Joiner and builder 60 Rockingham Street White's 1852

Arthur HAYBALL Wood carver 60 Rockingham Street; h. 29 Clarence Street White's 1849

Arthur HAYBALL Wood carver 60 Rockingham Street; h. 29 Clarence Street White's 1852

Mrs HAYBALL 112 Upper Hanover Street Kelly's 1893

Mrs Clara HAYBALL Householder 372 Gleadless Road, Heeley White's 1919

Mrs Clara HAYBALL householder 372 Gleadless Road, Heeley Kelly's 1925

Miss Ellen HAYBALL 95 Cemetery Road White's 1911

Mrs Ellen HAYBALL 95 Cemetery Road White's 1919 (Mrs ?)

Miss Ellen HAYBALL 95 Cemetery Road Kelly's 1925

Link to post
Share on other sites

Reply to my email received :


Have since looked again and it’s 1863, so I believe it is the same man.

The wood carvings of “Maria, Jesu, Joseph look remarkably like the ones on our bar.

I have attached a photo (not a very good one I’m afraid) of the altar as it is used today.

Thank you very much for the information.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 11 months later...

This article first appeared in the Transactions of Hunter Archaeological Society and is reproduced by kind permission of the Society.


By ARTHUR E. BEET, B.Met., Ph.D.

ARTHUR HAYBALL'S youngest daughter, Clara, married the writer's mother's elder brother, William Keeling, a well-known Sheffield landscape artist of his day, and Mrs. Keeling completed her 101st year on 22nd December, 1953, at Ashover, Derbyshire. She died on 28th April, 1954.

Arthur Hayball was a pioneer in photography, and in an old stable loft at Ashover were found in December, 1951, nearly 400 photographic negatives, taken by him between 1853 and 1885, of practically all the important wood-carving work he had done. They were prepared by the "wet plate process", thus being home-made, and they range in size up to 12 inches by 10. Considering their age they are in excellent condition.

He was the second son of Thomas Hayball and Mary (nee Taylor), and was born in Tudor Street, Little Sheffield (now Thomas Street) in Septem­ber, 1822.

Thomas Hayball, a joiner and builder, had a hand in the construction of many houses (e.g., Banner Cross Hall) and churches, notably St. Philip's, built 1828.

The child was fond of spending nearly all his time in the joiner's shop watching the men at work and asking questions. The workshop was on the first floor and had an external wooden stepway with a landing on top. One day in 1826, hurrying from the shop to meet his father, he had the misfortune to fall from the landing to the ground and to break his leg. The fracture was badly set and recovery was of long duration. To entertain the invalid and to reduce the boredom of convalescence, his father gave him pieces of waste wood to carve with a knife, later replaced by simple wood-carving tools.

He attended Mr. George Wilkinson's day and boarding school in Broomhall from 1830 to 1838, for some years having daily to be assisted there by his brother Charles. At the age of 16 he left school and joined his father in the wood-working shop at 60 Rockingham Street. Even whilst attending school most of his spare time was devoted to learn wood-carving, and this was later to prove very useful to his father in his church building, for even at that comparatively early age one may suppose that his work would be appropriate when simple design and plain work only were needed. Some examples of such work were found when St. Philip's Church was demolished in 1953.

On his marriage in 1845 to his cousin, Hannah Lenton (1818-1895) of London, he removed to 29 Clarence Street, almost opposite to where Godfrey Sykes lived, but continued to work as a journeyman with his father until about 1852, being permitted to take on an apprentice and an assistant.

Prior to 1845 he started attending classes at the Sheffield School of Design, Victoria Street, and was so successful that at the Annual Meeting and Prize Distribution on 7th September, 1847, the chairman, Lord Wharncliffe, said under the heading of Classes for Modelling, "Arthur Hayball has already carried off, two years following, the First Prizes, and the Council, as a mark of the sense they entertain of his talents, assiduity, and general conduct since he has been in the School have elected him a Free Student for Life". (At the same time Gadfrey Sykes was similarly elected for Shading from Casts.)

His connection with the School was terminated only by his sudden death in 1887, and he was Master of the Wood-Carving Class from 1875 to 1887, being succeeded by Frank Tory, whose widow is still alive.

Learning that a Great Exhibition was to be held in 1851 he resolved to enter a specimen of his own design and work for the purpose, as he said, of "upholding the character of the Sheffield School".

The work was done in his very scanty spare time, for in those days the usual working day was from 7.0 a.m. to 7.0 p.m., with short breaks for meals. He must have worked very hard at it, for the result of his effort was a very fine cabinet of English walnut 8 feet high and 4 feet wide, which is mentioned in the Illustrated Catalogue to the 1851 Exhibition in the following terms: "This cabinet is the work of Arthur Hayball, a young wood-carver of Sheffield. It is made of English walnut wood; the design is pure Italian abundantly rich in ornament and free from the monstrosities that too frequently deface similar productions". For this splendid piece of work, last heard of some years ago in Llandudno, he received a first prize and medal from the Exhibition Committee.

Shortly afterwards he designed and executed the Great Rood, with its figures of Our Lady and St. John, and the oak choir stalls and lectern, in St. Marie's Church, Sheffield, which are considered to be amongst his best efforts.

By 1851 there were three daughters and he was finding great difficulty in supporting them, so he suggested to his father that he might do better independently. Thomas Hayball was so annoyed that he threw Arthur's tools out of the shop, and the estrangement lasted for about ten years.

Two houses (50 and 52 Hanover Street, now 112 and 114, opposite the top of Aberdeen Street) were designed and built, and in the back garden a workshop was built. The door posts are Doric columns.

The upper story of the workshop was used for photographic work in which he became interested about 1853, with the intention of supplementing his income by portraiture. He also did a lot of stereoscopic photography, a great novelty in those days; and many of his prints are still in existence, as well as many of the portraits that he took.

In 1862 he moved to Nos. 9-13 Cavendish Street, built by his father, to whom he had now become reconciled. Money had to be borrowed and some of his best furniture had to be sold to pay for the building.

These larger premises allowed more work to be undertaken; and from now on his work lay mainly in designing and the finer wood-carving in which he was helped by his daughters, particularly Clara. Here logs of timber were sawn into planks or slabs in the old saw-pit until a steam saw was installed.

He was engaged about 1860 in restoring the woodwork of Ecclesfield Church under the direction of Messrs. Hadfield & Goldie and the Rev. Dr. Alfred Gatty, who was a great admirer of the man and his work.

Other work at Ecclesfield included the choir stalls, reading desk and the pulpit (the original panels carved by Clara were replaced by panels from Antwerp depicting four scenes from the life of St. Paul).

The oak ceiling and panellings of the memorial chantry at Arundel Castle for the Dukes of Norfolk were executed from Charles Hadfield's architectural plans in 1864-5.

At about this time Charles Reade, the novelist, visited Sheffield to gather material for a new novel he had in mind, and consulted Arthur Hayball on matters connected with wood-carving and steel-hardening. The novel took shape as "Put Yourself in His Place", which deals with the "rattening" outrages and graphically describes the bursting of the Dale Dyke reservoir ,on 12th March, 1864.

Work for Roman Catholic churches is always more ornate than that for Anglican churches and so we find that much of his work was executed for Irish and Spanish churches; that at Clonmel, Ballymena and Sligo Cathedral (Bishop's Throne) is typical. This gives an idea of how well his work was known outside his own country.

Coming nearer home, specimens of his work were in South Yorkshire, at Houghton (1871) and Treeton (1866); there is also an altar for the Little Sisters of the Poor at Leeds (1873). In Sheffield the handsome west screen in St. Silas' Church, the pulpit, choir stalls and reading desk at St. Jude's, Eldon Street (now demolished), and the choir stalls at St. Andrew's, Sharrow, were good examples of his work.

From about 1884 he was engaged in the reseating of Bradfield Church, removing the gallery and box pews, and carving various pieces. The reredos was completed by his daughter, Clara, after his death in 1887. He studied Early English Gothic architecture and its influence is apparent in nearly all his work.

Lest it should be thought that Hayball did nothing but church wood­work, about half the photographs are of pieces of a secular or domestic nature, such as mantelpieces, fireplaces, cabinets, sideboards, bureaux, tables and carved chairs.

His method seems to have been as follows: Having received the order, the designing, structural and ornamental work was carried out in his workshop, and when complete the piece was assembled and photographed. The work was then sent off, probably in several pieces, when the photo­graphs would be very helpful in reassembling the work. That is why such a complete photographic record of his work exists in the form of negatives, many of which have kindly been printed by the writer's friend, Mr. C. H. Lea.

In the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Thursday, 30th June, 1887, appears the following:

"We regret to have to record the death of Mr. Arthur Hayball, the wood-carver, who for 43 years has been directly connected with the School of Art. As an artist in his particular work, he was perhaps unsurpassed in the kingdom, and although of a quiet and retiring disposition, he has left many acquaintances, whilst all who knew him intimately could at all times look upon him as a friend ever willing and anxious to help others forward. He was thoroughly an artist in feeling and in his death Sheffield has lost one of the best art workmen it ever had".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...