Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Edwardian Connection, Broomhill, Sheffield

Not quite Broomhill, but the best I could come up with at short notice: it is just down the road in Walkley.

Yesterday's postcard was addressed to Miss Gertrude Marsh who, in 1906, was living at 122 William Street, Broomhall Sheffield. My thanks to Wibbo for tracking Gertrude down and to Michael and Hanne for the suggestion that she married Raymond in 1896 when, as far as I can make out, she would have been three years old! Interestingly, M&H suggested that they were married in Broomhill (which is just up the road from Broomhall). It is interesting because there is a connection (I have a feeling it is going to be a week of connections) : I used to live in Broomhill.

Back in early 1978, the GLW and I were living down in London. I was working in politics and the GLW was a classicist with a belief that there must be more to life than translating Livy. Her dream was to go to Medical School and Sheffield University had the imagination and foresight to offer her a place. So in the summer of that year we turned our backs on London and with little more than a plastic television and a home made sofa-bed, we moved to Sheffield. We found accommodation on the top floor of a wonderful old Edwardian house in Broomhill. The GLW embarked on a six year course of study and I eventually found a job lecturing in nearby Doncaster.

I still know Broomhill well: the Lad - who has followed his mother to Sheffield Medical School - lives just up the road, as do our good friends and cruising companions H&E. Now it is very much a student enclave but there is still a grandeur about the buildings. That wonderful poet, John Betjeman summed it up perfectly in a poem he wrote entitled "An Edwardian Sunday, Broomhill, Sheffield" Here is the first verse:

High dormers are rising 
So sharp and surprising, 
And ponticum edges 
The driveways of gravel; 
Stone houses from ledges 
Look down on ravines. 
The vision can travel 
From gable to gable, 
Italianate mansion 
And turretted stable, 
A sylvan expansion 
So varied and jolly 
Where laurel and holly 
Commingle their greens.


  1. I like this picture; the mellow brickwork, the snow thawing, the steps leading to .....who knows where? I enjoyed the poem too; some wonderful lines. I’m partial to old JB, but I wasn’t familiar with this one.

  2. The picture was taken some 30 years ago, but it has a contemporary feel about it - rather like the poem.

  3. Wonderful, Alan...as always! :)

  4. H&E? Health & Efficiency?

  5. Sorry about the date of the marriage. I have fond memories of Broomhill too. We used to look over the wall to the girl's school and watch them doing gym. I also got my medical degree at Sheffield ( in 1958)
    That is a lovely photo....

  6. Great photo..it makes you want to run right up those steps:)


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...