In another post, we looked at Sir Charles Clifford (1860-1936), proprietor of the Sheffield Telegraph and Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, and on the Council at the University of Sheffield.
Little is known about him nowadays, but his name is familiar with generations across the city.
The Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, on Wellesley Road, was opened in 1953 to provide dental care for people in Sheffield.
Its origins were in the Dental department of the Royal Hospital on West Street, but the facilities became too cramped, and so, in 1935, Sir Charles Clifford bought Broom Bank, an empty house on Glossop Road, for the purpose.
Sir Charles Clifford died in 1936, also leaving more than £77,000 for the “general purpose of the university.” It later emerged that there was a problem with Broom Bank because the site had been earmarked for a new general hospital to replace the Royal Hospital and Royal Infirmary (it subsequently became the Royal Hallamshire Hospital).
The plans had to be abandoned, and war prevented development of the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital (on another site on Wellesley Road) until revived in 1950. In the meantime, Broom Bank was demolished in 1947, a decision criticised by the local press as the loss of a short-term chance to adapt it for the purposes of the hospital.
The foundation stone was laid by Hilary A. Marquand, Minister of Health, in September 1951, and was finally opened by the Duchess of Gloucester in 1953.
When it opened it was “one of the finest dental schools in the country,” with laboratories, teaching rooms, a library and common rooms as well as one floor devoted to general treatment, and a second, with forty dental chairs, for “conservative restoration of teeth and periodontal work.”
The NHS provided most of the funding, but £7,800 of Sir Charles Clifford’s legacy was used to buy equipment. In 1966, the facility was extended, and in 1995 the hospital was absorbed into the Central Sheffield University Hospitals NHS Trust, which merged with the Northern General NHS Trust in 2001 to become Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. A major refurbishment programme that cost £5.3million was completed in 2009 and now includes The School of Dentistry at the University of Sheffield.
I need to write about Sir Charles Clifford, KBE, CMG, LLD, JP (1860-1936), because it appears very little has been written about him, and yet, apart from a dental hospital taking his name, he did a lot for Sheffield.
The name and life of Sir Charles Clifford were closely identified with the Sheffield Telegraph. He combined his powers of leadership and administration with an acute journalistic instinct. The journalists knew him as ‘The Colonel,’ one of the biggest figures in North country newspaper life, and one who did much to maintain the highest traditions of the press.
Charles was the fourth son of Frederick Clifford, Q.C., one of the original partners in the firm of Sir W.C. Leng and Company, publishers of the Sheffield Telegraph, and for many years a writer for The Times.
Born in London in 1860, Charles was educated privately and came to Sheffield in 1878, beginning an association with the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, originally destined for the commercial side, but in later years playing an important part in moulding its editorial policy.
In 1888, he established the Sheffield Evening Telegraph, and later negotiated the purchase of the rival Evening Star, later incorporated into the Evening Telegraph, and what we now know as the Sheffield Star.
Charles had taken a leading part in the management of the newspaper some years before the death of its original partners, becoming a partner himself in 1900, and in 1903, when the firm became a private limited company, becoming a director, and subsequently its chairman.
He became president of the Newspaper Society of Great Britain in 1905 and chairman of the Press Association in 1908, a position his father had held thirty years before.
But there were other strands to Charles’ busy life.
In the political sphere he was founder of the Conservative and Unionist organisation in Sheffield. The Brightside Divisional Conservative Association had given him early opportunities to demonstrate his fighting spirit and he became chairman in 1906, the association later presenting him with the chairman’s chair on which was inscribed his motto ‘Nec sine labore Fructus – ‘No fruit without labour.’
In 1928, Charles played an important part, along with Captain A.E. Irwin, of the London Central Office of the Conservative Party, in reorganising the party in Sheffield. Afterwards he was elected chairman of the new Central Committee, and continued until his retirement in 1933, becoming vice-president of the federation.
Despite his political allegiance, Charles never held municipal or Parliamentary honours, though as a young man, he made two unsuccessful attempts to enter the City Council, and in 1913 was invited to become Lord Mayor, an honour which he refused.
His third great public service was in connection with national defence. At the age of 21, Charles had obtained a commission in the 4th West Riding Artillery Volunteers. His promotion was rapid, becoming a lieutenant in 1882, Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel in 1902, and Lieutenant-Colonel in 1909, a year after the Territorial Scheme had been introduced and the volunteers had become the 3rd West Riding Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
He received the Volunteer Officers’ Decoration in 1902, and in 1911 the Coronation medal was awarded to him.
As officer in charge of the Brigade, he was not only responsible for the many improvements at the Edmund Road Drill Hall, but he, along with Lieut-Col H.K. Stephenson, acquired the old Redmires Racecourse as a training ground.
In 1913, Charles’ time as Commanding Officer expired, but it was extended for another year, and when he was at the point of definite retirement, war broke out.
His request to be allowed to remain was granted, and almost as soon as the Territorials were mobilised, he crossed to France in command of the Brigade.
On four occasions he was mentioned in dispatches, but in 1916 the Brigade was broken up and he returned to England to train another company which he took out to France and commanded during the Passchendaele operations. During 1917 he frequently acted as Brigadier-General in the field.
For the service he rendered in France and Flanders, he became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in the New Year’s Honours List of 1918, and in 1920 he received the Territorial Decoration.
Four years later, the officers of the 71st West Riding Field Brigade Royal Artillery, as the Territorial artillery had become, decided to honour him.
In December 1924, Charles was entertained to dinner at the Norfolk Barracks and was presented with a portrait, dressed in the uniform he wore when he took the Brigade to France. The portrait was later hung in the barracks and a replica presented to Charles for his own collection. From 1920, until the time of his death, he was Honorary Colonel.
Away from day-to-day life all forms of sport appealed to him, and he was particularly fond of shooting and was to be regularly seen on the moors on ‘The Twelfth.’ Cricket also excited him, as did bowls, and he was elected president of the Sheffield and District Amateur Bowling Association in 1908.
For several years, he was president of the Sheffield Philharmonic Society and an enthusiastic stamp collector.
Charles was also a keen supporter of movements to foster friendships between Britain, America and Italy.
In 1922, he was elected a member of the Sheffield Town Trust, was involved with the Sheffield Club, the Junior Carlton and the Junior Constitutional, but his greatest honour was confirmed on him in 1925 when he received a knighthood.
Charles’ interest in Sheffield University extended over many years during which time he was a member of the University Council, and in 1934 an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on him.
Shortly afterwards, he presented the University with the house known as Broom Bank, on Glossop Road, as a dental hospital, and provided £77,000 for ‘general purposes of the University.’ However, he died in 1936, before plans had been finalised. The story of the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital wasn’t as straightforward as he might have hoped and is subject to a separate post.
Charles married Alice Emma Davy, and lived at Clifford House, on Ecclesall Road South. He was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
Sheffield City Council have rejected plans to turn a Grade II-listed building into apartments, but only on the basis that they would not provide enough affordable housing.
The planning application refers to 375-385 Glossop Road, a red-brick building built in the 1840s as a terrace of six town houses, three-storeys high, with a basement.
For younger people, the building was better known as Hanrahan’s, an American-style bar, and more recently as Loch Fyne Restaurant.
Sheffield developer Primesite UK, working closely with architects Cartwright Pickard and CODA, wanted to invest £4million in transforming the building into 27 one, two and three-bed apartments. A three storey rear extension would also have been created with a glass link atrium connecting a brick residential block to the rear of the building.
However, Conservation groups were concerned. The Georgian Group said that “This scheme had the potential to rob this terrace of much of its surviving architectural and historic interest and to cause harm to the surrounding conservation area.”
The Conservation Advisory Group called it a “gross overdevelopment” and said the 1840s character at the front, particularly the door surrounds, would have been harmed.
And the Hallamshire Historic Buildings group said: “Proposed aluminium cladding is a hideous disfigurement of the splendid Glossop Road elevation.”
The University of Sheffield was also concerned about the impact on activities at Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience and Barber House, which has delicate microscopy and imaging equipment, and also said that neighbouring properties on Glossop Road and Ruth Square would have been overshadowed.
Subject to planning consent, the conversion was due to start this year, but councillors refused the plans because the scheme did not provide enough affordable housing.
Back in the 1790s, this area was open fields, later owned by Phillip Gell who inherited the Broomhill estate in 1805 as a descendant of the Jessop family. He wanted to remain at Hopton, Derbyshire, and sold the land which was divided into building plots.
The land was bought by Peter Spurr who leased large parts of the estate for building, with this property constructed in the 1840s, and becoming home to several doctors, nurses, dentists, solicitors and teachers as well as those people associated with Sheffield’s trades. In 1899, part of the building became a private school operated by Eliza Depledge, the Sheffield Thorough Grounding School.
By 1951, the houses had been converted into flats, with three flats in each apartment, but the property fell into decline through the sixties and seventies.
In the early 1980s, the building was converted into a restaurant, knocked through to make one large ground floor and first floor, and opening as Hanrahan’s in 1984. It underwent several refurbishments in 1992, 1998-1999 (costing £500,000) and again in 2001.
It eventually closed and reopened as Casa before reverting to Hanrahan’s again in 2004. The Loch Fyne Restaurant opened in 2008 and closed in February 2016, after which the building has stood empty.
The Hanrahan’s site is just one of three prominent Sheffield sites being developed by Primesite.
The company is also redeveloping the former Wake Smith offices on Clarkehouse Road and the former Gilders VW car showroom at the junction of Ecclesall Road, Ecclesall Road South and Psalter Lane.
Together, the three projects have a development value of £12million.
There are a few historic buildings in Sheffield up for sale at present. Just hitting the market are the Turkish Baths on Victoria Street, just off Glossop Road.
These once formed part of Glossop Road baths, the first public baths in the city, built in the aftermath of the cholera epidemic of 1832 and associated with the Public Dispensary (later Royal Hospital).
It was re-built in 1877-1879 by architect Edward Mitchell Gibbs of Change Alley, for the Turkish and Public Bath Company Ltd.
Turkish baths became popular in Victorian times, its proponents arguing that they achieved a degree of cleanliness “unattainable by any other expedient,” and its successes forced the medical profession to take notice.
Gibbs paid a visit to most of the chief Turkish Baths in the country, and his plans were based upon his experiences.
The heating system was installed by Vickers, Son and Company, the invention of Thomas Edward Vickers, and removed sulphur from the heated air and “that even in the hottest room there were none of the unpleasant sensations which were sometimes experienced under such circumstances.”
At the time, the Sheffield Independent wrote: –
“It is not often that Sheffield can boast of excelling other towns; but it may now take credit to itself for having the finest and most complete Turkish baths in the kingdom. Attendants in Turkish costume await his bidding, and while smoking a cigar – never so delightful as after a bath – he can have tea or coffee, or, the cigar finished, he may have light refreshments.”
While the rest of the old baths have been given over to leisure and residential use, only the interiors of the Turkish Baths, reputed to be the oldest in the country, has survived.
These Turkish Baths closed in 1990 after 127 years but were reopened in 2004 after SPA 1877 developers completed a £2million restoration, reviving many of the original features including mosaic flooring, glazed brick walls and arched ceilings.
Offers are invited above £695,000 for the landmark building.