It was 1990, and the Boundary Commission was blitzed by worried Derbyshire ratepayers who feared a big part of their county could be gobbled by Sheffield.
Thousands of householders were issued with specially printed postcards by North-East Derbyshire District Council to send to the commission urging them not to make more than 100 square miles of territory part of Sheffield.
A bid by the city to grab Killamarsh, Eckington, and Dronfield, as well as parts of the Hope Valley in the Peak District, had been withdrawn after a high profile campaign by residents and neighbouring Derbyshire councils.
But despite the climbdown, the commission was still duty bound to examine the possibility of changing the boundary.
The story had begun in 1987 when the Boundary Commission wrote to Sheffield City Council announcing its intention to undertake a review of Sheffield as part of its review of the Metropolitan County of South Yorkshire.
Sheffield City Council made it known that there was a substantial case for extension of its boundary by absorbing the Hope Valley and Dronfield, Eckington, and Killamarsh. It resulted in a petition bearing 16,000 signatures, 800 postcards and 1,500 letters from people living in the areas concerned, opposing any transfer into Sheffield.
The three parishes of Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh had strong links with the city and despite Sheffield’s withdrawal, the Boundary Commission felt obliged to consider the proposal.
However, the Hope Valley, although falling within Sheffield’s travel to work area, and favouring Sheffield for shopping visits, had a large moorland divide, and the Boundary Commission dismissed the investigation.
Historical boundary changes had allowed Sheffield to expand in former years, and some districts that had once been part of Derbyshire, included Dore, Totley, Frecheville, Meersbrook, Hackenthorpe, Norton, Woodseats, and Beighton.
In 1991, the Boundary Commission published its findings, and the three Derbyshire parishes escaped becoming part of Yorkshire.
However, there were minor changes, including the former Lightwood Traffic Training Ground at Norton being transferred to Sheffield and using Bochum Parkway as the identifiable boundary.
It also transferred Birley Wood Golf Course to Sheffield, mainly because it was owned by Sheffield City Council and used by city’s residents.
And there was a stumbling block over land between White Lane and Birley Lane, in which Sheffield Supertram would later travel. It was argued that the tramway should fall within Sheffield, and unless somebody corrects me, this section of tramway still runs across a tiny part of Derbyshire.
This might have happened 32 years ago, but as one academic recently said to me, it is only a matter of time before Sheffield expands further into Derbyshire.
©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.