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People

Heart of the City II

Block H site plan. Photograph by Sheffield City Council/Queensbury.

More on Heart of the City II, creating a new city centre using existing street patterns and a mix of old and new buildings. Because the scheme relies on funding, the coronavirus pandemic is likely to delay things, but there is still the commitment to complete the project.

The latest plans unveiled covers Block H site – located between Wellington Street, Carver Street and Cambridge Street.

The site features some of the most interesting buildings within the masterplan area, including two listed buildings – Leah’s Yard (H1) and the Bethel Sunday School.

The intention is for Block H to truly become a cultural and social meeting place, and is split into three distinct elements (H1, H2 and H3).

H2 is a new 70,000 sq ft, Grade A office building, raising the bar with its low carbon specification. H3 is the Cambridge Street Collective – a cultural hub where the city’s best sights, sounds and flavours all come together. Proposals include a 20,000 sq ft communal hall offer, where people can meet, eat, drink, work and socialise.

Block H2 – View from Charter Square. Photograph by Sheffield City Council/Queensbury.
Block H2 – Top floor with terrace. Photograph by Sheffield City Council/Queensbury.

Proposals for H3, the Cambridge Street Collective include a large, stripped-back, industrial-style space, which would be ideally suited for a food hall or a similar sociable, communal offer. This space would incorporate the historic character of the Bethel Sunday School, the former Brewhouse and Henry’s venues and the building currently occupied by DINA. It would also include a more modern structure sitting behind this to enclose a gathering space, using sympathetic materials to the existing buildings.

Block H3 from Five Ways. Photograph by Sheffield City Council/Queensbury.
Block H3 – Section looking north. Photograph by Sheffield City Council/Queensbury.

Wrapping this large space would be complementary shops, a bar and restaurant, and an upper level leisure space. Next to the communal hall offer would be the renovated Bethel Chapel, with plans for this to become a live music venue.

The primary public entrance to this block would be via a pedestrianised spill out/arrival square to the north of the development, plus the modern ‘Arrival Building’ on Backfields. Access to the additional retail and leisure elements of H3 would be from Cambridge Street, Wellington Street and Backfields.

Block H3 – View from Backfields. Photograph by Sheffield City Council/Queensbury.



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Companies

Izal: “The invisible guardian against risks to health.”

Here’s a topical post because it involves disinfectant and toilet paper… and a brand that was once a brand leader. I’m talking about Izal, made here in Sheffield, famous for that waxy disinfectant toilet paper that many of us grew up with.

The origins go back to 1793 when George Newton and Thomas Chambers became partners in the Phoenix Foundry and, along with financier Henry Longden, they signed a 21-year-lease with Earl Fitzwilliam, the landowner, to extract coal and ironstone from the Thorncliffe Valley near Chapeltown.

A hundred years after coal production began it turned to Jason Hall Worrall, a chemist, to analyse the oil produced by coke and subsequently develop a germicide oil which, when mixed with an emulsifying agent, dispersed through any liquid.

The resulting product was trialled in hospitals and became known as Thorncliffe Patent Disinfectant before being called Izal – reputed to be an anagram of Liza, Worrall’s sister.

“Izal – the new non-poisonous disinfectant and prevention of infection. Izal prevents infection in Cholera, Smallpox, Diphtheria, Influenza, Scarlet Fever, Swine Fever, Malaria, Worms, Typhus, and Typhoid Fever, and practically covers the whole field of infectious diseases.”

The claims seem unbelievably wild today, but Izal attracted favourable reports from bacteriologists.

One of its products was a ‘scratchy’ toilet paper, impregnated with Izal disinfectant, and given away free to local authorities which bought bulk supplies of hygiene products.

Izal Toilet paper appeared in hospitals, schools and public buildings (‘Government Property’) around the country and wasn’t sold to the public until 1922.

In 1924, William Heath Robinson, a cartoonist and illustrator, was employed by Newton Chambers to provide amusing illustrations on the toilet rolls, and in the 1930s there were rhymes printed on each sheet. During World War 2, the sheets were printed with a cartoon of Adolph Hitler, very popular with the public but less so with officials.

Shiny on one side, rough on the other, experience showed that the paper was better at smearing rather than cleaning, and children of a certain age remember it better as being a useful musical instrument (comb and paper), as well as an excellent tracing paper.

Alongside the toilet Rolls, the Izal brand extended to San Izal Disinfectant, San Pine Disinfectant, soaps, shampoos, shaving foams, Polly kitchen rolls and even Izal lozenges and mints, in all about 137 products.

In 1968, Newton Chambers unsuccessfully tried to buy rival manufacturer Jeyes (makers of Jeyes Fluid and Parazone), and in 1973 the whole Newton Chambers business was acquired by Sterling-Winthrop (Sterling Industrial) which continued Izal production at Thorncliffe until 1981.

Restrictions of the use of poisons, and increased competition, lessened Izal’s market dominance, although it was still going strong in the 1970s. With a certain irony, the Izal brand was sold to Jeyes in 1986 and production stopped completely in 2010.

Ten years’ later, Izal Medicated Toilet Tissue is back on the shelves (or not as recent experience shows) but is still tainted by bad memories.

“The Clint Eastwood of loo paper – it’s rough, it’s tough and takes no shit.”

Categories
Buildings

Fitzwilliam Street

Photograph by Axis Architecture

Plans for the construction of an 11-storey block featuring almost 100 apartments on a site in Sheffield have been given the green light.

Axis Architecture, on behalf of Swifts Performance, submitted an application to Sheffield City Council towards the end of 2019 for a site at the junction of Fitzwilliam Street and Milton Street, currently occupied by a car maintenance garage.

Under the plans, the garage will be demolished and a new building of between eight and 11 storeys constructed featuring a total of 93 apartments.

The scheme is made up of 27 studios, 53 one-bed and 13 two-bed units. A small lounge, cafe and bar unit for residents is also included.

Sheffield City Council has now approved the plans, subject to conditions, under delegated powers.

The site is adjacent to a 17-storey, 860-bed development of student and co-living flats currently under construction.

Photograph by Axis Architecture.

Categories
Buildings

Yorkshire Bank

Photograph by Yorkshire Live

Every dark cloud has a silver lining and all that.

Virgin Money has halted plans to merge with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank due to coronavirus.

Some 52 branches were due to close – including the landmark Yorkshire Bank on Fargate in Sheffield city centre – under plans to rebrand the business to Virgin Money by October. Some 500 full time equivalent jobs were due to be axed.

Yorkshire Bank on Fargate stands opposite a Virgin Money Lounge. The bank was due to close in August under plans to ‘consolidate’ branches within half-a-mile of another by closing one.

Under the plans, Yorkshire Bank branches in Chapeltown and Wombwell, Barnsley, were due to close.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank paid £1.7billion for Virgin Money in 2018. The deal completed in October last year and plans were announced to rename all branches nationally Virgin Money, which was deemed the stronger brand.

Yorkshire Bank, which traces its roots back to 1859, was set to disappear.
The Yorkshire Penny Bank (later Yorkshire Bank) has stood on the site since the corner stones were laid in 1888 by builders Armitage and Hodgson and completed in the summer of 1889. It was designed by Leeds-based architects Henry Perkin and George Bertram Bulmer.

The Albany Hotel once occupied floors above the bank.

Categories
Buildings Places

The Ghosts of Vickers Corridor

Photograph by Budby/Flickr

The Vickers Corridor, in a Victorian part of the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield is named after Edward Vickers (1804-1897), a successful miller who invested his money in the railway industry.

In 1828 he gained control of his father-in-law’s steel foundry business, formerly Naylor & Sanderson, and renamed it Naylor Vickers & Co. He went on to be Alderman and the Mayor of Sheffield and was the first President of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce before he died in 1897. The company went on to become Vickers Ltd.

These days, the Vickers Corridor has a reputation of being haunted, with stories being passed down amongst doctors and nurses.

“The cardiac arrest call had been called over the bleeper system. A young doctor was rushing down the corridor and met an old woman who wanted his help. He said that he couldn’t as he was going to an emergency. When he arrived on the ward, he found the patient was the old woman he had just met in the corridor.”

Stories like this are common, with many reports of ghostly patients walking up to doctors and nurses asking them for something to help them sleep. When the staff reach out to them, they disappear.

But they don’t always ask for help.

“I was once walking down the corridor with a few other workers when an old woman came towards us. We moved aside to let her pass and noticed that she was wearing a lovely perfume. When we turned around, she had completely vanished.”

There are also stories of nurses catching up on sleep and reporting the same dream. When they wake, they see the apparition of an angry matron-like figure trying to strangle a ghostly patient. No sooner does the vision appear, than it quickly vanishes.

And there are tales of cutlery and trays being thrown by a poltergeist while staff are working the night shift.

If these stories are designed to unnerve our dedicated night-time medical staff then I’ll end with the story of the smartly-dressed elderly gentleman, resplendent with a long white beard, “looking incredibly proud” as he wanders the corridor seemingly inspecting the hospital… and then he disappears through a wall.

Of course, if you walk down Vickers Corridor during the daytime everything seems perfectly normal.

Photograph by Terry Robinson

Categories
Places Buildings

Northern General Hospital

Photograph by David Lally

It’s appropriate that during these dark times we look at the Northern General Hospital, the city’s largest hospital and one of the country’s leading facilities.

The sprawl that is the Northern General has its origins in the hospital of Sheffield Poor Law Union workhouse, erected in 1878-1880.

Before the creation of the Sheffield Poor Law Union in 1837, the workhouse for the township of Sheffield was in Kelham Street. That building, originally erected in 1811 as a cotton mill, had been converted in 1829 for use as a workhouse to accommodate some 1,200 inmates.

It had no special provision for the sick except for an isolation unit provided during the cholera epidemic of 1832.

Due to opposition from ratepayers, plans drawn up in 1856 for a new workhouse for Sheffield Union were not completed until 1881, when new premises at Fir Vale were opened.

Photograph by Picture Sheffield

The completed buildings, comprised six separate departments: the main building to accommodate 1,662 paupers, plus officials; asylums to accommodate 200 patients classed as lunatic; a school for 300 pauper children; vagrants wards to take up to 60 men and 20 women; the hospital block to cater for 366 patients; and the fever hospitals.

Management was in the hands of the Board of Guardians and its various committees, which in the 1880s had established a training school for nurses and a midwifery school. Overcrowding caused by the numbers of children was addressed by setting up a boarding out system in 1888, and by opening a children’s hospital, for up to 60, in 1894.

A Lock ward or Lock hospital for treating women with venereal diseases also existed in the 1890s.

A new 3-storey hospital block was completed in 1906 and on 21 March 1906 the Local Government Board issued an order to formally separate the newly named Sheffield Union Hospital (which by then could accommodate 643 patients) from the workhouse, thereafter, known as Fir Vale Institution.

Over the next few years Sheffield Union Hospital became known as Fir Vale Hospital. The workhouse became Fir Vale Institution, though Fir Vale House was the name generally used for the institution premises accommodating geriatric patients and those classed as mental defectives.

Photograph by Sheffield Star

Belgian refugees were temporarily housed at Fir Vale during World War I, and over 15,000 soldiers, including men from the Sheffield Battalion who had been wounded on the Somme, were treated in a new children’s hospital which had opened in 1916. Military patients remained until 1920 and it was not until 1921 that the children’s hospital received its first children.

In 1930 the name was changed to the City General Hospital.

About 1929, Fir Vale House was renamed Fir Vale Infirmary (for the care of the aged and chronic infirm), though the name ‘institution’ lingered for some years.

Photograph by Sheffield Glass Company

During World War II numbers of its inmates were temporarily transferred to the Grenoside Institution when the hospital premises were designated as an Emergency Medical Service Hospital. No casualties from the war front were admitted until 1944 when 992 service cases and 405 prisoners of war were treated.

During the 1950s, cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery commenced and in 1955 the City Hospital performed the first heart valve replacement operation in the world; in 1957 one of the first open heart operations in Europe was conducted here.

It provided medical and surgical wards, children’s hospital, maternity hospital, casualty and orthopaedic departments. The City General Hospital and the Fir Vale Infirmary were run as separate institutions until 1967 when the Hospital (then with 654 beds) and the Infirmary (then with 682 beds) were amalgamated under the title of the Northern General Hospital.

Fir Vale Infirmary was to be known as the Geriatric Wing and the City General Hospital as the General and Maternity Wing.

In 1968 a League of Friends was established to harness local support and raise additional funds.

Photograph by More Rehab

Teaching was long a key function of the hospital and this was recognised when it, together with Nether Edge Hospital, was awarded university teaching status in 1971, and was one of the first Trust Hospitals.

The Northern General Hospital is the largest hospital campus within the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with over 1,100 beds. In fact, it is one of the largest hospitals in the UK and a leading teaching unit with a growing international reputation. It is classed as a major trauma centre and recently opened a helipad close to the Accident and Emergency block.

Thank you to Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library for the historical detail.

Photograph by Anderson Green

Did you know that several buildings on the site are named after local families and individuals, particularly in the steel industry?: –

The Huntsman Building is named after Benjamin Huntsman, a manufacturer of cast or crucible steel, consisting of mostly orthopaedics but also contains the A&E, Surgical Assessment Centre (SAC), X-Ray departments, the theatres, one of four outpatients’ departments, a large dining room and the site’s main Medical Records department.

The Firth Wing, is named after Mark Firth, an industrialist, and contains CCU, Vascular surgery and other surgical wards.

The Chesterman Wing, named after James Chesterman, a manufacturer of steel products, contains the regional cardiology centre as well as extensive inpatient and outpatient facilities.

Photograph by Picture Sheffield

The Vickers Corridor, reputed to be haunted, takes its name from Edward Vickers, an industrialist, and deals primarily with renal and endocrine diseases, but also contains departments of Sheffield Medical School and the Sheffield Kidney Institute.

The Sorby Wing is named after Henry Clifton Sorby, a microscopist and geologist, and contains the renal outpatients unit and the Metabolic Bone Centre.

Samuel Osborn, a steelmaker, is remembered in the Osborn Building and contains the spinal unit.

The Brearley Wing celebrates Harry Brearley, a metallurgist, containing the respiratory and rehabilitation wards and a dining area, as well as an outpatient department and a specialised Patient Discharge Lounge which allows patients to move into a comfortable waiting area before leaving the hospital.

The Bev Stokes Day-Surgery Unit recognises Harold Beverley Stokes, a former Chairman of the Northern General Hospital Trust.

Finally, the Hadfield Wing is named after Sir Robert Hadfield, another metallurgist, and holds departments displaced from older wings of the hospital.

Photograph by Sheffield Star
Categories
People

Frank Saltfleet

A self portrait in old age. Photograph by View from the Hill

Frank Saltfleet was one of Sheffield’s best-known artists, yet today his work is largely overshadowed by that of his wife, Jean Mitchell.

He was a specialist in watercolour painting, and about 18 months before his death an exhibition of his works was held at the Graves Art Gallery.

Alderman J.G. Graves also presented a group of Frank’s pictures to the city, and in the 1930s were on view at the Mappin Art Gallery.

He was, by profession, a landscape painter, but also keenly interested in music, literature, and drama.

Sheffield During the Coal Strike from Norfolk Park by Frank Saltfleet. Photograph by Museums Sheffield.

Born in Sheffield in 1860, he was sent to St George’s National School, and when he was about 12-years-old, entered the silver trade to learn the art of close plating, later being apprenticed to a cabinet maker.

Frank attended the Mechanics’ Institute in Surrey Street, where his teacher was Mr Read Turner, a well-known Sheffield artist. Some time later he accepted an offer to advance the necessary funds for six months’ study in art at Antwerp, and with several other young Sheffield artists he went to the Academy of Arts there.

Whirlow Brook Hall by Frank Saltfleet. Photograph by Peter Wilson Fine Art Auctioneers.

His travels included tours of Italy, the Adriatic, and several visits to Venice.

Frank was quite out of sympathy with the works of ultra-modernists in any art, and his favourite composers were Mozart and Beethoven. The works of Shakespeare, Ben Johnson, Marlowe and Greene had an appeal to him.

He had several pictures accepted at the Royal Academy, but they were never hung and on many occasions his work was to be found in local exhibitions. Once or twice he exhibited watercolours at the Cutlers’ Hall.

His tastes lay chiefly in the direction of landscapes and seascapes, and woodland and moorland pictures.

“A land and riverscape artist with more than a local reputation. Some of his best pictures have the atmospheric charm of the not too hazy impressionist school. In social circles Mr Saltfleet sings drolly. He is that strange thing – an artist without the professional pose. He has less ambition than many of his inferiors,” said the Sheffield Independent in 1902.

Frank was well known in Sheffield as an enthusiastic amateur actor, taking part in several local productions.

For many years he was a Freemason, attaining a few honours, the chief of them being that of Past Master of St. Leonard’s Chapter at Tapton Hall.

Frank married twice, and after his death in 1937 was survived by his second wife, who was Miss Jean Mitchell, daughter of Young Mitchell, who was the first Principal at the Sheffield School of Art.

Rowing Boats on a Cobble Landing by Frank Saltfleet. Photograph by Invaluable.



Categories
People

Jean Mitchell

Photograph by Picture Sheffield

Celebrating the life this morning, of Jean Mitchell (1861-1941), a Sheffield artist whose work is largely forgotten, but which deserves mention.

She was born in Sheffield, daughter of artist Young Mitchell, a former pupil of Ingres in Paris, later Headmaster at the Sheffield School of Art, and Mary Elizabeth Smith.

Educated in Sheffield, she spent some time in London and Paris, but her artistic talents were encouraged at the School of Art, where she obtained two silver medals for life drawings.

Her work was sent to Paris for exhibition, and she was represented for three consecutive years at the Royal Academy, the first year her works finding a purchaser.

An Old Italian by Jean Mitchell. Photograph by Art UK.

Mitchell painted many portraits of Sheffield’s prominent citizens, amongst them Dr Joseph Law, which hung in the Sheffield Medical School and a duplicate at the Sheffield Royal Infirmary. But she wasn’t confined to portraits, also creating watercolours and miniatures on ivory, her best work coming between 1897 and 1936.

Joseph Law (1897), MD, Honorary Secretary to Sheffield Medical Society (1842-1852). Photograph by Art UK.
Dr Arthur Jackson by Jean Mitchell c.1890. Photograph by Art UK.

In 1905, she married Sheffield painter, Frank Saltfleet, whose reputation was enhanced with watercolours of landscapes, rivers and marine subjects. He was a protégé of Frank Ruskin and exhibited at the Fine Art Society and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours. Mitchell was his second wife, and together they lived on Psalter Lane.

For about twenty years, Jean taught at the Sheffield School of Arts (by now called the Technical School of Arts) as a teacher for figure painting. She resigned in 1924 and opened her own studio on North Church Street, where she carried on teaching, and specialised in portraits, miniatures, and flower studies.

Portrait of a Man (1903) by Jean Mitchell. Photograph by Art UK.

In later life, her portraits of children were popular, and being fond of animals, she gave special attention to painting dogs and horses.

Frank Saltfleet became President of the Sheffield Society of Artists and died at home in 1937. Jean Mitchell died four years later, leaving £2,124 in her will.

Saltfleet was considered a minor artist and today his pictures sell for a few hundred pounds. Mitchell’s work has fared much better and several of her pictures survive in her home city at Museums Sheffield and Sheffield Archives, while Dr Law’s portrait hangs at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

British Newspaper Archive

NOTE: The Sheffield School of Art opened in 1843, lessons being given in a rented room above the Bath Hotel (still surviving) on Victoria Street, off Glossop Road. Young Mitchell was appointed Headmaster in 1846, and held the post until 1863, when ill-health forced him to resign. It transferred to Sheffield Corporation in 1901 and placed under the control of the Education Committee in 1903. In 1926, it was recognised as the College of Arts and Crafts, subsequently becoming Sheffield Polytechnic School of Art and Design and is now a department within Sheffield Hallam University.

The Deaconess by Jean Mitchell. Photograph by Art UK.
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Other

April Fools’ Day (1)

It’s April Fools’ Day. No pranks here, but an attempt to determine why we stage hoaxes and play practical jokes on 1 April. It appears that nobody knows the exact meaning of the day although several historians have put forward suggestions.

It has been celebrated for centuries by different cultures and by embracing it, the media has ensured the unofficial holiday’s long life.

The earliest concrete records are from France and Holland in the 1500s and, because of this, people believe it must have been a northern European tradition that spread to Britain.

It is known as April Fish Day in some areas of Europe, believed to be because there are a lot of fish in streams and rivers around 1 April, and they are easy to catch – foolish fish!

In France, it is a common trick to attach a paper fish on somebody’s back on April Fools’ Day and give chocolate fish as gifts.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century, some arguing that a story told by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century – where a fox plays a prank on a rooster (who is almost eaten because of it) – is the first reference to pranks taking place on this day.

Chaucer doesn’t refer to 1 April though. In the poem, he says 32 “syn March began,” translated as “32 days since March began” which would be today.

On a wider scale, some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one. In the Julian calendar the new year began with the spring equinox on 1 April.

People who were slow to get the news, or failed to recognise that the start of the new year had moved to 1 January, and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through 1 April, became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called April fools. These pranks included having the so-said paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolise a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria (Latin for joyful), which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March by followers of the cult of Cybele. It involved people dressing up in disguises and mocking fellow citizens, and even magistrates, and was said to be inspired by the Egyptian legend of Isis, Osiris and Seth.

There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

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Other

April Fools’ Day (2)

This story dates from 1 April 1898 when the manager of a shop in Sheffield, along with his assistants, decided to play a prank on Mary, the cook of the establishment, who was unable to read or write.

They wrote on a paper ‘April Fools’ Day’ and gave it to Mary, together with sixpence, and told her to go across to the chemist and get “sixpennyworth.”

The chemist’s assistant told her they were out of it, but she would get it at the shop higher up the street.

The second chemist asked her if she could read, and on being told no, told her what was written on the paper.

She took back the money and told the manager she could not get the stuff anywhere but gave them no idea that she had discovered the trick.

All went well during the day, the fellows enjoying the lark they had with Mary.

About half an hour before closing time, she came down to the manager, told him that supper was ready and the table laid, but begged to be excused as she had a headache, and allowed to go to bed.

In due course the men sat down to supper, and the cover was taken off the dish; but there was nothing but the paper they had given her in the morning with the words on it, ‘April Fools’ Day.’