CROOKES - SHEFFIELD

" Crookesmoor and the neighbourhood - scattered over with the houses of respectable tradesmen, who have retired from business to enjoy, with their families, the fruits of well earned competance"

To put matters into context it is worth mentioning an article from the Universal British Directory, 1791 which gives an idea of the demographic growth and physical situation of Sheffield

"The following is the state of the population of Sheffield at different periods. In 1615 the inhabitants were in number 2207; in 1736, 9695; in1755, 12,983; at present there are about 7000 houses and about 30,000 inhabitants. In 1732, according to Mr. Gosling's plan, there were thirty-two streets in Sheffield. In 1771, according to Mr. Fairbank's plan, there appears to have been an addition of twenty-five streets. In 1792 there appears to have been a further addition of seventeen streets.

The communication with the metropolis is rendered very commodious by the road being made turnpike from Leeds through this town to Derby, and a machine going out to, and coming in from, London three times a week in the summer and twice in the winter. There is an excellent road likewise from hence to Chatsworth, Buxton, and Manchester; and another from Attercliffe to Worksop,in Nottinghamshire. The buildings are in general of brick, and there are some good houses, especially in the High-street, Norfolk-street, near St.Paul's chapel, and Paradise-row; but, from the great quantity of smoke occasioned by the manufactory, the newest buildings are apt soon to be discoloured. The town is, however, in general, very healthy, seldom any epidemical distemper prevailing here, except the small-pox, whooping-cough, or measles; the first of which, as inoculation has not gained much ground here, sometimes proves very fatal, having greatly increased the burials."

Sheffield at the end of the eighteenth century still bore no comparison in size and population to the city of today

Crookes itself started as a straggling settlement and even at the beginning of the nineteenth century many of the medieval open field patterns still survived and were in a remarkable state of preservation. Even in the mid nineteenth century Crookes was regarded as one of the local holiday spots. Thomas Asline Ward writing to a friend in 1855 stated

"I find that your son has taken a partner and gone to Crookes for the country air. I am sorry his wife requires it and hope that her health will soon be restored"

The painting below shows Crookes in 1826. Crookes at that time was very much in the countryside. It seems to me that the painting shows Crookes Moor an area of Crookes that was noted for its reservoirs and its racecourse. The racecourse was first mentioned in 1711 and was situated in what now is Fulwood Road. Racing continued there throughout the eighteenth cetury during which time a grandstand was erected by the wealthier citizens of Sheffield. The races were only discontinued when the commons of Ecclesall Bierlow were enclosed between 1778 and 1789 and the grandstand was taken down a few years later.

Probably the impetus for the development of Crookes lay in the opening of the turnpike road to Glossop in 1821. The Broomhill Local History Society say that this development was central to the begining of Broomhill (the area adjoining Crookes)" Terraces as well as bigger houses followed the road and the first back-to-back houses were built in Peel Street in 1827. Houses also crept down from Crookes as far as Hoole Road, this area being known as Mount Pisgah..."

There is photograph in J Edward Vickers book "Sheffield Old and New" (1973) that shows that even in 1860 Crookes was really nothing more than a set of straggling houses lining the main road through the village

Today very little is left of what could be termed "Old Crookes". The aerial photograph taken circa 1980 shows a densely populated suburb of Sheffield. The church in the Centre of the photograph is on the corner of Western Road and Springvale Road (now redundant) whilst the church at the top of the photograph is St Timothy's Church on Slinn Street

I have also placed on the site an aerial photograph of Sheffield that was taken in 1948 and there is also an article together with photographs of St Thomas Church Crookes, the church where my great grandparents EDWIN and MARY SANBY were married

I am also in the process of adding further photographs of Crookes to the site and these can be viewed on the following pages

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This page was last updated on 03/08/11 10:33