HENRY (1840 - 1902) and SUSANNAH BLAND nee HIDES (1847 - 1911)


Howard Road as it is Today - November 2007

As we have seen HENRY died in 1902 and was listed as a Grocer in the previous years census. George and Susannah's shop is the blue fronted house which is next door to the fast food outlet "Wok This Way". (No137 Howard Road) . The  same 1901 census shows the occupants 137 Howard Road Walkley Sheffield as being the Broomhead family

JOSEPH BROOMHEAD Widower - Head 63 Filecutter

Sheffield, York, England

PERCY BROOMHEAD Son 24 Joiner Carpenter Sheffield, York, England
ALICE BROOMHEAD Daughter in Law 26   Penistone Sheffield
ELLEN BROOMHEAD Daughter 28   Sheffield, York, England
GILBERT BROOMHEAD Son 19 Joiner Carpenter Sheffield, York, England

The family appear 20 years earlier in the 1881 Census but living in the centre of Sheffield in Burgess Street

Household Record 1881 British Census

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability

Source Information: Dwelling 44 & 46 Burgess St. Census Place Sheffield, York, England
Family History Library Film 1342124 Public Records Office Reference RG11 Piece / Folio 4650 / 10 Page Number 12

Joseph BROOMHEAD Head M Male 43 Sheffield., York, England File Cutter
Martha BROOMHEAD Wife M Female 39 Sheffield., York, England
Adelaide BROOMHEAD Daughter U Female 16 Sheffield., York, England
Byron BROOMHEAD Son U Male 14 Sheffield., York, England File Cutter
Nellie BROOMHEAD Daughter U Female 6 Sheffield., York, England Scholar
Percy BROOMHEAD Son Male 3 Sheffield., York, England

Martha Broomhead died in 1895 (Deaths Mar 1895 Sheffield Volume 9c Page 317) which left Joseph a widower. His son Percy married an Alice Marsh in the March quarter of 1900 (Sheffield Volume 9c Page 578. Quite what happens next I can't be absolutely sure but it looks as though the house was converted into a fish and chip shop with Percy and Alice as proprietors. Susannah kept the grocer's shop on after Henry's death with the help of a servant Ethel Hawkins. This is confirmed in White's Directory for Sheffield 1905. This sets the scene for

Sheffield Daily Telegraph 22 Mar 1904 page 9 column b

[West Riding Assizes]

Damages - One Sovereign

Ethel Hawkins, of 139, Howard Road, Walkley, Sheffield, brought an action against Percy Broomhead, fish dealer, of 137 Howard Road, Sheffield.
L. Andrew (instructed by Messrs Taylor and Emmett) appeared for plaintiff, and Mr S Fleming (instructed by Mr J.E. Wing) for defendant.

The plaintiff, said Mr Andrew, was a domestic servant in the employ of Mrs Bland, who keeps a grocer's shop, and the defendant lived next door. The alleged slander arose in this way. The defendant and his wife were in their house on the 28th September, and the defendant went out and invited Mrs Bland to come inside. Mrs Bland went into the house, and found that there had been a quarrel, and the wife at once began to make complaints, in the presence of Mrs Bland and the defendant, in regard to plaintiff's character. She remarked that it was not the first time that she had had to complain about the matter and she "knew now where the money was going". It was at a subsequent interview at which the slander which was the subject of this action took place.

On the evening of the 6th October the defendant entered Mrs Bland's shop, and demanded to know where the plaintiff was. The girl came into the shop, and Broomhead, then used abusive epithets to the girl, who asked him what grounds he had to complain of her conduct, and what made his wife jealous of her, adding that, if she had the money, she would make his wife pay for it. Defendant then put his hand in his pocket, and drew out some coins, which he threw on the counter, saying. "You are a little ---. You will take either married or single men's money." The expression, of course, bore the obvious meaning that the girl was unchaste.

The next day the girl consulted a firm of solicitors, who wrote to defendant, giving him an opportunity of making an apology for the expression which he had made use of. There was no answer to the letter, and though the defendant lived next door, he never once denied making use of the expression until the pleadings in the action, and he never offered an apology. He (counsel) now again gave the defendant an opportunity of apologising and paying the plaintiff's out-of-pocket expenses in coming to bring the action, when there would be an end of the proceedings. The plaintiff did not ask for vindictive damages. She came before the court as a perfectly chaste girl, whose character and reputation Mrs Bland would tell the jury were unblemished, and that character she wished to vindicate. Mrs Bland was the first witness, and she described what happened when she went into defendant's house. The defendant then told her that his wife was jealous of the plaintiff, and witness replied that she had never seen anything wrong with the girl. Defendant's wife remarked that she had seen enough of her. A week later the defendant entered witness's shop and demanded to see plaintiff. The latter came forward, and asked him what he wanted, and he replied that he would soon show her if she insulted his wife. Plaintiff replied that she had done nothing to cause Mrs. Broomhead, to be jealous of her, and declared that it would serve her (Mrs Broomhead) right if she summoned her. Defendant then threw ten shillings onto the counter and said, "There's the money. Fetch her up." Plaintiff replied that she had money of her own, upon which defendant said she was not particular whether it was a married man's money or a single man's money.

The plaintiff then entered the box, and corroborated the substance of Mrs Bland's evidence with regard to what took place in her shop, besides speaking to an interview which she had previously had with Mrs Broomhead in consequence of what had been said at the latter's home the week before. This was the case for the plaintiff.

The defendant gave evidence, and swore that he did not make use of the expression referred to. In the interview which plaintiff had with his wife, she (plaintiff) called her "a stinking nuisance," and defendant subsequently went to Mrs Bland's shop to complain to plaintiff as to that. He admitted calling her "a little ---" for pushing his child out of the house after "the bother," and also showing her the money, but he denied placing it on the counter, or making use of the expression alleged against him. In reply to Mr Andrew, he denied having used further abusive language after the issue of the writ.
Have you got a revolver? -- Yes.
Did you fire a revolver at the back door of Mrs Bland's house? -- I fired it off but not at the back
Do you recognise this bullet as fitting your revolver? -- Yes.
Do you know that one went through Mrs Bland's window? -- Yes.
And you offered to pay for the glass? -- Yes, I had it put in.
You don't dispute the fact that a great many bullets were picked up at the back door? -- I heard about it afterwards (Laughter.) I didn't aim at the back door.
What were you doing, firing a six-chambered revolver? -- It was the 6th of November. (Laughter.)
I could understand it if it had been the 5th but why the 6th of November? -- I did it to amuse the children. I hadn't time to do it on the 5th, so I did it on the 6th. (laughter.)
The Commissioner, in summing up, pointed out that the jury must consider whether the words alleged to have been used were mere abuse, or were meant to be an imputation on the girl's chastity. He called to the jury's attention to the fact that the girl had suffered no pecuniary loss on account of what had been said.
The jury, without retiring, returned a verdict for the plaintiff for £1.
Judgement was entered accordingly, cost to follow.

The hearing is remarkable from a modern day viewpoint for the grave concern that was expressed by the court with regard to the utterances of Mr Broomhead, and the levity with which they viewed his use of a revolver. Imagine going to court nowadays with the defence "I did it (discharge the revolver)  to amuse the children. I hadn't time to do it on the 5th, so I did it on the 6th."mmm.....

As with many things, life had not finished with the Broomhead's quite yet. Percy and Alice did remain together, and sadly they did suffer further tragedy in their lives. Their grave is in Walkley Cemetery and and is inscribed as follows.





I do not know if they had any other children but it is still a sad reminder of infant mortality in early twentieth century Sheffield. When visiting the grave in November 2007, I must admit to a wry smile over their epitaph " Eternal Happiness They Share".

It a strange twist of fate, the Broomhead grave is adjacent to the family grave of John William "Jack" Eastwood, the last person to be executed in Walkley



Graves: BROOMHEAD C96, - St Mary's C of E Cemetery in Walkley

Percy Broomhead's shop is now called "Wok this Way", Mrs Bland's grocer's shop is the 'blue' student house next door

I would like to thank Hugh Waterhouse for the time and the trouble he has taken in providing me with the information of the burials of my ancestors in St Mary's C of E Cemetery in Walkley. He was also instrumental in alerting me to the Sheffield Slander Case of 1904.

Walkley Cemetery covers about 8 acres of land although it is obscured from view and is just about invisible from the road. Friends of Walkley Cemetery work in partnership with Walkley St Mary’s church to promote the practical conservation and improvement and use of the cemetery. In June 2004 the Friends of group were given the responsibility from the Church of England for the site apart from burials. The work of the Friends of group includes keeping war graves accessible by maintaining and cutting back in the woodland areas, improving paths and clearing vegetation, practical work days (gravestone recordings, cemetery walks, cataloguing and preserving archives etc). The friends group have regular community involvement from the Myers Grove school and university students. The group have received funding from the lottery to improve paths, walls, benches and put in directional posts. Issues are trying to achieve a balance between the semi wild value of the site and the need to accommodate people wanting to visit the graves and use the site recreationally (joggers, dog walkers etc).

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This page was last updated on 03/05/11 11:34