Tag Archives: Hillsborough Park

Hawksley Road, Sheffield 6

Published: April 3, 2007    Last modified: February 12, 2017

Florence Ashforth (née Florence Flowers 1876-1973)
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Florence Ashforth (née Florence Flowers 1876-1973)
Hawksley Road, Sheffield 6

Owlerton, Burton Street, Bamforth Street, Capel Street, Cuthbert Bank Road, Roscoe Bank, Shalesmoor, Jericho and Saint Philip's Road are districts and streets in the north-west of Sheffield where ancestors from my ASHFORTH line were born; most lived and died there too.

As a very young child I remember being dragged off to what seemed like far away places in order to visit the 'rellies', and how one felt like an explorer, cautiously examining an alien environment. During these visits we children would be quickly ushered out to play, usually into the backyard or street, which of course were quite safe, being devoid of motor vehicles.

I was born at Hawksley Road, just off Owlerton Green, though I don't recall there being a great deal of 'green' other than that of Hillsborough Park. I was christened at the Church of Saint John the Baptist, Owlerton, which remarkably, is still in service as a church, despite the dire developments which have taken place all around.

I remember there were three cul-de-sac: Hawksley Road (at the end of which were gates leading into the southern section of Hillsborough Park), Cheadle Street and Cannock Street. What I do remember quite clearly is that for some considerable time only one family owned a motor vehicle. I think this family, a retired man and wife, were named Mr and Mrs Thurlin. I recall they hated us using the gable end of their house for football, tennis and cricket practice, and the risks we took when the inevitable happened and we had to recover the ball from their backyard.

In the midst of row after row of terraced houses, Hillsborough Park was our saviour. We would spend most of our days playing football or cricket, until just before dusk when the toll of the bell would signify that the huge iron gates would soon be locked. Not that this mattered much, since as soon as the 'parky' had carried out his duties and was out of sight, we merely scrambled over the park gates and carried on playing until hunger finally drove us home.

Four generations lived in a rented 3 bedroom terraced house with the ubiquitous outside toilet, which was without an electric light, and of course, freezing cold in winter. But unlike many of the houses it had the luxury of a bathroom, admittedly very small but enormous when compared to a tin bath. The bedrooms were so cold in winter that I would sleep with a hot brick wrapped in a blanket to my feet. The brick was placed in the coal fire just before I went to bed. At least unlike an hot water bottle it couldn't burst, though third degree burns were always a distinct possibility.

My great grandmother Florence ASHFORTH (née Florence FLOWERS 1876-1973), her son and daughter-in-law (my grandfather and grandmother) Ernest ASHFORTH 1905-1990 and Emily ASHFORTH (née Emily BELLAMY 1903-1992), my mother and father and me. When some six years later my younger sister was born I guess we were probably officially classed as 'overcrowded'. So at the age of 7 years I and my family left the ASHFORTH household and moved approximately 3 miles to a newly built semi-detached house at School Lane, Stannington near Sheffield.

In the mid 1950's Stannington was still just a village, with a handful of shops, little new development and lots of wide open spaces. A totally alien environment to a young lad from the inner city.

Florence Ashforth (née Florence Flowers 1876-1973)

Published: April 14, 2005    Last modified: February 4, 2017
Florence Ashforth (née Florence Flowers) 1876-1973 Hillsborough Park, Sheffield 6

Florence Ashforth (née Florence Flowers) 1876-1973
Hillsborough Park, Sheffield 6

I recently came across a christening date for Florence Ashforth (née Florence FLOWERS) 1876-1973, my maternal great grandmother. Flo, as my grandfather would call her, lived to be just a couple of months short of 98 years.

Husband: George FLOWERS
Wife: Harriet FLOWERS (née Harriet LAW)
Children: 1. Florence FLOWERS, Female Christening: 28 February 1877, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

I remember her as a wonderful caring lady, whose elixir for life was an old corked bottle of Yorkshire Compound, an evil looking mixture that could be easily mistaken for tar or pitch. At the first sign of a cold or broken limb, she would reach for a bottle of this evil mixture. Not content with a teaspoon she would overload a battered old tablespoon with this viscous fluid, and with a well practised sleight of hand a magician could be proud of, proceeded to force it down one's throat before a single objection could be emitted.

This photograph which I took with my first brand new camera was taken at the south-eastern corner of Hillsborough Park, Sheffield 6. In the background of this photograph is a block of (then recently built) flats, adjoining Park View Road. In order to build the flats, a row of, I think 3 storey, stone cottages was demolished. I remember they were very old and we often, in order to retrieve a ball, had to scramble over the 2 metre high boundary wall, though no one on the other side seemed to mind, that is except for the huge Alsatian dog that seemed to wander the gardens, untethered.

This meant we would all be rather reluctant to go retrieve the ball. Either the smallest kid would be bullied into going over, with a leg up, and if they spotted the dog, a push over! Otherwise lots would be drawn amid shouts of cheating. Either way it was a risky business!

To the right of my great grandmother, just out of shot, was the grassed area where we would play ball games, very much to the annoyance of the park keepers and powers that be. One day we arrived at the park to find newly planted trees; presumably this was to deter us using this neglected area of the park. Of course the exact opposite happened. The young trees made remarkably good goal posts or coat hooks and we carried on regardless. No way were we going to walk 500 meters to the other end of the park; anyway that was alien territory.

Located in the cottages was an off licence and on a Friday evening when most of the family had gone dancing or to the pub, my great grandmother would send me round to the off licence with a jug to have filled with stout. On my return we would play dominoes, patience (solitaire), or numerous other games since in those days we had no television.

Looking on Google Earth, the trees are now, some 50+ years later, quite mature and it is good to see the old horse chestnuts that line the path have survived.

Happy times.