SchooIdays - Memories and History
                     Pre 20th. Century



IT is a tale oft-told by every historian of Sheffield, from the days of Taylor, and Goodwin, and Hunter to those of Gatty, how primitive, far into the eighteenth century, were the trading relations between Sheffield and all outside its borders. Aforetime, there were no merchants to undertake the useful task of distribution and to place manufacturers in direct communication with distant or foreign markets; and no bankers. The Broadbents, of the Hartshead, and the Roe- bucks, of Church Street, showed the way in both these matters, claims to having been thc first to establish trade connetions with the Continent having been made on behalf of each. Imitators were soon found, and the example was improved upon to open business relations also with America. So that by I774 factors were blossoming out into merchants, and there were nine firms so described. In I787 these were increased to fifteen. The growth from merchants to bankers was an obvious development. A shrewd suspicion was entertained by so good an authority as the late Mr. William Swift, whose knowledge of all things conneted with Sheffield was both extensive and peculiar, that there may have been bankers here before I770; but no fact establishing this idea has come to light. What we do know is that in I770 one of the Roebucks made the earliest recorded attempt at banking, as distinguished from that money- lending which is the ancient function of the pawnbroker. Mr. Hunter has said that " In I778 Messrs. T. and J. Broadbent opened a bank in the Hartshead, on the failure of Mr. Roebuck's bank, which was the first known in Sheffield and only lasted eight years; and in I780 the Broadbents failed."* But this statement, in the light of the Directory of I774, requires revision. For in that publication, Thomas --------------- * Gatty's Hunter's Hallamshire, page 170. --------------- Broadbent is already described as " banker, Hartshead;" while the Church Lane bankers are giver as " Parker, Roebuck, and Shore - a collection of names, as we shall hereafter see, of some significance. Benjamin Roebuck appears not as banker, but as " merchant, Church Lane." So that although the Broadbents may have benefited by the Roebuck failure in I778, it is clear their bank had already been established some years before that event occurred. It is amusing to find that there was a good deal of contem- porary jealousy between the two houses of Broadbent and Roebuck. In I753 Mr. Joseph Broadbent uas a candidate for the office of Town Trustee, when Mr. Benjamin Roebuck (one of the five sons of John Roebuck, manufacturer, born in 17I8), who had been elected in the previous year, in the place of his deceased father, was Toun Colleyor. The Roebucks put up Mr. Thomas Newbould in opposition, but on a poll Mr. Broadbent was elected by a large majority. Writing on this, the Rev. William Guest, Rector of Colley Weston, whose correspondence with Mr. Joshua Matthewman has been previously referred to, says, " Please give Mr. Broadbent joy for me of his victory. I think all who joined him deserve commendation, not only by choosing a much fitter man than was offered, but also by that means clipping the wings of aspiring pride and pragmaticalness. I protest those young Roebucks have the ambition of a C~sar or a Pompey." The banking collapse of those ambitious young Roebucks was a still greater triumph for Joseph Broadbent s sons; but it was a short-lived victory as, in tuo years they, too, had to close their bank's doors. They reverted, like the Roebucks, to the original merchants' business, but when the century ended both families had disappeared from the town. The next bankers were Hannah Haslehurst and Son, Market Place. They, too, had been merchants (I774); and the most substantial proof of their ill-starred excursion into the wider field of finance is a five-guinea bank-note, dated 24th January, I783, from which it appears, first, that they called their establishment " Sheffield Old Bank,' and, secondly, that their career was short‹for the document is endorsed with an exhibi- tion under a commission in bankruptcy, on the 23rd June, I785. Then there were the Shores whose bank, though of longer life, was destined to disastrous collapse in 1843. In a deed dated I776, two houses situate near the Irish Cross, in the several occupations of Samuel Shore, Joseph Roberts, and the company or partnership of John Shore and Joseph Roberts, a~e conveyed by Samuel Shore, '~ hardwareman," to John Shore, his second son, who is described as " banker." The inference is that Mr. Samuel Shore lived in one of the houses, and that the other was the bank of his son and Joseph Roberts, the latter living on the premises. Dr. Gatty's suggestion- that Samuel Shore may himself have been a banker prior to the date of this deed, obtains some colour from the partnership '~ Parker, Roebuck, and Shore " in I774; but whether this was the father Samuel, or the son John, and how he escaped from sharing the Roebuck ill-fortune, there is nothing to show. That he did so escape is manifest from the prosperity of the Bank at the Irish Cross, and from the fact that Samuel Shore became the purchaser of Meersbrook, when Mr. Benjamin Roebuck was compelled to sell it. The banking house of the Shores was destined, in course of time, to become the home, before the present premises were erected, of the Shemeld Union Bank; and that of the Roebucks passed, first, into the hands of ~alkers, Eyre, and Stanley (founded in Fargate in I792), and then of the Sheffield and Rotherham Banking Company . The troubles of the early bankers were not over uhen the early pioneers had given way to stronger firms. In I797 the leading citizens, headed by the Master Cutler, had to come forward to buttress the then existing banks (Shores' and Walkers') by expressions of confidence and promises of support. During the commercial troubles which followed, in the earlier decades of the nineteenth century, similar expedients had to be adopted. A desperate run on Shores' Bank in I 802 was thus stayed, and in I 825 and I 826 the banks were helped by declarations of confidence in their stability by the leaders of commerce. The evil day was staved off until I843, when Parker and Shores' bank came down with a crash which shook the foundations of local credit ------------------ * Sheffield Past and Present, p. 223. ------------------ and produced consequences felt for many a year. But happily that was the last experience of the kind which befel Sheffield. There was a story long current, and believed to be authentic, disentitling the Broadbents, in their banking col- Iapse, to such sympathy as was freely extended later to Parker and Shores. The suspension of the former's bank was inevit- able when the doors closed on a Saturday. On the Sunday morning a Derbyshire man demanded admittance, but he was told to go away as business was not transacted on Sundays. " I have not come for money," said the confiding countryman, " I have brought some." " That is quite another thing," was the answer. The door was opened and the poor man left, and lost, his money. This account of early banking in Sheffield, with the story of its initial misfortunes is, however, a digression. The point is that in a community where there are no merchants, no banks, no commercial travellers, most imperfect means of exchange, and modes of carriage as rudimentary as are found now only in places the most remote from civilisation, trade must be asphyxiated and purely local. The wonder is not that Sheffield did so little business, but that it did so much. lell may the trade have been, as it was described by those who had lived amidst it, " inconsiderable, confined and pre- carious :" " None presumed to extend this traffic beyond the bounds of this island, and most were content to wait the coming of a casual trader, or to carry their goods with much labour and expense to an uncertain market- and it is well known that the chief produce of the manufactory was carried weekly by a few pack-horses, Mr. Newsome's, to the Metropolis, the inhabitants viewing their passing up the Park hill with the highest pleasure." * The traders who acted as distributing agents were called " chaps " or " chapmen." They were mostly Scotch or Irish, with some English. Their chief resort was The Bird-in- Hand, Church Lane. The house adjoined the Cutlers' Hall, standing indeed on part of its present site. When a " chap " ----------------- * Rev. E. Goodwin in Robinson's Directory 1797, p. 19. ----------------- arrived, the ostler went round to inform the manufacturers of the fact, and received a penny from each one for his trouble. Sometimes there were two, three or four " chaps " in the house at one time, and each had a separate room for business. The cutlers waited until all was ready, and then went upstairs "i' their kales." If they bargained, they left the goods and took the money away. There were other houses in the town which travellers, or " chaps" frequented upon the same busi- ness, but none was so popular as the Bird-in-Hand. This was a very precarious way of doing business. The makers, having the materials to find, as well as the labour, were put to great inconvenience during such time as the goods remained unsold. To mitigate this difficulty, the Cutlers' Company frequently advanced money on goods deposited with them, without charging interest. The Company seems, indeed, at an earlier period to have gone even further, and to have bought goods outright, itself undertaking the sale of them, but this was a failure.* In 1768, the Town Trustees let out £200 to twenty scissor-smiths, upon bond in small sums. This was following an example set in I74I by Sir Francis Sitwell, who bequeathed £400 to the Company to be loaned in sums not exceeding £5, to any necessitous member or other inhabitant.+ A Parliamentary Report of I829 recorded that no traces of the receipt or application of this gift could be found in the books of the Company. There have been published, however,# extracts from the yearly accounts of the Cutlers' Company which show that in I740-4I, Jonathan Dixon being Master, " The Company accepted the trust of Mr. Sitwell's money £400 ;" and to the accounts of I746-47 there is appended this note: " There appears to have been some difficulty to get Mr. Jon. Dixon to. make his account, and to pay in ye money belonging to Mr. Sitwell's fund." The significance of this, as bearing on the disappearance of the money, is accentuated by the fact that in I750-5I, Mr. Dixon was so reduced in circumstances as to be a recipient of the Company's Charity. ---------------- * Lecture by Mr. Herbert Hughes, to the Sheffield Press Club, 2Ist December, I889. + Sheffield Local Register, p. 4I. # Local Notes and Queries, Sheffield Independent, 6th May, I875, et seq. ---------------- The " chaps " usually brought with them mules, or pack- horses, for the removal of such wares as they might purchase. The burden was fitted to the animal's back‹which not un- frequently was ill-qualified to bear it‹and shambling along cross roads, fording rivers, or climbing up and down the rough and narrow bridle paths, the jaded brute day by day pursued his weary route. In those days a busy street at dawn would often see a train of no fewer than fifty animals making ready to start. And accompanying them would be travellers and their friends, and merchants who, either in charge of their wares, or on some other business, were journeying to provincial towns or to the capital. Perched on high among boxes and bundles, were children and women, old men and maidens, who left amidst the farewells and good wishes of their acquaintances; whilst the more active of the men were either starting on foot, or bestriding beasts with saddles and perhaps also pillions, on their backs. The signal for march being given, onward they moved through the town and out into the country, over roads on which the track was roughly paved for the especial use of the pack-horse train. Lanes had also to be traversed, in which holes and quagmires constantly occurred. Across bleak moors, through swamps, when the sagacity of the animals had to be trusted, fording swollen streams where the women and the live stock were alike alarmed, the cavalcade at last reached its longed-for halting place for the night. Except for the few main roads of the kingdom‹survivals of the great Roman routes, continued through the Saxon period, north and south, and east and west‹these bridle paths were the only lines of communication across country until the earlier years of the eighteenth century. Such re- mains of them as we have are best marked over Stanedge and in the Hope Valley; but not many years ago there were traces of them on other sides of the town, and some quite close at hand. One, for instance, crossed Sharrow Lane, on the line Priory Road; and there are still in Kenwood Park some pitchings of this, supposed to be the route by which the Canons of Beauchief came to Sheffield. In the course of time, tracks for wheeled vehicles began to be made‹with little engineering skill and with a sublime dis- regard for either gradients or surface. Old milestones still survive here and there, monuments of past importance. Such as have not been carried away for gate-posts may be seen on Ankirk Road (Ringinglowe to Stony Ridge); or on Sir William, above Grindleford. The moorland cart track that, crossing the Baslow turnpike, runs above the Eagle Stone to Curbar, may be identified as the old road from Chesterfield to Tideswell; and the wayfarer can pick up fragments of it further on‹near Brosterfield, above Wardlow Mires, for instance, where an old milestone props up the corner of a wall. But these primitive roads, when at length made, were only fit for springless vehicles. Horace Walpole favoured this neighbourhood with a visit in I756. He was at Wharn- cliffe and Wentworth Castle, and writing from the latter place he says: " During my residence here I have made two little excursions, and I assure you it requires resolution. The roads are insufferable; they mend them‹I should call it spoil them ‹with large pieces of stone.* Even the great trunk roads, north and south of Sheffield, were terribly cruel. To get on to the London Road the traveller had to go down Coalpit Lane and Button Lane to Little Sheffield‹a group of poor and time-worn cottages. The road ran across the gorse-clad swampy common called Sheffield Moor, forded the Porter Brook over which there was only a foot-bridge; thence up a sharp rise to Highfield, and so down Goose Green to Heeley. There the steep old lane, which some may remember, had to be climbed to Newfield Green. This, at the end of the seventeenth century, ~' appeared to be a very ancient way, being worne very deep." The Sheffield people, both before and after the civil wars, had got into the habit of avoiding this toilsome route by going through the Park‹over Sheaf Bridge (at the bottom of Dixon Lane) in at the Park gate (where now is the ---------------- * For a general description of the " infernal " state of English roads in the eighteenth century see Lecky's History of England, vol. vii., p. 223 (Cabinet Edition); Porter's Progress of the Nation' (Section iii., Chapter 2); and Arthur Young's Northern Tour, iv., 423-436. ------------------- junction of Broad Street and South Street), and out, by a line represented by the present Cricket Inn Road, at anotker gate on Gleadless Moor. But they did this only on sufferance. Carriers and pack-horses, carts and carriages, and even gentlemen on riding horses were alike liable to be stopped; and periodically the Park gate was closed, or a toll charged, to maintain the Lord's right of private control. And in I692 ~he inhabitants of Handsworth, Intake, and Gleadless entirely failed to make good their claim to a right of way. In spite of such discouragements, in I7IO a certain Joshua Wright, of Mansfield, started a ~' stage wagon " from Sheffield to London. This was the beginning of a new era. Little by little better roads were constructed. Turnpikes began to be made. The Town Trustees, who, by promoting the scheme for opening a canal to Tinsley had taken a notable step towards facilitating the transport of merchandise, now helped, by liberal subscriptions, the formation of turnpike trusts. From I740 onwards there are constant references in their accounts to financial aid rendered to schemes for making, or improving, roads to Manchester, Wakefield, Chesterfield, Wortley, Halifax, and elsewhere. Thus was the road from Leeds to Derby through Sheffield " made turnpike." In I764 there was stated to be " an excellent road to Chatsworth, Buxton, and Manchester," and a Bill had likewise been passed in Parliament for a turnpike road from Attercliffe to Worksop. But these left a good deal to be desired, as may easily be understood by anyone who realises the lines of the improved routes. Although the London Road no longer went by New- field Green, it still exacted large tribute in horse flesh, for it ran up abrupt Derbyshire Lane to Bolehill, then down the steep lane to Woodseats, and up again to Little Norton and Coal Aston. And for coaches entering the town from the south, extra horses had to be sent to Heeley Bridge to get them up to Highfield and across Sheffield Moor, where the road ran in a sort of broad ditch, with footpaths on embank- ments on either side. Vehicles going north, to Barnsley and Wakefield, had to cross the Lady's Bridge, wind round to Bridgehouses, and then climb Pyebank. There is (or was, for it is not easy to keep pace with modern changes) a bit of the old road, side by side with the new but elevated above it, between Shirecliffe Lane and Firs Hill gates, showing how the earlier surveyors went over the tops of hills, instead of easing their gradients by cutting them away. There is good reason to believe that the oldest road from Rotherham to Sheffield, from the time of the Romans onward, kept along the south side of the Don, thus avoiding two crossings of that river, and, running in the direction of Effingham Road and Blast Lane, entered the town not over Lady's Bridge, at the bottom of Wain-gate, but over Sheaf Bridge, at the bottom of Dixon Lane. It was by this route that the Parliamentary Army marched to the siege of Sheffield Castle in I644. A hundred years later, when the approach from Rotherham was on the north side of the river, crossing at Brightside and coming by way of Brightside Lane and where is now Savile Street East to the Wicker, the present direct road from Attercliffe was a mere footway, approaching the ~Ticker, after leaving the river bank near the Twelve o'clock. through the Pickle. Travellers to the Peak of Derbyshire left by the Heeley Road as far as Highfield, then turned up Sharrow Lane, along Psalter Lane, to Banner Cross, and toiled up the abrupt hill by Ecclesall Chapel to Ringinglowe. Here the road forked‹to Buxton by a sharp turn to the left over Ankirk; while if Manchester, via the Hope Valley, were the destination, the wayfarer went straight on across White Moss to Upper Burbage Bridge, and then, after a sharp bend to the right, down the gorge to Hathersage.~ ------------- * It was evidently by this route that Ebenezer Rhodes walked to Hathersage, though when he wrote (1822) there was already, after passing Burbage Brook, the alternative " carriage road " to the left, which joined the present turnpike below " The Surprise " at Hathersage Booths It is clear that as late as I8I3 the way for carriages was still by Upper Burbage Bridge, for in the winter of that year the snow made that road impassable, and " the carriages that attempted to cross this bleak part of the moors either returned or were left half-buried in the snow." Mr. Rhodes tells how a young man from Brookfield not only rescued a sailor and his wife who had succumbed to the severe weather near Burbage Bridge, but also saved several passengers when the coach from Manchester was overturned.‹" Peak Scenery," Part III., Section I. ------------------- The coaches to Tideswell and Buxton left Ringinglowe by the steep climb to the top of Ankirk Road, and so to Fox House, and then down to Grindleford Bridge very much as the modern road now runs. Anyone who has walked on a hot summer's day the length of Sir William, from Grindleford, by Bretton, to Great Hucklow, will be able to appreciate the sufferings of the hapless horses, doomed to drag heavy coaches up that heart-breaking incline, straight as an arrow and relentlessly steep.* We need not pursue it further, beyond Tideswell by Ash Lane and Tunstead and Fairfield to Buxton. Suffice it to rejoice that its severities were afterwards ex- changed for other routes, so that by I787 we find the journey to Tideswell and Buxton being made through Middleton, while to Manchester there was an alternative road. You could go by Hathersage, Hope, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Stockport; or through Wortley and Ashton-under-Lyne. The present road from Hathersage to Castleton follows, in the main, the line of its predecessor; but beyond that, to reach Chapel-en-le-Frith there was no creeping gra.dually round Mam Tor. The drear pass of the Winnats, in summer sun or winter gloom, had to be faced without shirking. The way to Baslow and Chatsworth from Sheffield (for the present road by Totley and Owler Bar was not begun until 18I2) was also by Middleton‹reached l y the route already described to Grindleford, and thence by Stoke‹very much on present lines, though with some severities avoided by modern ameliorations. Bakewell, too, was approached from Middleton through Hassop, much as it is now, but over a very different surface. The Sheffield Directory of I787 gives a list of more than a ---------------- * When John Woolman, the American Quaker, came to England, he journeyed about the country on foot, rather than countenance the cruelty Attendant on the coaching system. ~ I have heard, " he records, ~ Friends say in several places that it is common for horses to be killed with hard driving, and that many others are driven till they grow blind." And he refused to have letters sent to him by post, because the stages were so fixed that post-boys, dependent on one another as to time, and going at great speed, " suffer greatly in winter nights, and at several places I have heard of their being frozen to death."‹"Journal of John Woolman," pp. 234-5. -------------- score carriers' carts regularly plying to all parts of the country on stated days. Some of these started from their owners' warehouses; others from the Tontine, the Angel; the Grey Horse and the Bay Horse, High Street; the Travellers, Westbar; the Royal Oak, King Street; the Black Swan, Snighill; the Mitre, Fargate; the Chandlers' Arms and the Yellou Lion, Bull Stake; the Bird-in-Hand, Brinsworth Orchard; and the ~ing's Head, Change Alley. They took a fearful time to make their journeys. A collection of old letters from customers in the country is full of wails over the non-arrival of goods ordered long before, and over the care- lessness and indifference of the carriers. The coaches did something to cure this, when urgency required speed, but their tariff, even when reduced to I.5d. per pound, was prohibitive in the case of heavy goods. The coaching system began here in I760, when the well- knoun host of the Angel, Samuel Glanville, enterprisingly set up the first stage from Leeds to London, through Sheffield. By I787 there were five great coach roads, and three subordinate ones. The Tontine Coach (daily except Satur- day) ran to London by way of Rotherham, Worksop, Newark, and Grantham. The Mail Coach every morning, and the Heavy Coach every evening from the Angel, went through Chesterfield, Nottingham, and Northampton. To Birming- ham, every morning except Sunday, the way was by Chester- field, Derby, Burton, and Lichfield. Then there uere the two north roads, one by Barnsley, Wakefield, and Leeds, a rendezvous where coaches from all parts converged; the other through Penistone, Huddersfield, Catterick, Penrith, to Carlisle. To Doncaster there was a light coach twice a week; but there was a summer service only to Manchester (via Buxton) and to Hull (via Thorne). All of these, except a Tontine " Diligence " to Leeds, and a coach to London, started from the Angel. Ten years later (I797), though the number of coaches had not materially increased‹there were then two mails and seven coaches‹the service all round was more frequent. The " passage " to London was at first £I. I7S.; to York, IIS. and 7S.; to Leeds, 5s. and 3s.; to Birmingham, 8s. and 6s. Samuel Glanville's announcement of his pioneer coaching arrangements is an interesting document. It appears in " Ward's Sheffield Public Advertiser " of November 4, I760: " November 2nd.‹Notice is hereby given that the London, Leeds, Wakefield, Chesterfield, Mansfield, and Nottingham machines on steel springs, in four days, sets off from the ~wan With Two Necks Inn, in Lad Lane, London, and from the Old King's Arms Inn, in Leeds, every Monday and Wednes- day mornings, at five o'clock; breakfasts at the Angel Inn, in St. Albans; dines at the White Horse Inn, in Hockley; and lies at the Red Lion, at Northampton, the first night, break- fasts at the Three Crowns, in Market Harhorough dines at the Bull's Head, in Loughborough; and lies at the Crow Inn, on the Long Row, at Nottingham, the second night breakfasts at the Swan, in Mansfield; dines at the Falcon, in Chesterfield; and lies at the Angel, in Sheffield, the third night; breakfasts at the White Bear, in Barnsley, dines at at the Coach and Horses, in Wakefield; and lies at Leeds the fourth night." Details of the reverse journey‹which are varied only by the substitution of the Blackamoor's Head for the Crown, at Nottingham, and by the last breakfast being at the Saracen's Head, in Newport‹are then given, and the advertisement goes on: " Passengers and parcels are taken in at the above places. Two places reserved in each coach for Nottingham. Per- formed, if God permit, by John Handforth, Samuel Glanville, and Wm. Richardson." By I787 the journey, which, in I760 took three days, was accomplished in twenty-six hours. Leaving Sheffield at 5 o'clock one morning, the coach reached London at 7 o'clock the next morning. The last Sheffield mail coach, the " Halifax Mail," did the journey from London to Sheffield in sixteen hours. After this was taken off, a coach called " The Brilliant " enabled its passengers to reach London in twelve hours, but this was only accomplished by connection with a railway train, in which they did part of the journey. There is, in the Town Hall, a crayon portrait of Samuel Glanville, drawn by Raphael Smith. It was presented to the Mechanics' Library by Mr. Benjamin Sayle, of Brightside, and came into possession of the Corporation of Sheffield when that institution was taken over, on the establishment of the Free Library. It bears this inscription: "Samuel Glanville, born at Exeter about the year I720; entered early into the army, and was present as a drummer at the Battle of Dettingen. He afterwards came with a recruiting party to Sheffield, and was billeted at the house of Mrs. Smith,* in Church Street; married her, and afterwards kept the Angel Inn, to which house, about the year I760, he worked the first stage coach from London. He died at Sheffield in I803." Another crayon portrait of Glanville, from the pencil of Chantry, was in the possession of Mr. Charles Ridal, of the firm of Smith and Ridal, Market Street, but when he left the town it was sold by auction, and has not since been traced. The " Iris," whose editor, Mr. Montgomery, spoke of Samuel Glanville as " no mean benefactor to the town," gave a fuller account of his varied career: "He was born about I720, near Exeter; was apprenticed to a surgeon, but entered early in life into the army as a private. In I74I he came to Sheffield, upon a recruiting party, and married Mrs. Smith, who kept a public house in Church Lane. In the course of time he became master of the Angel Inn, and, about 1760, was a partner in the first stage coach from Leeds to London. After some years, he retired from the public line to a farm at The Edge, near this town, where he was noticed by Mr. Arthur Young as an excellent agriculturist. But becoming at length weary of agriculture, he returned to his former occupation, and kept an inn at the Cross Keys, Wood Street (London); and some time after removed to the Black Bull, in Stamford. Were he buried his wife, and married a second. Business there, however, not answering his expectations, he came back to Sheffield, and opened a public house at the lHermitage; soon after burled his second wife, and not long after was admitted into the Duke of Norfolk's Hospital, where he found a comfortable asylum during several years. In his early days, and in public life, he was steady, active (the writer of this memoir has seer him carry out three dishes at once on his right arm from a public entertainment), attentive and obliging to his customers cheerful, rational, and intelligent in private conversation; was ----------------- * Nee Mary Greaves, widow of George Smith, and grandmother o Mr George Smith, draper (Smith and Ridal), Market Street. ----------------- looked up to with great respect by all his acquaintance; and closed his days with a constant serious attention to the duties of religion." While landlord of the Buil, Stamford, Glanville still kept up his connection with Sheffield coaching. Godfrey Fox, who, in I779, built the Rein Deer Inn at the bottom of Bull Stake (where the Royal Hotel now stands) started in I783, in combinatlon with others, " A London Diligence on a new establishment, in two days, by way of Newark, Grantham, Stamford, Huntingdon, Ware, etc., to the George Inn, Aldermanbury, London ;" and on both the up and the down journeys, it suppecd at Mr. Glanville's, The Bull lnn, Stamford. The fare from Sheffield to London was f~2 (allowing 141b. luggage) and parcels ~ ere carried at lld. per pouncl. The venture does not seem to have been a success, and the Diligence was not long kept on the road. Mr. Samuel Peech‹" Old Sam Peech," as he was familiarly called‹who succeeded Glanville as landlord of the Angel, ~ as a well-known townsman. A large fund of shrewd sayings is placed to his credit, and many quaint anecdotes are associated with his memory. He was ready of repartee too, for, taunted once ~wth having begun life as a stable boy, he scathingly retorted, " If thou's been a stable boy, thou'd be a stable boy still ' Peech carried on the coaching connection of his house with great vigour. In I776 we find him, for himself and his co-partners, entering into a seven years' contract witl1 John Hoyland, silver-plater, and others, to run a coach between Sheffield and Birmingham twice every week, to carry their goods to Birmingham, and to bring thence safely and deliver all such moneys, and ingots of gold and silver, and other things entmsted to him, and to make full satisfaction for any which may be lost. The tariff was: For all moneys and ingots of gold and silver Id. per Ib. weight, with 2S. 6d. for every ,£I00 in value besides. Sam Peech vigorously main- tained His supremacy against the Tontine, which, opened in I785, aspired to be the chief posting house, and boasted that it had twenty horses harnessed, and five post-boys ready booted and spurred when the yard bell rang. In 1796 Peech met this by announcing a reducion in the price for postin,, to Is. per mile for a pair of horses, " as the price o hay, corn, and straw is considerably lowered in this part of the country; " and by vaunting that " he can fur nish twenty-five pairs of good, steady horses at any one time, with a suitable number of careful drivers, chaises, and saddle horses. Added to this, he has agreed with his friends (to prevent disappointment) to let their chaises go forward when occasion may require, from the Angel, Chesterfield Angel, Doncaster; White Bear, Barnsley; Man in the Moon Middleton; Castle Inn, Castleton; George Inn, Worksop and the Angel, Ingbirchworth, half-way on the road from Sheffield to Huddersfield and Halifax. N.B.‹Should any of his horses fail on the road, so as not to be able to perfonn the stage with decency, no money will be required for the job.' Having kept the Angel for thirty years, Sam Peech was succeeded in I808 by his son William, and died in the following year. The last to maintain the old coaching re putation of the Angel was the late Ald. Bradley, of Soho Brewery and Manor Oaks. He kept up the business with great spirit. but the palmy days of the Angel, as a coaching house, had departed with Sam Peech, and on his death the Tontine blossomed into unrivalled celebrity. This inn, built on the site of old structures which had taken the place of the Castle barns, had been opened in I785 During an existence of 65 years‹for it gave place, among many regrets, to the New Market Hall in 1850‹it played a leading part in the social, political, and business life of the town. What convivialities it witnessed. To what eloquent lectures and harmonious concerts did its walls resound. Of what stirring election scenes was it the centre. How busy was the bustle when its postchaises were called for, or when the coaches, with steaming horses and weather-worn " out sides " rattled up to its doors. The number of those who remember its plain but highly respectable brick frontage, and its capacious courtyard, is becoming very small; but to the few who can recall these, it remains the type of the stately English inn of the best days ol the coaching period. In I808 the then landlord, Mr. Simpson had started the Hope (afterwards transferred to Mr. Wright of the King's Head), which was for many years the only London coach that set out from and returned to Sheffield only. Simpson's successor, Mr. Batty, had the house at the time of Sam Peech's death, and he immediately seized the opportunity to make its position supreme. In his time the Leeds and London express was one of the best appointed of all the coaches that poured into the Metropolis from the North. In 1838 thirteen coaches were advertised to leave daily the Tontine and King's Head offices, and it is worthy of note that at this period, the Angel stables were actually rented to afford supplementary accommodation for the Tontine coach horses. But that was the climax of a brilliance destined to speedy eclipse. For, two years afterwards the North Midland Railway advertised trains between London and Sheffield, and coaching died. As Dr. Gatty says: " Twelve pairs of horses were wanted one day; on the morrow the road was forsaken. Thus one of the fine old English inns, in the courtyard of which a carriage and pair could be easily driven round, came o grief. In those days the morning train left Sheflield at 5.30 a.m., and reached London at 3.30 p.m. A train leaving Sheffield at 12 noon reached London at 9.30 the same evening‹a truly marvellous feat compared With the fastest coaches. The journey to Derby occupied from two hours and a quarter to two hours and a half, and the journey to Birmingham four hours and a half. There has been preserved a description of the manner in which our forefathers awaited the tardy arrival of news of the ratification of the short-lived Peace of Amiens, I80I:‹ "- Oct. 3, 180I.‹This day, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Kershaw, a merchant of Halifax, brought the welcome ]ntelligence to Sheffield that the preliminaries of peace had heen signed late on the evening of the Ist instant. Instantly was Joy lighted up in every face, in a few minutes the news was dispersed in every quarter of the town, the Bells rung, bonfires were kindled in every street, cannon were heard on every side, and in the evening fireworks were exhibited in the old chuchyard. The return of the ratification from Paris was now anxiously expected. When day after day passed without news and many sinister reports circulated, the faces of people suggested that we were destined to bear the morti- fication of a disappointment. The public mind was happily relieved from this state between twelve and one o'clock on Monday, the lIth of October, by the arrival of the True Briton coach, which, though it brought no papers, brought the intelligence that the ratification had arrived in London. The bells were again rung, and the bonfires, which during the reign of doubt and anxiety had been almost suffered to go out, were rekindled. Everything was joy again. and when the mail was expected in the evening, thousands of people went to meet it. All Sheffield Moor to Heeley was crowded with people, so as with difficulty the coach advanced, and when the entire confimation was published their joy uas great, Monday was celebrated as a glorious day, bonfires and cannon on every side. and in the evening a general illumination with the most brilliant fireworks." Very quaint are the stories of those early adventurers who, taking their courage in both hands, greatly daring, and breaking throhgh the stay-at-home habits of their predecessors, fared forth to seek markets for their wares. Joshua Fox, of Westbar, whose premises were in West Court, is reputed to be the first Sheffield manufacturer who determined on the bold experiment of a personal business visit to London. This must have been early in the century, for he took out his freedom, after finishing an apprenticeship to his father, in 1723. Nothing that his wife or friends could say availed to dissuade him from encountering all the fatigue, hazard, and difficulty of the journey. The picture that tradition has handed down is indeed the counterpart of John Bunyan's description of the wife and children and neighbours of Pilgrim beseeching him, with tears, not to run away from the City of Destruction. But unlike Pilgrim, Joshua Fox, by way of cheering up those he left behind, bade them to a great feast, and like a prudent man of the world made his will before setting out. He decided to go on foot. The first day he walked as far as Mansfield, where he rested for the night. The next day he had to wait until travellers met together in sufficient numbers to brave the perils of Nottingham Forest, dreaded both for its robbers and for the intricacies of the road. He accomplished this journey in safety, and reaching London, not only sold his goods to his satisfaction, but he obtained many orders for more. His success encouraged others to follow his example, but this is believed to be the first instance of personal inter- course with the Metropolis. Many humorous incidents arose when old-fashioned Shef- fielders, with their narrow local notions, first found themselves face to face with the more cosmopolitan ideas of London. Enoch Trickett, a genuine broad " Old Shevvielder," who was in partnership with his brother William‹Master Cutler in I77I‹as a file manufacturer in Coalpit Lane, had his imagination fired by stories of the large orders and the high prices to be obtained in London. So rolling down his shirt sleeves, and throwing aside his leather apron, he donned his Sunday best, swathed his throat in the unac- customed luxury of a neckerchief, and without misadventure, reached London. Entering a merchant's warehouse, he produced patterns, and discanted on the excellence of his files. They asked prices, and what discount was allowed ? " Discount," he said, " what's that ? Oi ne'er heard tell on it afore." It was explained that by making an allowance of so much per cent., he would get an order, and on receipt of the goods money ~would be remitted in payment. " Way, oi 've telled yo t' price on em, an' beloike oi 'st expect t' brass for 'em." Further explanations only elicited from him the indig- nant exclamation, ~' Soa, yo wanten me to gie yo so much money to buy t' foiles." 'The terms on which an order would be given were again rehearsed, but Enoch's patience was exhausted, so " lapping up " his files he said, " Nay, lad, nay; oi can sell 'em for moor nor that at Breetmoor s onny toime, and tak t' brass whooam wi' me when ween 'livered." And Enoch formed so poor an opinion of London doings, that, thereaher, he stayed at home. Tom Wood, uho lived at the bottom of Pea Croft in a house boasting a garden in front, was another early adventurer to London. One day, while there, he returned to his inn sorely bothered, and stood with his back to the fire. Dis- satisfied with the heat it gave out, he turned round to poke and mend it, but finding no coal, he rang the bell. " Bring some coblins," he said, " some coblins, and be quick." The waiter went to the cook, who sent word she was very sorry, but there were none." ~'Then bring some sleck," said he; getting angry. The cook was again appealed to. " You must send up something," said the waiter, ~' for the gentleman is in a passion." So, concocting some sort of edibles, a dish was served with many apologies and hopes that it was right. Thls brought out the truth. ~ Oh, plenty o' good boiled beef dld 1 get when I were e' Lunnon," said a " Little Mester " to Jacky Fox, " but the deuce on a porringer o' broth." But the sterling excellence of the Sheffield goods, backed up by the knowing adroitness of Sheffield men, forced them into good repute. The fame which attaches to this day, to the shoemakers' and butchers' knives sent out from Sycamore Street, bearinx the name of John Wilson, with the well-known trade mark of four peppercorns and a diamond, was laid by the founder of the firm, when, sallying from his shop at Ran Moor, or Hallam, he packed up a stock of his goods, and trudged off with them into Lancashire. Thomas Wilson had shreudly seen the advantage of dispensing with factors, and of getting into direct contact with his customers, without the intervention of middlemen. So, in his own person, he com- bined the functions of commercial traveller and hawker. Wherever he sold any knives, he told the purchasers he should come again at a fixed time, when, if the article did not suit, he would return the money. On his next journey, instead of complaints, he found such an increased demand that some of the retail shops would gladly have bought all his stock. But, declining, their proposals, and keeping his promlse to his purchasers, he readily sold all he had taken, and went home to manufacture more. From that time to this, the quality has been so well maintained that the WiIson mark is a certificate of excellence all over the world. The foundations of another large trade were laid with even greater ingenuity. The Harrisons, of Hollis Croft, were early saw manufacturers. The fame of their house, and the fortune which was afterwards manifest at Weston Hall and in the large benefactions of the Misses Harrison, began in this wise. Thomas Harrison took with him to London a workman named Elick Rutter. Him he sent, dressed like a carpenter, and in his shirt sleeves, apparently fresh from his work bench, among the London shops, asking for ~'Harrison's saws." None of the shopkeepers had ever heard of such a maker. They had of course, saws by this eminent firm and the other which they recommended to the customer, but he would have none of them, declaring that no saws were like Harrison's, and theirs he must have. This from an actual user of tools, made its due impression, and a few days afterwards, when Mr. Harrison happened to call soliciting orders, he found no difficulty in obtaining them. This story is authentic, since it comes from an old workman of Harrison's, who knew Rutter well. Thus, little by little, by such means as these, and still more by the increased facilities for external enterprise sketched in this Chapter, Sheffield trade was enlarged, and Sheffield manufacturers and merchants stepped on to a higher plane. The fashioh of their fathers of living in houses adjacent to the workshops and warehouses in the older streets of the town, no longer contented them; and they began to build themselves comfortable and substantial residences in the outskirts. The first and most notable, but not the happiest, indication of growing ambition and wealth, was the erecion, in 1773, of Page Hall by Thomas Broadbent, whose family has already been mentioned at the beginning of this Chapter as merchants and bankers, in the front rank of the pioneers of the second half of the centnry. Thomas Broadbent was, manifestly a man of large ideas, inspired by a confidence that the prosperity he enjoyed was a permanent thing. But like many another, both before and since, that vaulting ambitioll which had been imputed as the besetting sin of his rivals, the Roebucks, o'er leapt itself. He began his new- house, on land bought by his father, described in the early deeds as "Page Field" and "Page Greave," on a scale which caused much shakin~ of heads among his wiseacre neighbours, who prophesied a bad end to such exctravagance. They were not long deprived of the gloomy satisfaction lurking in the phrase, " I told you so.' Mlr. Broadbent soon discovered that he had not sufficiently counted the cost, and that his plans were too grand for his purse. Perforce, he curtailed the dimensions of the house, in a way plainly to be secn in the entrance hall to this day. This was but the presage of greater evils for in seven years (1780), came the misfortune which compelled the banking firm in the Hartshead to suspend payment, and Page Hall was mortgaged to Mr. James Milnes, of Thornes House, Wake- field, the trustee under the bankruptcy.* Meersbrook,+ erected about the same time, by one of the Roebucks, was a similar example of an undue confidence in the stability of prosperity. Like Mr. Broadbent, Mr. Roebuck built that another, Mr. Samuel Shore, might enter upon his labours, and the Shores had, in a later generation, their full share of commercial misfortunes. But many merchants of the period were either more prudent or more lucky. They built the plain but substantial residences which stand, mostly shorn of their surrounding glories, to this day, to show the contrast between the honest workmanship of the past and the jerry-building of the present. Such houses were that of Mr. Joseph Bailey, at Burn Greave, of Mr. John Henfrey, at Highfield, of Mr. Jonathan Marshall on Pyebank, of Mr. Sitwell, Mount Pleasant, Mr. William Shore, Tapton Grove, and many others. The prosperity of the Sheffield factors and manufacturers of a hundred years ago, was not without its seamy side‹that is to say, some portion of it was freely attributed, and no doubt rightly, to a readiness to take undue advantage of the necessities of those whose manual labour helped to make their wealth. " The Stuffing system " was a plan which had its origin in the days of imperfect means of exchange; when the ----------------- * In 178G, it was conveyed to Mr. George Bustard Greaves, who married the heiress of the Clays, of Bridgehouses. He subsequently resided at Elmsall Lodge, near Pontefract, but retained possession of Page Hall until his death in 1835, when Mr. James Dixon, whose biography is one o{ the striking manufacturing episodes of the town, became the purchaser. It remained in the possession of his son, the late Mr. William Frederick Dixon, until his death, and the estate was sold in May, I874, to Mr. Mark Firth, who gave a portion of it for the purposes of a public park, opened by the Prince of Wales, August 16th, I875. Since then the Hall has suffered the decadence that attends upon proper- ties overtaken by the extension of a great manufacturing town. Mr. Broadbent died at Sandall, near Wakefield, in 18I3. + Now the Ruskin Museum, standing in a public park. ----------------- circulation of money was sluggard, and its transmission from place to place both costly and dangerous. The early accounts of the Town Trustees show that when payment had to be made to creditors at a distance, there was nothing for it but to go to the expense and to run the risk of sending a messenger with the coin. Naturally enough, to avoid this as much as possible, goods were exchanged for goods. The distant customers of the Sheffield factors sent, in payment for cutlery, not cheques, for they were unknown, but tea, hams, spirits, cloth, cotton, drapery‹anything which they produced or imported. These commodities had to be turned into cash locally, and thus it came to pass that firms like Harwood and Thomas, whose premises were on the site of the Sheffield Banking Company's Bank in George Street, had rooms fitted up with shelves and counter, resembling a regular draper's shop; while many factors, among whom were Hoult Rowbotham, Wingfield and Wade, in Tenter Street, and Lockwoods, in Arundel Street, had signs, outside their premises, stating that they were licensed to sell tea, or spirits. There was no great harm in this of itself, and when rightly used. For instance one house, doing a home trade and not concerning itself with the foreign merchants, had good connections with Belfast, and frequently received in exchange for hardware, hogsheads of hams, or bales of linen. It also kept black and green tea. A11 these were sold at fair prices, with little pressure, if any, on the cutlers to buy them. but in unscrupulous hands the system was capahle of grave abuse. For the factors, compelled to take payment in kind from their customers, passed it on to the manufacturers who in turn, required the workmen to accept wages for their labour not in money, but in goods‹and in goods, moreover retailed to them at exorbitant rates, and irrespective of quality. It was recognised as an evil as early as I680, when the Cutlers' Company sought to prevent the injury caused by "divers persons" imposing upon the artificers of hardware "certain commodities instead of ready money for their wares, and at excessive rates, to the great damage and almost utter ruin of the tradesmen." This forcing of stuff, concretely " stuffing," upon men who could not help themselves, was also called "taking up." The firm of Beilby and Pro~tor, and the Baileys (Bailey, Eadon and Bailey) had, rightly or wrongly, the reputation of largely carrying on the obnoxious system‹and the unpopularity they incurred lasted so long after the system fell into desuetude, that the defeat of Mr. Samuel Bailey, at the first Parliamentary election for Sheffield, ~as attributed by some in close touch with public sentiment, to the prejudice still existing in the minds of the townsfolk against the race of factors to whom he had belonged. For it must he obvious that " stuffing" was not merely an injustice to the workpeople, it had the further effect of competing cruelly with shopkeepers, and so robbing them of their customers. The system was worked in this way: When a cutler came to " sattle " for the wares he had " livered" at the warehouse, the master, instead of paying him in money, gave him a credit note on a factor (or, when he was both a manufacturer and a factor, on his own factor's department) for certain articles of food, especially cheese and tea, or for various descriptions of clothing. "This 'stuffing,"' wrote Mr. John Holland, who had personal knowledge of its ramifications, " was not only compulsory, but the prices charged were generally exorbitant; of course they were paid for by a " setting up," or weekly instalments, or stoppages on the cash side of the wages book. This was convenient to the employer as a mode of barter hetween him and the merchant with whom he dealt. Both made an unfair proift by it, and it tethered the workman by a perpetual debt." Cases are on record in which men had to accept tea, in payment of wages, at as much as twelve shillings a pound‹when, even as far back as 1760, a fair price was eight shillings. But abominable as was the " stuffing" system, carried out as it was with a great amount of fraud and extortion, it had its favourable side, which is more than can be said for the " swag shops" whose operation was unmitigatedly evil. These were establishments purely and simply designed to prey on the misfortunes of others, their chief victims being " little mesters" in difficulties. When short of ready money, and without any market for their goods, they sold them to the swag shops at, of course, a large percentage of loss. but worse than this, unscrupulous factors' buyers, not inappropriately known as "devils," would make excuses to reject goods, even that had been ordered, when brought in, with the deliberate purpose of forcing the makers to the swag shops, and of buying them there from themselves at a lower price. John ~Toolman, the American Quaker,* gives some par- ticulars+ which may be compared with what was said in the first chapter of this book,# of the rates of wages and prices of necessaries he found current in England: " On enquiry in many places I find the price of rye about 5s., wheat 8s. per hushel; oatmeal I2s. per I20 Ibs.; mutton from 3d. to 5d. per Ib.; bacon from 7d. to 9d.; cheese from 4d. to 6d.; butter frorn 8d. to 10d.; house-rent for a poor man from 25s. to 40s. per year, to be paid weekly; wood for fire very scarce and dear; coal in some places 2s.6d. per cwt., but near the pits not a quarter so much. " The wages of labouring men in severa] counties towards London at tenpence per day in common business, the employer finds small beer and the labourer finds his own food but in harvest and haytime wages are about Is. per day, and the labourer hath all his diet. In some parts of the north of England poor labouring men have their food where they work and appear in common to do rather better than nearer London Industrious women who spin in the factories get some four pence, some fivepence, and so on to six seven, eight, nine or tenpence per day and find their own house-room and diet Great numbers of poor people live chiefly on bread and water in the southern parts of England, as well as in the northern parts and there are many poor children not even taught to read. ----------------- * See note, p. p8. + Journal, pp. 233, 234. , # Ante, pp. 4, 5. ------------- ******************************************************************************** * This out of copyright material has been transcribed by Eric Youle, who has * * provided the transcription on condition that any further copying and * * distribution of the transcription is allowed only for noncommercial * * purposes, and includes this statement in its entirety. Any references to, * * or quotations from, this material should give credit to the original * * author(s) or editors. * ********************************************************************************
THERE is a suspicion that the earlier Sheffield cutlery was of a rough description, coarse and inferior, and suited only for use among the poorer people. It has been said that the London and Salisbury makers, as well as foreign rivals, were far in advance of the Hallamshire smiths in the pro- duction of the finer qualities. But the evidence in favour of this view is not definite enough to be wholly convincing. Various seventeenth century references to cutlery have been quoted from old writers, but some of them, so far from bearing out the contention, go to prove the opposite. There is, for instance, the recommendation of Peter Bales (I590) to provide, for making quills, " a good (pen) knife, right Sheffield is best "; and Hallamshire knives were being exported abroad in I586 and I589. At this time, too (the reign of Queen Elizabeth), the Earl of Shrewsbury thought the Sheffield cutlery not unworthy of the acceptance of Lord Burghley; and he accom- panied his gift of " a case of Hallamshire whittels" with a remark which shows how celebrated they were, since he commended them as " being such fruits as his pore countrey afforded with fame throughout the realm." The preamble to the Act of James I. (I624) incorporating the Cutlers' Company, speaks of the manner in which the inhabitants, engaged in the cutlery trade, had, " by their industry and labour, gained the reputation of great skill and dexterity," and " made knives of the best edge, wherewith they served the most part of this kingdom and other foreign countries." The main object of this Act was to keep up the reputation of their manufactures by providing against the incursion of " deceitful and unwork- manlike wares"; and it insisted that the edge of all steel instruments should be made of steel and steel only‹no cast iron " sow metal gudgeons "were to pass muster. The Steward's accounts of disbursements made at the Manor Lodge and Sheffield Castle contain references to purchases of cutlery in the early seventeenth century; and in the eighteent}l century the Cutlers' Company not unfrequently make presents of " silver-hafted knives and forks " to the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, or other distinguished people. It is not, however, desirable to press the argument that may be based on these matters too far; and it must be freely admitted that the commoner kinds of cutlery have always been made here. There is a curious old publication, written in a vein intended to be comic, called " The Wandering Spy or the Merry Travellers" (I720), which boasts that one How, of Southend, made a knife that If touched upon a stair, or stone, Will cut a sirloin to the bone, And at one stroke, to human wonder, Divide the stubborn jointsllsunder. And this is compared with Sheffield blades, unfavourably to the latter: No Yorkshire carrier at a meal Durst draw a Sheffield blade of steel, And boast his cutting country bauble If one of How's adorns the table. Their rustic tools are only fit For rural poesies, void of wit, And to divide fat pork or peasen, Or cut down hooks in nutting season. It is legitimate to receive with scepticism this eulogy of the wares of the Southend dealer, when we remember that the name " How," with a cross and sort of Prince of Wales feathers, was a Hallamshire corporate mark struck by one Thomas Maxfield in Balm Green. There was also a Robert How, in " Old Waterhouse," a cutler, in I774. This How was, it is true, a maker of spring knives; and Maxfield is given in the Directories of I774 and I787, not as a table knife cutler, but as striking the How mark on wool shears and joiners' tools; yet the connection is significant enough to suggest an early instance of what has been very injurious to Sheffield's reputation‹so marking cutlery as to allow persons and places at a distance to rob the town of its credit and good name. And the process has been all too successful, in spite of those who, in the days when "rural poesies" were placed on cutlery, boldly challenged London's supremacy by such legends, whether etched on blade, or printed under transparent scales, as: Sheffield made, both haft and blade London for your life, show me such a knife. Or again, Sharpen me well and keep me clean, And I'll cut my way through fat and lean. I'm a Sheffield blade, 'tis true; Pray what sort of blade are you ? Other specimens of cutlers' poetry are: To carve your meate is my intent; Use me, but let me not be lent. And on the other side of the haft: I'll wait upon you at the table, And doe what service I am able. The proprietors of some of the lower class of eating-houses in London‹ "threepenny ordinaries "‹marked the estimate in which they held their customers and the store they set by their cutlery, by chaining the knives and forks to the tables, as pencils are tied at Postal telegraph counters. The statement by Sir Arnold Knight referred to in the preceding chapter, that up to the beginning of the eighteenth century grinding was not a distinct branch of business, but was performed by men also engaged in other departments of the cutlery trade, gives some confirmation to the belief that Sheffield cutlery was not, aforetime, distinguished by very high quality, or its artizans by great skill. For grinding is notoriously a diffcult process, requiring a larger experience and finer manipulation than was likely to be attained by men who, instead of devoting their whole energies to it, took it as one of many duties incidental to their calling. Labour so diffused could not be equal in its products to labour specialised. But Dr. Gatty cannot be right when he makes the date of grinding as a separate department of labour cotemporary with the founding of the first steam wheel in I786; since the grinders were sufficiently organised in I748 to form a benefit society for their own branch. There is much that is suggestive, and probably significant, in the marked contrast ever noticeable between the grades of cutlery made in the town and those made in the surrounding villages. The Directory of I787 puts common pocket and pen knives, and common scissors, in distinct categories; and it is to be noted that while there were then ninety makers of pen and pocket knives " in general " in the town, there were only six outside‹and those close at hand, at Bridgehouses, Atter- cliffe, and Neepsend; while there were 114 makers of common knives in the surrounding villages, but only thirty in the town. And the same is true of scissors. With the exception of one maker at Attercliffe and one at Brightside, all the "fine scissor" manufacturers were in the town; while there were as many makers of common scissors in the outlying hamlets as inside. " Flatbacks" and spotted hafts" came chiefly from Wadsley, Walkley, Heeley, Dungworth, Darnall, and other places. Wadsley seems early to have gained for itself the reputation which long made its name a bye-word synonymous with worthless cutlery. A clergyman who had been brought up among the cutlers of Coalpit Lane, writing, in I745, of worthless discourses easily reeled off, says: " This expeditious way of sermonising puts me in mind of the method made use of by some cutlers, whose professed rule is 'rap Robin and away with them'; but then such knives are justly called " Wadsley knofct-ons." That may be taken to be a current saying of the period, expressive of things hastily made and hurriedly got out of the way. We cannot but suppose that the localisation of industries, so prominent in the shear, sickle, and scythe trades of the villages to the south of the town, was characteristic also of what had obtained through many preceding generations in the making of knives. The striking manner in which special manufactures cling to certain localities is usually attributed to the settling here of refugees driven from the Netherlands, about I570, by the persecutions of the Duke of Alva. And the way in which each village was, and still is, celebrated for some particular manufacture is said to have originated in the exiles having distributed themselves according to their special branches of the craft‹sickle-smiths in one spot, scythe- makers in another, and so on. To the skill brought by these aliens is credited a distinct advance in the quality of local cutlery. The earliest cutlery made here was knives, scissors, and sickles. These are all mentioned in whal Mr. Sidney O. Addy, in his Sheffield Glossary, deems to have been the earliest English Dictionary, attributed to the first half of the fifteenth century‹the Catholicon Anglicum. He gives strong evidence for believing that the author of this book was well ac- quainted with this neighbourhood. In it are mentioned arrow- heads, knives (of several kinds), razors, scissors, sickles, and their several parts‹hafts, tangs, ferrules; as well as processes of manufacture‹forging, glazing, and smithing. The places where the cutlery is made are " smythies"; and the smith has his "paire of tangs" (tongs), his "stythy," and his "blawe bellows." There is no mention of files. It is decidedly puzzling to find a "thwytelle" explained by the Latin word dolabrum, which was a butcher's hatchet or cleaver; for thwytelle has always been accepted as the forerunner of the whittle, the simplest form of knife‹just a blade with a tang fitted into a handle, like those used by butchers and shoe- makers, or a very rude table-knife. It is impossible to suppose that the " Shefeld thwitel," or thwytelle, which Chaucer's oft- quoted Miller of Trumpington bare " in his hose," was a butcher's cleaver, and not a rough but ready knife. Furnished with a sheath, and carried in the stocking, this implement was handy for all purposes, domestic, agricultural, and, on occasion, for defence or offence. The sheath was so essential, before the days of clasp or spring knives, that its manufacture by sheathers was a distinct branch of trade. The Catholicon speaks of " the chape" of a knife. This was the metal plate, or mounting of a scabbard or sheath, particularly that which covers the point. We may fairly take it that whatever the quality of the Sheffield cutlery may have been previously, it was, throughout the eighteenth century, of constantly increasing excellence. The year I640 has been given as, approximately, the date when files and razors were first made here. It is not possible to fix with any precision the time at which the manufacture of saws and edge-tools was begun‹whether by the Netherlanders or earlier. But we do know that in I675-6, awl-blade-smiths and in I68I-2, file-smiths and scythe-smiths, were of sufficient importance to be admitted within the ranks of the Cutlers' Company. In I705-6 that Company spent considerable sums " in suppressing the designs and prosecuting of Mr. Hinchcliff who had hired several persons of this corporation to go with him to Stockholm, in order to settle an iron manufactory trade in those parts"; and in I725-27 the skill of the Sheffield file makers was in such repute that efforts were made, and forcibly resisted, to tempt them to carry their industry and their tools to France. The first improvement on the whittle was the jack-knife, a rude device for shutting the blade in the haft. The blade moved on a pin. When opened, it was kept in position for cutting by a catch, which rested on the back of the scales Dr. Gatty* has made an ingenious attempt to give the credit for this improvement to one John of Liege. This is based largely on the statement of a Dr. Somerville, who wrote in the eighteenth century; and on the name " Jocktleteg," or " Jack- a-legs." But the evidence is not satisfactory, and there is good reason to believet that the smiths of Liege took their patterns from, rather than supplied them to, England. The date I650 has been assigned as the time when spring- knives, at first with iron handles, began to be made. Their inventor is one of those unknown benefactors whose name is omitted from the rolls of fame. It has been suggested that as they were originally called couteaux‹a name found in use down to a late period#‹the device came from France. At first spring-knives were but clumsy, and made with only one -------------------- * Gatty's Hunter's Hallamshire, p 165. + Local Notes and Queries, Sheffield Independcnt, April IIth, I878. # Wilson Joseph, cuttoe and pen knife cutler, Castlefold" (1774)' "Abdy John, Howard Street, couteau and graver maker" (I787). In the list of Common Pocket and Pen Knife Manufacturers in the 1787 Directory, " those who make pen knives have the word Pen put against their names; the others make only couteaux." ------------------ blade. "Flat-backs" followed one-blade spring-knives. In stead of the blade and the spring being got up before the knife is "nailed in," or riveted together, as is the case with " round- backs," the flat-back was made up entire and then ground, the scales, springs, and covering all being ground flat at one operation and the blade at another. Then were many varieties introduced, the technicalities of which it would be tedious to recount. There were " stamped knives," with brass scales ornamented by being struck in a die; " framed knives," where ivory, tortoiseshell, or bone was bevelled into brass; " Chinese knives," with scales pressed from horn, and a neat device cut in the boss. " Diamonding," or scratching the bone scale in diamond shapes came in about I755-58, and for some time the process remained a profitable secret to its possessor. Horn pressing was used and tortoiseshell, but the dearness of the latter substance soon compelled resort to an imitation, and spotted knives," made with this, were very popular, and became, as already stated, an extensive industry in the villages. The imitation was effected by burning dark marks into clear horn, by treating it with a composition in which lime was an ingredient. This sham tortoiseshe]l was also largely used by comb-makers, and it is still sometimes seen in the commoner class of razors, though its employment for knives has quite died out. 'The Directory of I787 specifies just one manufacturer of spotted knives‹Tholllas Beet, land- lord of the Seven Stars, Trippet Lane. He was still using the mark (a fish hook) of Edward Beet, one of the many makers of these articles in I787. The stamping of bolsters in a boss saved labour and gave variety, for, until then, bolsters were either plain, or filed by hand. One in- genious mechanic devised an instrument for neatly preparing the scales for the reception of a shield: and, being ever ready to barter for a pot of ale the advantages that would have accrued from keeping this in his own hands, the plan was widely adopted. Another workman, an apprentice in Pepper Alley, improved upon the original one-blade pocket-knife, by making a "slit-spring knife," uith two blades side by side; and from this it was a natural step so to shape springs as to allow of a blade at each end. " Stafford knivcs," called after their maker in Broad Lane, were an early and very popular form of the improved cutlery, and with " Barlow " knives had a great vogue, which has not yet wholly died out. The process of horn pressing tempted makers into trying a great number of ingenious devices. The pocket knife, dear to the boyish heart, was used as a bait for seducing its owner into mastering the mysteries of the alphabet, and we come upon entries wllich show that it was worth the while of manufacturers to devote themselves exclusively to the making of " children's A B C knives." Scales were also utilised for the expression of patriotic sentiments, or of political ardour. pen-knife which obtained some popularity at the time of Napoleon s overthrow, had on one side a full-length figure of Wellington, holding in his right hand the Field Marshal's baton, while over his head the eagle of victory floated in the air. The other side gave a figure of Peace, standing on a pedestal and waving aloft four banners which bore the names of the allies‹England, Austria, Prussia, and Russia. On the pedestal was the inscription, " Perish the usurper who over- threw Europe and banished national rights." A partner in Wedgwood's potteries was connected by marriage witlh Sheffield, and the celebrated ware of that firm was at one time introduced as a material ior knife hafts. 'This gave rise to an angry revolt on the part of the cutlers significant as an early instance of their readiness to resort to " rattening" as a corrective to unfair competition. For one Baddeley, of Hanley, commenced fraudulently but successfully to copy their imitations of stag, buck, and buffalo horn handles. The workmen refused to make them up, and threats were sent to the masters that if they persisted in using this man's terra- cotta handles their works would be blown up. The employers gave way, and when Haddeley's son visited Sheffield, an attack was made upon him, and he was served with a written intimation that if he did not discontinue to supply the handles he and his works would be " done for." An immense stride in perfecting scissors was taken in 176I, when on Robert Hinchliffe produced the first pair made of cast steel, hardened and polished. The story is that love stimulated his inventive genius, and that his efforts were inspired by desire to win the affections of a young woman whom he wished to take for wife. The forming of the bows was his greatest difficulty. His first method was to make them solid; then drilling a hole, he enlarged this to the required size by laboriously filing away the metal. Afterwards he hit upon a simpler plan, and a ready sale was found for his wares in London and other markets. He lived in Cheney Square, and was reputed to be the first person who put out a signboard proclaiming himself " fine scissor manufacturer. ' The increasing luxury of the people had created a demand for forks; edge-tools and joiners' tools had also made their appearance among the trades of the town. With the multipli- cation of the cutlers had grown the demand for the fittings of their shops, and thus the manufacture of anvils, vices, and hammers had taken the position of recognised trades. In I774, " lancet and phlem makers " were a distinct class‹and the manufacture of surgical instruments implies both excellence of material and skill in workmanship and finish. So from I700 to I800 the industries of the town continued to increase and multiply, in general slowly, but occasionally with strides which form landmarks in the history of hardware manufactures. The period is illuminated by the brilliance of two notable discoveries made nearly at the same time, towards the middle of the century, by Sheffield men. The inventions of the art of silver-plating by Thomas Bolsover, and of making cast-steel by Benjamin Huntsman, were destined to have immense effect. The value of the latter, at least, was not all at once apprehended. The wise men of Sheffield obstinately refused to use Huntsman's steel. They complained that it was much harder than anything to which they had been accus- tomed. But Huntsman found the French more appreciative, and the superiority the foreigners began to attain thereby raised a competition which forced the Sheffield cutlers to adopt cast -steel. It has been customary among writers on this subject to say that up to this time the steel used in Sheffield was mostly imported from Germany and other countries, and it has been asserted that steel was not converted here until some years after Huntsman's invention, the process reaching us by way of Newcastle.* But this does large injustice to Sheffield. That steel was converted here and was used by the file-smiths in 1709, is shown by the draft of the agreement previously named,+ drawn up in that year to be entered into between Samuel Shore, "ironmonger," and Henry Ball, of Sheffield, steel maker. In this it was set forth that Samuel Shore, the owner of several furnaces for making steel, had usually employed Ball " for the making, slitting, and gadding of steel," and they proposed mutually to agree that Shore was exclusively to employ Ball, and Ball was exclusively to make steel for Shore, at ten shillings a heat, with two shillings compassionate money to Ball's mother. The agreement was not executed, a covenant being substituted, by which, during ten years, Ball, for 6s. a week, is to make, slitt, and gad all the steel said Shore has occasion for, having a man to assist him; he is not to make or gad for anybody, nor slit only for Sam Bayley, Sampson Bayleyt and Tho. Sayles, filecutters, for what they shall use for their own occasions. And Widow Ball is to have sixpence a week " while she lives of the ten years." " Slitting" was cutting, by a machine, thin bars of converted steel into strips, ready for the cutlers; "gadding" was hammering out these strips into still smaller sizes. Iron was prepared in the same way for nail makers. The Middlewood Forge is still known among the old people of the locality as "the slitting mill." It is believed that the process of " gadding " still lingers in one or two old-fashioned works. Again, we know that in I748 the Walkers, to whom is attributed the ~slim" device which robbed Huntsman of his secret, began erecting steel furnaces and pot furnaces at Grenoside.# Huntsman removed from Doncaster to Hands- worth in I742, and there he was prosecuting his experiments with steel until he established his works at Attercliffe in I772. It is probable that he had furnaces for converting steel by the cementation process at Handsworth; it is certain that he had ----------------- * Gatty's Hunter, p. I67n, and Sheffield Local Register (1785), p. 59. + Ante, p.5. Local Notes and Queries, Jan. 6, I879. # Gatty's Hunter, p. 211. --------------- them at Attercliffe, as is shown by views of his works in the possession of his descendants. Mr. R. A. Hadfield (Master Cutler, I899) has called attention* to accounts of the processes of making steel in Newcastle and Sheffield, given by a French expert, M. Gabriel Jars, who visited these towns about the year I764. In his " Voyages Metallurgiques," Jars reports that Swedish bar-iron was largely converted by cementatlon at Newcastle, and sent in great quantities to Sheffield and Birmingharb but he found that " dans la ville de Sheffield et dans ses envirolls, on convertit une tres grande quantitie de fer en acier," in furnaces built on the same principle as those of Newcastle, but on a minor scale for economy in construction, and so dealing with smaller "heats." And M. Jars, in another place, gives an account of Huntsman's process of refining steel by fusion, and says that attempts made to imitate this at Newcastle had " succeeded badly." It has been suggested that the earliest blister-steel makers here‹Samuel Shore in I709 and the Walkers in I784‹used local iron, and that the advantage Newcastle temporarily gained was through imitating the Germans, and imporling the produds of the Swedish mines. For although there are traces of Sheffield buying Danish and Spanish iron as early as 1557,+ ------------------ * The Early History of Crucible Steel; " paper read before The Iron and Steel Institute, August, 1894. Also, " Voyages Metallurgiques (dedie a l' Acadcmie Royal des Sciences de Paris), par M. G. Jars," and published in 1774, Vol, I., pp. 225, 257. Mr. Hadfield quotes a highly eulogistic report on Huntsman's Cast-Steel, by Fourness ad Ashworth, Engineers to their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duke of Clarence. The writers say they are the more induced to set forth the merits of this, the best cast-steel made in this or any other country, be- cause during the course of more than thirty ears of time devoted to the manufacturing of it, Huntsman has so much neglected his own interest and credit as never to give the public any account of his steel. They themselves only by accident heard of it, and they offer their information as friends to a man who ought, in an advanced stage of life, as well for his own gratification as his family's prosperity and comfort, to be repaid, by the increase of trade, for his expenditure of time, and his sedulity in contributing to the convenience of the mechanical part of society. " This is dated March 28th, 1792. The writers were evidently unaware that the inventor for whose interests they ~were so generously concerned, had died in 1776. + Gatty's Hunter, p. I2n. ----------------- we know that iron smelting in this neighbourhood is a very ancient industry, and was practised certainly in Norman times, and probably even by the Romans. In the Civil Wars both Royalists and Parliamentarians availed themselves of the iron works they found hereabouts for casting cannon and cannon- balls; and early in the eighteenth century the local forges were of considerable importance. It was therefore natural for the local steel makers to use the raw material nearest to hand. There has been preserved a memorandum about the priccs of bar-iron and rod-iron sold at Sheffield between the years I695 and I724.+ UP to I7I6 there was so steady an increase that " Mr. Shore and Mr. Cotton were thereby encouraged to set up their iron works, and then the great prices began to be given for cordwood. And in I722, the Duke of Norfolk's forge masters, to be revenged of Mr. Shore and Mr. Cotton, fell their price of iron." In I724 iron sold for £I7 bars, £I8 I5S. rods. "It so continucd until about two years ago (probably about I720) that forelgn iron came into England at a low price, and the forge masters have since sold at £I6 bars and £I7 I5S. rod." We have also# the details of calculations made by Mr. John Fell, of Attercliffe Forge, as to the cost of producing iron, having especial regard to the quantity of cord- wood obtainable from the Duke of Norfolk and other land owners. The " foreign iron," whose competition is above referred to, was probably iron from the American Colonies, for from I736 to I757 there was vehement pressure put upon Parliament to prohibit the importation of iron from the slitiing mills of New England, the usual wail of Proteciion being raised that otherwise the home iron tracle would be utterly ruined. The tanners added their voice for prohibition, urging the ingenious plea that if the English forges were discontinued the growing of timber would be discouraged, or the forests would remain uncut, so that there would be neither oak for ship-building nor bark for tanning. On the other hand there was expressed in petitions to Parliament, the more enlightened view of the wisdom of encouraging, by free import, the produce of our Colonies, thus rendering us independent of supplies from -------------- + Local Notes and Queries, Sheffield Independent, September 28th, 1874. # Ib., Octobcr 5th, 1874. --------- Sweden and other foreign countries.* In the end the Free Traders prevailed, and in I757 it was enacted that American bar-iron should be admitted duty free. The Directory of I774 gives the names of three firms then making cast steel‹Benj. Huntsman, at Attercliffe, Bolsover and Co., Sycamore Street, and John Marshall, Millsands. There are two others described generally as steel manufacturers ‹Greaves, Loftus and Brightmore, Townhead Cross, and William Parker and Co., Hawley Croft. In I787 there were five refiners and fifteen converters. In I797, fifteen in all (including the Walkers of Masbro'), refiners not being distinguished from converters. The substitution of rolling for the more primitive process of hammering must be noted as an important step in the development of the iron and steel industries. It came into special prominence in connection with Henry Cort's improve- ments in the manufacture of iron in I783. The process had already been applied by silver platers. In the first instance, these rolled by hand, then horse-power was substituted; and Joseph Hancock, the man who was chiefly instrumental in demonstrating the wide adaptability of Bolsover's invention to many purposes, devoted himself to rolling metal required by the silver-plate manufacturers. At one time he was, it is said, in High Street, facing the end of George Street, behind the premises occupied by Kippax and Nowill, but in 1787 he was in Union Street, where he is described as " plated metal roller." He afterwards utilised water power for rolling at the Old Park Mill. Thomas Bolsover, having, by his fortunate discovery of silver-plating, benefited others rather than himse}f, became a manufacturer of " saws, fenders, edge tools, cast- steel and emory," in Sycamore Street; and, extending the rolling process to steel, he erected, about I769, mills on the Porter Brook, below his house, Whiteley Wood Hall. Perhaps he did not wholly give up silver-plating. It has been said,+"that, in addition to his rolling mills, he erected at Whiteley Wood what are now known as " Forge houses " as
---------- * Local Notes and Queries, Sheffield Independent, May 25th, 1874. + Ib., August 22nd, 1878, ------------ a plating manufactory, where buttons and snuff-boxes were made, " buffing " being done higher up the stream, on the site of Fulwood Corn Mill. Joseph Mitchell and Co.‹who succeeded Bolsover and Co., Mitchell being Bolsover's son-in- law‹made gilt and plated-buttons in addition to edge-tools and saws; which seems to give confirmation to the above statement. The ruins of the Whiteley Wood Works remain to this day, and the name of their site, Bowser (Bolsover, Bowsever) Bottom, perpetuates the spirited but ill-starred enterprise of one of Sheffield's industrial pioneers. An illustration of the value of rolling may be found in the change it effected in the saw trade. Formerly the steel for each saw was hammered out of the bar, but this tedious labour being superseded by the new process, it became possible quickly to roll sheets of the required ihickness, which had then simply to be cut into the necessary sizes. And instead of the antiquated plan of making saws thicker at the tooth edge than in the blade‹so that in working they might clear themselves, " gait " was given by the simple but ingenious device of setting the teeth inward and outward alternately. As we have just seen, Bolsover not only rolled steel for saws at Whiteley Wood, but he made saws too, improving upon the technical skill of the local artisans by importing, as foremen, two makers who had worked for a Mr Manwaring in London. The history of Thomas Bolsover's discovery of silver- plating, and its influence on the prosperity of the town, has been well and exhaustively told by other writers.* It may be of interest, however, to focus a few of the side lights which are beneath the dignity of grave historians, and to give an account of the origin and fortunes of two firms, typical of others. ------------------ * See Gatty's Hunter's Hallamshire, pp. I68-9; Autobiography of Samuel Roberts, p. 37; Mr. Arnold T. Watson's paper on the Shefmeld Assay Office (Literary and Philosophical Society's Transactions, October Ist,I88g.) I am indebted for many particulars to the MSS. of the late Mr. Thomas Nicholson (partner in the early firm of Gainsford and Nicholson, Eyre Street), kindly placed at my disposal by his repre- sentatives, through Mr. Arnold T. Watson. I have embodied in this Chapter some of the information given in my paper on '~ The Rise and Growth of the Trades of Sheffield," read before the Social Science Congress when it met here in I865. --------------------- It is worthy of notice how largely the trade of metal button- making, both in Sheffield and in Birmingham, had prepared the ground for taking advantage of the discovery of silver- plating. When Thomas Bolsover, mending a knife in his attic on Sycamore Hill, hit upon the possibility of plating copper with silver by fusion, his dominant idea was to utilise the new process for making buttons; and to this end, in I743 ‹helped, it is said, with capital by Mr. Pegge, of Beauchief, and in conjuntion with Mr. Joseph Wilson‹he set up a factory for the manufacture of plated buttons and buckles on Baker's Hill. It was the sale of these wares, and perhaps also of plated knife handles, snuff boxes, and so forth, that was snatched from him by a dishonest traveller to the advantage of unscrupulous rivals. Joseph Hancock, who, with an outlook beyond buttons, first realised the capabilities of Bolsover's discovery, was but a brazier. Michael Boulton, a man of fine endowments, possessing what Smiles calls " a genius for business of the highest order" destined to give practical effect to ~Tatt's great invention of the steam engine, was a Sheffield button-maker. Negotiations between him and Mr. Richard Morton for a partnership here were broken off on a petty squabble over a paltry £40 as partner's salary; where- upon Mr. Boulton betook himself, in I764, to Birmingham, with results written large not only on the silver-plating trade but also on the history of our national industries.- While some of the early platers began thus as button- makers, others were cutlers, the transition, when plated knife handles came in, being easy. Henry Tudor, then in the employment of Young and Hoyland as button chaser, was hit upon by Dr. Sherburn as a likely practical man to take the ----------- * It is curious to note how Birmingham has benefited by other freaks of fortune. It was indebted to Yorkshire for Dr. Priestley, who, among other bellefits, taught it how to gild buttons without gold at a merely nominal cost; and for electro-plating, the secret of which was sold to Elkingtons by the most commercially practical of many experimenters, Mr. Wright, who had been pupil-assistant to Dr. Shearman, of Rotherham. Per contra, it was an apprentice of Boulton's, one Wilks, who, with another named Mottram, hit upon a great improvement in the cumbrous old method of making plated wire. He kept his secret to himself until out of his indentures, and then came with it to Sheffield, and began business with Mr. Mark Dixon. ------------- head of a concern he contemplated establishing for making best wrought silver plate. The firm of Tudor and Leader, in Tudor Place, originally known as Sycamore Hill, was the result. Thomas Leader was an Essex man who had come here by way of London; and it seems as if the original design had contemplated only the manufacture of such small articles as snuff boxes, for Daniel Leader, Thomas's brother, migrated from Essex in 1760, and was apprenticed to the firm as a " box maker." But the concern grew. It was one of the first to take up the new method of plating, and when the necessity for larger appliances for rolling was felt, Tudor and Leader were the pioneers in substituting horse power for the earlier method of hand labour. A nephew of Tudor's, one Harry Hurst, proved very useful by employing his artistic skill in copying the best silver patterns. Dr. Sherburn showed his appreciation of the efforts of his active partners by be- queathing the bulk of his property to Henry Tudor, with a share in the concern to Thomas Leader. Besides this, he left to the latter a favourite horse, and a funny story is told how Leader, when mounting his new possession for the first time, got up on the wrong side, by putting his right foot in the stirrup. " Gad rat it," said he, when the mistake was pointed out, " what can it mean so that I be on ?" The two working partners lived on the site now occupied by the Free Library. Afterwards, Mr. Tudor went into Tudor House (since occupied in various ways, as the first home of the Dispensary, a Bible Society Depot, and latterly by Corporation Departments), in succession to Dr. Sherburn. The works were across, that is on the north side of, Tudor Street, extending from what is now Surrey Street towards the Theatre Royal‹the site, in recent times, until their present factory was built, of Messrs. Round and Sons' premises.* In ------------------ * In one of the garrets of these works, when taken down in I865, there was revealed a considerable quantity of scrap metal, hidden away in the roof, the booty of some undiscovered thief. It was here that Bolsover was working when the light of his discovery dawned upon him. After- wards he lived up a Court in Norfolk Street. This house became the Second Assay Office, and was so used until I793, when the premises in Fargate, removed during recent improvements, were built at a modest cost of £900. ----------------- front of Tudor House, where is now the Lyceum Theatre, was a bowling green, and Mr. Tudor's gardens extended over all the surrounding space, in front and to the right; the grounds sloping down across what is now Arundel Street, amid sycamore trees, to the margin of the Sheaf. Behind was the garden of Mr. Leader's house, which, with Mr. Tudor's premises and grounds, covered the site where the Music Hall was erected in I823, and also that of the Mechanics' Institute, now the Free Library. The two houses commanded lovely country views. There is another story of Thomas Leader which illustrates at once the rural character of the neighbourhood in those days, and the unwise contempt the older firms felt for new comers. Mr. Leader, walking, with the father of the late Mr. T. Nicholson, in the field through which Surrey Street was afterwards made, remarked that the land below had been measured for building. " Yes," said his companion, " It's for young Roberts and for a plated manufactory, too." " Gad rat it, man," replied Leader, " let them take skimm'd milk that likes; we've got the cream"‹an unfortunate remark, for the industry and untiring energy of Mr. Samuel Roberts, coupled with the mechanical cleverness of his colleague, Mr. Cadman, and aided by the capital of Mr. Naylor, Unitarian Minister, as sleeping partner, enabled the firm of Roberts and Cadman to outstrip all local competitors, and to flourish after Tudor and Leader, either through reckless management or through the commercial difficulties attendant on the ruinous war time, had collapsed. Mr. Tudor was for many years a prominent man in the town's affairs‹as a Town Trustee, one of the first Guardians of the Assay Office, and in other offices. He had the repu- tation of being the proudest man in Sheffield, and this earned for him the title of " My Lord Harry." He was highly indignant at finding another Henry Tudor, a journeyman, between the wind and his nobility, and he vainly endeavoured to bribe the man to change his name. He and Thomas Bolsover, the inventor of silver-plating, married sisters. One of his daughters, by a second wife, became Mrs. Rowland Hodgson, wife of the friend of Montgomery and George Bennet.* From a younger daughter the family of Mr. Fernell, solicitor, are descended. On retiring from business Mr. Thomas Leader, Senior, returned to Broxted, in his native county of Essex, and died there in I8I9 at the age of 84. His son, Thomas, was Major in the Loyal Independent Volunteers (I794), and Colonel in the Sheffield Volunteer Infantry (I803). He was the hero of a Gretna Green romance, for no sooner did he come of age (I79I) than he ran away with the daughter of his father's neighbour, Thomas Henfrey, scissor smith, Master Cutler in I79I, who then lived in the house which stands askew at the top of Eyre Street. When Mr. Henfrey built himself a residence at then remote Highfield, to the astonishment of friends who wondered how he could venture along Sheffield Moor after dark, Col. Leader succeeded to the Eyre Street House. He died June 4th, I 833, aged 63, leaving one daughter, wife of the Rev. T. C. Holdsworth, of Matlock. Robert Leader, the son of Daniel, afterwards proprietor of the Sheffield Independent, was also in the business, until it was given up about the year I8I2. Colonel Thomas Leader had allowed his interest in the Volunteer movement and other outside affairs to divert his attention from a trade which he conducted somewhat recklessly‹and the penalty had to be paid. There was some talk of Daniel+ and his son Robert continuing the concern, but nothing came of it, and the tools and stock-in-trade, and the house in Surrey Street, were advertised for sale in I8I4. ----------- * Mr. Hodgson's father was Rector of Rawmarsh; his mother was the daughter of Mr. John Parker, of Woodthorpe, + A venerable Sheffield citizen who died in 1874 in his 93rd year (Mr. William Ash, joiners' tool manufacturer), traced some likeness in the late Mr. John Daniel Leader to his great-grandfather, whom he well remem- bered as " a little stiff man, built like an oak, dressed in knee breeches, long waistcoat, large cuffed coat, ribbed worsted stockings, and large buckles on his shoes; " discussing various local matters with his friend Quaker Abraham Wigram at the &mous hostelry, The Three Stags, Carver Street. Similarly, the late Mr. Albert Smith was accustomed to tell another great-grandson that if he put on a pair of old-fashioned horn spectacles, he would be the image of another great-grandfather, John Smith, the bookseller of Angel Street, ---------- We can trace in the records of the silver-plating trade indications that, as was natural, its earlier years, like those of all new industries in the experimental stage, were characterised by much unrest and fluctuation. The frequency with which the pioneer firms changed partners and localities is all the more perplexing because so many men of the same name were moving about, first in this combination and then in that‹ now shed from one firm to be joined to a neighbour, or again branching off from the parent stem to found fresh works. The permutations and combinations of such names as Morton, Roberts, Nicholson, are many; as to Watsons, as the time went on, they were endless. Thomas Law must have been early in the field, because his apprentice, John Winter, now with one set of partners and now with another, was himself in business from about I765. There were, too, another appren- tice, Mr. Samuel Roberts, and the Mortons, Richard and Thomas. By I774 we find, including button and snuff- box makers and silversmiths, sixteen firms in the trade. And it is of interest to see how widespread w as already the extension of plating. " These ingenious workmen," says the Directory of that year, " make a great variety of articles, an account of which here may not be improper, viz.: " Epergnes, tea urns, coffee and tea pots, tea kettles and lamps, tankards and measures of all sizes, jugs, cups, goblets, tumblers, candle- sticks, branches, cruet frames, water and plater plates and dishes, dish rims, crosses, castors, tea trays and waiters, bottle and writing stands, tureens, ladles, spoons, scollop shells, canisters, mustard pots, round and oval salts, bottle labels, cream pails, bread and sugar baskets, argyles, snuffer stands and dishes, wine funnels, skewers, cream jugs, lemon strainers, cheese toasters, chocolate pots, saucepans, stew ditto, snuff boxes bridle bits, stirrups, buckles, spurs, knife and fork handles, buttons for saddles, and a great variety of other articles."* ---------------- * To which may be added racing cups--for one of the early boyish recollections of the writer is a large portfolio in the possession of his grandfather (Robert Leader) containing the designs for racing trophies, and many other magnificent articles which had been made by Tudor and Leaders. Would that the manifold stories the old silversmith delighted to tell of the early years of the trade, and of the Sheffield of his youth, had been set down and noted, to be recalled now. ----------------- Not among the earliest, but among early silver-plating firms was that of Ashforth, Ellis, and Co. (Ashforth, Ellis, Wilson, and Hawksley, it was in I787). The history of this, both in its beginning and ending, as told for us by the late Mr. Samuel Ellis, is sufficiently typical to be worth recording. It was formed about I770 in Hawley Croft‹often called Holy Street. Mr. George Ashforth brought to it a certain amount of practical knowledge, and Mr. Samuel Ellis contributed considerable skill in designing and engraving. Ellis had been trained as a cutler, as his father and grandfather were before him; but he had drifted into the work of cutting presses for horn scales, and dies, and his artistic taste had led him to design models and ornaments for silversmiths. This admirably qualified him for entering on the plating trade, and the firm quickly won a fair measure of success. They removed their business to the east side of Angel Street, up a passage adJoining the shop in recent times occupied by Mr. John Tasker. The workshops extended so far in the rear that the windows looked upon the back of the old King Street Gaol. These premises becoming in course of time too small for their increasing trade, they built new works at the top of Red Hill (occupied until a few years ago by Horrabin Brothers), and Mr. Ellis erected for himself the house at the corner of Red Hill and Broad Lane, which has become a Roman Catholic institution It had a garden and orchard at the back extending to the top of Red Hill. To his brown wig, Quaker-shaped coat, white cravat, and shoes with large buckles, Mr. Ellis so invariably added a flower in his button-hole that he was known in the neighbourhood as " the old gentleman with a flower in his coat." Although the partners had not much of the commercial instinct, the concern, so long as it remained of a compass they could manage by personal attention in the workshops, went well, and realised for them what was then a handsome fortune. But, by and bye, travellers, with bolder views, imported larger ambitions than were entertained by the plain Sheffielders. They got admitted to the firm. The opening of a branch in Paris, side by side with Wedgwood's show-room, was followed by another in Dublin; and all went merry as a marriage bell. But the new spirit did not confine itself within the bounds of sound trading success. It soared to high personal flights incompatible with good management We have seen reason to suspect something of the same kind in connection with Tudor and Leader. The distrac- tions of France, at and following the Revolution, involved the Paris agency in troubles; and on the top of that, and with difficulties consequent upon the dismal state of commerce, there came a special loss of £5000 on goods consigned to Dublin. Bankruptcy, in I8II, was the result; the business was utterly broken up, and the stock-in-trade dispersed. Old Mr. Ellis was reduced from amuence to poverty, and ended his days, like Mr. Joseph Morton, maternal grandfather of Ald. Thomas Dunn, a fellow sufferer by mer- cantile misfortune, in discharging the duties of an appointment in the Assay Office. The manufacture of goods in Britannia (white) metal was another important eighteenth century addition to our indus- tries. There has been the usual controversy as to the first pioneer in this trade. Claims to priority have been made on behalf of several individuals, but the weight of testimony is in favour of Mr. James Vickers, of Garden Walk (Garden Street). There is strong evidence that he hit upon it by one of the accidents so frequently met with in the history of commerce. Mr. James Vickers was one of the earliest adherents of John Wesley in Sheffield. About I769 he bought for five shillings from a sick man whom he happened to be visiting, a recipe for making white metal. Experiments with this, cast in moulds, were so successful that a market was gradually established for spoons and forks, not only locally but in London, and on the strength of this success Mr. Vickers applied the metal to many other articles‹tobacco boxes, beakers, sugar basins, cream jugs, and especially tea and coffee pots. Mr. Vickers's priority is confirmed by the Directory of I787, where he appears as the only maker of " measures, teapots, castor frames, salts, spoons, etc.," in " white metal," besides plating with it bits and stirrups. His son, Mr. John Vickers, also a noted Methodist, who built Red Hill Terrace, joined him in partnership, and subsequently carried on the business until his death at Broombank House, Glossop Road, built by Mr. B, Micklethwaite, merchant, West Street. Competitors quickly sprang up‹as Richard Constantine; Broadhead, Gurney, and Spoiles; Froggatt, Coldwell, and Lean; Nathaniel Gower- and later, Mr. James Dixon, who had been an apprentice at Broadhead's, laid in Silver Street the foundations of the great establishment at Cornish Place. Mr. Vickers's business is still carried on by his descendants, Ebenezer Stacey and Sons, in premises closely adjoining the old ones in Garden Street. True to the prejudices which made them prone to stand in their own light, the working population were ever quick to resent efforts to improve the methods of bringing fuel to the town. Coal, obtained by little more than scratching the soil or by very primitive mining, is mentioned as in use in Hallam- shire in the reign of Henry VIII. There is a reference to "the coalepyttes " (significantly enough in connection with a fatal accident) in the Burgery Accounts for I587. It is quite possible that these gave the name to Coalpit Lane. Harrison, in his " Survey " (I637), speaks of Sheffield Park being " stored with very good coale and ironstone in abundance;" and its oak forests, close at hand, supplied fuel (' cord wood ') for smelting. The Norfolk Estate Steward's account for I636 contains payments for " cuttinge and rivinge old roots and other old wood into cords ;" and disbursements, in excess of incomings, " aboute the newe cole myne on the Parke Hill toppe and there abouts." After Harrison's time, near the end of the century, the splendid trees, containing the finest timber in England, were cut down. Some portions of the Park (called by the Duke's agents the Hall Park) were turned into farms. Other portions, where the timber had been felled, lay, by neglect of enclosing, open to the adjoining (Attercliffe) Common, or waste, " by which long prescription," it was said in I762, " the freeholders insist upon it as common, and claim rights of herbage." Mr. Burton, of Attercliffe Forge, had quietly added pieces of the Park land to the property leased to him or to Mr. Hayford, and conveniently forgot to pay rent either for the old or the new. Contemporaneously with the breaking up of the Park, we read of coal pits at Gleadless being let on lease; and in I702 " colepitts " at Handsworth are assessed to the poor. In I728 the 8th Duke of Norfolk, writing to his agent, suggests that, following the example of coalowners at Worksop and Nottingham, the price of coals from " my colliery at Shef- field," might be raised a halfpenny a (pack) horse load; but perhaps it would be as well, " as the road is intolerable bad," first to mend it, " which would in some measure please them for the advanced price." The people did not see it in that light, and so far from being " pleased " at improvements made for their benefit, but as they thought at their cost, they, as we shall presently see, riotously resented them. A monopolising policy inspired the Dukes, while desirous of getting their own coals to the town, to place impediments in the way of others, even of their own tenants. They used the roads through the Park for their own coals, but stopped the people of Hands- worth and Gleadless when seeking to avoid the long detour by Newfield Green and Heeley. In I762 attempts were made to prevent coals coming from Mr. Spencer's colliery at Attercliffe across the Common. Mr. Spencer had a colliery on his estate, and a small part of Attercliffe Common belonged to him; but the Duke claimed, as Lord of the Manor, to bar Mr. Spencer's access to the town over the remainder of the Common. " Spencer's tenants of the said colliery," it was said in a case laid before counsel with a view to an action for trespass, " sell a deal of coal into the town of Sheffield, in prejudice of the Duke's colliery in Sheffield Park, and they carry the coals upon horseback, also in waggons and carts over that part of the Common belonging to the Duke, because it is a great deal nearer Sheffield than the common high road is." The same Duke, the gth, took a more enlightened course a few years later, in I774. Instead of trying to shut out the competition of his tenants and neighbours, he sought, through the ingenuity of his manager, Mr. Curr, to meet it by facili- tating the conveyance of his coals to the town by the then very original means of a tramway with wooden rails. It was two miles long, and the coals were delivered at a depot at the bottom of the Park hill, near where Duke Street and South Street join Broad Street. Instead of being grateful, or pleased," the foolish people saw in this a deep design to raise the price of coals. A tariff was issued showing a real reduction in the price of coals as sold at the wharf, but ignoring this, the wildest stories were afloat, circulated perhaps by the carters, whose occupation was threatened. The scheme was denounced as an imposition and a cruelty; and "the merciless wretches," as they are called in a contemporary letter, were charged with stopping all delivery at the pits, with seeking to almost double the price, and with refusing to sell in less quantities than a horse load. Serious riots were the consequence. Several of the " large carriages on low wheels, which run on a road made of timber, in imitation of one at Newcastle," were destroyed. A truck, after being dragged in triumph through the town, was set on fire and sent flaming into the river. The new loading stage was broken up and burnt; a watch-box and the counting-house in the coal yard were wrecked, and the tram lines were damaged. The mob also attacked " The Lord's House " in Norfolk Row, where Mr. Henry Howard lived. Mr. Howard promptly published a handbill pointing out that it was never intended to charge higher prices, and showing how, instead of having this effect, facility of transit must keep them low. He was backed up by a reassuring statement issued by the Town Collector, the Master Cutler, and other leading inhabitants as the result of a public meeting. But the people refused to be comforted, and a few months later the riots were renewed so threateningly that an association was formed for the mutual protection of person and property. The tramroad was after- wards relaid with iron rails; and it has been contended that it was the first in the country so constructed. Common coal in I734 cost 2s. 6d. a ton, and " Attercliffe coal " 5s. I0d. The prices at the time of these riots in I774, at the pit hill, were: Hard, 3s. 4d.; hard and small, 2s. 8d.; small, 2s. per load of eight corves. The carriage from the pit to the town was 2s. 4d., or sometimes in winter 2s. 8d. The prices at the new stage were 4s. 6d., 3s. I0d., and 3s. 2d. respectively, with Is. 2d. per load carriage. Of greater effect on the industries of the town than any of the advances already described was, of course, the appli- cation of steam as a source of power. This, however, was only tentatively making its way in the latter part of the period of which we are now treating, and its revolutionary effect on trade belongs not to the eighteenth, but to the next century. It is, however, germane to the present purpose to record the manner in which man's greatest ally was received by the people of Sheffield; and it is of interest to note the mingled feelings of amazement and dread, of disbelief and suspicion and antagonism with which the new agent was greeted. when, in I785 or I786, one of the firms of Proctors (for there were several of that name in the town) erected the first steam grinding wheel on the Sheaf (in what is now Sheaf Street) the wiseacres predicted ruin to the innovators and all sorts of disasters to their workmen. Those who flocked to see the engine in motion were puzzled beyond measure by what was, to them, mysterious and unintelligible; and for a con- siderable time no grinders could be found to occupy the vacant troughs. At length one, greatly daring, set at nought the protests and warnings of his relatives and friends, and began to work; and when it was found that prognostica- tions of his speedy destruction were not realised, others followed his example. But even then, the prejudices against what was called " Old Steamy " remained, and they were encouraged by the frequency with which, owing to the iniyial difficulties inseperable from new developments, first one thing then another went out of gear, and the wheel "fell lame." It is said that the mother of the first grinder who worked in this wheel, assured by her son of the safety of the boiler, thought in muddle-headed fashion to carry out the principles he had explained to her, in her kitchen. Her kettle having " fallen lame," she corked up a bottle of water and put it in the oven to get hot. The inevitable explosion occurred, whereupon she said reproachfully, " Thah telled me there were no danger abaht it, but if thy boiler were to brust, same as moi bottle did i' t' oven, whoi, it 'ud knock t' wheel dahn." She was taken to see the engine, but the noise and motion threw her into such bewilderment that she soon fled from the place, increasingly assured that nothing but disaster could come from such new-fangled notions. Like steam, trades unions and strikes belong rather to the nineteenth than to the eighteenth century, but the latter was not free from attempts at combination, and from mutterings of the coming storm. The combination laws were such that the organisations of workmen, until the last years of the century, took the form of " Benefit Societies." In I720 the tailors formed the first of these. It was called a sick club, and although it did develop into an association for mutual helpful- ness in misfortune, its primary object was a curtailment of inordinate hours of labour. " Whereas," the original deed recites, " we usually work about at people's houses from six o'clock in the morning to eight o'clock in the evening for a day's work, and we now find the same prejudicial to us, and do all of us think it too long confinement for the wages we receive for one day's work, therefore be it mutually covenanted . . . that we will not at any time hereafter work abroad for any persons whatsoever in their houses longer than six o'clock in the evening, nor begin before six o'clock in the morning, upon any account, occasion, or pre- tence whatsoever, under the penalty of a sum of sS. of current money of Great Britain for each offence, proved on the credible testimony of two witnesses." The example of the Tailors was followed by others, sick clubs or benefit societies being formed by the Filesmiths and the Cutlers (I732), the Carpenters (1740), the Grinders (I748), the Scissorsmiths (I79I), and many others with such names as the " Old Unanimous," " The Union," " The Society Depending on Providence," " The Shepherds," " Bishop Blaze Club," " Old Gentleman's Club," " Indefatigable Society," and so on. The names of no fewer than thirty-six were sent in as intending to march to the opening of the Infirmary (I797), and besides these others were expected to join in the procession. Perhaps the powers exercised by the Cutlers' Company did something to delay the time when the necessity for combination was peremptorily forced upon the employed. Cases occurred, no doubt, in which the men, labouring under some grievance, put the master "uppo' t' shelf ' and refused to work for him until he granted redress. Or they adopted the rough and ready persecution described in an earlier chapter as employed against "Watkinson and his Thirteens ;" but it is not until I796 that we come upon the first considerable strike, or organised movement, on the part of a whole trade. The masters in this case replied by pledging themselves to reject the demands of the workmen and to refuse employment to any journeyman without the consent in writing of his former master‹an early instance of a " black list," or what we should now call boycotting. The masters, indeed, were not slow to take up any challenge. Throughout the century they had shown a greater readiness, under laws that looked leniently on acts on their part which would have been rank treason in the operatives, to form themselves into defensive associations, whether against the workmen or against the competition of one another. Thus in I773 the silver-plate manufacturers formed themselves into an Association, agreed upon a price list, and bound themselves not to sell below this, or to allow more than specified discounts. It held monthly meetings at various taverns, with the in- evitable suppers, and fined any firm not represented at them. But there arose a good many bickerings as to breaches of the agreement; the attendances, notwithstanding the fines, fell off; and the Association flickered out in I784. In I790 there was trouble in the scissor trade, and the master scissor-smiths got together a general meeting of merchants and manufac- turers, who resolved to appoint a committee and to subscribe " to prosecute the scissor-grinders and other workmen who have entered into unlawful combinations to raise the price of labour." They did so, and " five poor honest (scissor) grinders to prison they sent." Mr. George Wood, scissor manufac- turer, of Pea Croft (Master Cutler in I79I), took a prominent part in the affair, and for this Mather, in one of his most scathing songs, dubbed him " The Hallamshire Haman."

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