Thursday, 30 June 2022

From Archer Road to Abbeydale Road

The former Carterknowle Council School

Continuing my planned walk from Woodseats to Heeley, I had by now encountered the Woodseats Council School, various interesting C20 buildings in and around Abbey Lane, Commonwealth War Graves in Abbey Lane Cemetery and some geology at the old Marriott Wood Brickpit.
Park Lodge

I had already walked 5 km and with it now being 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I decided that my original idea to visit three more Sheffield Board Schools was too ambitious and, having photographed the Park Lodge former police station for the British Listed Buildings website, I made my way along Abbeydale Road towards the former Carterknowle Council School.
A boundary wall built with Greenmoor Rock

Stopping briefly to look at the stone in the boundary walls on the west side of Abbeydale Road, which looks like the Greenmoor Rock, I soon arrived at the junction with Bannerdale Road, where the imposing Church of St. Peter and St. Oswald forms a notable local landmark.
The church of St. Peter and St.Oswald

I just took a few general photographs of the elevations that I could see and, on this occasion, I didn’t get near enough to the church to examine its stonework but, looking at a distance, my impression was that the stone wasn’t quarried in Sheffield.
The church of St. Peter and St.Oswald

Even though quite dirty, I saw no obvious various in colours and textures between the massive rock faced walling and the sawn dressings and these could quite easily be the same stone. Completed in 1914, the railway network of the time would have enabled  the best quality medium grained gritstone to be easily brought from Derbyshire or West Yorkshire.
A view of Carterknowle Council School from Bannerdale Road
Making my way up Bannerdale Road to Carterknowle Council School, built in 1906 to a design by Holmes and Watson, I was very surprised to see a very attractive Arts and Crafts style, compared to the bleak design by H.L. Paterson at Woodseats Council School earlier in my walk – a characteristic of most of the early C20 Sheffield Board Schools that I had seen to date.
A view of Carterknowle Council School from Carterknowle Road

The rooflines of this Grade II Listed building are punctuated with interesting architectural features, such as Flemish gables, octagonal towers with ventilation louvres, and bell turrets – all of which are reminiscent of the details that were commonplace before C.J Innocent was dismissed as a contracted architect in 1881 and the Sheffield School Board became more mindful of the costs of the schools that they were commissioning.
A detail of the rooflines at Carterknowle Council School

Looking at the fabric of the building from beyond the boundary walls, the severe blackening of the stone makes it difficult to identify the rock faced wall stone with any certainty, but the lack of iron staining and obvious colour variation in the stone used for the school and the caretaker’s house suggests that it is the usual Crawshaw Sandstone.
The caretaker's house

As with the vast majority of the Sheffield Board Schools that I had seen to date, the inscribed coarse grained sandstone gate piers at the various entrance for boys and girls have fine examples of raised letter carving - this time in the Arts and Crafts style.
The entrance for girls

Having taken a series of general photographs of the school, I made my way down Carterknowle Road and was interested to see a Classical style building that is constructed in a yellow coloured sandstone, which forms the side of a snicket that runs towards Abbeydale Road.
An outbuilding of Abbeydale House

Going down the snicket and carrying on to Abbeydale Road and then to Barmouth Road, I realised that this might in fact be related to Abbeydale House, dated c.1848, which was built for John Rodgers of the renowned cutlery company, Joseph Rodgers and Sons.
Grenoside Sandstone on an outbuilding of Abbeydale House

Although the principal building is finished with painted stucco, when investigating its outbuildings, I discovered that these were built in the same sandstone as the building that I had just seen. Its very distinctive uniformly yellow colour is very similar to the buildings in Grenoside and at Hillsborough Barracks, where Grenoside Sandstone has been extensively used.
An outbuilding of Abbeydale House

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Geology at Archer Road in Sheffield

The old Marriott Wood Quarry on Archer Road

Leaving Abbey Lane Cemetery, I continued west along the public footpath through the grounds of Hutcliffe Woods crematorium, where it then drops steeply down the wooded escarpment of Loxley Edge Rock to Hutcliffe Wood Road. 
Moving on to Archer Road, I wanted to have a good look at the large old quarry that once supplied the raw material for the Marriott Wood Brickworks, which occupied just one part of a large industrial area dominated by Laycock’s Engineering Ltd - now developed with a Honda car dealer, the ALDI supermarket and the Sainsbury petrol station.
An aerial photo of the old industrial area on Archer Road
The 1957 Geological Survey of Great Britain memoir mentions it a few times: as being one of the most important brickworks in Sheffield, having the greatest known thickness of the Ganister Coal in the Sheffield district and also being worked for ganister – all of these contributing significantly to the local economy and sometimes being mined using adits. 
A meaured section at the Marriott Wood Brickpit
When attending prizegiving evenings with the Heart Of England English language school at the nearby Laycocks Sports Club and once visiting the Sainsbury supermarket on the opposite side of the road, when following the course of the Graves Park Beck, I remember seeing an extensive rock face here but I don’t have any photographs. 
The old Marriott Wood Quarry

Although at the end of July and expecting to see plenty of vegetation, I have to admit that I was very disappointed to see that most of this very important outcrop was largely obscured by the trees that had grown up behind the fencing.

The quarry face behind the Honda car showroom

Having popped into the Honda car showroom to ask the duty manager if I could take a quick look at the rock exposure, I took a few photos of the Loxley Edge Rock at the top of the outcrop, which is fine grained and flaggy here and passes down into siltstone. 
A section of the Loxley Edge Rock
I then went to explore the service road at the back of ALDI, where I found a succession of alternating thin sandstones and shales at the base of the outcrop. The section here was not fenced off and, although there was dense vegetation, I could get close enough to take a few photographs. 
A section of thin sandstones and shale

Individual beds are highly disrupted and fractured, which make the characteristics of individual beds very difficult to determine and the build up of very loose rock debris beneath the outcrop made it very difficult to gain access to make a close inspection. 
A section of thin sandstones and shale
The sample that I was nonetheless able to obtain is quite unlike any other of the Upper Carboniferous sandstones that I had collected, being very dense and containing black carbonaceous inclusions and I think that it may be a piece of a very thin bed of common ganister. 
A specimen from the old Marriott Wood Quarry (21 mm diameter coin)

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Abbey Lane Cemetery in Sheffield

The crest of the 38th (The King's) Searchlight Regiment

My exploration of the historic architecture of Woodseats and Abbey Lane had taken less than an hour, but I encountered various sandstones that I think were quarried in Sheffield – including examples of the local Greenmoor Rock in the boundary walls of Woodseats Council School and for the principal building stone at St. Chad’s church.
The entrance to Abbey Lane Cemetery

Reaching the main entrance to Abbey Lane Cemetery, I didn’t stop to examine the stonework closely but the massive sandstone, used for the ashlar and rock faced masonry that comprises the bulk of the walling, seems to be quite different to those previously seen.
The lodge at Abbey Lane Cemetery

The yellowish coloured arches to the pedestrian entrances need a closer examination when I next visit, as does the snecked stonework in the lodge, which is composed of large blocks of massive sandstone mixed with quite thick beds of Greenmoor Rock.
The headstone of Able Seaman T. Cooper

Apart from knowing that the cemetery was opened in 1916, I have discovered very little else about it but, having soon caught a glimpse of a few of the very distinctive Commonwealth War Graves, I spent 45 minutes randomly searching for regimental crests that I had not encountered before.
The headstone of Captain E. Bush

Within a couple of minutes, I had found the headstones of Able Seaman T. Cooper of the Royal Navy, Captain E. Bush of the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and Private T.R. Duckenfield of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, who had all died during or shortly after WWII.
The headstone of Private T.R. Duckenfield

All of these are made in Portland stone, but the headstone of the latter is in much better condition than the others, with very sharp profiles to the lettering, which suggest that this is one of the modern replacements that has been made with a CNC milling machine.
The headstone of Aircraftman J.W. Mawson

The headstone of Aircraftman L.W. Mawson of the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve is also very modern and has a very well defined profile but, looking closely at the stone, its general texture and lack of fossils indicates that this is Botticino marble from Italy.
Various regimental crests carved in Portland stone

Continuing with my exploration, I discovered the crests of the Catering Corps (Private R. Harrison), the Australian Imperial Force (Lieutenant D.C. Mackenzie), the Auxiliary Territorial Service (Lance Corporal M.E. Wilkin), the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Private J.H. Hudson), the Royal Army Service Corps (Driver F. Costall) and the Pioneer Corps (Private J.W. Ardron) – all of which are carved into Portland stone headstones.
The escarpment of Greenmoor Rock at Chancet Wood

Stopping briefly to look at the escarpment of Greenmoor Rock and Chancet Wood on the skyline, I encountered a further example of Portland stone, Gunner K.A. Haywood of the 38th (The King’s) Searchlight Regiment, and the Botticino marble headstone of Private G.J. Harper of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
Headstones of  K.A. Haywood and G.J. Harper

The vast majority of Commonwealth War Graves that I have seen are made of Portland stone, with a minority that have been renewed with Botticino marble but, as I discovered at Crookes Cemetery, Scottish granite was also used along with a dark grey granite that I could not identify.
The headstones of Private E. Gollings and Private T.E. Chollerton

At Abbey Lane Cemetery, the headstones of Private E. Gollings of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) and Private T.E. Chollerton of the 21st Battalion of the Australian Infantry look like they are made of a similar granites. Having sent photographs of these to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, I was advised that these could be Vire Blanc or Glenaby granite from France, which were used for later memorials when the Scottish granites were either unavailable or had become too expensive.
The memorial to Stefan Andrzei Finka

Although very large, the cemetery was built at a time when the grandeur of the Victorian and Edward memorials had largely faded into the past and although I still saw several large granite obelisks and crosses, the vast majority are standardised and I was therefore very pleased to encounter the simple medium grained gritstone memorial to Stefan Andrzei Finka.
The memorial to Stefan Andrzei Finka

I finished my brief exploration of Abbey Lane Cemetery by having a good look at the very solid looking chapel of rest, which is built in a style that I had seen in many churches that were built at a similar time. Like many chapels that I had previously seen in other cemeteries in Sheffield, which are listed, I thought that it possesses architectural merit, yet I have not yet been able to discover which architect designed it. 
The chapel of rest

Sunday, 19 June 2022

A Walk Down Abbey Lane in Sheffield

The Greenmoor Rock at Chancet Wood above Abbey Lane

Leaving Linden Avenue and continuing down Abbey Lane, the Edwardian housing that grew up around the expanding area of Woodseats changes to predominantly interwar developments, which occupies the slopes beneath Chancet Wood and along the road towards Beauchief.
A pair of sandstone faced semi-detached houses

Walking for only 100 metres or so, I passed by a series of stone faced interwar houses – both detached and semi-detached – where the sandstone used is quite different to those that I had seen earlier on my walk at the former Woodseats Council School and St. Chad's church.
A sandstone faced detached house

I didn’t get close enough to examine them, but the distinctly orange colouration very much reminded me of the ‘ginger nut’ hued sandstone that I had encountered when exploring Handsworth and the surrounding area during the early months of the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown.
Edwardian semi-detached houses on Abbey Lane

The adjacent small speculative development, comprising three pairs of large Edwardian semi-detached houses, are also faced in a sandstone with a distinct blue/grey body with marked orange colouration that also looks like the stone that I have always assumed to be from the now redeveloped Handsworth Quarries.
Window dressings made from Jurassic oolitic limestone
The dressings, however, are not a massive medium to coarse grained sandstone, which would normally be expected in Sheffield, but a Jurassic oolitic limestone. It has developed a honey coloured patina similar to that which I had often seen on Bath Stone, when working in the building restoration industry
in London. Ancaster limestone from Lincolnshire is generally used in the north, but Bath Stone has been specified by Sheffield architects, as seen at Crookes Cemetery.
Jurassic oolitic limestone used for an entrance

Walking further down Abbey Lane towards the entrance of Abbey Lane Cemetery, I was interested to see that the strike of the Greenmoor Rock switches from a NNW-SSE to a SW-NE direction. When travelling up the Chesterfield Road from Meersbrook to Meadowhead, there is no obvious change in the incline of the slope, but there is actually a reversal in the direction of the dip of the Greenmoor Rock from south to north.
Measurements of the angle of dip in the Greenmoor Rock

Having obtained another perspective on the walk that I had undertaken from Chancet Wood to Ladies Spring Wood a few years ago, I carried on down to the entrance of Abbey Lane Cemetery, where I discovered a wonderful carved lintel above the entrance to the John Fairest Funeralcare premises at Sherwood House.
A decorated lintel at Sherwood House

Friday, 17 June 2022

An Exploration of Woodseats


On the last day of July 2021, following my brief visit to St. George’s churchyard in Brinsworth, I planned another good walk in Sheffield, this time with an aim to visit the Sheffield Board Schools at Woodseats (1905), Carterknowle Road (1906), Abbeydale Road (1890) and Heeley (1892).
My planned walk

Having by now visited 32 of these schools in addition to the Central Schools based on Leopold Street, spanning the period from 1873 to 1907, I had seen the work of 12 different architects and had also noticed great changes in styles from the extravagant early designs of C.J. Innocent to the very plain and functional buildings of the first decade of the C20.
Planned sites to visit

Knowing that these later schools, in general, were generally less photogenic and would require less words to later describe them in this Language of Stone Blog, I devised a route that included some geology, historic buildings that did not yet have a photo on the British Listed Buildings website and a historic cemetery.
The 1909 extension to Woodseats Council School

Alighting from the bus on Chesterfield Road, I made my way down to the northern end of the site of the former Woodseats Council School (now Woodseats Primary School) to get a good view of the southern elevation of the 1909 junior school extension that H. L. Paterson - the designer of the Walkley Carnegie Library - added to his original building.
The caretaker's house
Retracing my steps to the caretaker’s house, which was built at the same time, I then was able to just get a glimpse of the infants’ school through the trees. Although the stonework is quite dirty and the rock faced sandstone is laid in deeper courses than most of the schools that I had seen to date, I didn’t see any unusual colours or textures that made me think that anything other than Crawshaw Sandstone has been used here.
The original 1905 school building
Continuing to The Dale to see if I could get a better view of any of the buildings from the rear entrance, the stone used in the high boundary wall looks very much like the typical Greenmoor Rock, which was quarried a little further to the south at Meadowhead and Graves Park.
A view from The Dale

As I half expected, both the original school and the extension are devoid of architectural flourishes and the inscribed block of stone to the boys’ entrance, which is coarse grained and contains weathered out clay ironstone nodules, was the only interesting detail that I saw.
A view from The Dale

Having spent less than 15 minutes taking photographs of the school, I then continued up Chesterfield Road to Abbey Lane and then down to Linden Avenue, where I wanted to photograph the Grade II Listed St. Chad’s church and a pair of Victorian semi-detached houses.
The front elevation of St. Chad's church

The Grade II Listed St. Chad’s church, built in 1912, was designed in an Edwardian style by the practice C & CM Hadfield, the son and grandson respectively of the renowned Sheffield architect, Matthew Ellison Hadfield, who established his reputation with Roman Catholic churches.
Greenmoor Rock walling and gritstone quoins
It provides a very interesting example of the use of the Greenmoor Rock as a walling stone for a prestigious building such as this, where the depth of the courses are much greater than the thin, irregularly bedded stone that is usually seen in the vernacular architecture in and around the various places that it is quarried.
Lincolnshire Limestone used for the window dressings

The grey to rusty brown colour and fine grained texture strongly contrasts with the coarse grained gritty sandstone used for the quoins and also with the Jurassic oolitic limestone - probably from the Lincolnshire Limestone Formation – which has been used for the window dressings.
Semi-detached houses recycled from materials at Preen Manor

On the opposite side of the road, the semi-detached houses – now converted into four flats – are quite remarkable, not least because these houses originally formed part of Preen Manor that was built by Norman Shaw at Church Preen in Shropshire, which was then relocated to Woodseats after the upper part of this house was demolished in 1921.
Polygonal stone masonry to the doorway
The combination of mock Tudor timbers, polygonal stone masonry - which I had previously only seen at later Victorian churches at Grenoside and Whiston – together with red pantiles for the roof, is a very unusual pattern of building materials and it seems to have influenced the architect responsible for the five pairs of interwar semi-detached houses that were built alongside it.

Mock tudor interwar semi-detached houses on Linden Avenue