Old Photograph of Grindleford - The Steam Roller Incident

Old Photograph of The Steam Roller Incident (Grindleford)

The Steam Roller, which “ran away down Sir William” - what a picture! The scene is surveyed by three bemused ‘gentlemen’ - what a to-do it was! Behind them, the hoarding advertises “John Walsh Ltd., Clearance Sale, ... Day”. That would be an advertisement for Walshs in Sheffield, later taken over by Rackhams, and now part of the House of Frazer Group. During the War, Walsh's moved out of the Sheffield City Centre to escape bombing, and were at "The Mount", which is up near the Hallamshire Hospital (on the road above it, if I remember correctly).

The incident happened at one of the steepest parts of this hill. To place it in the present day, note the twin gables of the roof of the Village School, which can be seen just over the top of the wall on the right - the present-day school entrance is just around the corner on the right. The earlier entrance to the school playground, which can be seen just to the right of the figures on this photograph, was altered when the footpath which is there today was built. Today, modern ‘juggernauts’ also have trouble rounding the corner - it's still a narrow turning, and between the high walls there's limited manoeuvrability.

It looks like it was a lovely sunny day - look at the long shadows cast by the wall and foliage on the left.

Why have we got a photograph of a steam roller at all? The story is that the road mending gang in charge of the roller had to prove to their boss somehow that the roller had been damaged as a result of an accident that was NOT their fault! So they asked if there was someone who could take a photograph as proof. Mr SWIFT, a keen amateur photographer and long-term resident of the village, was duly sent for, this picture was taken, and dispatched as irrefutable evidence! The shed behind the roller was actually the gang's mobile living quarters and they had to stay in it for several days whilst the repair work was done.

My uncle Joe (born 1900) used to called this part of Sir William Hill ‘Bridge Lane’ - presumably it was renamed, when going to the Sir William Hotel began to assume a greater importance for the residents than crossing the ‘Bridge’ <Hehe!>

The original of this card had been damaged (see thumbnail below) but it has been digitally restored. Isn't PaintShop Pro v8.10 (© JASC Software 1991-2003) wonderful! My thanks also go to Alan Jacques for very kindly supplying the story behind the photograph.

Grindleford, The Steam Roller Incident (before Repair)

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

This is one of several old photographs acquired after a sort-out at the Peak National Park Authority's Study Centre.

Image contributed by Richard Campen on 28th October 2003.
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URL of this page: http://places.wishful-thinking.org.uk/DBY/Grindleford/SteamRoller.html
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