Reminiscences of Yesteryear - Curbar

The following is a transcription by Alan Jacques on 11th February 2015 from a collection of hand-written notes kept by Miss Joan Hollingsworth, late of Sir William Hill Road, Grindleford.
Comments in square [] brackets, and some additional notes are by the Editor.

Miss Hollingsworth lived in Curbar in 1935. The following Notes were written around 1947.

Stories by Mr Reuben Hallam[1] - one time joiner in village. (Curbar)

His Grandfather had joiners shop where Church stands now.[2]
He also lived where Lady Finch now lives [or, rather, lived, in 1947] at Green Farm.
Later lived at Breeze Hill, Curbar.
Kept poultry in “Hollow Bar” just between Gap & Lodge before Bar Lane opened up to motor traffic.
His Gt. Grandfather did wood work for [Calver] Mill.
His Grandfather did wood work for Church.
He himself did quite a lot of wood work for Cliff College.

“A Hollow Bar Story” of 1 Buff leghorn & 1 black Minorca [chickens] decided to lay away ... he found & left them 1 week = 9 eggs - gave “sitter” [the broody hen] to Long Tom 2 & they all turned out to be cockerels. His theory was “the later they sit the more pullets there are likely to be”.

At 16 years old he carted coal from Dronfield Woodhouse @ 9/2 per ton taking 2 horses & 2 carts fastened together.

Sheards Colliery - had coal yard in Calver at old lead mine, used to bring traction engine & 4 trucks round Froggat Edge & over New Bridge. Council said bridge was not strong enough so he brought his trucks as far as bridge then took traction engine round & over old Froggat Bridge & Stoke & round & over to other end of Bridge, took a strong wire rope across bridge hooked it to the trucks & drew them over, but the Council eventually stopped this.

The ruling was 2½‘ [feet - about 75cm] wide cart rim could only carry 1 ton.
Over 1 ton a 3‘ [feet - just under a metre] wide rim (damage to road).

He took pigs to Sheffield on a Thursday and calves on a Saturday to James How. Was often so tired he would return in the bottom of the cart asleep, the horse bringing him home sometimes [at] 2am.

Shrove Tuesday was special day in pubs: a bowl of batter was placed on table, you made your own pancakes, as many as you liked - but you had to toss it to turn it & if you missed catching it you paid a forfeit of 3d. [3 old pence] returned in beer.

He kept Bridge Inn at one time. Bought beer @ 1/- [one shilling] per gall & got 20% discount: Whisky @ 16/- [16 shillings = £0.80] per gall.

Curbar Field Names

Cow Cross; opposite Allsopp's @ top of hill
Intake; below Warren
Butts; down Cliff lane.
Furlongs; fields between Cliff College & school on Main Road, reaching up to Cliff Lane.
Filter-beds; steeply sloping field below Broom Close just below round trough.
Hollow Bar; where cars park between Lodge & Curbar Gap.
Crimbles: field opposite Warren Lodge Gate.

Graves in Elliotts Rough are of Thomas & Ada Cocker parents with Olive, Nellie & Thomas all form Grislow Fields Farm. They died in 1 week.[3]

Remnants of presumed British defence work below village to right of road overlooking Calver Village.

Notes on back of a poster for the Sheffield Chrysanthemum Society.
59th Annual Chrysanthemum and Vegetable Show held at Edmund Road Drill Hall,
Sheffield on November 14th, 15th & 16th 1946.

Easterham April 1947.

Visit Mr R Hallam supposedly talk business.

Discuss old village feuds between the blues & yellows chapelers[4] mostly yellow.

R put wooden shed up at old cottage, brother Ben along with Mr Hall (Mrs Wilsons father) were at that time the village overseers (chapelers) they fixed the rates etc so they put him a big rate on of 12/-.

He appealed at Bakewell & they knocked it down to half. B told him outside courtroom that “He'd got it knocked off but they would put it on the house.”

On his move to Green Farm they flannelled him [applied it again] there. They couldn't bear to see him get on [be successful] because he worked for the Dukes [Devonshire & Rutland] & B was against them. They levied him extra 25/- rate. Appeal again cut 10 off. B told him by levying him at that rate he was himself saving a 1d. rate so it is evident that other villagers were also.

Brother B is a local preacher.

R removed & fixed his shop up opposite Miss Corams general store (taken over by Outram of Grindleford in late Jan 1947) Miss C had it 20 odd years: Wilsons bought this land about 14 years ago? intending to build so he would have to move. War intervened before they could build & are only just completing a part house all they are allowed to build under rules & regulations now on. Village gossip is he should have been allowed to stay as he hasn't much longer to go being 75 years old 15th of this month. His brain is very nimble, in fact he himself is very active.

He was recalling one election time when fight was on between tories & liberals. Yellows used to hold meetings in Edgemount View & chapel & one spy in party used to pass plans on to other side immediately after a meeting so they were always able to forestall them thus when wind [rumour] got out about that the yellows were going to ochre all the blues doorsteps. They bought 3lbs lime blue from Sheffield so that it wouldn't be traced (about 3d. per lb) put in a big tin with holes made in bottom as a dredger and at midnight he entered the precinct of Edge View from cottage end R lived here then & on getting to houses Mrs Ike Siddall was out looking for their son who was late out but there was a convenient yew tree between them & as she went round one side he watched & kept in line round the other side & avoided being seen. She went in & he made haste to blue doors, paths & steps thickly making his way out at other end on to Green.

Edge View inhabitants were about early next morning before daylight going into each others houses without noticing anything wrong so it got well trampled into their rugs etc. It kept them busy scrubbing & swilling out best part of next day & no yellow was used anywhere but a letter was put in the local paper about it which brought another in answer saying “It was a treat to see the suffragettes busy swilling out”.

Yellows put him a lot of posters (cartoons) up right opposite his windows & house, so he went to some of these biguns & asked for as many cartoons as they could give him. They gave him so many that he put a hoarding up all along his cottage frontage & overflowed in next yard (Gregories). He got people from all around to look at them. Old Chadwick brought some up from Cliffe C. [College] Miss Hines? Stoney Middleton Hall gave him some of posters.

Good Remedies for Colds

Old fashioned mint humbugs with boiling vinegar poured over & drink the liquid when cold or with boiling water instead of vinegar.

A turnip, grater & put thinly on a large plate with Demerara sugar over it allow it to liquefy & take a teaspoonful as a dose.

Hot bread & milk with treacle on.

Toothache Remedy

One farm labourer was raging with toothache so he sent to Chequers for a bottle of mineral water. He had a good drink then handed it to the farm lad to finish for him which he did but alas in a few minutes the labourer had lost his toothache but the lad was in turn raging with it. The labourer was a noted peculiarity & a regular devil so what.

Note on the back of a buff envelope postmarked 16 December 1967

Hassop Avenue started by Denman family from Stoney Middleton to friends at Hassop. Then a quarrcel (?) & part (Calver X-roads to top of hill) left unplanted.[5]

Transcribed by Alan Jacques © 2015.


[1] Reuben was born in 1873. His death may have been that registered in June 1/4 1951, at Bakewell, aged 79.

[2] Curbar All Saints Church was built in 1867.

[3] The gravestones have only the letters T.C, A.C., O.C. N.C. (or M.C) and T.C., so their forenames, and even their surname are open to question. Nevertheless, a Burial Ground does exist, labelled as such on Old Maps; and local tradition is of a family of Cundy. Local tradition also is that because of the plague deaths, a local stonemason prepared a lot of gravestones, as he expected many more deaths, but the epidemic did not occur so the stones were surplus to requirements, and thereafter used around the village - recognisable as large upright stones, incorporated into garden walls. [Information from David Turner]

Also of interest, in the same area of Curbar as the graves, there are some stones by the side of the road with biblical references carved into them. These were the work of a local molecatcher (and Wesleyan), Edwin Gregory, who did them after recovering from an illness. [Information from David Turner]

See Tales from the “Round House” for further information on the graves.

[4] This suggests that the “chapellers” (attendees at the 2 Methodist Chapels in Curbar) were split by political party - blues = tory, yellows = liberal.

[5] This refers to the B6001 from Calver Sough to Hassop. Hassop Avenue is the portion from the top of Backdale Hill (Calver cross-roads to junction with Bramley Lane) down into Hassop.

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