Don Network Grant

The Friends of Wardsend Cemetery are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a grant by The Don Network.

With Wardsend located on the banks of the Don the river is an integral part of the area’s cultural and natural heritage and this is reflected in the varied and increasingly popular events which make up our annual programme.

We are very grateful to the Don Network for their generous grant which will be used to purchase equipment and resources that will enable us to carry out volunteer days, events and guided walks, to promote the natural heritage of the area. Our diary of events will be released shortly.

You can read more about the Don Network here:


Don Network logo


Respect for a Great Sheffield Wednesday Fan of Days Gone By

Tom Wharton

A  guest blog post by Wednesday fan Glenn Poulton.  Sincere thanks for your support from FOWC 

Having been lucky enough myself to have be selected by Jason Dickinson to be in The Owls 150th anniversary book, ‘WAWAW fans memories through the generation’, I was quite fascinated to read the first person mentioned was of a Mr Tom Wharton….

(Mr. T. Wharton from Jason Dickinson’s book)

It seems fitting that the first supporter profile should actually be a dedicated fan called Tom Wharton, who passed away in 1933 after devoting his life to Wednesday. The following is an interview with Tom in the Sheffield mail in 1926:

Surely old Tom Wharton is The Wednesday’s most enthusiastic supporter. And incidentally the most happiest man in Sheffield. He is no ordinary supporter, but a supporter who sticks to Wednesday thick and thin. For 46 years he has attended every home match except one The Wednesday have played. The exception was caused through a somewhat severe illness but Tom will let no ordinary illness interfere with his visits to see his team play. He has been ill in bed of Saturday mornings and has got up in the afternoon to get to Hillsborough. But it is not only home matches he has seen. He has been on every ground in England except three with The Wednesday. And he has a pile of programmes three feet high at least, issued in connection with the Wednesday club in different towns. The three grounds he has yet to visit are Stoke, Burnley and Newcastle. 

Old Tom lives at 26 Burnt Tree Lane, Sheffield and for many of a great year was a glass cutter. He has made some thousands of glass tumblers, and decanters, but is now retired and spends most of his time telling tales of derring-do in connection with The Wednesday and at the Sheffield Arms Hotel, Meadow Street, where he is now employed. He organised a party from the hotel to see the cup final on Saturday. The party went down by the Sheffield mail special train, but old Tom had not got a stadium ticket and did not get to see the match. But he has already seen 27 English Cup Finals. His first was in 1890 when The Wednesday played Blackburn Rovers and was beaten by six goals to one. That is a memorable occasion in old Tom’s life. It was his first visit to London, and the one he still talks about, in spite of having seen The Wednesday play over 1,500 times, before and since. His delight in the party played by Hayden Morley, one of The Wednesday backs, has not yet subsided. He stills talks of the enthusiasm with which the crowd carried off Morley shoulder high after the struggle. 

In the early days of his support for The Wednesday a party of about 40 or 50 enthusiasts, including himself, always banded together to see the team play. These enthusiasts have gradually dwindled in number until there are only eight or nine of them left. Some of them assemble in one corner of the Kop each Saturday when The Wednesday are playing a home match. They stand on the Penistone Road end of the ‘new stand’. But Mr. Wharton is doubtless the most consistent and oldest supporter of the lot. He has yelled himself hoarse times without number and has argued in the ground with men twice as big as himself. He will hear nothing against his The Wednesday and when they are down he says they will soon be up. Mr. Wharton is 72 years-old. Recently he and two other supporters had their photographs taken. His friends are George Wood, aged 69, and Mr. J. S. Redfern, aged 74. These three men had followed the fortunes of the team through thick and thin, their ages are total 215 years. Mr. Wood is a lamplighter and Mr. Redfern has lived at ‘the old black pudding shop’ in Meadow Street 

Tom Wharton 2.jpg

Having reading this I later found out via Twitter he is buried in an unmarked grave at Wardsend Cemetery which is located at the end of the seemingly never ending Livesey Street, behind Owlerton Stadium. So over the Christmas period with a bit of spare time I thought I’d seek out this once forgotten hidden cemetery and check it out for myself.

As soon as you cross over the river Don via the blue bridge you can see many of the head stones of the people who are buried there, right in  front of you. All being overgrown by nature. Nearly 30,000 men, woman and children have their final resting place here. As you walk along the path to the top of the incline you begin to see how big this place actually is and with all the trees that now stand there you cannot see the end whichever way you look. It’s also worth noting that Wardsend is 1 of only 2 cemeteries in England that has a railway line running right through the middle of it, so you have to cross a 2nd foot bridge to the top side where you find the resting place of Mr. Wharton.

I spent a good hour looking and walking through this fascinating woodland and taking various pictures including some of Hillsborough Stadium, which is only a stones throw away and can been seen if you follow the River Don up stream and then up to Scraith Wood near Herries Road, which I use to make the rest of my walk home to Parson Cross.

The long term goal of all this is not only to bring publicity to The Wardsend Cemetery and its friends, but also us Wednesdayite’s can give whatever we can and hopefully get Mr. Wharton the head stone or at least the recognition I feel a fellow Wednesdayite deserves. Hopefully we can maybe start a crowd funding page? For just £5 a year membership you can also become a friend of the cemetery which will also go towards the general up keep of Wardsend plus other benefits for you. You can find the application form on the website.

Up The Owls and Friends of Wardsend.

Glenn Poulton. (@PoultonOwl).

The Mystery of the Photo in the Attic – A guest blog post by Sue Pierce

It was only 2 years ago, in January 2016, that I discovered who the couple in the photograph were. It had been sitting in my parents in law’s attic for many years, and then came into our possession, where it sat in a box for 3 decades, until I finally unraveled the mystery surrounding the photograph.
Let me start with why I have an interest in Kate [nee Hattersley] and William Townsend.
William Townsend is my husband, Tony’s great, great, great uncle.
I have always been fascinated in family history and started researching Tony’s family tree in the late 80’s/early 90’s.Going back to 1980, when I was pregnant with our first child, my late mother in law [whose first grandchild it was to be], always expressed a particular interest in my pregnancy regarding the size of the baby. Every time I had an ante natal appointment she would ask if the baby was growing normally, and seemed more concerned than you would expect. When we asked her why she was so concerned, she just looked at us and raised one eyebrow, which she always did if she didn’t want to say/tell us anything! The same thing happened in subsequent pregnancies, and with the pregnancies of her other daughter in law. We never discovered the reason behind her concern during her lifetime.
My mother in law passed away in 1986, aged only 60. It was when my father in law passed away in 1993, that things gradually began to become clearer.As we started sorting through their possessions, we found quite a few photos, and other family memorabilia. We knew these would belong to Tony’s mother, rather than his father, as he didn’t have any family keepsakes at all. We took a box of bits and pieces home with us to sort through, and that is where we found the photograph. It was the original photograph, not a copy, and was at the bottom of a box of assorted old papers. There was nothing at all to indicate who the couple were, and thereby began a mystery that lasted over 3 decades! Clearly it was a family photo, and now I began to understand a little, my mother in laws concerns.

I continued to research Tony’s family tree. Over the years, I had managed to do a lot of research and knew that if the mystery couple were related to Tony, then somewhere, I would have their name in the family tree. I spent many years trying to discover who the mystery couple were. It was so frustrating as I didn’t know whether they were man and wife, siblings, or completely unrelated. I didn’t know whether it was the gentleman or the lady who I was supposed to be looking for as the family member, to give me a starting point. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Then, just 2 years ago, in January 2016, on a cold grey Sunday, I decided I would pull out all the stops to unravel the mystery once and for all. My firstborn, who started all the concerns of his Grandmother, was by then 35!! I just had to discover their identities.

I belong to various family history groups and started posting the photograph on a few of them, asking [almost begging!] for help or suggestions. I hoped there would be an expert out there somewhere who knew just where to look.

The back of the photograph indicates it was taken in Plymouth, Devon. Tony’s family history had never lead me to Devon, so that in itself was a mystery. I didn’t know where else to look.
As you can probably imagine, the photograph generated a lot of interest. Lots and lots of kind people started searching. We all agreed they were probably performers, and some kind folk knew where to look for clues. Within hours, possible names and other information were being sent to me, but none of them tied in with Tony’s family tree. I knew, that one or both of them had their names on the tree, but couldn’t narrow it down any further.
That same evening, a wonderful lady posted another name suggestion – William Townsend, aka Mr. Tommy Dodd! I knew for sure the name Townsend was in Tony’s family tree, so checked for a William. I found him, and the dates and ages all tied up. I checked a few records, finding he was an ‘exhibitor’ in the 1881 census, and found his Will too, which also confirmed details, including leaving his estate to his younger brother, giving the brothers name and slightly unusual occupation, which confirmed I had the correct Will. After a few more checks on old records, it all tied up, and finally, after 35 frustrating years, the mystery of their identity was solved.

The interest of other people didn’t end there, and I was sent the pictures of the programmes and newspaper articles. To say I was over the moon was an understatement.

In 1876 Kate and William became parents of a son, William Hartshill Townsend. His Staffordshire baptism shows their abode as ”travelling” and Williams occupation as ”show dwarf”. Tragically, their only child died in 1877.

I have tried to put ‘flesh on their bones’ so to speak and find out more about them as people. Other than singing and performing [which I like to think they actually enjoyed],  the couple were partial to a drink, and were both apparently fond of whisky.
They sounded very colourful, and certainly seem to have been popular and successful, even travelling outside of the UK to perform abroad.
I think I would have liked Tony’s great, great, great Uncle William and Aunt Kate.

Huge thanks to Sue for sharing this story and the remarkable photograph. 

Kate Townsend is buried at Wardsend Cemetery. You can read more about her here:  Kate Townsend (Mrs. Tommy Dodd)

World War One and Wardsend

The Friends of Wardsend Cemetery newsletter of November 2015 contained details of  Wardsend’s connections with World War One. It included information about those who died in the war zones who are buried elsewhere and whose names are mentioned on memorials at Wardsend, those who lived in the parish of St Philip’s and those mentioned on the Wardsend War Memorial in City Road Cemetery.

Below, in alphabetical order, is a list of names and some information about each individual compiled by co founder of the original Friends of Wardsend Cemetery George Proctor. It is with great thanks to George that I have shared this information here.

It is our intention that this website will one day include a Remembrance section so that this information, as well as that relating to the cemetery’s connections to WW2, will be easily accessible while also serving as an online memorial to those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

We recognise that there is more work to be done here not only from a historical perspective but also so that these individuals may be properly and permanently remembered.


Alcock Arthur Frederick

Service No 2278, private aged 21 Yorks & Lancs (4th Hallamshire) (T.F.) batt killed in action France 16/6/1915. NP 1237.


Alcock William Charles

Service No 11874, aged 21 corporal Kings own Yorks Light Infantry  7th Batt died of wounds 20/9/1917  NP 1237.


Andrews Henry

Service No 17, Rifleman, 19th (Western battalion) (Territorial), Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), born in Ecclesall, died 09/09/1916 in Egypt. He was formerly service No 262 West Riding N. R., Formed in accordance with an Army Council Instruction on 29 Nov 1915.  The Bns were made up of supernumerary TF Companies formed from National Reservists who were used for guarding vulnerable points in Great Britain. The Bns were posted for Garrison duty overseas in 1916. The 18th, 23rd and 24th went to India; 19th and 20th to Egypt. The 21st went to India via Egypt, and the 22nd Salonika via Egypt. The latter was attached to the 228th Brigade in 28th Division. N.R. NP 1285.


Ashton George William

Service No 405319, Private in the Labour Corp,, he was 42 and lived in Brough Street, Owlerton he died on 12/10/1919 having also served in the Yorks & Lancs, Service No 27934.


Barnett Henry James

Service No 3/1877, private, 2nd battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died 26/10/1914, aged 33.  August 1914 : in Dublin. Part of 13th Brigade in 5th Division. 16 August 1914 : landed at Le Havre. NP 1367


Bell George Henry

Service No 18916, private, 2nd battalion, Prince of Wales own (West Yorkshire Rgt, died 27/03/1918,  August 1914 : in Malta. Returned to England and landed at Southampton on 25 September 1914. 25 September 1914 : came under orders of 23rd Brigade, 8th Division, forming up at Hursley Park near Winchester. Landed at Le Havre 5 November 1914.  Military Medal, Sheffield Council Roll of Honour. NP 1102


Dolphin John

Service No R/4084, corporal, 13th battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Died of wounds 26/08/1918,  Formed at Winchester on 7 October 1914 as part of K3 and attached as Army Troops to 21st Division. Moved to Halton Park, going on in November 1914 to billets in Amersham and Great Missenden. Moved to Windmill Hill (Salisbury Plain) in April 1915 and transferred to 111th Brigade in 37th Division. 31 July 1915 : landed at Boulogne.  MM NP 752


Foster William

Service No 65926, private, 126th Protection Co, Royal Defence Corps, died 01/12/1918, formerly 27934 king’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry


Grundy Albert L.

Service No 350343, private, 12th (service) battalion, city of Glasgow Rgt, Highland Light Infantry, formerly 42402 royal Scots Fusiliers, died 28/03/1918,In 1917 they were in action in The First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, including the capture of Guemappe during the Arras Offensive. On the 3rd of February 1918 they transferred to 106th Brigade, 35th Division. They were in action in The Battle of Courtrai and The action of Tieghem during the Final Advance in Flanders. Pozieries Memorial, panel 72, L 236


Helliwell Clarence

Service No 18811, private, 10th battalion, King’s own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died of wounds 07/12/1916, aged 23, Formed at Pontefract in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of 64th Brigade in 21st Division. Moved to Berkhamsted and then to Halton Park (Tring) in October 1914, going on to billets in Maidenhead in November. returned to Halton Park in April 1915 and went on to Witley in August.. September 1915 : landed in France. 13 February 1918 : disbanded in France, with at least some of the men going to 20th Entrenching Battalion.  Sheffield Council Roll of Honour.


Hides Ernest

Service no 499, private, 4th battalion AIF killed in action in Gallipoli at Lone Pine 6th  –  9th 1915 buried at Johnstons Jolly war cemetery in Gallopoli. Remembered on Australian national war memorial, Fulwood memorial and family grave at Wardsend. L 57


Hill William

Service No 203288, 1/4th (Hallamshire) (T.F.) battalion, Yorks & Lance Rgt, died 30/06/1917, aged 37, The 14th was formed in Sheffield in 1914 and stationed there as part of the 3rd W R Brigade of the W R division. After time at Doncaster, Gainsborough and York  landed at Boulogne in April 1915 becoming 148th brigade of the 49th division. Fought at Aubers Bridge 1915, Albert, Bazentin Ridge, Poziieres Ridge, Flers-Courcelette 1916, Flanders coast Poelcapelle 1917.


Hudson Edwin

Service No 3/2577, private, 2nd battalion,  King’s own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died of wounds 11/10/1918, aged 39, August 1914 : in Dublin. Part of 13th Brigade in 5th Division. 16 August 1914 : landed at Le Havre. 28 December 1915 : transferred to 97th Brigade in 32nd Division.


Jubb Herbert

Service No 30657, private, 7th battalion, Border Rgt, formerly 24167 South Wales Borderers, formerly 24197 Royal Welsh Fusiliers, died 03/1/1918, aged 2,1 Formed at Carlisle on 7 September 1914 as part of K2 and came under orders of 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. Moved to Andover and on to Bovington in January 1915. Moved to Winchester in June 1915. Landed at Boulogne 15 July 1915. 22 September 1917 : absorbed the dismounted Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry and renamed 7th (Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Bn. Died either at Bertincourt or Moevres.


Lodge Walter

Service No 40376, gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery, died of wounds 17/07/1916, Sheffield Council Roll of Honour. NP 717


Maltby Oliver

Service No 73563, 3rd battalion, Durham Light Infantry, died 19/02/1918, aged 31,


Middleton Thomas Reginald

Service No 29701, private, 7th battalion, King’s own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died of wounds 03/10/1917,  Formed at Pontefract on 12 September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of 61st Brigade in 20th (Light) Division. Moved to Woking and thenn to Witley in February 1915, going on to Salisbury Plain in May. 24 July 1915 : landed at Boulogne. 20 February 1918 : disbanded in France. Sheffield Council Roll of Honour.


Mills Albert Frederick Schwabe

Service no 37480, Lance Corporal, Yorks & Lancs Rgt, died 1917, buried Arras Memorial bay 8. NP 700


Plant William Bailey

Service No 3321, corporal, 8th (City of London) Battalion (Post Office Rifles, London Rgt, died 15/09/1916, It was also the only regiment in the army that did not have a regimental badge – each battalion having its own individual cap badge. L 409


Redfern Joseph Spencer

Service No 10520, private, 14th battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, died 02/11/1916 aged 42, Formed at Newcastle in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under orders of 21st Division as Army Troops. January 1915 : converted into Pioneer Battalion. Landed in France September 1915. 1916 Somme.


Richardson Joseph

Service No 19505, private, 3rd (reserve) battalion, Yorks & Lancs Rgt, died 10/09/1915, aged 21, K 268


Rippon Thomas

Service No 795849, Gunner, Territorial Force, Royal Horse Artillery and  Royal Field Artillery, died 02/02/1917, aged 28, Hannescamps New Military Cemetery


Smout William Thompson

Service No 12/1854, private, 8th (service) battalion, Yorks & Lancs Rgt, died 01/07/1916, aged 30,  Thiepval Memorial pier and face 14A & 14B,  originally with Sheffield City Battalion. A 451


Speight Horace

Service No 201787, corporal, 6th (service) battalion, Yorks & Lancs Rgt, died 10/10/1917, aged 24, Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Formed at Pontefract in August 1914 as part of K1 and came under orders of 32nd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division. Moved initially to Grantham. Moved to Witley in April 1915. 3 July 1915 : sailed from Liverpool for Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay 6 August 1915. Evacuated from Gallipoli December 1915, moved to Egypt via Imbros. Moved to France in July 1916. grave ref XI. J. 16.     I 256


Spye John

Service No 3/3860, private, Depot battalion, Yorks & Lancs Rgt, died 16/06/1918, Sheffield Council Roll of Honour. NP 1285


Thorpe William

Service No 3/7125, private, 2nd battalion, East Yorks & Lancs Rgt, , died of wounds, 14/05/1915, aged 42, aged 42, Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Grave Ref VIII,  C. 40. L 130


Wales William

Service No Tyneside Z/8298, Drake battalion, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, enlisted 05/11/1915, draft for BEF 27/03/1918, joined Drake battalion 07/04/1918 until 05/07/1918 (influenza), rejoined Drake Battalion 05/09/1918, died 28/09/1918, missing later reported killed in action or died of wounds. L 130


Wall Arthur

Service No 285156, private, 26th battalion (Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers, died 14/10/1917, formerly 6167 Yorks & Lancs Rgt. Tynecot Memorial, panel 19 to 23 and 162, Formed at Newcastle, November 1914, by the Lord Mayor and City. June 1915 : came under orders of 103rd Brigade, 34th Division. Landed in France in January 1916. 3 February 1918 : disbanded in France. Died first battle of Passschendale. I 234


Woodhouse David

Service No 13542, corporal, Depot battalion,  Yorks & Lancs Rgt, died 28/10/ 1918. NP 1079


Cramp Frank

Service No 7368091, corporal, Royal Army Medical Corps, died 04/08/1940, died while guarding an ambulance.  NP 422





Colour-Sergeant Newell: buried at Wardsend?


The memorial to Colour-Sergeant William Newell stands in an isolated position just inside the main gates (now lost). From here the drive climbs up to the chapel site.

NEWELL - stone and drive

Newell Stone detail

The stone is scuffed and chipped, and sometimes difficult to read in the dappled shadow of the trees. Here is a transcription…


This is not an area of graves. The sexton’s house and its garden separate this stone from all others on the site. So this is a carefully chosen spot.  Colour-Sergeant Newell’s carved stone is the first meaningful symbol of remembrance passed by anyone entering the cemetery through the main gate. To the soldiers who had the stone inscribed to the memory of their lost comrade he might be thought of as a sentinel, or a sentry.

But is he buried there? Or anywhere in this cemetery? The evidence is not at all clear.

A death and a funeral

William Newell’s death is a matter of record…


Death certificate 1868 crop
(Thanks to George Proctor for this copy of the death certificate.)

The manner of his death may have dissuaded the press from covering the death and funeral of this popular soldier in detail. A short item appeared in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph four days later, reporting a funeral on May 18th.

NEWELL William funeral SDT 1868-05-20
Missing from the register

According to the burial register the only two interments that took place at Wardsend on May 18th (Monday) were those of a child called Benjamin HEWITT,  and of John ARNOLD, a corporal in the same regiment as Newell.

A burial on the 19th May is listed between these two from the 18th, showing that the register was not brought up to date after each interment. This might allow for errors such as the omission of a burial, though  I would think that this was rare.

burial register May 1868

I have searched the register pages for the whole of May in the hope of finding a misplaced entry for William Newell, but without success.

If these two soldiers were buried in the same cemetery on the same day you would think they would be buried at the same time, with the same escort and military ritual. Is it likely that the newspaper, even in a brief report, would fail to mention that two men were buried?

Both men are listed on the military obelisk at Wardsend…

IMG_8982 Newell with Arnold

However, inclusion on this memorial does not necessarily mean that an individual was buried in this cemetery. Investigation shows that at least six soldiers listed here are buried in other cemeteries.

Woodside Cemetery?

I do not know of any ‘Woodside’ Cemetery in the Sheffield area. Could this be a mistake for Wardsend? Certainly, though Wardsend had been the centre of attention only a few years before, with bodies dug up from graves and the Vicar and sexton in prison. Reporters (and type-setters and proof-readers) would be expected to know of Wardsend, unless they were completely new to their jobs or from outside the town.

A Scottish Connection?

The only Woodside Cemetery I know to have existed at this time was in Paisley in Scotland. That might have some relevance, as a Scottish connection is suggested by the following brief notice:

Glasgow Herald   (Friday 22 May 1868)NEWELL death notice Glasgow Herald 1868-05-22

Noting his previous service, I think this may well be the same man in the Indian Mutiny Medal Roll (transcription from Find My Past):

Indian Mutiny Medal Roll 1857-1859

First name: William
Last name: Newell
Year: 1857-59
Service number: 2987
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment: 79th Foot (Cameron Highlanders)
Clasp: Lucknow
Notes: Discharged
Medal type: Indian Mutiny Medal, 1857-1859

Two errors?

Taking each on its own merits, the two possible errors (omission from the Wardsend registers, ‘Woodside’ for ‘Wardsend’ in the newspaper) are certainly possible. It does seem a great coincidence if we consider them together. But I do not have another solution to suggest.

Just in case the newspaper was describing an event in Paisley I wrote to the Paisley Cemetery Company which now runs the Woodside Cemetery and Crematorium. They could not find William Newell in their registers.

Elusive in life as well as in death

I cannot positively identify William Newell in any census record. The newspaper report of the funeral implies that he enlisted before he was 20 and so may well have been overseas in both 1851 and 1861. There are a number of possible census entries in 1841, in Scotland and elsewhere.

A visitor to our recent 160th Anniversary event showed me a family tree which appeared to show that he was descended from William Newell. However, I found records to suggest that this was not the case. This was a disappointment as it would have given me names of other family members. Researching them might have suggested a burial location for William. As it is, I don’t even know if William Newell was married or had children.

Denouncing an impostor

An odd sideshow in the last few weeks of the life of William Newell is provided by the following news reports:

Sheffield Daily Telegraph (7 Apr 1868)
NEWELL 1868-04-07 SDT impostor charged at Doncaster

Sheffield Daily Telegraph (8 Apr 1868)NEWELL William 1868-04-08 SDT name

It was a long wait for the Assizes. The real Sergeant Newell was not around to know the outcome.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph (12 Aug 1868)1868-08-12 Wed SDT Fraudster jailed Leeds Assizes


I do not know if William Newell is buried at Wardsend. If he is, I don’t know if the memorial by the gates marks his resting place. I have not considered here the possibility that the stone has been moved from an original location elsewhere, whether at Wardsend, or somewhere else entirely.

What is certain is that William Newell and the service he represents was important to those who caused the memorial to be made and then placed in such a prominent position.


Wardsend? More like Wards-Beginning!

After 3 months of collaboration with Friends of Wardsend Cemetery the new website, including a Virtual Map, was launched on Friday. We couldn’t be happier with the launch event and were taken aback by the number of people who attended. As much as the launch was a presentation and introduction of our work, we were inspired by the number of people who brought along articles and stories linking them and their family to the cemetery. Seeing the site being used to discover and locate relatives and ancestors was fantastic!

Friday, and the days following the event so far, have seen a significant rise in the website’s activity. Seeing it being used is wonderful and as part of our sustainability plan, the website will be updated as new stories are discovered and community links are created.
If you have any stories or community links which you think could be included on the website or would like to get more involved do contact the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery group at

Photos from the event will be uploaded to the website soon!

We would like to thank everyone who attended our launch, helped us with the creation of the website and all those who have explored the site so far! Through working with the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery group not only have we enjoyed creating this new resource, but more significantly, we have been shown a secret gem of Sheffield which I am sure we will return to in the future.


What is this ‘Virtual Map’?

Map logo1

Hello! I’m Beth, yet another student of Public Humanities MA who has been working with the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery over the last term. I have been in charge of creating the virtual map, which will feature on the website and be launched at our event on May 12th at the University of Sheffield.

The map will be a collection of the research we have done on a few of those buried and remembered at the cemetery.

Why a map? Well, as a group we wanted to showcase our research in a form that was more exciting than an article. Alongside this, we wanted to help FOWC increase awareness of the actual cemetery in Sheffield. So we hope that creating a map will bring the site to life, and inspire people to go and visit for themselves.

On the map you will find the stories of a small number of those buried at the cemetery, their lives and perhaps their deaths. There will also be tales about the site as a whole that will help to give background to the cemetery, and also to organisations and future projects that FOWC are involved in.

It is worth mentioning that there is not an image for every gravestone on the map. This is because the cemetery is currently not 100% passable, and we have not reached the headstones of everyone we have researched. At this point I would like to add a disclaimer: we do not suggest you venture too far off paths upon your visits to the cemetery, and if you do choose to; be aware of your surroundings and possible trip hazards, don’t rely on any headstones to be firmly in the ground and be wary of railings and loose stones. Large parts of the cemetery aren’t accessible at the moment, but FOWC are hoping that this will change in the next few years and then everyone will be able to explore and find out stories of their own!

What next? You need to visit the site for yourself!

As soon as the website becomes live on May 12th, view the map! On there, choose a plot to explore, click on the photos, read the stories, and learn about the people buried there. But then be sure to visit the cemetery located in Hillsborough, near Sheffield, for yourself too!

View the map HERE!

Wardsend through an oil painting

A few weeks ago a few of us took a trip to Weston Park Museum as part of one of my other modules for my MA. Whilst in the museum we ventured into the Gallery where we stumbled upon several paintings of Hillsborough, a few of which featured Wardsend Cemetery from the 19th century.

I could not help but notice, and also appreciate, the different pictures of Wardsend portrayed in the images – such a contrast to the space we see now. The first painting, titled ‘Sheffield and the Valley of the Don’, was painted by Edward Price circa 1863. In the painting we can see a Wardsend Cemetery, surrounded by green fields and complete tranquillity. The original chapel is also in the picture. If I were to take a picture from the same location, say on my Iphone, we would now see Hillsborough College and the Owlerton Stadium, yet the cemetery still remains as part of this modern landscape – amazing.

The second painting, created by William John Stevenson, is an oil painting of the River Don at Wardsend. The painting is dated 1875, so almost ten years after Price’s painting, but still, the picture portrays the same tranquil demeanour. The scene displays a man looking over the River Don, with Wardsend in the distance.

Both images can be found by clicking on the artist’s respective name. Have a look and please feel free to share your thoughts on the paintings.

Edward Price

William John Stevenson

‘I Certainly Didn’t Expect To See That!’

It was Sunday the 9th of April, and the sun shone brightly as Sheffield’s temperature climbed into the 20s for one of the first times this year. It was a time for first ice creams of the year, sunbathing, a beer in a deckchair, and, of course, a day at Wardsend Cemetery.

Whilst much of the city was preparing itself for the half marathon, 37 of us made our way towards the sparkling and shimmering River Don, and Wardsend Cemetery. We could not be happier with the turnout, and want to personally thank everyone who came.

10-4-17 Pic 1

Image Credit: Howard Bayley, Facebook

The clean-up has made a big difference to the feel of the cemetery, and it is all thanks to the volunteers that Wardsend looks nice enough to match the weather!

Turnout was so high that we even ran out of images to pass around, so thank you everyone for sharing! From feedback we had on the day and on Facebook, it seems that everyone had a great day out, and hopefully learned a lot about the cemetery.

Not only was it wonderful to see so many people at our event, but it also meant that the donations we received were sizeable enough to cover our whole year’s insurance! So thank you everyone for your generosity!

If anyone wants to learn more (or perhaps recap) on Wardsend’s history, they can click this link

A final thank you again to everyone that came! And to anyone that wants to be more involved with the cemetery, you can join our Facebook page HERE

[Notice regarding images: The included image is taken from, if you are included in this image and wish it to be removed, please email us at]

The Role of the Closed Cemetery

Hi. I’m Katy, another of the students studying Public Humanities at the University of Sheffield. I’ve also benefitted from the cemetery local to my parents’ house in Wiltshire since I was 15. Attached to the St. Denys the Minster, it provided me a place of refuge when my sister was watching rugby, somewhere to read poetry without interruption, and a place to think things through. It also bought me closer to my town when I discovered a WW1 grave, who’s occupant died 10 days before the Armistice was announced.

Why am I telling you all of this?

When we had our brief for the partnership with the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery, I was excited to find that we were focusing on a cemetery. This was a fantastic opportunity to be part of reclaiming the cemetery and turning it into a place of refuge, like my cemetery back home.

Many people consider my view of cemeteries as a place of refuge as a little bizarre, even a little gothic. However, in the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery, and the ‘Friends’ culture I hadn’t come across before moving to Sheffield, there is a different approach where the cemetery becomes a place of history, nature and community. From encouraging locals to get involved with clear up sessions through to working with heritage and environmental projects, the FoWC  is doing everything they can to bring Wardsend Cemetery back into the community.

So what will Wardsend Cemetery’s role be?

Obviously, a closed cemetery is not open for more burials. We are left with two possible roles. The local community can eventually abandon the cemetery and allow it to become overgrown and unused. This is what has happened to Wardsend. The other choice is to maintain the cemetery and turn it into an area that the community can enjoy and learn from. Essentially, to recreate the cemetery in the form of a museum, park and creative space. This is the route that the FoWC seem to be heading down.

In the renewed Wardsend Cemetery, the surrounding community has a space in which they can learn, create and relax. Who knows, maybe even a place for teenagers to seek refuge from sports-obsessed siblings.