Memories of Pitsmoor

Aileen Adams' father
Aileen Adams' father
Rosebank today
Rosebank today

Story:Dr Aileen Adams writes from Cambridge

My father Dr Joseph Adams was born in Northern Ireland, qualified in medicine in 1917 and went straight into the army, being awarded the Military Cross for his service in the trenches.

On leaving the army he worked for a while in Wigan, Lancashire, where he met my mother and soon after they married.

Between the wars

In 1921 he settled into general practice in Sheffield at 189 Grimesthorpe Road. This Victorian house was both residence and surgery. He owned number 191 as well, an identical house that he rented out.

I was born in 1923 and had a younger brother and sister. We had a splendid view across the valley over the steel works which belched out smoke that covered everywhere with black soot – when you had been playing in the garden your hands were black. This was before the anti-pollution regulations.

When they tapped a furnace to pour molten steel the whole valley lit up with a wonderful red and yellow glow. We were surrounded by what were known as ‘back- to-back’ houses, where workers from the steel factories lived. They had communal back yards and shared toilets. These were all swept away some years after World War Two and replaced with the present housing estate.

A modern church replaced the Victorian Parish church with its tall steeple.

World War Two

The GPs in Pitsmoor came from Scotland or Ireland, the Pringles lived in Owler Lane, the Mackinnons and Starks in Burngreave Road. We played in the streets or in the little park in Scott Road, or romped along Grimesthorpe Road where there were men who kept pigeons, which we loved to see.

Then the war came. I was 17 and had decided to follow my father’s example and become a doctor. Some parents evacuated their children away from the big cities for fear of air raids, but mine decided we would stay together, so I lived at home and went to the University.

Sheffield was bombed several times, they missed the steel works and bombed the city centre instead and our district was also damaged. We slept in our cellars so we didn't have to get up and rush there whenever the air-raid sirens sounded.

One morning we found all the windows broken though the house was undamaged. Another morning we were hastily evacuated over the back fence because of an unexploded bomb outside our front gate.

Sheffield did not have many raids although there was a lot of damage and many casualties. I remember after one raid I went next morning as usual to the University and saw immense damage along the Wicker, with over-turned trams and debris everywhere.

Walking back home in the pitch dark of the blackout in December, when your only light was a torch dimmed with a handkerchief over it, was not too easy.

Post war years

Some time after the war my parents moved to the other side of the city, though 189 remained the practice till my father's retirement, when Dr Tyson took it over.

When I visited in the 1990s the house was used as a Methodist Mission, but some years later it was pulled down and replaced with the present care home.

The garden remains much as I remember it and number 191 is still there.

The building opposite our house was the Church of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in my time. When I visited in 2003 the Mormon Church had become a Sikh temple. Now it is not in use

Logged in users of the website can add comments to this page.
Login to this site if you'd like to add a comment. Sign-up for an account if you are not currently a member.

<< | Up | >>

Print version

The content on this page was added to the website by Saleema Imam on 2015-03-23 15:25:42.
The content of the page was last modified by Gaby Spinks on 2016-10-12 12:26:56.

Follow us on Twitter @TheBMessenger

All content is copyright © Burngreave Messenger Ltd. or its voluntary contributors, unless otherwise stated, not to be reproduced without permission. If you have any comments, or are interested in contributing to the Messenger and getting involved, please contact us.

Burngreave Messenger Ltd. Abbeyfield Park House, Abbeyfield Road, Sheffield S4 7AT.
Telephone: 0114 242 0564. Email:
Company Limited by Guarantee: 04642734
Registered Charity: 1130836

The Burngreave Messenger is a community newspaper with editorial independence, funded by the Big Lottery, Foyle Foundation, Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Scurrah Wainwright Charity, local residents and our advertisers.

Help the Messenger with a donation