Joe Castle writes:
Digging in his back garden a while ago, the resident of a semi-detached house on the top side of Manchester Road hit a real snag when his spade struck a sizeable stone some three feet below ground level.
Further digging at either side exposed even more stones and, in fact a line of them extending the full width of the garden.
Naturally, very curious, and with some prizing (and fortuitously great care) he was met with an unbelievable sight witnessed by his equally inquisitive 12-year old son who had arrived on the scene. More stones were lifted and there, a yard or so below, several lines of setts were revealed.
Carrying a camera the lad gingerly jumped down into the hole. His, (adult verified) findings were a circular-shaped tunnel, some 20-25 inches in diameter, constructed of irregular shaped pieces of stone and stretching both ways into the darkened distance. There was a covering of silt on the tunnel floor.
A knowledgeable resident told me the tunnel’s two terminals were: at one end The Sportsman and at the other the bottom of Coldwell Lane. Apparently, many residents who had alterations made to their houses (the tunnel passes through the back-gardens of 51 properties) had been made aware of its existence.
Why is it there, anyway? What purpose does or did it serve; any ideas? I’ll put forward my theory in the next issue of the Crosspool Clarion but your views will be very welcome.
Local historian Judith Hanson gave her views:
I have looked at the old maps of Crosspool and nothing is shown on them to indicate what the mystery tunnel can be. However I do know that there was an adit – an opening to a coal mine – just behind The Sportsman. Maybe it could have something to do with that?
There are coal seams all over this area and several of the people who lived in Clough Fields hamlet were miners. There was a Hallam coal field but where exactly it was I have not been able to find out.
An interesting addition to this is that there was a footpath from Manchester Road up to Sandygate Road- approximately where the gennel is on Manchester Rd, coming out at the top of Ringstead Crescent.
And yes, if you are from Sheffield its a gennel and not a ginnel!
What do you think? Do you have any ideas about what it might be?