Crosspool man charged with the murders of a woman and her mother in Shirebrook

A Crosspool man has been charged with the murders of two women at a house in Shirebrook, Derbyshire.

Christopher Whelan (20) will appear at Chesterfield Justice Centre today, charged with the murders of Julie Hill and her mother Rose Hill at a house in Station Road on Thursday, February 25.

Police and paramedics were called to the house at about 10.10pm on Friday, February 26. The bodies were found inside.

Ms Hill (51) lived at the address while her 75-year-old mother lived in Sheffield. Mr Whelan, of Dransfield Road, Sheffield, was arrested the day after the discovery.

Ms Hill’s dog, thought to be a terrier, is missing from the house.

Anyone with information, or anyone who knows the whereabouts of the dog, should call police on 101, quoting incident number 728 of February 26, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Derbyshire Constabulary appeal


Carols on Dransfield Road

Residents of Dransfield Road celebrated the night before Christmas with carols on the street accompanied by brass musical instruments.

It’s the third year running that people living on the road have got together on Christmas eve to sing carols, drink mulled wine and eat mince pies. Despite a couple of rain showers, over 60 people joined in.

Happy Christmas to all in Crosspool and here’s to a good 2015 for our community.

Carols on Dransfield Road
Carols on Dransfield Road

Residents urged to be vigilant after reports of Crosspool burglaries

Volunteers from a local neighbourhood watch scheme are warning Crosspool residents to be extra vigilant after a spate of break-ins over the last few days.

There were reports of burglaries on Den Bank Close and others in the Stephen Hill area, all taking place between 1pm and 3pm.

Dransfield Road Neighbourhood Watch is suggesting residents check their homes and vehicles are secure and work with their neighbours to stay safe.

If you see anything suspicious, call 101. If you see a crime taking place, call 999.

Road resurfacing work continues from 14 July in Sandygate

Blossom on Watt Lane
Watt Lane: to be resurfaced as part of the Streets Ahead project

Work to resurface roads, replace pavements and install new streetlights is due to start on Crosspool streets in the Sandygate district.

Roads in what contractor Amey is calling zone B45 include Watt Lane, Selborne Road, Cairns Road, Cardoness Road and Drive, Dransfield Road and Close and Barholm Road.

Two separate road closures are scheduled for the second half of July. Cars parked on closed roads may be towed away, with a fee due to have your vehicle released.

Residents living in affected roads should have received letters confirming the details – read a copy here (PDF, 71KB).

Streets Ahead Sandygate zone B45 latest – Sheffield City Council


Dransfield Road collision: police appeal for witnesses

Dransfield Road
The police would like to hear from anyone in the Dransfield Road area yesterday between 5pm and 6pm

Police are appealing for witnesses after a traffic collision in Crosspool left an elderly pedestrian in hospital with life-threatening injuries.

A red VW Polo was travelling in Dransfield Road away from Watt Lane around 5.10pm on Thursday 13 February when it collided with an 86-year-old man who was crossing the road.

The pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. The driver of the VW, a 93-year-old man, was not injured.

Officers want to hear from anyone in the Dransfield Road area between 5pm and 6pm on 13 February 2014. Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 858 of 13 February 2014.

Memoir gives insight into Crosspool history

Joe Scott in 1941
Joe Scott in 1941

The experiences of a boy growing up in 1920s and 1930s Crosspool have been published in a personal memoir.

Joe Scott was born in Sheffield in November 1921. At the age of four in 1925 he moved with his family, including brother Willie and sister Mary, into a new house on Watt Lane in Crosspool.

The extracts below, penned in Joe’s retirement, give an insight into their Crosspool house, the neighbourhood, schools, cars and church. You’ll also read how Joe’s mother gave their address as Ranmoor rather than Crosspool because it sounded posher!

Thanks to Joe’s son Mike for giving permission for us to publish extracts of his father’s memoirs on this website.

Growing up on Watt Lane, Sheffield by Joe Scott

The house on Watt Lane, Crosspool

House on Watt Lane
Ma at the front gate of our Watt Lane house, circa 1935

The house was a three-bedroomed semi, one of the many thousand built in the years between the wars. It cost £700 (probably about three years of dad’s salary), and they bought it with a loan from the Teacher’s Provident Society, and had paid it off by, I think, 1939.

I expect they moved because they needed room for three kids, and also because Crosspool was a desirable area on the western side of Sheffield away from the smoky industrial east.

Their friends the Pryors lived in Crosspool and probably told them of the new houses going up along Watt Lane. The sitting room and front bedroom had a fine view south across the valley, and there was a garden and behind it fields where children could play, with three trees where we had a swing, and a pond where we splashed and got muddy.

In the kitchen was a black cast-iron stove with a back boiler, which heated a limited amount of water. Pipes rumbled and gurgled as the water rose to the cylinder in the bathroom “hot press”, and you could get a moderate bath if you waited long enough. Little children were of course bathed together or consecutively in the same water.

There were fireplaces in the sitting room, the dining room and two of the bedrooms, but Mary’s tiny bedroom over the kitchen had none, so on Christmas Eve, when Father Christmas came down the chimney, Mary, Willie and I slept all three in the bed Willie and I usually shared.

Joe, Mary and dad circa 1931

Mum and dad’s bedroom had a gas fire, but the other bedroom fire was never lit, and the house was bitterly cold in winter. There was an island of warmth within range of whichever fire was lit. But on winter nights the moonlight glistened on the ice that formed inside the bedroom windows as our breath froze.

There was, of course, electric lighting and there were three two-pin power sockets and mum ran an electric iron from an adapter on the kitchen light. Electricity was cheap (3/8d a unit) and as the 20s moved into the 30s we acquired more and more devices, an Electrolux carpet cleaner, a fire, an electric kettle, an immersion heater, a cooker with oven and hob, and even a washing machine.

On Mondays Mrs Smith came (from Pitsmoor for 5/-? plus her bus fare) to help mum with the washing. Until we got the machine (1935?) clothes were boiled in a gas boiler that normally lived under the draining board, and then scrubbed on a zinc board and swished around with a wooden “dolly” in a dolly tub. Small children, like “wee Joe” could be popped into the warm dolly tub for an unexpected bath! Mum also employed a “day girl” aged 14 or so, who came every morning to help, and was paid 5/- a week or so.

Things to do outside

There was always plenty for us to do, or so it seems in retrospect. We played hide-and-seek in the fields, and in and around the new houses being built. At the pond we tried to sail toy boats and from the clay made “touch-wood burners”. These were roughly shaped bowls of clay with holes in the side. You filled them with dry crumbling wood from a hole in one of the trees, and with luck you could get it to burn merrily in the wind.

In the winter we went snowballing and sledging. We rolled big snowballs in the field and made snowmen. We had only one sledge but it was big enough to hold all three of us. The best sledging was down Darwin Lane, which ran steeply from Watt Lane to Ranmoor, and saw very little motor traffic especially when there was snow. When conditions were right there would be dozens of children speeding down and trudging up. On one occasion council workmen appeared with a horse and cart to spread grit – to be met with snowballs!

As a family we often went on walks. There were routine and boring walks “round the lump”, but as we got older we went further afield, some- times taking the bus to Rivelin Dams and then walking round the “sandy track”, or carrying a picnic to Lodge Moor and following what was said to be a Roman road (it wasn’t) to Stanedge Pole.

Mary and I jointly owned a fairy cycle, a nasty little kid’s bike with solid tyres, which was never any use. Then aged about ten, I bought for 7/6 (from Ralph Warrender who lived a few doors away) a real bike of middling size. When I was 13 Willie passed on his full-size bike to me, and I used it to ride to school and with school friends as far as Matlock or Castleton. We were lucky to have the Peak District on our doorstep.

Rich and poor and going to school

Our house was nearly at the end of Watt Lane, where it joined Whitworth Road. Here and on similar roads stretching down to Ranmoor Church dwelt an altogether posher sort of people than those in our new semis. Stone-built, mostly in late Victorian times, these houses had room for living-in servants and stood in large gardens with trees and high walls.

We knew hardly any of the people who lived in them, but saw some when they went past in their cars, and others at church. We went to Ranmoor Church, and mum gave our address as Ranmoor rather than Crosspool because it sounded posher. In the church the seats near the centre aisle were “private” – each bore the name of a family in one of the posh houses. We sat at the side in seats marked “free”– so learning our place in the class system.

At the other end of Watt Lane was Crosspool with a few shops and beyond that Lydgate Lane which led into Crookes. Here were terraced streets of working class houses, also of Victorian vintage. Lydgate Lane Council School was the nearest for us, and Willie and Mary went there when we first moved to Watt Lane.

But it served the Crookes area as well as Crosspool, and when there were stories of “rough boys” from Crookes, mum and dad looked instead at Nether Green Council School, which was further away but not so “rough”. Dad would know the reputation of both schools, particularly for winning “scholarships” (passes in the 11+ exam which won you a place at a secondary school), and probably this was a factor. Anyhow, in September 1926 when I was a “rising five”, we all three went to Nether Green.


Willie’s Riley was kept in the field behind 100 Watt Lane. Joe driving -1940?

Hardly anyone we knew had a car in 1925. Dad’s colleague Percy Roberts had a 1927 Singer and then a 1931 Riley in which we got an occasional ride. But even when Watt Lane’s hundred or so houses had all been built in the late 30s there were only half a dozen cars – Willie and I knew the registration numbers of them all. Cars were somehow the gateway to excitement and adventure.

We had very little money and Willie would send me down to Bob Davidson’s garage with a bottle for a pint of petrol! Back home in Sheffield we often went for a walk, as mentioned above – perhaps all five of us, or perhaps just Willie and me, and in the latter case we certainly went from Crosspool along the Manchester Road, the A57, where you were most likely to see cars, Model T Fords, Morrises Cowleys and the occasional Bentley or Lagonda.

In 1933, when Willie was 16 he bought a motorbike, a 1927 Levis 250cc for 50/-. Mum and dad had not been consulted and they thought it was dangerous, so he never taxed and insured it, but we rode it round the fields at the back, where new houses were being built along Dransfield Road. Despite the complaints of the neighbours it was a lot of fun.

King Edward’s School

I learned some useless things at KES – for instance how to translate into Greek “The King’s black lions have toothache in the winter.” But I learned useful things too. One very important one was the idea of logical proof, which I met first in geometry – I felt much more convinced about the square on the hypotenuse than about the existence of God.

Another important lesson was that gambling was a mug’s game. We played pontoon a good deal during breaks, or behind our desks during lessons. There was a 2d. limit, and a good deal of credit was acceptable, but there came a time when I owed some enormous sum, 1/6 or so, and had no way to pay it off. Many of my friends seemed to have far more pocket money than me, so I decided that those with the longest purse could take most risks and were bound to win in the long run.

Another useful thing was a basic knowledge of woodwork – I learned how to sharpen a chisel or make a mortice and tenon joint – skills which lasted rather longer than the bookstand and clock case I produced at school.

I also developed at KES a taste for poetry which probably went back to nursery rhymes. I only needed two or three readings of a piece of verse I enjoyed for it to stick in my memory – much of it is still there. English classes gave me a taster of the leading poets from Chaucer to Housman, and an appetite for more which has stayed with me.

Thanks to Joe’s son Mike for giving permission for us to publish these extracts of his father’s memoir on Crosspool News. You can read the full version (PDF, 112KB) on

Dransfield Road children enjoy playing out

Playing out on Dransfield Road
Playing out on Dransfield Road

The top half of Dransfield Road was closed on Friday afternoon to allow children to play out in safety on the street.

Four local mums were successful in their application for Sheffield’s first-ever ‘playing out’ session, which saw the road closed to traffic from the Barholm Road junction upwards, with stewarded access for residents.

Householders on the road were invited to come out to play or pop out just for a chat after school between 4pm and 5.30pm.

Over 30 children from Dransfield Road and neighbouring Barholm Road and Cardoness Drive enjoyed a fantastic afternoon.

One of the mums, Bron Ray, initiated the event after reading about a similar scheme in Bristol which encourages residents to close their roads for an hour or two. The scheme aims to provide local children with a rare opportunity to ride their bikes, kick a football and play chalk games in the street.

The event on Dransfield Road was a huge success and the residents are planning to reapply to the council to secure future Playing Out events for their children.

As one five-year-old said on the day, being allowed to play out on the road was ‘absolutely awesome!’

Video on The Star website: playing out on Dransfield Road

The Playing Out project