Brass cross is handed over

A HISTORIC cross which stood as the focal point of a chapel in Sheffield has been donated to a church in Swinton.

For more than a century, the brass cross stood at Middlewood Chapel, formerly part of the Middlewood psychiatric hospital.

But now, after being in storage and away from public view for several years, it has been donated to St Margaret’s Parish Church in Swinton.

The 138-year-old brass cross was officially handed over to the Archdeacon of Doncaster, Bob Fitzharris, by Kevan Taylor, the chief executive of the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Taylor said: “Thousands of people worshipped in the Middlewood Chapel over the years and the cross, which was a real focal point, it’s a wonderful piece of history.

“It is with great pleasure that we donate this cross to St Margaret’s, where we know it will be treasured.”

Two hospitals were originally on the site of the psychiatric hospital in Middlewood.

The larger of the two, which had it own church and a working farm, was originally known as the South Yorkshire Asylum until 1890.

It later went through a number of name changes before becoming Middlewood Hospital.

The psychiatric hospital was scaled down and closed in 1998, before being bulldozed to make way for housing.

Archdeacon Fitzharris, who has announced his retirement, said: “This cross has represented a symbol of hope to a lot of people.

“It is with great pride that we accept this kind donation knowing it will continue to provide hope to many more people in the future.”