When Sheffield pubs were places for beer, darts, sing-songs and pigeons

Carlisle Street and Carlisle Street East, part two

By The Newsroom
Friday, 17 June, 2016, 20:00
The Alexandra public house on Carlisle Street East was run by several members of the same family

Our next beerhouse on this tour of Victorian pubs was named the Palmerston Hotel after the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston.

This address is another quandary – 129? But in Whites 1879 Directory, the beerhouse is given at 125-7 and 129 is listed as John Garrett, a coal dealer, so please don’t go dancing round the pub waving Retro saying “he’s got that wrong”.

The Royal Rifle Corps on the left, with what writer Vin Malone believes may have been the Wrekin on the right

I have to take an educated guess, so hopefully I’m right. At the beerhouse at No 125-7 is Thomas Baggley, so I think this house becomes the Palmerston.

Our next oasis in an area of dust and noise, at no 131, will later be called the Atlas Hotel.

Our man with the licence is John Thomson.

This is in the list of licensed beerhouse keepers as closing in 1927 but it was in Whites as Dining Rooms in 1911, run by Stephen Dobbs.

The Corner Pin, which is now offices

Just a couple of steps away lies the Little Atlas – not much flare in picking this pub’s name. It’s at 135 and was another beerhouse selling beer from 1864.

When we visit its mine host is Edmund Green. He’s listed as a shopkeeper, coal dealer and beer retailer, so he had his finger in several pies.

According to the licenced victuallers list, the licence lapsed in April 1906 and it reportedly closed in 1922.

Again in 1911 no 135 is listed as a shop owned by James Batho. Very strange, so did Mr Green sell up and move?

The Royal Rifle Corps on the left, with what writer Vin Malone believes may have been the Wrekin on the right

Our next watering hole is the Royal Rifle Corps. Not listed as a beerhouse but as a public house. It was selling beer in 1850 and survived until 1958. Its landlord on our visit is John Wood.

A small establishment but busy, to say it was close to three other pubs within spitting distance.

Our next port of call is or will be the Wrekin, which means isolated hill in old English.

This beerhouse was selling beer in 1864. The licence is held by Job Smith. Once again it’s a smallish house. It closed on December 31, 1928.

The Corner Pin, which is now offices

Leaving the Wrekin, we make our way to the Coach And Horses at no 147. It’s a lady that holds the licence, Christiana Wilby.

It was given a licence in 1840 and this one also lasted until December 31, 1928.

These last few pubs and beerhouses are now getting pretty full as steelworkers with girlfriends, wives and workmates meet in their favourite pubs to discuss the day, play darts, have a sing-song and talk about their pigeons.

These pubs were greased hubs of the community and once they started disappearing the community started to fail.

We leave the jollity of the Coach and Horses and make our way to the Corner Pin (as it will become).

Its name gives a hint as to where it stands, on the corner of Lyon Street and Carlisle Street East. It was granted a licence in 1840.

It’s now offices and, without much alteration to the building, the name is still high on the corner in a roundel.

Like many pubs, this one supposedly had a ghost with a fondness for turning the lights on and off, plus footsteps could be heard in the night.

Sounds like Mr D, Mr S and myself after a good night’s gargling on the beer.

The licensee on our visit is William Dewick, a fair bloke who can take trouble by the scruff of the neck and deal with it in this smallest of pubs.

We leave the Pin and make for the Carwood on the opposite side of the road at no 8, named the Carwood Hotel in Whites.

Another 1864 pub, the name on the licence is John Andrews.

It survived until 1986 when the steelworks were in dire trouble and the lads were made redundant en bloc, thus leaving pubs without customers.

Today once again another building has been saved by converting it into offices.

We now have just four more venues to call at.

Our next one is just a short walk away at no 46, another house opened in 1864, later to be listed as the Railway Tavern.

Another lady holds this licence in our year and she’s Elizabeth Crosby (no relation to Bing).

It was named because of the railway that came close by and because of the Wicker Goods Yard nearby, which was a hive of activity, mainly with the numerous coal merchants who worked out of there.

The Railway was short-lived as it closed in 1907.

It must have been demolished as its post number isn’t listed in 1911.

The Engineers, our next target, is close by at no 116.

It opened in 1864 but this is another one that had closed in March 1907. Seems major building work had begun by demolishing this pub and the Railway.

The chap with the name above the door is Ralph Thomas – and it had just 10 landlords from its opening to its closing.

Still, it’s a decent drink for workers with a raging thirst.

The Fair Trades at no 118 is another pub/beerhouse that opened in 1864 and closed on March 25, 1907.

By 1911 Frederick Pepper, a name not to be sneezed at, was established as a grocer at 118.

He was the licensee at the time of our visit in 1879, so was selling groceries his main source of income? It had definitely forgone its licence in 1907.

Our last visit is to the Alexandra at no 549 – strange numbering to say the least. This was known as the Alexandra at the time of our visit.

Built in 1864, it survived up to the early ’70s.

It was finally demolished in 1995 and a waste recycling plant took its place.

The Alex was serving drinks in 1865 and the landlord was Bella Hodgson.

The Hodgsons held the licence from 1871 through to 1897 by way of Digby (the father?) and George (the son?).

Then Bella, the mother of George, then another or the same Digby is named on the licence, then the daughter Emma took the reins until 1896.

Between 1898 and 1917 the Smith family ran the pub, from 1919 to 1923 Oliver Wassall was the landlord. After that Oliver Herbert and Clara Sowter held the licence between them.

The Alexandra had the nickname the Shakers.

I can’t say for sure whether it was from the big hammers at Firth Browns shaking the place or the tins of rice or dried peas that were handed out on a Saturday or Sunday night for people to accompany the juke box with the good old ’60s music of the time.

It’s here at the Alexandra I have to leave Mr Dawson & Mr Sorsby as they’ve pulled two likely-looking girls and they are all up dancing and singing the hit of the day Oh Dem Golden Slippers.

It’s nice to see the afflicted enjoying themselves.

Thus ends our walk back in time into Sheffield’s lost pubs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have researching it and writing it.

The area of Carlisle Street must have been a sight to see – but maybe not so good to live there.

If anyone has any memories of the places mentioned, please write in to Julia Armstrong and share them with us all.

Finally, for the people who scrutinise every word, it could be that most pubs in this article did have names but in my directories they are nearly all listed as beerhouses.