Upperthorpe, Sheffield

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Location within Sheffield
Metropolitan borough
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53°23′24″N1°29′13″W / 53.390°N 1.487°W / 53.390; -1.487 Coordinates: 53°23′24″N1°29′13″W / 53.390°N 1.487°W / 53.390; -1.487
General view of Upperthorpe from Parkwood Springs Upperthorpe from Parkwood Springs.jpg
General view of Upperthorpe from Parkwood Springs
Upperthorpe Villa, 22 Blake Grove Road Upperthorpe Villa, Blake Grove Road.jpg
Upperthorpe Villa, 22 Blake Grove Road
Some of the seven tower blocks. Tower block, Upperthorpe.JPG
Some of the seven tower blocks.

Upperthorpe is a suburb of the City of Sheffield, England. It lies 1.2 miles (2 km) west of the city centre. The suburb falls within the Walkley ward of the City. It is an area of residential housing and is bounded by the suburbs of Walkley to the north, Crookes to the west and Netherthorpe to the south.

Sheffield City and Metropolitan borough in England

Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. With some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 577,800 (mid-2017 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third-largest English district by population. The metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000.

Walkley human settlement in United Kingdom

Walkley is a suburb in the north west of Sheffield in England. It lies west of Burngreave, south of Hillsborough and north-east of Crookes.

Crookes town in Sheffield, United Kindom

Crookes is a suburb of the City of Sheffield, England, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of the city centre. It borders Broomhill to the south, Walkley and Crookesmoor to the east and open countryside around the River Rivelin to the north. The population of the ward of the same name was 17,700 at the 2011 Census.



The date of the first settlement in the Upperthorpe area is not clear; the name itself is a combination of the Danish word “thorpe” meaning “outlying farmstead” and a surname which was the Middle English word for a cooper. [1] This means that the settlement was founded at a time when both Viking and Old English words had been integrated into local speech giving a founding date in the 9th or 10th century. By 1383 the settlement was known as Hoperthorpe which gradually evolved into Upperthorpe over the centuries. [2] By the middle of the 16th century tanning had become a major industry within Upperthorpe with the Rawsons, an ancient Hallamshire family, setting up tanning pits in the area. Their business flourished over the years and they also established tanneries at nearby Walkley and Philadelphia. The industry started to falter in the 19th century and eventually lost out to more established tanning areas in Walsall and Leeds. [2] [3]

Danish language North Germanic language spoken in Denmark

Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in Denmark and in the region of Southern Schleswig in northern Germany, where it has minority language status. Also, minor Danish-speaking communities are found in Norway, Sweden, Spain, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina. Due to immigration and language shift in urban areas, around 15–20% of the population of Greenland speak Danish as their first language.

Middle English Stage of the English language from about the 12th through 15th centuries

Middle English was a form of the English language, spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarly opinion varies, but the Oxford English Dictionary specifies the period when Middle English was spoken as being from 1150 to 1500. This stage of the development of the English language roughly followed the High to the Late Middle Ages.

Cooper (profession) maker of staved vessels such as barrels

A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs and other staved containers from timber that was usually heated or steamed to make it pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally made wooden implements, such as rakes and wooden-bladed shovels. In addition to wood, other materials, such as iron, were used in the manufacturing process.

Upperthorpe was the location of the first reservoir to supply water to Sheffield. In 1712 John Goodwin and Robert Littlewood were appointed by the town trustees and the Duke of Norfolk to pipe water from springs at the White House, Upperthorpe to Townhead in the centre of Sheffield. In 1737 they were joined by Joshua Matthewman and the first of several reservoirs was built. By the late 1780s the water from the Upperthorpe dams was insufficient to supply the growing town of Sheffield and a new chain of reservoirs was built at Crookesmoor. [2] Upperthorpe remained mainly a farming settlement with the first sign of the encroachment of Sheffield town being the building of Sheffield Royal Infirmary on Upperthorpe Meadows, then half a mile outside the town. The Infirmary opened for patients on 4 October 1797 and received a very good supply of clean water from the Spring Vale stream which flowed down from the vicinity of Crookes village; the stream continued to supply the hospital until 1861. [4]

Duke of Norfolk Dukedom in the Peerage of England

The Duke of Norfolk is the premier duke in the peerage of England, and also, as Earl of Arundel, the premier earl. The Duke of Norfolk is, moreover, the Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England. The seat of the Duke of Norfolk is Arundel Castle in Sussex, although the title refers to the county of Norfolk. The current duke is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk. The dukes have historically been Catholic, a state of affairs known as recusancy in England.

Sheffield Royal Infirmary Hospital in South Yorkshire, England

The Royal Infirmary was a hospital in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

By the 1820s Upperthorpe was becoming “a pleasant and favourable residential district”. In 1826 John Blake, who was to become Master Cutler in 1831, built Upperthorpe Villa, a stone built house with porch at 22 Blake Grove Road; the house still stands today and is a grade II listed building. The nearby Blake Street, the steep road which leads to Walkley and the Blake Hotel public house are named after John Blake who died in the cholera outbreak of 1832. With a gradient of 16.6° Blake Street is the third steepest residential street England. [5] Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn Law Rhymer lived at Upperthorpe Villa between 1834 and 1841, a fact marked by a blue plaque on the building.

The Master Cutler is the head of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire established in 1624. Their role is to act as an ambassador of industry in Sheffield, England. The Master Cutler is elected by the freemen of the company on the first Monday of September of each year and the position taken in the first Tuesday of October. Despite the title, the Master Cutler does not have to be involved in the cutlery business, or even the steel industry, to be elected.

Listed building Protected historic structure in the United Kingdom

A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, Cadw in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.

Cholera Bacterial infection of the small intestine

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. This may result in sunken eyes, cold skin, decreased skin elasticity, and wrinkling of the hands and feet. Dehydration can cause the skin to turn bluish. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure.

Blue plaque on Upperthorpe Villa. Elliott Plaque, Blake Grove Rd.jpg
Blue plaque on Upperthorpe Villa.

House building continued in the area in the late 1840s with the Birkendale Freehold Land Society building a development of detached and semi detached villas on an area of over nine acres. Each villa had a plot of land of one rood (quarter of an acre) and were occupied mainly by steel industry craftsmen and their families with the original occupants including scissors, spring knife and cutlery manufacturers. Today the Birkendale neighbourhood is a conservation area with 65 houses in total. [6] Sir Stuart Goodwin (1886–1969) founder of the Neepsend Steel and Tool Corporation was born at 120 Upperthorpe; he was one of Sheffield’s top industrialists in the inter war period. He later became one of the City’s most renowned patrons, funding Sheffield’s Christmas illuminations for many years and the Goodwin Sports Centre, he is commemorated by the Goodwin Fountain in the Peace Gardens. [7]

A rood is a historic English and international inch-pound measure of area, as well as an archaic English measure of length.

Scissors hand-operated cutting instrument

Scissors are hand-operated shearing tools. A pair of scissors consists of a pair of metal blades pivoted so that the sharpened edges slide against each other when the handles (bows) opposite to the pivot are closed. Scissors are used for cutting various thin materials, such as paper, cardboard, metal foil, cloth, rope, and wire. A large variety of scissors and shears all exist for specialized purposes. Hair-cutting shears and kitchen shears are functionally equivalent to scissors, but the larger implements tend to be called shears. Hair-cutting shears have specific blade angles ideal for cutting hair. Using the incorrect scissors to cut hair will result in increased damage or split ends, or both, by breaking the hair. Kitchen shears, also known as kitchen scissors, are intended for cutting and trimming foods such as meats.

Penknife small folding knife

A penknife, or pen knife, is a British English term for a small folding knife. Today the word penknife is the common British English term for both a pocketknife, which can have single or multiple blades, and for multi-tools, with additional tools incorporated into the design.

Modern developments

Upperthorpe underwent substantial redevelopment in the 1950s and 1960s and again in the 1980s, although an area of traditional housing survived in the area around Daniel Hill, Blake Street and Birkendale, as well a small historic core area featuring the 19th century public baths and library. Seven tower blocks were built in Martin Street and Oxford Street between 1959 and 1961, these had 12 residential floors and are named Wentworth, Adelphi, Martin, Burlington, Bond, Albion and Oxford. The blocks were re-clad between 1993 and 1996 in a brown and white colour scheme by local contractors Henry Boot PLC at a cost of £7 million. After the late sixties redevelopment, a recreation area, known as The Ponderosa was created next to the tower blocks on the site of demolished terraced houses. [8]

Ponderosa (Sheffield) open space / recreation area in Sheffield, England

The Ponderosa is a recreation area within the City of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. Although not a public park it was designated as Open Space by Sheffield City Council in the 1993 Unitary Development Plan. It covers an area of over 10 hectares and is located at 53.3868°N 1.4865°W, 1.5 km west of the city centre between the districts of Upperthorpe and Netherthorpe. Although the name “Ponderosa” was originally an informal name given by local children, it is now the accepted title and is recognised by the local council. Along with Weston Park and Crookes Valley Park it is one of the three “Crookesmoor Parks”.

Kelvin Flats

The Kelvin Flats were constructed in 1965 on Infirmary Road; this was a massive and radical development similar to Park Hill Flats. It consisted of two 13 storey deck access blocks containing 948 flats. The two blocks consisted of four wide walks, informally known as “Streets in the Sky” and were named Edith Walk, Woollen Walk, Portland Walk and Kelvin Walk. The Kelvin had many social problems although a strong community spirit existed among the residents. In September 1992 Sheffield City Council announced the flats were to be knocked down with demolition taking place during 1995–6. The flats were replaced with an estate of conventional housing and the Philadelphia Green Space, a small recreation area featuring mature trees and wildlife. [9]

Upperthorpe Library Upperthorpe Library.JPG
Upperthorpe Library
Eversley House, built in 1840, is now The Office public house Eversley House, Upperthorpe.jpg
Eversley House, built in 1840, is now The Office public house

Other significant buildings

The Upperthorpe Public Library is a grade II listed building in the heart of Upperthorpe. It was constructed in 1874 by E.M. Gibbs. The Upperthorpe Baths stand next door to the library and date from 1895 and are by the architect Charles Wike. Both the library and the baths have since 2003 been part of the Upperthorpe Healthy Living Centre, now known as the Zest Centre. Apart from the library and the pool, the centre offers a gym, café, office space and meeting rooms. Eversley House at 115 Upperthorpe Road is also grade II listed; it was originally constructed in 1840 as a private residence. In 1919 it was donated to St. Philip's church by Mr. James Wing, a steel manufacturer, and used as community rooms. In later years the house has been used as a pub first being called The Eversley House, then The Moon and it is now known as The Office. The Sheffield Royal Infirmary closed in the 1980s; it has been renovated and renamed Heritage Park. It is used as office space. The complex comprises four buildings, Heritage House, Centenary House and The Roundhouse which were all part of the hospital. The fourth building, Victoria House is newly built and was constructed around 1990 and is located towards the south-western part of the grounds. [10] [11] [12]


The only GP practice in the suburb is the Upperthorpe Medical Centre on Addy Street; 47% of the population are registered at this practice. There are no churches in the Upperthorpe area, the suburb being served by St Stephen’s at Netherthorpe and St Barts on the Langsett estate. Here are two of the public houses in the area; The White Rails and The Office. The Upperthorpe Hotel shut in 2009 and is now flats and some shops. There is a small shopping area located centrally on Upperthorpe Road and a large Tesco store located within the grounds of the former Sheffield Royal Infirmary. There are no schools in the immediate area; Upperthorpe primary and infant school on Daniel Hill Street was closed down in the 1990s, demolished, and apartments built on the site in a similar style. Children now have to attend schools in either Netherthorpe or Walkley.


Upperthorpe has a population of 2,960 according to the 2001 census. A high percentage of properties in the suburb are flats, apartments or maisonettes and are rented from the local authority. [13]

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  1. "The Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield", J. Edward Vickers, no ISBN, Page 39, States Upperthorpe is a Viking village.
  2. 1 2 3 "A History of Sheffield", David Hey, Carnegie Publishing Ltd, ISBN   1 85936 110 2, Page 13, 132 & 217, Gives history of name, reservoirs and tanning.
  3. Rotherham Web. Gives details of Rawson family.
  4. "A Popular History of Sheffield", J. Edward Vickers, Applebaum Bookshop, ISBN   0 906787 04 1, Pages 107, Gives details of Royal Infirmary.
  5. Meierhans, Jennifer (19 March 2017). "Where is England's steepest street?". BBC News. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  6. Birkendale. Gives details of Birkendale Freehold Land Society.
  7. "Steel City: Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Technology in Sheffield 1743–1993", Geoffrey Tweedale, Oxford University Press, ISBN   0 19 828866 2, Gives details of Stuart Goodwin.
  8. Sheffield Tower Blocks and High rise Apartments of the 20th Century. Gives details of Tower Blocks.
  9. Streets in the Sky. Gives details of Kelvin Flats.
  10. "Pevsner Architectural Guides – Sheffield", Ruth Harman & John Minnis, Yale University Press, ISBN   0 300 10585 1, Pages 283 – 285, Gives details of significant buildings and newer housing.
  11. The Story of St. Philip’s Church, Sheffield (A Centenary Record) 1828 -1928 by Canon W. Odom. Gives general history.
  12. Heritage Park, Infirmary Road. Gives details of Heritage Park.
  13. Upperthorpe Neighbourhood Profile 2007/08. Gives statistics.