Tinsley looks back at Sheffield’s transport heritage

The Co-op on the corner of Bawtry Road, Tinsley. Picture courtesy of Keith Martin
The Co-op on the corner of Bawtry Road, Tinsley. Picture courtesy of Keith Martin

A day of art and archaeology later this month will be exploring the history of Tinsley in north Sheffield.

The Settling Tinsley event, taking place on Friday, February 24 from 9am noon and 1pm to 4pm, will be held at Tinsley Community Centre on Ingfield Road and is run by the community heritage team at Heeley City Farm.

The Sheffield to Tinsley Canal, with the famous cooling towers and road viaduct in the background, showing wharf buildings and a train track. Picture courtesy of John Allchurch

The Sheffield to Tinsley Canal, with the famous cooling towers and road viaduct in the background, showing wharf buildings and a train track. Picture courtesy of John Allchurch

The event is part of community heritage project Tinsley Time and Travel that aims to help uncover its fascinating but little-known history.

Project officer Charlotte Head said: “This half term event is for families and anyone who wants to have some creative fun and learn more about their local area.

“Artist Angie Harwick will lead some great art activities and there will also be a chance to find out more about early history and archaeology.”

She added “There are some really interesting things to discover. About 50 years ago, a Bronze Age dug-out canoe was discovered, by accident, near to Tinsley in Chapel Flat Dyke. The canoe is 3,500 years old!

“It’s fascinating to think about the first people that lived in Tinsley that long ago, and what life would have been like for them.” Charlotte added: “We are really pleased that artist Angie will be joining us again on Saturday, March 11, to lead a heritage arts walk around Tinsley, from 10am to noon. It will be a gentle walk starting from Tinsley Forum on Bawtry Road, and a chance to look differently at the history of Tinsley.”

Partners in the National Lottery-funded project include Ignite Imaginations and Tinsley Forum. Settling Tinsley looks at the natural heritage of the area and why people first settled there.

Tinsley Time and Travel follows on from a successful community project looking at the history of Tinsley Manor that was inspired by the discovery of a teacher at Tinsley Junior School that the medieval manor house lay under the site of the school.

The project involved staff and students from the school, working with professionals from Wessex Archaeology, local groups, residents and other volunteers.

They excavated within the school grounds, recorded oral histories, conducted a graveyard survey and looked at the Tinsley Court Rolls, which are legal documents going back to medieval times.

The new project focuses on how transport, travel and change have shaped the north Sheffield suburb since prehistoric times. It launched at the end of January with an event held at Tinsley Community Centre for people to find out how they could get involved.

Its location gave Tinsley a crucial role in the 18th and 19th century industrialisation of Sheffield, the beginning of a gradual move away from a centuries-old rural community. The last farm closed in 1953.

A turnpike road opened from Sheffield to Doncaster going through Tinsley in 1764.

The river was made navigable to Tinsley in the mid-18th century and goods would be transferred at Tinsley wharf.

The opening of the Sheffield to Tinsley Canal in 1819 enabled more rapid industrialisation.

In the same year Earl Fitzwilliam’s Tinsley Park Colliery opened, connected to the canal first by a wagon way and then a short railway.

By 1900 Tinsley had two railway stations, with some evidence of these still remaining. The current Supertram uses part of the old route.

For more information, contact Charlotte on 0114 258 0483 or email charlotte.head@heeleyfarm.org.uk