Conisbrough & Denaby Main
Heritage Group
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William Hare Butchers Shop
situated half way down New Hill


Meat Purveyor William (Billy) Hare is pictured in the doorway of his New Hill premises about 1930.  He had facilities for slaughtering at the rear and produced his own pies and sausages. Billy had followed his father into the butchery business and at the time this photograph was taken his uncle and cousin were also in the trade. Note how his shop window has a sliding sash to expose the meat for the customers inspection, an un-hygenic practice which would be deeply frowned upon today.
Billy married Lavinia Lawcock, the daughter of fellow businessman Edgar Lawcock, boot and shoemaker who also had his business premises on New Hill.
Billy's shop has since been converted into a house.

------------------------

Billy's Uncle Frank had the butchers shop at the top of Athelstane Road.  Later, after the war George Hare, Billy's cousin, had a butchers shop situated on Wembley Avenue.



25 Church Street  
 August Walter - Pork Butcher

In 1901 number 25 Church Street was a Pork Butchers shop owned by Mr August Walter, he was 37 years of age and German, running the shop with his wife Sophia and their son Ernest, who was the errand boy and 14 years old.  There was another son Fred aged 8 and a daughter Lina aged 6.  Also in the house were Maggy and Lina, sisters of Sophia both German.  The children Ernest, Fred and Lina had been born in Conisbro so they would be growing up with Yorkshire accents.  We can picture Ernest cycling around Conisbro with his errand boy bicycle, standing on the pedals for the uphill climb and sitting with legs outstretched for the downhill.  There was also a second butchers shop at the bottom of New Hill, maybe operated by one of the sisters in law but we do not know.  It did have the name Walters above the window.  Everything was going well it would seem but then there were rumours of war, rumours turned to fact and war with Germany was declared in July 1914.  Possibly the Walters family were interviewed but thought to be safe as they had been here in Yorkshire for such a long time.  Then disaster struck on 7th May 1915, almost one year into the war, RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine just a few miles off the Irish coast.  Over one thousand people were killed.  The news was plastered over the front page of every daily newspaper.  Next day a mob of up to a thousand people came up the hill from Denaby and smashed not only the window of Mr Walters butchers shop but they also went into his home and smashed the furniture, a piano, mirrors and photographs, upstairs items were thrown through the windows out onto the street below, everything was broken.  What happened to Mr and Mrs Walter after this we do not know, did they pick themselves up and carry on with the business.  Their children were grown up by this time, Ernest now being 28 years old and possibly married in the village somewhere.  He could even have been in the army, as could Fred, now 21 years old.

August had the twelve houses of Willow Dene built and after smashing up his butchers shop in Church Street the mob went down to Willow Street to smash up the houses.  However, the housewives of the street were fore-warned and had time to fill their apron pockets with stones ready to fight back.  Maybe some of the women were known to those in the mob, after all there were more women than men involved.                                                                              Willow Street escaped un-unscathed.
Mr August Walter was issued with a Certificate of Naturalisation in 1905 long before                     WW1 began.
No information has been found about August being in the village after 1915.

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                              The following articles were copied from
                                                                                                             Photos of Old Conisbrough
                                                                                                              by June & Tony Greathead
                                                                                                 by kind permission of June Greathead

                                                                                                            JONES THE BLACKSMITH

William Jones' blacksmith shop was situated on Low Road next to the passageway leading from Low Road to Doncaster Road. He had occupied this site from at least the 1880s.  The Blacksmith's profession was still thriving in Conisbrough, as elsewhere at the time this photograph was taken about 1905.  However, the image of the burly Blacksmith wielding a large hammer, together with sights and sounds emanating from his shop have since disappeared from everyday life.  The decline in this industry must in some way be linked with that of working horses, since they provided the blacksmith with much of his work. Men who were employed in William Jones' business are depicted here having a break whilst posing for the camera.  William Jones is pictured on the left.  Various products and machinery associated with the blacksmiths' trade can be seen in the yard, and how interesting it would be for us to have a look round today.  
The house in the background is where Jones lived.  Behind his property are the houses and shops on Doncaster Road.  Besides being a hard working blacksmith, Jones was deeply involved in community matters.  By far his most important role was as captain of the local fire service.



                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             A G Gurney

Many small businesses which start from humble beginnings often grow into larger concerns.  This was the case with A G Gurney.


Originally he ran a cycle business from a ramshackle stone built property situated in what we now call Brook Square.  Later, the business was transferred to more commodious premises on the opposite side of the road.  Gurney continued to sell cycles but as motor vehicles became more widely used the nature of his business changed.  He operated a motor vehicle repair garage in association with H E Nicholson. Although this must have been regarded as a state of the art operation at the time, it would seem quite backward today. Gurney and Nicholson are reported to have had a fair slice of the Conisbrough trade.


Shortly before the outbreak of the second world war the two partners business was acquired by Ernest Bonnett.  During the war years the premises were used by the army for vehicle repairs, soldiers were also billeted in rooms above the workshops.
On the cessation of hostilities a new business was commenced there by E Whyers and E Stanley who traded under the name of Conisbrough Motor Company.  This lasted until January 1983 when the premises had a further change of ownership becoming Crossbow Motors.




DRABBLES SWEET MANUFACTURE

Joseph Drabble, in partnership with his brother in law John Maxfield, founded a confectionary manufacturing company in 1890.  However, the partnership broke up on friendly terms but both going their separate ways, John Maxfield to Church Street and Jos Drabble to Northcliffe Road.
 
John Maxfield closed his business but Joseph Drabble continued, becoming a limited company in 1924.  When Joseph died his son Arthur took over control of the business. Arthur was well known in motor cycling circles, coming 3rd or 4th in the Isle of Man TT race of 1924.  He also had a keen interest in flying and on Sunday afternoons be seen performing tricks and looping the loop over Conisbrough.

 
Arthur was a great friend of Leslie Hawthorn of Mexborough, together making motor cycles for racing.  The son of Leslie Hawthorn was Mike Hawthorn, winner of the 1958 Formula One World Championship.


Doreen, the daughter of Arthur took over when Arthur died in 1958.  The sweet manufacturing ceased when Doreen retired in September 1978.  


                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                           Mitchells Shop

The stone building formerly occupied a position near the junction of Castle Street and Dale View.  As can be seen from photographs it presented a splendid facade to anyone entering the village from the east.  It is probable that the house was built in the late eighteenth century.  It betrays certain architectural features from that period, including fine blocked stone on the facade and chimneys an arched doorway, lintels over the double hung sash windows and ashlar (smooth) stonework.   


For much of the property's existence it was used as a private residence, and James Dearden and his wife Anne are noted as occupants during the early nineteenth century.  In 1842 they sold it to John Dawson who is described in Conisbrough Court Rolls as a gentleman.  

After his death in 1858 there was a succession of occupants amongst these being John Dawson jnr., Robert John Dawson, Charles Reader, George Mason and George Kilner.  From the 1930s the building was leased by a Mrs Anne Mitchell who, prior to becoming a Conisbrough resident had spent some years as a Music Hall performer.  She converted the property for use as a shop and lodging house, mainly to cater for visitors to the Castle nearby.  

In 1962 the Urban District Council acquired the building and subsequently demolished it for the erection of a group of maisonettes.



                                                                                                              Swifts Shop Church Street

In 1937 at the early age of nineteen Mr F A Swift went into business for himself making household furniture and fittings in garage at the bottom of March Street.

 
During WW2 he was involved with the building of the all wood Mosquito Aircraft.


After the end of the war he returned to Conisbrough and opened his shop on Church Street helped by his wife Nellie.  At the same time as running his shop he was building a property across the road moving into it on completion.  Mr Swift  also ran a Coach Travel business which traded under the name of 'Happy Days'.


The old shop was demolished about 1960 to make way for a car sales site for Booths of Conisbrough.  Now the site of Sainsbury's car park.




                                                                MR HORACE GERMAIN FENN - 53 CHURCH STREET CONISBROUGH

His working life consisted of being a loco driver at Cadeby Colliery.  During the First World War, when possibly his interest in time pieces began, he was in the Royal Navy engaged as an 'electrical torpedo man'.  After the war was over he resumed his duties at the pit and on a part time basis he was studying and repairing watches and clocks.  


In about 1931 he took the plunge into business leaving the local colliery and starting up business in this shop in the photograph at this time he became a member of the Horological Society Sheffield Branch and wrote a thesis as the subject for them.
Many of the watches and clocks he repaired belonged to local miners and their families.


During the Second World War when both materials and man power were at a premium he kept in good repair the anemometer (wind measuring instrument used in the ventilation of the pits) for the local collieries.  This he was able to achieve because he had a lathe on which to make spare parts and the knowledge to enable him to keep the equipment in good repair and very quickly return the equipment to the pit.  Sadly Mr Fenn died at the early age of 59 years in 1956.

The obituary of Mr Horace G Fenn
Saturday 14th January 1956
One of Conisbrough's best known businessmen died on Monday.  He was watchmaker Mr Horace Fenn aged 59 of 53 Church Street Conisbrough.  Known generally as 'Sailor Fenn' he set up in business in Conisbrough over twenty five years ago.  He had been a member of the Conisbrough branch of the British Legion since it was formed.  A former Morley Place schoolboy he had lived in Conisbrough over fifty years.  During the First World War he served in the Royal Navy as an Electrical Torpedo Mechanic in a destroyer and visited China, Japan, India, Africa and Russia.  He was in Hong Kong when the Peace was signed.  Because of the contacts he had made with sailors all over the world he received watches and clocks in need of repair from all over the world. After the war he worked for a time at Cadeby Colliery as a Loco driver before setting up in business.  During the last war he was a Security Officer at Maltby Ordnance Factory. He was a member of the British Horological Institute.  The funeral took place at the Parish Church yesterday (Thursday).  He leaves a widow, two sons and a daughter.



Globe Picture House
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                     The Globe Cinema
                                                                                                                           Conisbrough

Conisbrough's Globe Cinema was situated in Church Street.  It opened in 1912 and was managed by a Mr Blackett.  The building had an arched entrance and was flanked on either side by two large, bay windowed shops.  


By 1930 the building was owned by John Hall and admission prices were 2d, 4d and 6d.  After John Hall's death in 1948 the cinema and two adjoining shops were acquired by Harry Appleyard jnr.   Harry ran the cinema with the help of his wife and films were changed three times a week.  However, the halcyon days of Conisbrough's cinema were over by 1959.

Following a short closure, the building subsequently re opened as a 'bingo' hall, but this phase was short lived.  Harry Appleyard sold the hall and the two shops to a consortium in around 1966.  The buildings were then demolished and a supermarket and bank erected on the site.



Elstac Toffee Works

Note that the name of the business is Castle in reverse.  This was done when the owner tried to register Castle as his business name but it had already been registered to someone else.


Mitchells Shop

The stone building formerly occupied a position near the junction of Castle Street and Dale View.  As can be seen from photographs it presented a splendid facade to anyone entering the village from the east.  It is probable that the house was built in the late eighteenth century.  It betrays certain architectural features from that period, including fine blocked stone on the facade and chimneys an arched doorway, lintels over the double hung sash windows and ashlar (smooth) stonework.  For much of the property's existence it was used as a private residence, and James Dearden and his wife Anne are noted as occupants during the early nineteenth century.  In 1842 they sold it to John Dawson who is described in Conisbrough Court Rolls as a gentleman.  After his death in 1858 there was a succession of occupants amongst these being John Dawson jnr., Robert John Dawson, Charles Reader, George Mason and George Kilner.  From the 1930s the building was leased by a Mrs Anne Mitchell who, prior to becoming a Conisbrough resident had spent some years as a Music Hall performer.  She converted the property for use as a shop and lodging house, mainly to cater for visitors to the Castle nearby.  In 1962 the Urban District Council acquired the building and subsequently demolished it for the erection of a group of maisonettes.