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Wartime Frecheville

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i remember the Frecheville Original Productions pantomimes from the war years and shotly afterwards. They were as good as any professional show, and much appreciated in those days of austerity.Henry Boots had built a private estate on what was then Birley Moor of about 1700 houses. The Community Association was formed with a panny a week subscription from residents. The estate had its own bowling green, tennis courts, fishing pond several shops on Birley Moor road. a club and a pub. Nearby walks were to Birley wood, later converted to a golf course

An annual carnival was held with floats from local organisations. The Community had all sorts of affiliated groups using the committee roms and facilities. Garages were provided for rent next to the centre, although I would guess only about 1% of the population owned a car.

We kids played out seemingly all day with no suggestion of danger and the scholl took all children from reception to leaving at 16. The 11 plus enabled many Frecheville kids to go to either Dronfield Grammar, or Eckington Grammar then at Halfway and now sadly demolished. My father worked at the Corporation Electricity Dept on Commercial Street and had to walk to the Intake tram terminus for transport to work He was also in the Frecheville Home Guard and did his bit on anti-aircraft at Brinsworth in the war years.

Frecheville was gradually surrounded in a pincer movement by Sheffield development, and the green fields which surrounded us became Birley, ase Green and Hackenthorpe.

Do any of your readers remember Frecheville in its heyday Do let us know

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With regard to the Frecheville Community Association, a friend of mine, an old Frechevillean now resident in Australia would be interested in carrying out a sociological investigation into the nature of the First National Housing Trust.We remeber the BBC having broadcat a programme about the estate in the 1960s, I think. Many blamed the eventual demise of the association on the arrival of T.V in the early 1950s when people no longer had to make their own entertainment but became the couchpotatoes which many of us are today If anyone can give us any unformation we would indeed be grateful

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I recall the excellent pantomimes they used to put on in the late fifties and the Dame always seemed to be played very well by a chap called Fred Bloor.

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Fred Bloor was the dame in later years. I think he worked as a milkman, but the dame I remember in the later years of the war was Dennis Marsden. I believe many years later he ran the Post Office at Todwick Other comics were a Cockney named Albert Frost and a plumber named Bert?Ransome? They were a hilarios twosome. Shelagh Lynes dancers provided the chorus girls at one stage

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I live on Frecheville now and have done for the last 20 years. I have often wondered about the history of the estate. Is it right that all tenants had to provide referenced to rent on the estate?

 

You'll be pleased to know that the Community Centre still perform pantomines there and the Carnival is a regular feature of the year. I know, I live on one of the cul de sacs near the pond.

 

A lot has changed on the estate now, most of the houses have been sold off. We still pay our £7.99 a year ground rent to The First National Housing Trust though.

 

I would love to hear of any other memories you have of the estate.

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a queery for all any old folk freschvillians. there was once some kind of water wheel mill just off the junction where the noahs ark pub is now, in the oppsosite direction of the hollin bush. what was it for and who owned it, it's important for me to know. I think they built an estate on it a few years back

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I was born in a house on Smalldale Road, Frecheville, so missed out on the "select days". However, my parents were involved with the Community Centre - in fact it was where they did a lot of their courting. My Dad was in the Pantomime Society, usually playing the baddie! Coming full circle, my brother & I are both in the Pantomime Society now - we have just done "Panto at the OK Corral" I met my husband at the Community Centre as he was (and still is) the Stage Manager.

 

My Dad says the Panto used to run for 3 weeks during the war, and the queue for tickets went halfway round the building! He also remembers a plane crashing in the fields behind Thornbridge Drive - this must have been before the Birley estate was built!

 

If you need information about Frecheville, you could do worse than contact the Community Centre, as I think they may have some old photo's of Frecheville, and know a bit about Henry Boots etc.

 

The Community Centre is still going strong, with Panto, Drama Group, Carnival, Badminton, Old Time & Sequence dances and LIne Dancing to name but a few.

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hi just joined the forum although I was not actually here in wartime Frecheville my grandparents and dad were.

They lived in a new Henry Boot house number 2 Youlgreave drive, next door to a family called Chambers. My grandad Arnold Roberts (now deceased) played Cricket for Frecheville and in his later years used to be the scorer. My dad Ray Roberts continued with cricket at Frecheville becoming a deadly (so Im told) bowler and he is now one of the longest serving members of the club. He stills visits and has many friends connected with Frecheville Brian Hobson for one.

Dad was only 7 when 2nd world war broke out but talks about good friends and neighbours at Frecheville.

He attended Frecheville School, and his parents both lived there until they died.

Alison Hallam (nee Roberts)

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This forum is excellent. I live in Frecheville now and it's really funny learning what the area used to be like. And I've never heard the word "Frechevillians" before, that's cool. I was wondering if anyone has any photographs of the area from the early days. I'm doing a project of now and then and any photos would be fantastic. I did find some pictures if other people are interested. On gleadless.com I think it is, there's an plan aerial view of Frecheville pond, which is called a Resevoir. Thanks for any help. Oh and does any one know where the name Frecheville originated?

linkstar1989@aol.com

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When I attended Frechville school around '47/48, I was in a Form that used to be in one of the rooms in the Community Centre, the teacher was Mr Sykes.

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Oh and does any one know where the name Frecheville originated?

From 'Images of England - Around Hackenthorpe' by Leonard Widdowson:

 

"Its signboard [The Frecheville pub on Birley Moor Crescent] shows the coat of arms of the Frecheville family, who were lords of the manor at Staveley. It was Mr Charles Boot's firm that built the 1,600 houses of Frecheville and who chose the name, but there is no evidence that the Frechevilles of Staveley ever owned land on Birley Moor, so the name given to Frecheville remains something of a mystery."

 

The book has several pictures of Frecheville, such as the changing looks of the Co-Op and The Spa Club/The Sherwood, the community centre, the carnival and some of the community's residents from around the 50's, so I'm sure those of you in this thread would find it interesting. I sound like I'm trying to sell it don't I?! It is a good book - it's really interesting having grown up in Hackenthorpe, so it's good to see what it and the surrounding areas looked like some years back.

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I grew up in Frecheville, family moved there in '69 for ten years; was a cracking place to live as a child - the pond (much wilder and unkempt then), bowling green, tennis courts, community centre with its sweet shop, hardly any cars on the road so could play football, cricket & ride bikes without concern, gennels (sp?) to race go-carts (sledging in winter), top hills near birley school, playing out till late, the carnival - perhaps not in its hey-day but much better than when I last saw it about two years ago. Absolutely brilliant - it was almost paradise for a little boy.

 

Can anyone shed light on a question for me? I have a vague recollection that whilst me and my friends were playing on the grassy area adjacent to the community centre, between what was the bowling green and the rear of the houses on Churchdale Road that stand to the right of the community centre as you face it, we discovered what appeared to be a doorway in the side of the bank that sloped down to the rear gardens of these houses. It was very overgrown and we didn't get inside. Does anyone remember if there might have been an air-raid shelter on that site?

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