Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Sorry it’s taken so long to get this newsletter out, but circumstances and holidays have got in the way.  I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and wish you all a great 2020.

Friday 29 November 2019 was Black Friday, one of those days when everyone rushes out for a bargain and clogs the town up with vehicles, all queuing to get in and out of car parks attached to shopping outlets.

Black Friday was indeed a relevant name for the day as far as we were concerned, as I started off the day with a heavy nosebleed and the need to contact the emergency health number and speak to a nurse who advised going to hospital.  However, I decided we had far too much to do, visiting several stores to change the delivery date of appliances as our  moving date into 18 St Mary’s Walk had to be changed from the beginning of the week until 28 November as well as preparing the our meeting.  We just about did it all, but my nose bleeding began again at the start of the meeting and thankfully Cynthia was able to take over. 

We had a change of venue this month as St Mary’s Christmas Fayre was being held the next day and they needed to prepare, but the Methodist Hall proved quite adequate and I think everyone who intended coming found their way there.

Food for the party was provided by Meryl White who produced cakes and biscuits from bygone days and Cynthia brought some appropriate cordials as alcohol is not allowed on Methodist premises.

We then had a few photos of babies or children (of those present) to see if anyone could guess who they were (not very successfully) and a pass the parcel which took us back to our own parties as children.  A quiz was also completed, but with varying degrees of cheating and fishing for clues going on.

All in all it was a lovely afternoon with lots of laughs along the way as usual.


This was our first meeting of the new year and I had to admit that I had done very little preparation for it as we were just back from holiday and had to face the prospect of sorting our temporary home out.   Fortunately Cynthia and I had had a long chat about it a few days before and so we had a few ideas to work with.

Cynthia reminded everyone that our planned end date for the project was April 2020 and that we should establish what there was left to do and make plans accordingly.   A list had been produced, which was circulated to everyone there, and which is reproduced below for those who weren’t.

1.      Transcribe a few interviews/meetings which have already been done for summarising and gleaning good information for the book. (Liz)

2.      Complete interviews with the Burleys (Liz), Watsons (Liz), Arthur Radford (Liz), the
Williamsons (Cynthia and Liz), Philip Hardy and Cynthia (Eunice), and Phil Cunningham (?). 

Anyone within the project who hasn’t been interviewed and would like to be included should let me know or simply submit a short family history with the main highlights and anecdotes included.

3.      Make a basic plan of the old part of the of the village in the 1950s, from the Lodge House to the Station House and Lower Sprotbrough, with the corresponding list of family names.  (Arthur?)

4.      Submit good quality family photos (jpegs), including g/parents, parents and children if possible.

5.      Submit good quality photos (jpegs), depicting village life as it happened, eg farming, events, etc

6.      Take individual or group photos of all participants, involved in the project, including dates of birth, so that we can put them in the book.

7.      Obtain permission from Orchard School for their Copley Medal project to be included in the book.

Anyone who can help with any of the requirements listed above should get in touch with me as soon as possible or bring them along to the next meeting.

The next meeting will be on Friday 28 February, a very special day as it happens, so we hope to see you all there. 


Tel: 01302 313030

Friday, November 22, 2019


Dear All

Please note that our ‘Christmas’ meeting will be at Sprotbrough Methodist Church Hall as St Mary’s will be preparing for their Christmas Fayre. 

As most of you know, we have been flooded out and life is a bit difficult with regard to planning meetings of any sort.  I have had to get a new computer, which I don’t really understand, but am doing my best to keep in touch.  I hope this reaches most of you and I will put a message on Facebook for those who aren’t on emails.

As this is our Christmas meeting and we won’t be meeting again until the end of January 2020, we thought we would try to create a more party atmosphere.  Meryl has agreed to bring some food and Cynthia is providing a fruit punch and coffee, tea, etc.  We will be talking about anything to do with our Christmases in the 1950s, but wondered about including a few party games.

So, would everyone try and bring a photo of themselves in childhood to see if others can identify them.  If you all bring them to me in secret when you arrive, so that no-one else sees them in advance, I will put them up around the room.  

I think musical chairs or spin the plate might be a bit much, but we could have pass the parcel! Any other remembered games welcome.

A Sprotbrough quiz might be possible if we can think of any questions!

I am a bit worried that this will not reach everyone in the group as my contact list seems to be non-existent at the moment and hope you will spread the word.  


Monday, September 23, 2019



Just a reminder that the next meeting of the SPROTBROUGH ORAL HISTORY group will be on Friday 27 September at 2.30 pm as usual.  Please check when you arrive whether we are in the hall or the stable. 

The topics to be discussed are Entertainment and Holidays.

See you then.


Our Calendar is now under production and should be available soon.  If ordered by 31 October, the price will be £5; those purchased later will cost £5.50.  As I will be away from mid-December, I am hopeful they will all be distributed by early December.

We have decided to try a different format this year.  Several people have said they would like a bigger space to write diary appointments in and so this year, the calendar will be long and narrow, rather than A4.  I hope everyone will like it and find it useful.

A big thank you goes to Simon Roe who has provided photographs from his Wild Life in the Don Gorge collection.  We are always looking for contributions from others and hope you will remember to send in any good Jpegs for consideration for 2021.

This is an example - our January picture.

Orders can be taken by me by
Telephone on 01302 313030 or
Email: lizreeve@dongorgecommunitygroup,com

As we have had good support from you in the past and been complimented on our photographs, I look forward to hearing from you again.

Many thanks.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019


We are looking for anyone living in or having connections with the village between 1925 and 1965 to reminisce about their lives during this period. Don't be shy. Come along and share with us. If you need transport, just let us know. 

The next Meeting is on Friday 30 August  at St Mary's Church Hall, Main Street, Sprotbrough at 2.30 pm. 

We are also looking for old photographs of interest, eg of families, fashions, views, vehicles, activities, general interest.  We are able to copy and return these very quickly.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


from Rural Estate to Real Estate

Were you or your family born in Sprotbrough Old Village
either before or in the 1920s?


Did you live, work or play there between
1925 and 1965?

If you are interested in participating or helping in any way, we would love to see you
at Sprotbrough Church Hall on

AT 2.30 PM
Please check on arrival whether this is in the Church Hall
or The Stables, Main Street, Sprotbrough

This month we will be thinking about 

There is scope for interviewees and interviewers, as well as research, photography, computer support or other artistic input.

If you are unable to come, but are still interested, please let me know so that we can keep in contact.

If you are house-bound or need help getting to the meeting, please contact:

Liz Reeve, Tel: 01302 313030 or
Cynthia Ransome, Tel: 01302 728310
for further information.


Monday, July 15, 2019


 Well Summer is here and we have had a mixed bag of weather so far so, if you’ve been holidaying in this country, I expect you might have had to dodge a few showers.  Hopefully you’ve seen a bit of the sun as well though and that it might continue until at least September!

The committee has met three times since I last wrote in April and a quick glance through the Minutes shows that we received grants from both Sprotbrough & Cusworth and Warmsworth Parish Councils towards our Public Liability Insurance.  We are always grateful that we can ensure our conservation volunteers are covered whilst working on our behalf. 

A regular group are now meeting on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year and, whilst still working with Yorkshire Wildlife through the Summer, are continuing to work on the historic wall near the fish pass.  The next dates for anyone wishing to join the group are Tuesday 16 July and Thursday 25 July.

We are very pleased to be able to host a group of staff to help with Balsam Bashing on Wednesday next 17 July.  Our efforts towards eliminating this invasive species seem to be progressing well, with areas of grass appearing in place of the dreaded weed.  It will be necessary to keep on top of it throughout the year, though, to stop it seeding again and, hopefully, there will be no flooding this Summer to carry seeds down the river to land on our shores again.

I had an enquiry from a group of walkers who asked whether a handrail might be erected at the side of the fairly steep steps, just beyond the Travellers’ site, which join a footpath leading to Cadeby Road just before the school.  This set in motion quite an investigation, but it has now been established that it is on land belonging to DMBC and is the responsibility of the Asset department.  As it is not registered as a Public Right of Way (PROW), however, we have registered an interest in making it one and hope to hear something in the not too distant future.  In the meantime, our original request has been passed to the Asset department to see if they can provide a handrail.  Who could have imagined what a hornet’s nest such a request would have provoked.  We continue to live in hope. 

A similar investigation ensued regarding a notice of works being carried out on the Cuckoo Bridge on Nursery Lane on 25 April.  So far, I have failed to confirm who was responsible for it, but think it must be Highways England (Historical Railways Estate), but I have yet to receive a reply from them since writing in April and again in May.  It would appear, however, that the rail track itself is privately owned.

Most of our energies, both physical and nervous have been employed in decision-making about the proposed car park on Nursery Lane.  We have been talking to our solicitor, but discover this will entail more funding than expected.  So far, most of the owners have very kindly agreed to either donate or sell 22 of the plots and, having come this far, we are loath to give up at the final hurdle. 

For those not aware of our hope for a larger car park in the Gorge, the land in question, comprising 27 individual plots, is ideal for a car park as it already has a concrete base and would also provide space for other educational activities by interested groups.  The 19 owners concerned purchased the land in the 1980s in order to protect it from other developments, so this makes it very difficult to talk to them altogether, as a number of them have moved away from Sprotbrough and now live in other parts of the country. 

Some people have suggested that another car park is unnecessary as it will only attract more people to the area and spoil it, but this argument seems counter-productive, as people will still continue to come as it is a free, open area.   People have visited the Gorge for two hundred years at least, when there were few buses and no cars, so there is no reason to expect them not to come in greater numbers now and in future.   The number of vehicles passing through the Gorge has vastly increased over the past 15-20 years, and similarly the number of people wanting to stop off here for an hour or two.  The increase in the number of cyclists on the greatly-improved Trans-Pennine Trail also brings vehicles carrying cycles so that families can ride the trail from here. 

Another argument put forward against it is that people will not want to walk down Nursery Lane to the river.  However, there are many beautiful places in this country that can only be reached by walking so, if the only way to protect the Don Gorge is to encourage that, then surely that is what should happen.  It is already possible to see how the grass verge on Nursery Lane has been degraded by the parking of vehicles on it to the detriment of wild flowers.  It is also dangerous for pushchairs and wheelchair users when vehicles park on the footpath on the bend near the Boat Inn, making them have to walk into the bend in the middle of the road.  Parking on the private road which prevents emergency access to the river bank as well as the cottages, is also unacceptable.  If we are successful, people would be able to walk directly into the woodland and there is also a chance that a woodland walk can be created from the car park towards the Boat Inn.

An application has been made to the Co-op Community Fund to become one of the three charities to be supported by them.  If we are successful, we would not receive anything until the end of next year but, if successful, it could help with the creation of the car park.  If anyone has any other good fundraising ideas, they would be welcome.

I therefore appeal to you, as the Friends of the Don Gorge, to support our intention to preserve the Gorge in a natural state for future generations. 

Any comments, for or against, this scheme would still be very useful and should be addressed to me.

SCARECROW FESTIVAL - 7/8 September 2019
This is being run again this year and our group has entered.  Our scarecrow is to be made by our conservation volunteers and will be sited in the Well at Lower Sprotbrough so I hope everyone will come and have a look at it.  I understand programmes with a map of sites will be on sale nearer the time.  It is in aid of the Children’s Society and Action for Children.

We have been successful in obtaining two small grants for this project, £300 as seed funding from DMBC and £500 from Healthwatch, for which we are very grateful as it will help us to pay for room hire.  We have also been able to receive a recorder for interviews and other stationery items.  It is hoped to produce a plan of the village as well as a book by next Spring.  We have just been encouraged to apply to the South Yorkshire Community Foundation for a grant for the latter.

I have decided to send this Newsletter to the Friends of the Don Gorge and those of the Sprotbrough Oral History group so, if you receive it twice, I hope you will forgive me and just delete one of them.

Have a great Summer.

Liz Reeve, Secretary

Tel: 01302 313030

Sprotbrough Oral History
Project Manager


NEWSLETTER 10 FEBRUARY 2020 Sorry it’s taken so long to get this newsletter out, but circumstances and holidays have got in the way.   I...