SHEFFIELD Chess History



Rail Travel from Sheffield in 1849

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This lack of engagement with the YCA in early years becomes clear from reference to White’s General Directory of Sheffield, 1849, which on pages 315 and 316 describes the available rail travel from Sheffield.


From Midland station (then in the angle between Savile Street and Spital Hill) you could travel to Rotherham.


From Bridgehouses (later from Victoria station, which was being built around this time) you could travel to Chesterfield by via Darnall, Beighton and Eckington.  You changed at Eckington for the Midland trains.  You changed at Chesterfield for destinations in the south.  That line to Chesterfield is now a goods line, though in extremis (points failure or “signalling difficulties” etc at the south end of Sheffield station) passenger trains are today sent that way, giving unsuspecting passengers an unexpected and rare sighting of Beighton signal box among other delights.


A line from Eckington to Grimsby, via Worksop, Retford and Lincoln was then only at the planning stage.


In the opposite direction from Bridgehouses you could go to Manchester, via Wadsley Bridge, Oughtibridge, Deepcar, Wortley, Penistone, Dunford Bridge, and into Lancashire.  (From Penistone the Trails Pennine Trail appears to follow the former course of this line.)


A line from Derby to Leeds via Sheffield was under construction.  A tunnel built to carry it under Clay Cross was built from 1837 to 1840, which circumstance indirectly caused Clay Cross’s greatest chess-player, Dr. William John Wilson, to move to live there.


So, to get to the rest of the West Riding, it was a case of catching the Royal Mail coach to Leeds via Barnsley and Wakefield, leaving Sheffield at 7 a.m., daily.





Steve Mann

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