The Black Lambs Lane, aka Broomhall Street

Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Saturday 06 December 1902

Transcribed by Sophie Mckie

The presence of coal pits led to the development of colliery works in and around Sheffield. The present Broomhall street was designated as Black Lambs Lane and was subject to mining. This came to light from the below excerpt from the Daily Telegraph, 1902.

Coal in Sheffield

The traces of ancient mining inside the old boundaries of the town (wholly, that is, on the south-west of the rivers) being thus obscure, we may assume, with some confidence, that any coal-getting within this area was but of a primitive or tentative kind. Even if overlooked by topographers, anything worthy the name of pits would not have escaped the attentions of the rate collectors – and there is no trace of them in their lists. I have recently come upon a story of more recent date, which probably indicates what took place in the earlier period, when the inhabitants found themselves within reach of some semblance of the mineral which was supplanting wood as a fuel.

In the old days the town westward stopped abruptly with the houses on the further side of Coal Pit Lane. Their backs looked out on open fields, which were called Back Lands. Later the name was more usually turned into Black Lands, which was again corrupted, in popular speech, into Black Lambs. Thus the road leading from Trippet Lane to Broomhall, the present Broomhall Street, came to be known as Black Lambs Lane. The Back or Black Lands district may be said to have been bounded by Coal Pit Lane on the east, Broomhall Street on the west, Division Street on the north, and Button Lane on the south.

A point of great interest is whether the coal-getters of 1832 were the first to mine there, or whether they were attracted to search by traces of earlier attempts.

Yet with coal so near the surface, it is inconceivable that there had not been sundry scratchings on the “waste” by poor people, seeking to help themselves to cheap fuel – a process which probably, in early days, went on rather extensively.

There was a still later attempt at coal getting, in more systematic fashion, at our own doors. At the corner of Broomhall Street and what is now Cavendish Street, there was, in the ‘forties, a beer-house with a quaint sign, the joy of the youthful population, depicting a pig ejaculating, “Don’t Stand Staring at Me.” From this corner, up lower Broomspring Lane to Gell Street, the site now of Board Schools and houses, was an open field, with a rope walk along its low wall. I could name several City Fathers who, on their way to and from school, wasted a good deal of time absorbed in watching the operations of the “band” makers. The field in which this industry was pursued extended to Convent Walk, and somewhere about 1850 a Mr. Edward Hoyland, who lived at Spring House (now a Catholic institution), sunk a pit near the corner of Convent Walk and Cavendish Street. For some time it showed signs of ill-omened activity. A pit heap arose, which improved neither Mr. Hoyland’s own house nor the neighbourhood. But either the coal was exhausted, or its winning did not prove a commercial success, for before long the clatter of winding gear and of ascending and descending corves ceased to disturb the rooks who had set up a colony in Gell Street. The pit stood idle. The pit heap gradually disappeared, and the inhabitants around rejoiced at the failure to add additional blackness to black Sheffield.

Researched from The British Newspaper Archives

This page was added by Niv C on 12/11/2015.

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